Fundamentals: Mind, Intellect, Vāsanā, Karma (2)


Prerequisite to jumping into Advaita Vedānta course, in this session we learn about fundamentals of Mind, Intellect, Vāsanā (also called saṃskāra), and Karma. Terms often referred to during the classes.

Mind (manas):

Feeler of emotions.

Seat of emotions, feelings, impulses. All your feelings about self, others, objects, world is seated in the Mind.

Intellect (buddhi):

Thinker of thoughts.

Is this information true or false?” That's the Intellect. The discriminating, judging, self-inquiring, calculating, evaluating power. Intellect needs to be highly developed to successfully discriminate Self from not-Self (Subject-Satya from Object-Mithya) and to assimilate the teachings into real life changes.

Intellect is generally dismissed in spiritual marketplace, where it's mostly biased towards exercise of EMOTIONS/FEELING GOOD.

Intellect is superior to Mind, yet both are entwined.

Vāsanā: (also called saṃskāra)

To answer this, both you and I have (1) Mind, and (2) Intellect (Know-How) on communicating with a person.

But what DETERMINES how I actually use Mind-Intellect to communicate… OR how you use Mind-Intellect to communicate?

Answer is Vāsanā. Meaning TENDENCY. Or inclination.

That means, if I have a tendency to interrupt while someone is speaking, then I will interrupt them.

If you have a tendency to offer compliments, then you will offer compliments to somebody you're speaking to.

Therefore, Vāsanā guides HOW the Mind-Intellect will RESPOND to any situation.

Infact, your personality is nothing but a conglomeration of Vāsanā's. It's what causes Individuality.


What causes a TENDENCY (Vāsanā)? Past action. Meaning, one has done it BEFORE. Hence it creates a momentum to repeat it.

Tip: After having sex, what do most think about? “When can we do it again!”. Now you have “Sex Vāsanā” created by past action (Karma). 🙂

Hence there is no Vāsanā without Karma, and no Karma without a Vāsanā. They are entwined.

Download visual mind map of this session.

8 May 2018



  1. Wonderful! Feeling blessed. Though I am an Indian it’s an eye opener as we hardly get to know our own scriptures. May I know who is your guru?

  2. Thanks for the teaching,
    Had a further understanding of mind , intellect & self ,and Karma,
    It appears to me as a dot drawing by the time and snow balling itself,
    Really interesting, also interested in the pranatha …
    This helps a lot for my daily sadhna
    Thanks for sharing:-)

  3. Hi Andre, I am going back over all the teachings again. So much value in repeating the classes.
    Question, in terms of vasanas, using your example, what makes one person enjoy gambling vs someone who might loathe it? Even if the experience is positive. Or, my 1st smoking experience was awful, but I did it again!
    Your description makes the outcome of vasanas almost sound robotic. Surely there’s more to the personality than E=MC2? What piece am I missing here?

  4. Hi Andre,

    First of all I want to share my gratitude for sharing your knowledge.

    I’m just starting my journey to understand my spirit side and clear my mind from all contradictions or practices that I don’t share in our western society, do yo think this is a good start point?… so far I have found a lot of sense in your content and I think I’ll continue the course even though I don’t know if is safe or I’m not skipping essential concepts to continue with this process.


    1. Hi Juan. IT’s certainly a comprehensive course with thousands of teachings so far up to latest lesson. Course offers total immersion into Indian wisdom + backed by notes each session.

  5. Fantastic course, and wonderful examples! i intend to complete this (as do i intend to complete Sanskrit lessons from your other /sanskrit zoom recordings). May I ask, why is it that different people have a spectrum of Vasanas? (good, bad, ugly) to the same external stimulus? why did Iswara not take a better/smarter approach of generating a consistent same (good) vasanas in all the people? wouldn’t it make the world a better place? e.g. if Duryodhana and Arjuna had the same reaction to the external stimuli, we would not have Mahabharat.

    1. Namaste Achal.

      why did Iswara not take a better/smarter approach of generating a consistent same (good) vasanas in all the people?

      That would be ideal indeed. Then no conflicts, no violence, etc.

      There’s many ways to answer this.

      One is…

      However that would remove possibility of learning. Isn’t it true we learn the most in times of pain, making mistakes, etc.

      If everyone is good (technically called heaven: svarga-loka), then one is not thinking about MORE-NESS to life. It’s only in times of pain/suffering, that we start to contemplate existential matters.

      Second is…

      It contradicts definition of nature of existence which is limitless in nature. Thus infinite combinations/permutations are allowed. The moment it’s limited to just “GOOD”, then reality is not longer limitless.

      Third is…

      Because there is no such thing as good/bad/ugly.

      From standpoint of thief, stealing your money is good.

      From your standpoint, it’s bad.

      Yes, there is dharma which (if it could speak), would say: Stealing is bad.

      However dharma (morality) is only valid in reference to immorality.

      How would you know what is good, unless there is contrast to the bad. And vice-versa.

      Forth is…

      There is no smarter/better approach. Because Isvara is ALL-knowledge, ALL-power. It has already calculated every single possibility.

      Thus the reality we are experience is already the ABSOLUTELY most perfect approach.

      1. My question is then why does it seem society is always changing itself to try and fix every problem? Its like society is going to extremes to relieve suffering. More laws or not enough. Bigger locks or no locks at all. There is no balance it seems, what are your thoughts on this??

        1. Hi Chris.

          Allow me to give two perspectives to your question…

          The world you experience today is a product of contribution by all those before us. For example, society in year 200AD has contributed to the world we experience today. Philosophers in 1500’s have contributed to today.

          You and I, today, are contributing to the kind of world people 1000 years from now will experience.

          So while you and I can’t change the world, because the world is just an effect of millions of causes that have been taking place for 4.3 billion years… what we can do is put our focus on ourselves. I can’t change you, but I can change my perception of you.

          My question is then why does it seem society is always changing itself to try and fix every problem?

          Due to ignorance, the world is taken as the absolute reality. Therefore, one erroneously superimposes that which is perfect (Self) onto that which can never be perfect (the changing world).

          For example, the person wishes to make the body-mind immortal. Or wishes to experience being limitless.

          The only principle that’s immortal and limitless is consciousness (your true nature). But due to ignorance, that which is immortal, perfect, and limitless, gets superimposed onto the body-mind and world. Therefore, one invests a lifetime trying to accomplish what can never be accomplished (IE: Tries to make the imperfect, the perfect).

          Until one recognizes, the only thing that’s perfect is “I”, until then… all efforts will go towards perfecting/fixing the world.

  6. Dhanyavadah Andre!
    very lucid and clear explanation! I like your statement that this is ‘the’ absolutely most perfect approach already. its up to us on how to make the best of it!

  7. Hello,

    Thank you for this free online course! It’s a blessing in disguise for people like me who want to learn Vedanta but can’t afford to pay for the course. I’m sure millions of people around the world will benefit. I have a question for you. Do you have the transcript of the explanation you gave in your video? Thank you in advance for your answer.

  8. Thanks, thanks and thanks for the free lesson. It definitely catered the need of thousands and thousands of people who don’t have sufficient means to pay for it. 🙏

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