07 Oct “Letting go” in the modern world
The essence of Vairagya is letting go of all the pettiness and useless cravings that persist in our minds. It is the principles of non-attachment that accepts the world as it is, performs actions whenever and whatever is needed according to one’s capacities. It allows a peaceful existence in the world without causing undue stress to oneself or others, resulting in a larger perspective of life.
In order to understand Vairagya and the attitude of detachment, we must first understand our attachments.
- Materialist desires
Attachments can only cause us pain. What might give us happiness at this moment, would soon be the cause of our miseries! These attachments don’t allow us to focus on the essential things in life.
With the Vairagya Bhava, we try to inculcate the attitude of letting go of all our desires. It helps us to bring about mastery over objects which otherwise attract and distract us. We must try to bring about a disinterest at all levels, be it the inner level or outer. It is only through a conscious effort of disinterestedness that can help to get over our attachments to worldly things. The side-effect of being detached from the materialistic things are gaining knowledge and focusing on our duties. Now that’s a side-effect that has no negative results, isn’t it?
We must bring about a sense of objectivity. Surrender whatever is happening around and don’t put your mind and head into it. Accept things the way they are, surrender to God and to nature.
Narsi Mehta was the living example of Vairagya. He practiced what he preached. A firm believer of renunciation in life was the preliminary and the most important step towards self-realisation. He neither had any interest in the household affairs not did he earn anything. He was oblivious to the worldly affairs and only sang the songs of Krishna and danced in ecstasy.
The workings of the mind can be controlled by Abhyas and Vairagya, which is practice and detachment. These two practices must be practiced hand-in-hand.
To further talk about Vairagya, there are four stages to it, namely:
Yatmana: In this stage, we attempt to recognise and limit our attachments to the external world, that pleasures our senses.
Vyatireka: The second stage is being able to partially eliminate the desires and attachments. It is the ability to distinguish between what one has been able to control and what one hasn’t been able to control.
Ekendriya: Most of the attachments and desires have been eliminated in this stage but there is still some attachment remaining through one sensory organ. That is, mastery of all senses but being involved mentally through pride, prejudice and desire for recognition.
Vashikar: The fourth and final stage is when we have gained complete knowledge of discrimination.
Vairagya Bhava is the attitude of letting go and of objectivity. Through this, we are able to look at things from a distance without any emotional attachments to them. It is the practice of our own dharma through which jnana arises, which further enables the true Vairagya of the mind.