(Last Updated on : 20/03/2010)
When non-attachment and detachment are learned, there is no longing for objects observed or unobserved, words heard or unheard. Then the seer remains impassive to temptations. This is the symptom of mastery in the art of renunciation and is aptly described in the fifteenth yoga sutra of Patanjali Yoga.
heard or listening, resting on the Vedas or on tradition according to oral testimony
a thing, an object of enjoyment, matter
freedom from desire, satisfaction
subjugation, supremacy, bringing under control
consciousness, intellect, understanding
absence of worldly desires and passions,
dispassion, detachment, indifference to the world, renunciation
Renunciation is the practice of detachment from desires.
Non-attachment and detachment must be learned through willpower. They consist of learning to be free from yearnings - not only for worldly, but also heavenly pleasures. Citta is taught to stay impassive towards thoughts of craving and passion, and to remain in a state of pure consciousness, free of all objects and free even from the qualities of sattva, rajas and lamas.
The mind is regarded by the sages as the 11th sense. The eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin are the five senses of perception. Arms, legs, mouth, reproductive and excretory organs are the five organs of action. These are the external senses; mind is an internal sense organ.
There are five stages in vairagya -
1. Releasing the senses from enjoyment of their objects, and controlling them, is yatamana. As it is not possible to control all the senses at a time, one should endeavour to control them one by one to attain domination over them all.
2. By thoughtful control, one burns away the desires which blocks citta's movement towards the soul. This is vyatireka.
3. When the five senses of perception and five organs of action have been detached away from contact with objects, the faintest desires remain in a causal state and are felt only in the mind - this is known as ekendriya. The mind wants to play a dual role - to satisfy the desires of the senses, and also to experience Self-Realisation. Once the senses have been stilled, the mind moves with one-pointed effort towards Soul Realisation.
4. Vasikara is achieved when one has gotten over all hungrinesses, and has developed stolidity to all types of attachment, non-attachment and detachment. All eleven senses have been subdued.
5. From these develops paravairagya, the highest form of renunciation - it is free from the qualities of sattva, rajas and lamas. On coming upon this state, the sadhaka ceases to be concerned with himself, or with others who remain caught in the entanglement of pleasures.
Often one comes across renounced people who get caught in the pleasures and comforts of life and neglect their sadhana. One should learn from such examples and guard themselves, so that one develops firmness in one's own sadhana.
A bird cannot fly with one wing. It requires two wings to fly. To reach the highest spiritual goal, the two wings of yoga, abhyasa and vairagya are mandatory.