Vairagya and Mumukshutva – dispassion and intense yearning for liberation

Mumukshutva is the intense yearning for liberation transcending the wheel of births and deaths of conditional impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of inevitable physical/mental/emotional restlessness and suffering powered by ignorance and egoism.

It’s the objective or goal of all forms of yoga practice and meditation. Many years of performing yoga practice and meditation without Vairagya and Mumukshutva, but enjoying and indulging in the momentary goodness of yoga and meditation practice and the pleasant fruit of ‘good karma’ deriving from ‘good actions’, is like gathering and keeping accumulated pure and clean food in a ‘bottomless’ and contaminated container.

Vairagya (dispassion) and Mumukshutva are the two sides of a coin. They co-exist together as one. It’s the ‘under current’ that pulls/leads the mind towards liberation.

Ignorance and egoism and worldly passionate desire/love/attachment/clinging is the ‘under current’ that generates/powers the whirlpool of Samsara, where the mind attaching onto/’loving and enjoying’ the wheel of births and deaths of countless worldly transitions of names and forms that is subject to impermanence and selflessness, where the mind gets lost in the boundless desires of craving and aversion, seeking love, pleasure, goodness, righteousness, kindness, comfort, satisfaction, meaningfulness, sense of purpose, conditional freedom and limited good condition in the modification of the mind perception of an impermanent and selfless worldly life existence of names and forms, of worldly physical/mental/emotional/sensual activities/interactions/enjoyments/relationships/community support while unwittingly ‘indulging in’ the momentary physical/mental/emotional/sensual satisfaction and pleasure deriving from the gratification of the passionate desires, ignorantly mistaking egoistic passionate love/attachment/sympathy/empathy/clinging/charity/sacrifice as compassion.

Worldly people, including many yoga practitioners and yoga teachers who think they love yoga very much that they find yoga is something very meaningful and see themselves practicing yoga and teaching yoga to other people as the meaning/purpose of their life existence, would mistake Vairagya and Mumukshutva as a form of ‘negative thinking/behavior’, or ‘depression’, or ‘madness’. That shows how great is the power of ignorance.

“Neither charity, nor sacrifice, nor fame, nor fasting, nor begetting a good son, nor control of breath, nor victory over the enemy, nor the society of friends, nor Siddhis like Anima can stand in comparison with realisation of the Self.

You may cross the sea by walking or float in the air or support on hands the great mountain Maha Meru or drink poison like milk or eat fire like fried grains or fly in the sky or stand on fire or break iron or get wealth by the power of magic ointment. Yet can all these give you liberation?

You can become a king or Indra or a Sannyasin. You can stun others by Mantra-sakti or aim accurately or know the past, present and the future.

You can reduce anger by destroying lust or eradicating greed. Yet can all these help you in the attainment of liberation?

You might have conquered pride, delusion and envy. You might have dwelt in Brahma-loka or Vaikuntha-loka or Kailasa. Yet can all these stand in comparison with liberation? He is fit for liberation who regards all these as nothing.

You took bath in the Ganga, you did all the sixteen kinds of charity. You did crores of Japa. What is the use of all these things if you do not attain Self-realisation?

Can you acquire eternal bliss and supreme peace from the attainment of vast erudition or from possession of immense wealth or from the enjoyment of beautiful young ladies? No. The supreme undying bliss can be obtained only by realisation of the Self.

Who is wife? Who is son? Who are you? Wherefrom did you come? How wonderful is this Samsara? How are you related to one another? Think deeply on these matters.

Who are you? Who am I? Wherefrom have we come? Who is mother? Who is father? Think deeply on all these. Leave off this world which is a dream and seek the eternal.

Vairagya is the rein by which the uncontrollable mind is restrained. Ripe Vairagya is intense attachment to Atman bliss and strong dispassion for anything other than Atman.

If one considers even the position and happiness of Brahma as the dung of a cow, then only he has developed a real lasting Vairagya. Temporary fleeting dispassion is not Vairagya. It will not help the aspirant in the attainment of Self-realisation.

It is common to have dispassion for some particular objects by some cause or other. But by having dispassion for all objects at all times, one will get knowledge of the Self. You may get Atma-Jnana soon by the grace of the Guru, by devotion to him, and by practice of what he instructs.”

– Swami Sivananda

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Good life?

Despite a small group of people in the world of ignorance, greed and selfishness who would wish for bad condition and situation in the world so that they can make profits/benefits out of the bad condition and situation of the world and other people’s suffering, painful sorrow, difficulties and hardships, most people would appreciate and be grateful and wish for good life, good condition and situation, good relationships and enjoyments for everyone.

There’s nothing wrong with joy and happiness, good life, good condition and situation, good relationships and enjoyments, just that it can easily become one of the great hindrances for those who are on the path of yoga to progress towards the highest aim of yoga of transcending the mind and the yearning for liberation is no longer the highest motivation for performing the yoga practice and would eventually disappear from the mind completely, unwittingly, where performing yoga practice is only one of the healthy leisure activities in life.

“Oh, what a wonderful life and beautiful world we have here. Good family, good friends, good condition, good activities and plenty of good enjoyments. We should just enjoy all the good things that we have as much as we can. We should make use of the opportunity of good life, good condition and situation to do so many things in this world. Why bother about all those unpleasant yoga practice about silencing/transcending the mind of letting go this beautiful wonderful happy world?”

Everything is impermanent. Because of the impermanent nature of everything, we should appreciate the precious moments of good life, good condition and situation, good relationships and enjoyments even though knowing that it’s impermanent, that it will change and pass away. And this statement is not something negative, or depressing, or bitter at all. It’s the truth of everything.

If people realize the fleeting impermanence of everything, it could inspire them to work diligently towards transcending the mind perception of worldly life existence even though they are enjoying good life, good condition and situation, good relationship and enjoyments that they know all are impermanent. If there’s no attachment towards all the impermanent good enjoyments and happy joyful moments, it’s fine. There’s no suffering when impermanence strikes. But, when there is attachment and suffering arise, how many people would cry, “OH! Dear God/Guru/anyone, help me please! Save me please! Take away all these suffering from me. I don’t want them. Please bring back the joy and happiness to me!”

Suffering, painful sorrow, bad condition and situation, disappointment, bad relationships, difficulties and hardships are not something negative, depressing or bitter at all, it’s indeed the great motivation/inspiration for people to let go the world (regardless good or bad condition/happy or unhappy experiences), to be determined to perform yoga practice to transcend the mind perception of an impermanent selfless worldly life existence of names and forms, and be free from the suffering of restlessness swaying in between satisfaction and dissatisfaction, happiness and unhappiness, due to endless desires of craving and aversion waiting to be gratified under the influence of ignorance, egoism and impurities.

“The world is unreal.” – The teachings of yoga.

This is not about shunning/condemning/pushing away/denying good life, good condition and situation, good relationships, activities and enjoyments, but to remind ourselves not to be drowned in impermanent pleasurable good condition, activity and enjoyment until we forgo the highest aim of yoga. Though it’s everyone’s freedom for what they want to do with their life, body and mind.

Be free.

Desires…

When desire is absent from the mind, whether it’s wanting something or doesn’t want something, the mind is peaceful, happy and content during those precious moments of being free from desires.

When desires arise in the mind, but are not being gratified, the mind feels disturbed, unhappy, upset, disappointed and frustrated.

We think that we will be happy and contented if we can gratify all our desires, but the more we gratify the desires, the more desires or craving will arise to be gratified. The mind is forever restless and dissatisfied.

Once a desire is being gratified, it’s like adding fuel to the fire. The desires will multiply and grow stronger.

To be free from desires, the only way is to stop gratifying any desires. It’s like stop adding fuel to the fire. Eventually all desires will die out completely.

Be free from desires, if we truly want to be in peace.

By performing yoga asana and meditation practice everyday, or attending countless retreats, or trying to accumulate and possess qualities of a ‘good being’, won’t bring us peace, nor make us being free from unhappiness or suffering, if the mind is not free from desires.

When we have interest in learning and practicing yoga and meditation, are we working on the annihilation of desire and egoism, or are we expecting the yoga and meditation practice can fulfill our desires whether it’s personal desires or universal desires? Even setting good and positive intention or aspiration before, during or after the yoga and meditation practice, wishing everything to be good and positive, is also a desire. We are not free.

We’ll get depressed, disappointed and frustrated with ourselves or others for being not good enough if our personal and universal desires are not being fulfilled the way that we desire it to be.

Mumukshutva is the only ‘desire’ that will allow us to have the strong will-power and determination to renunciate both the worldly passionate and spiritual desires, and render the mind one-pointed towards emancipation.

There are many people who ‘love’ yoga and meditation practice, as well as like to attend yoga retreats from time to time, including ‘yoga teachers’, but only a few are interested in serious yoga sadhana that is about moving the mind away from worldly objects, affairs, activities, sensual enjoyment and social interactions. Solitude of being away from all these worldly activities for a few days or weeks will make them feel so ‘wrong’ and depressed, not to say seclusion for a few years.

While living in this world having the function of the body and mind, having certain knowledge, skills and talents, we do our best for the well-being of ourselves and for the world, while allowing everything to be what it is, without any desires, intentions, or expectations to make everything to be the way that we want it to be, or the way that we think it should be.

Just like the elements of fire, wind, water, earth and ether. Without any desires, intentions, or expectations to influence or determine everything to be existing or cease existing, but everything exists and cease existing because of the cohesion or dissolution of all these elements.

Om shanti.

All physical activities should be completely suspended, all attachments should be ruthlessly cut asunder completely for five or six years, if you want to practice Dhyana Yoga, if you want to realise God through concentration of mind. Newspaper-reading and correspondence with friends and relatives should be completely stopped; as they cause distraction of mind and strengthen the world-idea. Seclusion for a period of five or six years is indispensable.

Swami Sivananda