Dr. M. Giridhar giridhar at CHEMENG.IISC.ERNET.IN
Mon May 25 22:28:32 CDT 1998


        Vairagya is defined as dispassion towards objects. How is this
cultivated ? Intellectually, one understands that objects merely
produce pain or pleasure (depending on the time and place). The same
object may produce pleasure and pain. Example : Cold water is nice
to drink when it is hot, but awful to drink when one has a toothache.
The problem here is not the cold water. Thus, objects do not produce pain
or pleasure, only the mind perceives pain and pleasure. And it also
understands that everlasting happiness can not be found in transients.

        After a person understands experientially that the objects are
merely pain and pleasure producing transients, he would (/should) reject
them and concentrate on the ideal (producing happiness).

        To cultivate dispassion thus requires constant discrimination
between the real and the unreal and also an attitude of bhakti towards the
Supreme (Self, or Guru or Ishvara). The desire towards objects would
automatically drop off when the above is followed with intensity. How ?
Kanchi periyava gives an example in his book 'The voice of divinity'.
Maybe you have seen a bundle of logs tied by a rope. Sometimes it is
difficult to remove the rope. Therefore, another rope is taken and the
logs are bound more tightly. The old rope becomes 'loose' and
automatically falls off.  Similarly, when attachment towards Ishvara is
cultivated, the attachment one has to objects falls off.

        But, as Ramana Maharshi remarks, one has to be careful not to be
egoistic that one is dispassionate. The story of Chudala and the king is
cited as an example. One should not think 'I am dispassionate, I can leave
off my spouse, wealth etc. See that person, how attached he is to wealth
etc' The whole sadhana is to sever the ego and it loses its purpose if one
is proud of being dispassionate to objects but passionate to his ego.

AUM shaantiH

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