I’d like to continue our discussion of “social vasanas.” (1) I’ve chosen to look at dictators known to all of us to make my points about the impact of vasanas run wild.
If someone were to say to me that they don’t know where giving in to our vasanas (core issues, unfinished business) leads to, I’d say I think most people, aware of Earth’s history, can point to a few familiar examples of it.
Most people know of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Josef Stalin. If they do, they have a commonsense picture of where giving in to our vasanas and “selling” the resulting persona to others can take us as a society.
Let me focus here on Hitler.
Everything he later did unto others had been done unto him in his early childhood. As the twig was bent, the tree inclined.
The twig was bent towards brutality through his father’s regular, harsh beatings (similar to Stalin’s treatment at the hands of his father). The tree inclined towards hatred, distrust, subterfuge, violence, brutality, and tyranny.
He moved rapidly between reverence and domination, quick alliances and violent separations, and eliminating all opposition to himself while blaming others. All of it became his programming, his conditioning.
Underneath the image he presented was a willingness to go to extremes – far past what anyone around him went to – in aid of absolute dominance over everything (which he’d think of as leadership, Führung). The occasion on which he went furthest was the Night of the Long Knives.
His consciousness, I imagine, would have been prevented from its free-flowing character by remembered crimes, buried resentments, and self-serving justifications – none of them the truth, all of them what the Buddha (or his translator) called “obfuscations.”
There’d be little access to the more refined emotions. His powers of clarity, his receptivity to inspiration, and his ability to access his inner reserves of love and strength would all have been hindered.
The misery one would feel, I’d think, would simply be compounded over the years.
At this level of density, one could only live by his (or her) wits or mind, as far as I can make out. Everything social would be measured by advantage. Relationships would be pursued or broken off for advantage. Therefore, social connectedness and cohesion wouldn’t develop. The soil would not be present to allow the seed to sprout.
I believe that the more Hitler indulged his vasanas, the more deluded he became.
Many of his disastrous military delusions resulted from wearing ideological blinkers. He subordinated military discernment to the needs of Nazi ideas of racial purity and supremacy and the need to exterminate or subjugate the so-called inferior races.
For instance, his estimation of Russians as untermenschen (subhuman) blinded him to their military capabilities and resources. His failure, on racial and economic grounds, to work with Ukrainians who wanted their freedom from Russia turned them against him too.
One British politician remarked that the greatest blessing Great Britain had yet received in the war was Hitler’s assumption of sole decision-making authority over military matters. He may have been right.
All Hitler’s efforts led to his own failing health, the defeat of his forces, and the destruction of Germany itself.
At the end, the savior of the German people condemned them to die along with him because, in his view, they had failed him. He wrote in his last testament:
“The Nation has proved itself weak, and the future belongs to the stronger Eastern Nation. Besides, those who remain after the battle are of little value; for the good have fallen.” (2)
Such a personality seems incapable of seeing his or her own role in failures, mistakes, and losses. On the one hand. Hitler demanded to be seen as the leader. On the other hand, he refused to accept responsibility for what resulted from his leadership.
In my opinion, vasanas coralize us. They make us stiff and unyielding. No one ended up more so than Hitler.
The Fuerher seems like the ultimate test of our ability to love. I recorded some time ago my attempt to do that. I could only regard him with love by getting so big I was in a higher-dimensional form of myself.
I mean no disparagement to the German people, either of today or then, by looking at Hitler’s behavior. Those born after the war, I’m sure, are here to heal the wounds created in both victim and victimizer by the events of those years, as were many born in other countries at the same time, as well.
No one at the time expected things to turn out as they did. If I were to project back in time how I might have responded, I’d probably do it in a self-serving way.
In point of fact, I don’t think I’d have acted particularly heroically. The most I might have done would probably have been to emigrate from Germany.
More of us have a sense of Hitler’s rise and fall than I think of any other historical personality of a similar type. His is an extreme case, I grant, but a very instructive one, on where our vasanas, allowed to run wild, can take us.
So we do have a commonsense idea of where unprocessed vasanas can lead our social leaders. Look at Hitler, Mussolini, or Stalin.
They represent one end of the spectrum.
I don’t want to abide at either end. I want to abide in the middle, in the heart.
I want to be calm, balanced, and loving. And that requires being willing to give away or let go of all my unfinished business or vasanas.
(1) See “Eradicating Social Vasanas: The Next Leg of the Work?”,
(2) From Hitler’s last will and testament. At the end, he ordered the razing of all German towns and the destruction of anything that might prove valuable to the Russians.