Uparati is one of the important practice or observation in yoga and meditation. It comes naturally when the time has come. It’s doubtless, struggle-less and obligation-less.
It is renouncing family ties and friends, worldly duties and responsibilities, moving away from the social world, the society and worldly activities, and channel the entire life existence or energy into self-inquiry – to perform the greatest duty and responsibility towards oneself and the society. Although many people in the society might not like to hear this, or they would disagree with this.
The worldly minded won’t be able to grasp the greatness of Uparati. It’s unthinkable for those being conditioned in a worldly life made out of a society with social interactions. Our minds are being conditioned to think and believe that ‘this’ is who we are and what we are, and ‘this’ is how we should live, think and behave. Some would criticize those who renounce the society and worldly activities, especially if the person who renounces the social world is someone they know personally and close to in life. It’s normal to have such reaction and it’s their freedom of thinking, expression, action and speech.
Uparati appears to be an outdated extreme practice for many people, including many of those who think they love yoga and like to do yoga, and even many of those who teach yoga. Yoga enthusiasts who live in a modern comfortable living environment with modern technology, who enjoy social activities and interactions would criticize the practice of Uparati as something ‘backward’, ‘old fashion’, ‘needless’, ‘uncaring’ or ‘cold’. As those who renounce the world would also renounce from teaching yoga to others. Some may see this as ‘selfishness’ – keeping the knowledge of yoga to oneself without sharing the knowledge of yoga with others, but then they don’t like or criticize the essential yoga practice of renunciation. Those who practice Uparati also renounce family and friends circle. This would be criticized by their family and friends and the society as ‘weird’, ‘unacceptable behavior’, ‘anti-social’, ‘craziness’, ‘betrayal’ and ‘selfishness’, but then everyone keeps hurting themselves and the people whom they love out of impurities if they are not free from ignorance and egoism. This is ignorance.
If one is free from ignorance and egoism, one will encourage others to be free from ignorance and egoism as well.
Suffering derived from ignorance and egoism, and all kinds of names and forms are conditioned by the law of impermanence, whether in the ancient time or now. Having higher and greater knowledge of science and technology, and having comfortable living environment doesn’t guarantee that one will be free from ignorance and egoism, or is free from suffering. One might still suffer from anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, dissatisfaction, disappointment, feelings of hurts, guilt, grieve, depression, agitation, animosity, ill-will, fear and worry, due to egoism of attachment, identification, craving and aversion.
The practice of Uparati is impossible for those whose minds are still very much attached to the worldly life existence of names and forms. People with kind hearts and well-behave, who love lives and who have good intention to make the world to be a better place are not necessarily unattached towards worldly life existence of names and forms and be free from suffering, unless they are free from ignorance and egoism. Those who believe life cannot be without passionate desires, family ties, relationships, friendships, community or social interaction and contribution, community and personal success and achievements, and “Do what will make you happy” as the meaning and value of life existence might not appreciate the greatness of Uparati. There’s nothing wrong with people choose to spend their lives in eat, drink, enjoy, interact and reproduce. It’s everyone’s freedom about what one wants to do with one’s life, body and mind.
In yoga, if we truly love our family and friends and the world, we work diligently and be determined to free our minds from ignorance and egoism.
Those who are fit to observe Uparati are those who see this life existence in this world of impermanent names and forms as a precious time and space to transcend ignorance and suffering. All the other goals of life are secondary, and will only flourish and truly benefit one’s life and the society when one has transcended ignorance and suffering. Or else, one’s actions and the consequences of actions will always be influenced by ignorance and impurities, disregard how good is one’s intention to be good, do good and hope for good.
One can live among the society, and perform wise actions out of compassion that would benefit the society, being free from egoism, unattached towards one’s actions and the fruit of actions, after one has attained self-realization.
It is very difficult to renounce family, children, relations, possessions, property, wealth. One in a million only can take to renunciation. – Swami Sivananda