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

Advertisements

Practitioner / Adhikari vs follower / disciple / worshiper / admirer / supporter

Those who truly want to practice yoga to free the mind from ignorance to know thyself, they need to know how to free the mind from the egoistic tendency of unwittingly becoming a passionate follower/disciple/worshiper/admirer/supporter.

Be a dispassionate ‘practitioner’ or ‘Adhikari‘ of the teachings of yoga, inquiring the truth of everything, including whatever the teachers/gurus/scriptures teach, attaining self-realization via self-effort and self-inquiry, and not to be a passionate ‘follower’, ‘disciple’, ‘worshiper’, ‘admirer’, or ‘supporter’ towards the teacher/guru/yogi/saint/sage, or the scriptures/teachings of yoga, or the stories of many great minds/teachers/gurus/yogis/saints/sages.

By following, or becoming a disciple of, or worshiping, or admiring, or supporting the teacher/guru/yogi/saint/sage, or the scriptures/teachings of yoga, or the stories of many great minds/teachers/gurus/yogis/saints/sages, and awaiting/requesting/expecting ‘answers’, or ‘blessings’, or ‘miracles’, or ‘transcendental experiences’ from the teacher/guru/yogi/saint/sage or from ‘God’, doesn’t free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance. There’s attachment that gives rise to the sense of separateness/duality between ‘I’ and ‘the teacher’, or ‘the guru’, or ‘the teachings’, or ‘the practice’, or ‘the experience’, or ‘the fruit of practice’.

Practically practicing the teachings of yoga in NOW, this very existence of the mind functioning perceiving a life existence of names and forms of cause and effect/impermanence/selflessness, of disciplining the mind, quieting the mind, purifying the mind, freeing the mind from egoistic worldly/spiritual attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, refraining the mind from going out through the sense organs chasing after the objects of the senses, renouncing worldly egoistic passions/desires/objects/activities/social interactions and connections, silencing the modification of the mind, and upon the annihilation of the veil of ignorance, egoism, impurities and restlessness completely, and knowing thyself – Selflessness/egolessness/’I’lessness, or YOGA of oneness, non-separateness, namelessness, formlessness, attributelessness, birthlessness, deathlessness, beginninglessness, endlessness, there’s no separateness of ‘practitioner/action of practice/fruit of the practice’ or between ‘I’ and what is not ‘I’ or ‘the perceiver and the perceived’ to be found in the selfless, nameless, formless, attributeless, birthless, deathless, beginningless, endless universal consciousness (Atman).

This is nothing to do with the worldly attachment/passionate love and ‘heroic’ ambition/aspiration of the egoistic thinking minds desire to be ‘saving the world’ by making/changing/influencing the world to be ‘a better place than what it is’, but just do one’s best focusing on freeing one’s mind from ignorance to attain self-realization, is the greatest and most efficient way to contribute to ‘a world free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance’, selflessly, desirelessly and intentionlessly, being free from disturbs, disappointment, dissatisfaction, hurts, offensiveness, anger, hatred, aggressiveness or violence to fight against what the mind dislikes and disagrees with, that the mind thinks and believes as ‘bad’, ‘wrong’, ‘hurtful’, ‘negative’, ‘unjust’, ‘disappointing’ or ‘meaningless’.

Real teacher or guru doesn’t attract/recruit/accumulate ‘followers’, ‘disciples’, ‘worshipers’, ‘admirers’, or ‘supporters’. They are just being what they are, just like the sun, the air, the water, the earth and the space. They don’t even have any intention/aspiration/desire to be ‘teaching’/’sharing’/’helping’/’uplifting’ anyone, not to say to be ‘saving the world’ to make/change/influence the world to be ‘a place different from what it is’.

“He is extremely humble. He appears to be quite an ordinary man. He never advertises that he is a Sat-Guru or a knower of Brahman. He never says, “I am an illumined sage. I am an Avatara. I will give Mukti for many persons. I possess many Siddhis.” He is perfectly desireless. He has no craving for money or name and fame. He has no desire to establish cult or Ashram. He simply works for solidarity of the world and elevates people. He says, “I have neither followers nor disciples, neither possession nor Mutts of my own.” He has no attachment to any person or any object. He never tries to establish cult or Ashram. He is absolutely free from ‘I-ness’ or ‘mine-ness’. He never allows those around him to tell people that he got Siddhis, that he is a great Mahatma. He does not like to come in the lime-light of publicity. He always hides himself. If he becomes famous in a place, he leaves the place at once. If a man says, “I am a Mahatma, I am a realised soul, I am a Sat-Guru,” if his disciples advertise that their teacher is a Sat-Guru with many Siddhis, that he has exhibited many Siddhis, know that this man is an empty vessel that makes much noise. The Sruti emphatically declares “He who says ‘I know Brahman‘ does not know Brahman, he who says ‘I do not know Brahman‘ knows Brahman.” This world abounds with psuedo-Gurus. Beware of such persons. They exploit the innocent and credulous and throw them in the dark abyss. They will mislead people. It is like a blind man leading the blind. Siddhis keep a man far from God and God-realisation. Do not be carried away by the Siddhis of a man.” – Swami Sivananda

 

Jnana is the greatest purifier. There is no salvation without knowledge. Knowledge of Atman destroys ignorance, pain, sorrow and stops the wheel of births and deaths.

Attain this knowledge through Satsanga, service of the Guru, study of Vedantic books, hearing of Srutis, reflection and constant meditation.

Sorrow is for one who has the notion of self in the body, not for the sage who identifies himself with the all-blissful Atman.” – Swami Sivananda

 

“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

 

“Life is short and fleeting like that drop of water on the lotus leaf. This mundane life is filled with egoism, delusion and diseases. When will you be free from all these? The deer falls a prey to the sense of sound; the elephant to that of touch; the moth to that of form; the fish to that of taste; and the bee to that of smell. But man falls a prey to all these five senses. Therefore how difficult it is for man to free itself from the clutches of these five senses and obtain liberation? When wells and ponds are full in rainy season, the water is muddy and not fit for drinking. In summer the water gets decreased and is sweet. So also when the mind is filled with Vasanas, it is clouded with Tamoguna. When it is free from sensual desires by the practice of dispassion it is filled with pure Sattva.” – Swami Sivananda

Admirable leader?

It’s common for most minds being unwittingly attracted to and generate admiration towards others with certain qualities of names and forms that one desires, likes and agrees with, that inspires oneself in certain ways, that appears to be admirable and inspirational for oneself. Most minds also want to equip oneself with certain qualities of names and forms to be able to inspire others, that would attract admiration from others.

For the minds that are free from ignorance and egoism, there’s neither admiration towards any qualities of names and forms that appear to be higher quality, superior, admirable or attractive, nor there’s longing to be attracting admiration from others by possessing certain qualities of names and forms that appear to be higher quality, superior, admirable or attractive. Though without any intention, or expectation, or longing to make oneself being admirable or inspirational to attract any admiration from others, or to inspire anyone, one allows others to perceive and react towards oneself the way that they perceive and react.

Many people would think and believe and promote that if someone wants to be doing something in this world to make the world ‘a better place’, one should do one’s best to be a highly admirable/inspirational person who can inspire and be admired by as many people as possible, in order to become ‘an admirable leader’ to be propagating one’s vision to ‘attract’/’recruit’/’leading’ many people to also ‘follow’/’adopt’/’practice’/’perform action according to’ one’s vision to make the world ‘a better place’. As most people would be ‘blindly’ listening to and following those whom they admired or attracted to very much, regardless of whether it’s something true, or not true.

In the path of yoga and Buddhism, it’s not like that at all. In any circumstances, none should be encouraged to ‘admire’ anyone, to ‘follow’/’adopt’/’practice’/’perform action according to’ any teachings or visions from anyone who portrays certain qualities of names and forms that the mind desires, likes, and agrees with, that the mind admires or falls in love with, but everyone must investigate and inquire the truth of everything, including all the teachings of yoga and Buddhism, to attain self-realization, to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance.

If the minds are free from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance through self-inquiry and self-realization by disciplining/purifying/silencing one’s mind, then there’s no need of anybody to be setting an intention/aspiration to be ‘an admirable leader’ to be attracting/recruiting/leading many others to ‘follow’/’adopt’/’practice’/’perform action according to’ a particular vision of making the world to be in a particular way that one desires, that one thinks and believes is ‘the way to a better world’, but without the need to be following any leaders, everyone who is free from ignorance will naturally stop generating unnecessary ‘problems’ or ‘unrest’ into the world, to be performing action, to live life, act and react selflessly in this world out of wisdom and compassion, without any intention, or aspiration, or desire, or ambition to make the world to be in any particular way, but allowing the world to be what it is, while accommodating and respecting everyone being what they are, having their own different ways of life/thinking/belief/practice/action/reaction.

It’s never about training or being ‘a leader with admirable charisma/quality’ that would be ‘attracting’/’recruiting’/’leading’ many other people to be ‘following’/’adopting’/’practicing’/’performing action according to’ certain egoistic thinking and beliefs or visions about ‘how the world should be like’ and leading other people to be making the world to be ‘the way that the mind thinks and believes how it should be’, where there are many different egoistic thinking and beliefs or visions existing in the world that desire ‘a world’ that are very different from one another, where all kinds of corruptions, conflicts, clashes, discrimination, hatred, oppression, intrusion, violence and unrest exist due to different leaders desire/aspire to make the world to be the way that they think and believe how it should be, to be ‘a world’ that they desire.

“Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.” – Swami Sivananda

“Do not hoard disciples. Do not build ashrams.” – Swami Sivananda

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was never a ‘leader’ ‘leading’ a group of ‘followers’ who ‘followed’ his path, teachings, or disciplines. He taught, “Inquire the truth of everything. Discipline one’s mind. Purify one’s mind. Silent one’s mind. Liberate one’s mind from attachment. When there’s attachment towards ‘this worldly life existence’, one is not a ‘practitioner’. Do not blind-believing, blind-following, blind-preaching, blind-practicing, blind-agreeing/disagreeing.”

Without ‘leader’, what is ‘follower’ or ‘disciple’, and vice versa?

A better meaningful way of life?

For many people, spending most of the time being with other people (family, friends, community and other communities), focusing on bonding, socializing, interacting, connecting, sharing, knowing, eating, drinking, talking, listening, looking, laughing, playing, empowering, encouraging, aspiring, inspiring, remembering, projecting, anticipating, expecting, creating, planning, plotting, suggesting, contributing, commenting, complimenting, criticizing, gossiping, complaining, entertaining, enjoying, doing social/community activities together, upgrading their quality of life/standard of living, fulfilling passionate desires and achieving personal worldly ambitions and spiritual or religious goals, getting involve with achieving a world that complies to a particular vision, to attain the sense of in control, satisfaction, goodness and meaningfulness, is living life. For them, “This is a better meaningful way of life.”

For some people, being by oneself most of the time, as much as possible, focusing on one’s action, practice, duty and responsibility, talk less or talk nothing, without commenting on worldly affairs, or gossiping about other people’s affairs, or criticizing/interfering with other people’s different ways of life, thinking, belief, action and reaction, minding one’s life and one’s mind, being at peace unconditionally, respecting everyone being what they are, as they are, neither admiring/praising certain qualities that appear to be superior than others nor condemning/criticizing certain qualities that appear to be inferior than others, and stop contributing impurities, unhappiness, unrest, anger, hatred, jealousy, dissatisfaction, disappointment, grudges, conflicts, discrimination, violence, disharmony and disturbance into the surrounding environment or the world, is living life. As for them, having peace in one’s mind free from desire/hostility/animosity/fear/intimidation/offensiveness/defensiveness is the highest form of contribution to the society or the world peace. It’s nothing to do with “This is a better meaningful way of life.” or “Other ways of life is less good and meaningless.”

There’s nothing selfish about that at all, though for many people, the part of ‘not mingling/mixing with the society without getting involve in any form of social activities’ might appear to be ‘selfish’ or ‘rude’ or ‘unhealthy’ or ‘non-progressive’ for those who believe in a better world is about ‘all human beings should be getting involve with the social activities’, ‘community contribution’ and ‘worldly activism’, where they need as many other people as possible to get involve in their social activities to be supporting, cooperating or working with them to create a ‘better’ world that they think how it should be.

Whether wittingly or unwittingly, there will be some people would want to interfere with others who are different from them, whom they dislike and disagree with, and they would try to influence/control/covert/discipline/condemn/punish other people who don’t support or follow their vision for creating a world that they desire, that complies to their liking, values, vision, thinking and belief.

Yoga and meditation practitioners is about having unconditional peace in oneself as contributing peace into the world by focusing on looking after, purifying and quieting one’s mind, and it’s never about trying to influence/control/convert/discipline/condemn/punish others to also be like oneself to make a ‘better’ world that complies to one’s liking, values, vision, thinking or belief, especially those who have realized Impermanence and Selflessness.

The world doesn’t belong to anyone. Many people would think and believe that the world belongs to everyone, and hence, it’s everyone’s duty and responsibility to ‘cooperate together’ to make the world ‘a better place’, but how true is that? The standard and meaning of ‘a better place’ is according to whom and what? Different people desire a world with their own particular way of life according to their own liking, values, vision, thinking and belief. If everyone insist on making the world to be the way that they desire, that they think how it should be, what will happen in the world? People are getting frustrated and fighting against one another, to over-powered one another, in order to create a world that they desire. Even so, it’s everyone’s freedom for their thinking, belief, desire, action and the consequences of their action.

Swami Sivananda taught, “Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.”

The world is so quiet and peaceful when everyone have gone to sleep and there’s nobody performing any actions in the world with the great aspiration to make the world to be in any particular way that different people desire and think how it should be.

In yoga, it’s not about the sense of duty and responsibility towards the world, but out of compassion, love the world as it is, not necessarily the way that ‘I’ desire it to be. One doesn’t claim possession/ownership towards the world being ambitious to make the world to be the way that ‘I’ desire it to be and the way that ‘I’ think how it should be. One just do one’s best to look after one’s mind, to stop contributing impurities and unrest into the world, and respecting the law of nature – Impermanence and Selflessness.

Be free.

Selflessness?

Just like ‘Self-inquiry’ and ‘Impermanence’, ‘Selflessness’ is one of the common words we come across in the teachings of yoga and Buddhism.

The ‘I’, where there’s a continuous stream of thinking/thought in the mind acknowledges as ‘I’ am an individual being with a physical body and thinking mind experiencing life, doesn’t exist. Out of ignorance, there arise the idea of ‘I’ exist as part of the modification of the mind acknowledging as an individual being, attaching onto/possessing such and such qualities of names and forms to be identified/recognized as this is what/who ‘I’ am, claiming ownership towards the physical body and the thinking mind (this is my body and my mind) and all kinds of connection with everyone and everything that the mind comes in contact with (my family and my belongings and etc), and at the same time also identifying with the physical body and the thinking mind as ‘I’ (This physical body and this thinking mind is ‘I’).

‘Selflessness’ is not something to be attained by accumulating certain amount of ‘merits and virtues’ or ‘good karma’ after performing many ‘good/righteous actions’ or ‘karma yoga/selfless service’, but it’s the ‘realization’ upon the mind seeing the truth of what is this ‘I’ where there’s a thinking in the mind thinks and believes as ‘I’. As long as there’s an idea, acknowledgement and identification of “I am a selfless being performing good actions or karma yoga/selfless service” the mind is still functioning under the influence of egoism.

The mind needs to be free from egoism, impurities and restlessness to realize ‘Selflessness’, where there’s no ‘I’ existing to enjoy or suffer, to be born or die, to know or don’t know, to desire or don’t desire, to be the performer of action and the receiver/enjoyer of the fruit of action, to be ignorant or be free from ignorance. It’s just the modification of the thinking mind perceiving all the names and forms through the senses via the sense organs of the physical body. It’s just the mind functioning and perceives, sees, hears, smells, tastes, feels, senses and thinks. There’s no ‘I’ existing to claim possession/ownership/control of the selfless modification of the mind or the ceaseless impermanent changes of the modification of the mind perceiving all the names and forms that are also impermanent and selfless. It’s coming from the mind being aware of the modification of the mind, while purifying and quieting itself to be free from restlessness, impurities and egoism, to be free from ignorance. It’s not something else ‘separated’ from the mind called ‘I’ being there to be aware of ‘my mind’ or to purify and quiet ‘my mind’, to free ‘my mind’ from restlessness, impurities, egoism and ignorance.

“I am not the mind. The mind is not ‘I’.” is not about ‘I’ am an existing being/soul separated/distinct from the mind. The mind is just being what it is, functioning as it is selflessly, where there’s no ‘I’ in the function of the mind which is supported/influenced by energy to be existing and functioning. Just like there’s no ‘I’ in all the cells/bones/muscles/organs/systems that forming the entire structure of the physical body which depend on nature to provide support that allows the physical body to be existing and functioning. The body and mind constantly functioning or performing actions selflessly, and there are also the consequences of actions following the actions (cause and effect). But, somehow, out of ignorance, there’s an idea of ‘I’ existing in the form of thinking claiming a personal identity and possession/ownership towards this and that, to desire and don’t desire, to agree and disagree, to enjoy or suffer, to aspire and expect, and so on. There’s an idea/identification of “I am the performer of my actions and I am the enjoyer of the fruit of my actions.”

It’s difficult/challenging for the egoistic mind that attached strongly onto a worldly self-identity attaching onto certain qualities of names and forms as this is ‘I’ or what ‘I’ am, to realize ‘Selflessness’. The egoistic mind that ‘possesses’ a self-identity thinks and believes that ‘I’ exist as an individual being experiencing life, this is ‘I’, this is my life, my body, my mind, my thinking, my belief, my feelings, my emotion, my idea, my creativity, my energy, my health, my fitness, my strength, my flexibility, my ability, my disability, my achievement, my failure, my look, my talent, my knowledge, my education, my house, my belonging, my pet, my family, my friends, my relationship, my duty, my responsibility, my rights, my aspiration, my inspiration, my sacrifice, my happiness, my suffering, my vision, my desire, my actions, my fruit of actions, my religion, my ‘God’, my world, my country, and so on. Not only there’s a personal identity, but there’s also a group identity, such like our family, our life, our thinking, our belief, our culture, our religion, our ‘God’, our action, our fruit of action, our achievement, our failure, our world, our country, our vision, and so on.

“I eat, I drink, I play, I work, I rest, I aspire, I inspire, I think, I believe, I feel, I express, I laugh, I cry, I learn, I share, I give and receive, I love and beloved, I perceive, I experience, I act, I react, I achieve, I live, I die. I am existing. How can it be possible that ‘I’ don’t exist?” It’s unthinkable for the egoistic mind about ‘Selflessness’ – ‘Egolessness’ – ‘I-lessness’.

That’s why it’s very essential for the mind to let go the attachment and identification towards any qualities of names and forms, especially the worldly conditioned egoistic way of thinking and belief in the mind that influence how the mind analyzes, judges, feels and reacts towards all and everything, as well as letting go attachment and identification towards the physical appearance/condition/ability/disability/achievement/non-achievement before the mind can reflect upon the truth of ‘Selflessness’.

Once the mind is free from the attachment and identification towards the impermanent and selfless qualities of names and forms as ‘I’, including the function of the physical body and the thinking faculty, naturally the mind will realize the truth of ‘itself’ or ‘the modification of the mind’, that there’s no ‘I’, knowing thyself. There’s neither “I know” nor “I realize” nor “I am free from ignorance” nor “I am free.”

As long as the mind is still mingling among the worldly passionate egoistic minds, that keep empowering/feeding the idea of ‘I’ and ‘the world of egoism of all kinds of attachment and identification’, it’s very difficult and almost impossible for the mind to be free from ignorance and egoism. And hence, the important practice of renunciation, seclusion, solitude and silence.

According to the teachings of Swami Sivananda, the mind just needs to spend at least five to six years in seclusion and silence being away/cutting off from the worldly affairs/activities/society/family/friends/relatives/connections/interactions that feeds/empowers egoism/restlessness/impurities/ignorance, the mind will realize the truth of ‘the mind perception of a worldly life existence of impermanent and selfless names and forms’. Although it doesn’t guarantee that everyone who try to practice silence in seclusion and solitude for a prolonged period of time will be free from ignorance and attain self-realization, as the mind might still be influenced by gross and subtle egoistic worldly/spiritual attachment hindering the mind from seeing itself/knowing thyself. And not many people are suitable for such practice, as most passionate minds would ‘go crazy’ after being in seclusion and solitude for some time. Worldly passionate minds can’t live or be without seeing/touching/communicating/interacting with other beings for even a short period of time, not to say for a prolonged period of time. That’s why it requires certain degrees of dispassion and right discrimination for someone to practice silence in seclusion and solitude, to allow the mind to realize ‘Selflessness’/’Oneness’/’Non-separateness’/’Namelessness’/’Formlessness’, where ‘suffering’ and ‘the end of suffering’ doesn’t exist.

Many people might understood ‘Selflessness’ as ‘an existing name and form such as a being/soul/mind that is free from selfishness, who is unselfish’, such as “I am a selfless/unselfish being/soul/mind”, or “I am performing selfless action to benefit other beings and other beings will be benefited from my selfless actions.”

If it’s selfless, then what/who is that ‘I’ being there acknowledging and identifying as “I am selfless/unselfish”? It’s just impermanent selfless function of the body and mind generating actions and the consequences of actions ceaselessly until the annihilation of the modification of the mind takes place, there’s no ‘I’ being there to be acknowledging/identifying as “I am selfless/unselfish.” or “I am good/bad.” And hence, silent the mind, or as Swami Sivananda taught, “Kill the mind.”

Selflessness is nothing to do with unselfishness. Regardless of living beings or non-living objects, all are impermanent and selfless or I-less, where there’s no ‘I’ within all the impermanent changes. There’s no ‘I’ existing to be identified as ‘I am selfless’, ‘I am a selfless being’, ‘I am unselfish’, ‘I am performing selfless service and other beings are benefited from my selfless service’, ‘I am kind and compassionate’, ‘I aspire to inspire others to be selfless, kind and compassionate’, and so on. There’s no “I want to be selfless.” or “I am becoming selfless.”

‘Selflessness’ is the realization of there’s no self or ‘I’, it’s not about training the mind to become ‘selfless’ or ‘unselfish’. None/nothing can train to become ‘selfless’, as there is no self or ‘I’ from the beginning. Everyone and everything is just selfless as it is. It’s due to ignorance, there is the idea of ‘I’ arise in the thinking mind materializing itself via egoism influencing the thinking pattern of the mind, where the idea of ‘I’ feeds on attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, to desire and don’t desire, to aspire and expect, to enjoy and suffer, to love and be loved, to be continuing ‘existing’ in the form of thinking possessing a worldly self-identity with certain qualities of names and forms.

The idea of ‘I’ can be annihilated by eliminating egoism from the mind. As the ‘I’ appears to be ‘real and existing’ is nothing but the thinking pattern of the mind functioning under the influence of egoism, and upon annihilation of egoism or the veil of ignorance, the idea of ‘I’ will vanish naturally.

Upon the realization of impermanence and selflessness, naturally the mind also realizes ‘timelessness’. Time doesn’t exist, it’s just ‘what the mind perceives’, and ‘both the mind (the perceiver) and what the mind perceives (the perceived)’ constantly changing, and the ceaseless impermanent changes as well as due to the function of memory, there’s remembrance towards the impermanent changes generate the false impression of ‘time’ or ‘I’. The mind is going through countless births and deaths of ceaseless thoughts arising and passing away generating the different states of the mind. The body is going through countless births and deaths along with all the impermanent changes that are happening in the physical body generating the different condition/appearance of the body. The mind and the body is never remain the same mind or the same body even for a moment until the body and the thinking faculty ceased functioning and existing.

There’s no “I am performing yoga practice. I am a yoga practitioner. I will be receiving the benefits of the yoga practice. I am free or not free from ignorance.” It’s just the mind performing the practice, and whether the mind will be free from ignorance, or not.

Be free.

Go beyond the fight for legal recognition or approval for being who/what you are

Before the existence of ‘authority’ and ‘laws’ being introduced into the world, everyone is free being who/what they are, what they want to think and believe or not thinking and disbelieving, and be able to live/travel/wander/migrate anywhere and everywhere, unrestricted by so called ‘authority’ and ‘laws’.

None need to be labelled as ‘such and such nationality/gender/race/class’. None need to be fighting for attaining ‘legal’ recognition or approval for being who they are/what they want to be. None need to fight for ‘equality’ or ‘equal treatment’ or ‘respect’. ‘Human rights’ and all kinds of ‘rights’ shouldn’t be existing at all. There needn’t be an ‘authority’ and ‘laws’ existing to ‘authorize/sanction/judge/criminalize/punish who and what have/don’t have ‘such and such rights’, or have more/less ‘rights’ than one another. Human beings just need to respect one another and be kind/thoughtful/tolerant/accommodating towards one another.

Somehow, somewhere, some people, with the excuse/aspiration of ‘protecting the welfare of the world/society and keeping the world/society in order’, certain people self-proclaimed ownership and authority towards lands, areas, space and the society/community, set up boundaries, labels, laws and punishments to limit/control all and everyone have to comply to certain rules and regulations based on particular thinking/belief/disbelief/ideas/values/practice/behavior/way of life or culture/religion/spirituality, and in the name of humanity for developing/protecting ‘goodness and righteousness’ and fighting/eliminating ‘badness and wrongfulness’, to uphold peace and harmony/social stability and prosperity in the world/society, and to keep the society in a ‘particular order’ that complying to a particular thinking/belief/ideas/values/practice, either by force, or by conversion, or by temptation, to be recruiting or building a majority of the society/community that support, empower and comply to such ‘system’ that gives power to certain people being ‘the authority’ to ‘control’ all the others who are ignorantly and wittingly supporting that ‘system’ to be ‘controlled legally’ by an ‘authority’ and be limited by ‘legally’ binding laws, from some ‘simple rules and regulations for keeping order in the society and for the benefits of all humanity’ but eventually/gradually being evolved into many ‘selfish corrupted rules and regulations for propagating certain agendas and protecting the benefits of certain people’, that gives rise to all kinds of discrimination, prejudice, unjust, corruption, oppression, intimidation, offense, punishment, restriction, intrusion, unrest, hatred, fear and violence.

A world/society that needs to be ‘governed’/’supported’/’protected’ by ‘human rights’ and all kinds of ‘rights’, that needs to be ‘controlled’ under ‘an authority’ and ‘laws’ to be in a ‘particular order’ will never going to be ‘healthy’.

A healthy world/society comes from correct education/understanding that allows people to be opened to allow and respect all and everyone being different from one another without discrimination/prejudice/unjust/hatred/intrusion/interference/hostility or trying to over-powered one another, without the sense of superiority and inferiority, where people have the correct understanding/matured mentality to be thinking properly/calmly/clearly, being who/what they are and respect others being who/what they are, without the need of ‘authorization’, or ‘recognition’, or ‘legality’, or ‘approval’, or ‘acknowledgement’ from such and such ‘authority’ and ‘laws’, without anyone/authority claiming ownership/possessiveness/authorization over anything that approves/disapproves anyone being here or anywhere in this space of the universe that doesn’t belong to anyone or any ‘authority’. People are being free to inquire the truth of things, having the freedom of thinking/action/expression/belief/disbelief/opinion, but also having awareness and self-control over one’s actions and be responsible for one’s actions and the consequences of one’s actions, not to say to be selfless and compassionate, but being thoughtful, forgiving and accommodating, where all kinds of discrimination/corruption/intrusion/unjust/hatred/hostility/violence have no reason to be existing in the world/society.

Unfortunately, due to deep ignorance and human’s survival instinct, not everyone could have the correct understanding or proper/calm/clear thinking to be open to respect one another, to allow everyone being what they are, as they are, being different in many ways and have their own thinking/belief/disbelief/way of life/behavior/action and reaction.

Out of survival instinct, most people will be selfish to protect their lives, livelihood, home, family, tribe, community, lands/areas, privilege and supremacy. Even the self-proclaimed ‘good and righteous human beings’ would want to protect what they think and believe is ‘goodness’ and ‘righteousness’, and fight against what they think and believe is ‘badness’ and ‘wrongfulness’.

When people try to fight for ‘certain rights’, ‘equal treatment’, ‘legal approval for doing something or going somewhere or living somewhere’ and ‘legal recognition towards particular identity or belief/disbelief or way of life or sexual orientation’ from an ‘authority’, people are unaware of they are actually acknowledging, supporting, approving and empowering the ‘system’, unwittingly being part of the game of the ‘system’. Most people think and believe that, “We all live in the system and are part of the system. We have to comply to the system controlled by ‘the authority’ and ‘laws’ to keep everything in the ‘correct’ order. If we want to be ‘who we are/what we want to be’, we need approval and recognition from the system. We need to support the system to keep the society in order and to keep the economy alive for us to have a livelihood to survive.” That’s their freedom of thinking/belief.

While in yoga/Buddhism/science, all and everything live in the solar system and are part of the solar system being determined by the law of nature to be surviving and existing, or not, and all are subject to the law of impermanence and selflessness and the law of cause and effect, which is nothing to do with the system of ‘human authority’ and ‘human regulated rules and regulations’ that give power to certain people to keep everyone under their control to think/believe/behave/live life in certain ways.

“Retreat from the society, renounce the world, stay away from politics/debates/gossips/vain talks.” This is the common teaching/advice from many teachers in the past.

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha taught, “Dharma will disappear from the world.” He didn’t teach, “Save Dharma from disappearance at all cost, don’t let it disappears from the world.”

Swami Sivananda taught, “Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.”

If people truly wish for everyone being non-discriminated in this world, it’s not about fighting for everyone to be given ‘equal rights’ by ‘the authority’ that created ‘a system of discrimination’, but it’s by abandoning all the ‘rights’ and ‘privilege’ that generates all kinds of discrimination being given by ‘the authority’ that were not given to some other people due to ‘the system of discrimination’ or ‘the laws say so’. But in reality, not many people want ‘everyone’ to be treated equally or be given ‘equal rights’, because they want to enjoy the benefits from the ‘rights’ and ‘privilege’ that they have, but others don’t have, and most people won’t give up all the ‘rights’ and ‘privilege’ that were given to them to fully support those who were not given any rights or have less rights than others being discriminated by ‘the system of discrimination’. Because of ‘the system’, people are afraid of having ‘no rights’ or ‘legal documentation’, as one who has no rights or legal documentation cannot be here or anywhere on earth ‘legally’ and naturally is a ‘criminal against the law who would be punished by law’ under ‘the laws’ made by human beings for the sake of keeping the world in a particular order. How absurd is that.

Before the realization of selflessness, you are who you are/what you want to be, regardless of whether it’s recognized/approved/acknowledged/authorized by an ‘authority’ and ‘laws’, or not.

Upon the realization of selflessness, there’s no ‘I’ being there that needs to be identifying as ‘somebody with a particular identity of a quality of name and form’ longing to be recognized/approved/acknowledged/authorized by oneself, or anyone, or anything.

Be free.

Thai food and yoga

There are people who have been enjoying eating ‘Thai food’ in some restaurants cooked by some chefs who don’t really know what is ‘Thai food’, or the ‘Thai food’ that they have been enjoying eating are being modified and presented differently from the traditional authentic ‘Thai food’ to suit the taste of people who prefer to eat bread and potatoes than rice or noodles, or who aren’t use to spiciness or the intense taste of fish sauce, which is the main ingredient for ‘Thai food’. And one day, they have the opportunity to come to an authentic ‘Thai food’ restaurant and they order some ‘Thai food’ to eat, some would appreciate the authentic taste of ‘Thai food’, and are glad to have tasted the real ‘Thai food’, while some would feel very disappointed as it’s not what they expected, where it’s completely different taste or presentation from the ‘Thai food’ that they usually eat, where the food doesn’t served with bread or potatoes and they don’t like the taste of the authentic ‘Thai food’, and they don’t want to finish the food that they ordered while refuse to pay the bill, or request a partial billing, saying that “Your food is not good. I don’t like your food. At home, our ‘Thai food’ served with some bread or potatoes. Your ‘Thai food’ doesn’t served with bread or potatoes. I don’t want to pay for the food that I didn’t want to finish eating because I don’t like it and it doesn’t served with bread or potatoes.”

It’s everyone’s freedom for what they like and don’t like. There’s nothing wrong with people enjoy eating ‘Thai food’ that is not really ‘Thai food’ and rejecting authentic ‘Thai food’, but one still have to pay for the food that one ordered but didn’t want to finish eating because one didn’t like the taste or there is no bread or potatoes being served.

It’s similar as there are many people have been teaching ‘yoga classes’ in the world after attended and graduated from some kind of ‘yoga teachers training courses’ and call themselves ‘certified yoga teachers’, but not all these ‘yoga teachers’ are teaching yoga as it is, that allow people to develop the basic understanding about the elimination of ignorance and egoism, to be learning and practicing yoga that is not necessarily pleasant or enjoyable for the body and mind but might be very unpleasant and painful for the impure prideful egoistic mind during the purification process of the annihilation of ignorance and egoism. As a result, many people are learning and practicing what they think is yoga but not really yoga from all these ‘certified yoga teachers’ and they think that is how yoga practice should be done ‘correctly’ as taught by these ‘yoga teachers’.

When these people participated in a ‘yoga retreat’ or ‘yoga course’ that is about yoga and they have the opportunity to come in contact with the yoga practice of simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation, about the elimination of ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, of purifying and quieting the restless impure mind for meditation, that is different from the ‘modified yoga asana classes’ that they have been learning from their ‘yoga teachers’ for many years which is nothing to do with the elimination of ignorance and egoism to purify and quiet the mind for meditation, but these ‘yoga classes’ actually empowering the ignorance and egoism through the gratification of the desire of craving and aversion by pampering their body and mind in the enjoyments of the senses, some of them might develop certain degrees of understanding and would appreciate and glad to be learning and practicing yoga as it is, while some might feel greatly disturbed or disappointed and reluctant to continue learning and practicing yoga that is about yoga, and they want to quit the yoga retreat/course because they don’t like the yoga practice that is about yoga, as they refuse to make adjustment to adapt and accommodate to learn the different style of yoga practice being practiced differently from their usual way of practice. Some of them even ask for refund. And when they don’t get the refund as that would be supporting and empowering ignorance which is not yoga practice, they’ll get so angry and would do things with the intention to hurt the yoga teachers or retreat centres. This shows that they never learn what is yoga even though after many years of practicing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way under a particular teacher.

Yoga practice is all about making adjustment to adapt and accommodate condition and situation that the mind doesn’t like, or doesn’t familiar with, or doesn’t feel comfortable with, to allow the mind to be opened, to be able to be peaceful and compassionate under any condition and situation, wherever they are and whatever they are experiencing, being undisturbed by names and forms that the mind doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with.

As part of the yoga practice, one needs to learn how to let go of attachment and identification towards a particular style of yoga practice that one familiar with that one has been learning and practicing under certain yoga teachers or yoga centres, and learn how to adjust one’s body and mind to adapt and accommodate towards the yoga practice that one doesn’t familiar with or never experience before. If one can only practice yoga of a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way but couldn’t practice yoga anymore when that particular style of yoga in that particular way is not available, then one is not free even though one has been practicing particular style of yoga in a particular way for many years.

Yoga teachers who teach a particular style of yoga in a particular way need to learn how to allow their yoga students to be unattached towards that particular style of yoga being practiced in that particular way. But many ‘yoga teachers’ in the world are not free from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification, pride and arrogance towards their own particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way. Whether aware or unaware, many yoga teachers implant the strong attachment and identification towards their particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way into their yoga students’ minds, so that the yoga students will be faithful, loyal and supportive towards them and their style of yoga being practiced in a particular way. Those who teach yoga will allow all their students to be unattached towards their particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way, to be open-minded to go out there to learn from some other teachers with other types of different yoga practice and respect all types of different yoga practice even if one finds it challenging to make adjustment to adapt and accommodate the different practices that one doesn’t familiar with, and it doesn’t matter if one isn’t interested in practicing any of those different practices.

Before I left Kuala Lumpur and moved to Langkawi about 10 years ago, I told all the students to continue their practice, either by themselves or continue learning from other yoga teachers, and respect other teachers and their different ways of teaching and practice. Do not compare. They are just being different. More importantly, they might be practicing different style of yoga being practiced in a particular way, but always remember that regardless of all kinds of different style of yoga being practiced in many different ways, there’s only one yoga, the yoga of freeing the mind from ignorance and egoism, to purify and quiet the mind, to realize the truth of impermanence and selflessness, and be free, which is nothing to do with whether one is practicing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way; or one has some physical injuries that limit oneself from performing certain yoga poses; or one is severely physically ill and weak that one couldn’t perform any yoga asana poses at all; or whether the body is able to be completely comfortable while doing certain movements or holding certain poses; or what type of benefits that come from doing particular practices; or whether one knows the names of the poses or the muscles/bones/organs in any particular language; or whether one is able to perform all the yoga poses in ‘perfect alignment’; or how many years one has been performing the yoga practice under particular yoga teacher; or how many years one has been teaching yoga to other people; or whether one has attended many yoga teachers training courses and attaining how many yoga certifications, or not.

In the yoga class, it’s not about performing some yoga asana poses to make the body more healthy and illness-free, or be more strong and flexible, but it’s developing self-awareness, self-discipline, self-control and self-independence, as well as non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation, to know what is going on in the body and mind, and accepting the reality of the physical condition and the state of the mind in the present moment now as it is. It’s about do what the body can do comfortably in the present moment now without forcing the body to go beyond its limitation regardless of whether the body is injury-free, or is suffering from some injuries or sickness. One learns how to make appropriate adjustment to adapt and accommodate the yoga asana or other yoga practice based on the condition of the body and the state of the mind in the present moment now. One doesn’t need to do anything that the body cannot perform in this present moment due to injury or sickness. One can stop and take rest as long as one needs to during a particular practice or in between different practices.

Being unable to perform any yoga asana poses or any form of physical practice due to any physical limitations, or injuries, or sickness, doesn’t stop the mind from performing the formless inner practice of awareness, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment, non-comparison and non-expectation, and realize unconditional peace, and be free.

Most importantly, one is aware of everything is impermanent and selfless, regardless of whether one feels comfortable or uncomfortable during certain practices and whether one can do or couldn’t do certain movements or poses in this present moment. One learns to take full responsibility to look after the well-being of one’s body and mind without expecting somebody else, neither the teacher nor the doctor to look after the well-being of one’s body and mind. No body but oneself, knows directly and instantly what is going on in the body and the mind, not the teacher or the doctor. If there’s pain or discomforts, one do not proceed any further, or one can make some adjustment or modification. If there’s tiredness, one can take rest as long as one needs to.

If one needs to depend on a teacher or a doctor being there to be responsible to look after or supervise the well-being of one’s body and mind all the time, then one will never be able to realize what is yoga, even after many years of practicing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way under the supervision of a particular teacher, expecting the teacher to tell them what they should do and shouldn’t do, and constantly expecting the teacher to check on them, asking them whether they are comfortable, or not, and telling them whether they are doing it nicely, or not, and whether they are good, or not.

Just like a blind person needs to depend on a blind stick to find their way, while other people with healthy vision don’t need to depend on a blind stick to move around. By telling everyone that everyone must carry a blind stick with them in order to move around, or else, without a blind stick everyone can’t go anywhere or will injure themselves, is complete ignorance. And that is what happening in many yoga centres/schools/studios/ashrams with particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way. Without any particular equipment or props that they used to rely on while performing their yoga practice, these yoga students can’t practice yoga anymore, or they find it ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’ for not having those equipment or props while performing the yoga practice. These students will never be free from ignorance and egoism of attachment, identification and desire of craving and aversion, even after many years of attending these kind of yoga classes doing a particular style of yoga being practiced in a particular way, where the yoga teachers are either wittingly or unwittingly developing the circle of ‘my style/brand of yoga’, ‘my students’, ‘my clients’, ‘my members’, ‘my followers’, ‘my disciples’, ‘my supporters’, or ‘my admirers’.

Yoga retreat is not a place for mingling or socializing or interaction, but it’s a great opportunity to practice simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation while living among the society, to be by oneself moving away from worldly social interactions and activities to quiet the restless mind, to be reflecting upon the truth of names and forms, to be aware of the modifications of the mind to know thyself, besides looking after one’s daily duty and responsibility such as maintaining the tidiness and cleanliness of the accommodation/living environment/practice space and looking after one’s daily meals, while dealing with condition and situation that are not necessarily the way that we would like it to be, so that one can perform Yoga Sadhana at home observing simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation while living among the society performing one’s duty and responsibility in everyday life. At one stage, Swami Sivananda walked 15 km everyday to the nearby villages for Biksha (obtaining food by alms) besides performing daily Sadhana and selfless service while living a life of renunciation.

Many ‘yoga retreats’ in the world are not about quieting the restless mind via the practice of simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation, but it’s about being in an out of the world environment away from dealing with any duty and responsibility in everyday life, indulging in pleasurable enjoyments of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and visualization/imagination/anticipation/expectation, gratifying the desires of craving and aversion, promoting mingling and socializing, enjoying all kinds of conveniences of hotel facilities and services, which most worldly minds expect what ‘yoga retreat’ is about. Food is prepared and served by somebody. Cleaning up and laundry are done by somebody. Room tidiness and cleanliness is maintained by somebody. Everyone just needs to enjoy mingling and socializing with the other retreat participants, while indulging in pleasurable yoga activities, spa treatments and all kinds of hotel facilities and services during the retreat.

And this is ‘the world of yoga’ that is supposed to be about living a life of simplicity, self-discipline, self-reliance, dispassion and renunciation from worldly activities/connections/interactions/enjoyments to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, but many people are unaware of the ‘yoga classes’ or ‘yoga retreats’ that they have been attending are not about Yoga Sadhana to free the mind from ignorance and egoism, but it’s actually empowering ignorance and egoism instead.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether to practice yoga as it is, or not.

 

Subtle greed towards developing connections

There is this teaching that some yoga practitioners/teachers might have neglected –

不要攀缘 也不要贪缘

It means – Do not greed for developing or building connections

Because ‘developing or building connections’ with as many beings as possible or 结缘 is being perceived in the world as something good and righteous, such as ‘performing good actions’ and ‘sharing something good with others’ will bring friendship, love, support, help, happiness, prosperity and meaningfulness in return, quite many yoga practitioners/teachers are not aware of the subtle greed towards developing or building connections with as many beings as possible for many ‘good reasons’.

In the world of business, career or entertainment, people have the need to develop or build as many ‘good connections’ or ‘friendships’ as possible in order to attain the highest success in life, career or business. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Just that it can become an obstacle on the path of yoga towards the annihilation of ignorance and egoism. Some yoga practitioners/teachers are not aware of the mind is being over-powered by the subtle spiritual greed to build ‘yoga schools’, or ‘yoga centres’, or ‘yoga ashrams’, or ‘yoga empire’. The mind would think that it’s for the sake of ‘sharing yoga’ with as many people as possible. It’s a great teaching why Swami Sivananda mentioned that – “Do not build ashrams. Do not hoard disciples. Do not associate. Live alone. Walk alone. Eat alone. Meditate alone.”

“I am kind to others so that they will also be kind to others.” This is not yoga, even though there’s nothing bad or wrong with that. There’s egoism of attachment, identification, desire and intention or expectation towards something that the mind perceives as ‘good’ and ‘right’. The mind is not free.

Contemplate on this teaching and be free from the subtle greed towards connections building. Be free from the longing for friendship, love, support, help, happiness, prosperity or meaningfulness deriving from ‘performing good actions’ and ‘sharing something good with others’. Be free from intention or aspiration. One might be ‘performing good actions’ and ‘sharing something good with others’, but all actions are intention-less. It’s free from the subtle/hidden greed or craving towards developing or building ‘good connections’ with as many beings as possible.

Just be kind to others. Whether other people want to be kind to others, or not, that’s their freedom.

Just do good in the world. Whether the world will be good, or not, allow it to be what it is, as it is.

Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda (3)

Excerpt from Essence of Vedanta

Fitness for Wisdom

One who is fit for receiving Wisdom of the Self shall receive it ‘in due time.’ Self-effort and passage of time work simultaneously and one cannot be distinguished from the other, for Providence and Personal exertion cannot be separated as they both work simultaneously and are interdependent. Rather, these are only two names for one and the same force of action.

Sri Sankaracharya had already exhorted that one has to undergo the disciplinary stages of Viveka, Vairagya, Sama, Dama, Uparati, Titiksha, Sraddha, Samadhana, and Mumukshutva before getting initiate into the mystery of Existence. One should not be initiated into the Truth of the Absolute unless he is found well developed in all these qualities.

Nowadays generally we find that aspirants do not have a strong desire for liberation. They may have a ray of Viveka and Vairagya of a mild variety. But it is very difficult to find an aspirant who cares for nothing but final Emancipation, who treats the whole world and its contents as mere straw, who meditates incessantly upon how to attain Salvation from embodied existence.

It is not easy to understand the meaning of Liberation.

How can it be possible for raw men of the world to realise the nullity of earthly existence and of worldly activities? Even advanced aspirants sometimes have got strong desire for doing something wonderful in this world, something which none has done before. Such people cannot have a real desire for Liberation. And such people are unfit for receiving Brahma Vidya.

It is only the Uttama-Adhikari, the best qualifier, who cares for nothing, who is totally indifferent to the ways of the world, who is ever silent and serene due to the dawn of proper knowledge, who is ever the same among the diverse men of the world, who is undisturbed by the distracted activity of the world, who is calm and peaceful, who has withdrawn himself from the bustle of life, who cares not for either death or life, who is unmindful of what is happening in the world, who is careless towards either this or that, that is really fit to receive the Ultimate wisdom of the Absolute!

Even if there is the slightest desire lurking inside other than the Realisation of the Absolute, the man will not be able to comprehend the true import of the Vedantic instructions by the Spiritual Teacher (Preceptor). He will have thousands of doubts and distractions in the mind which will entirely pull him down from the Vedantic Meditation.

A person should be desire for nothing else, than the realisation of Brahman. There should be no other thought throughout the day than of the way of attaining Self-realisation.

Every thought, every speech, every action, nay, every breath of the person should illustrate the method of realising the Absolute. Such a person is fit to receive Vedantic Wisdom.

Withdrawal From Multiplicity

Self-restraint is the opposite of self-expression. The latter tends towards Pravritti or life in the variegated Samsara, and the former leads to the Highest Integration through Nivritti of stepping back to Truth.

The creative diversifying power is turned in and sublimated into the spiritual splendour.

The withdrawal from multiplicity and centring oneself in Unity is effected through self-restraint which is the austere transformation of the creative objective force into the conscious Power that causes the blossoming of the sense of individual finitude into the expanse of objectless consciousness.

Variety is the meaning of manifestation. Every individual force is a copy of the limitless creative force and the natural tendency of this energy is to move towards the creation of multiplicity. This is the reason why the control of the action of creativity is found to be difficult in the case of those who are tied to individual physicality. An individual finds it hard to properly direct the cosmic habit unless he takes recourse to process of Spiritual Realisation. A spiritual Sadhaka goes to the source of this objectified energy and compel the force to diffuse itself in the serene Ground-Noumenon.

A person who has let loose the flow of the creative force gets entangled in the process of multiple-creation and ever remains away from the knowledge of the Non-Dual Truth of his Eternal Self. This is the root-background of the universal ethics that self-control is imperative to a seeker after the Absolute Reality.

Those who have discriminatively grasped the spiritual character of human life refrain from the instinctive practice of self-multiplication and devote themselves to the glorious task of directing the potential energy to conscious contemplation on the Spiritual Ideal through the triple transformation of the active emotional and intellectual aspects of the general human nature.

Such integrated persons possess a mighty power of understanding, analysis and meditation.

The Chhandogya Upanishad says that when purity and Sattva are increased, there is a generation of immense memory which paves the way to the shattering open of the knot of self.

The most intricate technic of the art of Self-realisation is mastered by the genius of an austere who has learnt to expand his formative lower into the plenitude of limitless life. Such austere spiritual beings flow with the lustrous spiritual strength which handles with ease even the most formidable of the diversifying forces of nature.

Fear is unknown to them and their divinised energy is centred in the Self to be utilised in transcending the realm of the ego-sense. They establish themselves in the unbroken vow of leaping over phenomenon into the heart of Existence. Such is the glory of self-restraint!

The control of the objective instincts is the preparation for world-renunciation in the quest of the Ultimate Essence. An abandonment of earthly nature effected by a distaste for particularities is what marks the character of a true austere Sadhaka. He should not enter the household, for, his path leads to Unity and not the creative social activity.

Alone and unfriended should he carry on the duty of Self-integration through unceasing selflessness and remembrance of the Divine Ideal. Selfless service polishes the self and rubs the ego and thus renders the person fit for the higher life of Dhyana and Brahma-Chintana.

A cutting off from acquaintance with relatives is necessary, for, Nivritti-Marga does not allow of any transient connections.

Sadhana advice from Swami Sivananda (2)

Excerpt from Essence of Vedanta by Swami Sivananda

In one sense from the highest viewpoint, all the leaders of the world are wasting their time, life and energy. Had they directed their energy and mind towards Yoga and transcendental Atma Svarajya, they would have become great divinities on this earth and done more spiritual good to the world. These great men would have taken to Nivritti already, had they really understood the glory and necessity of Nivritti Marga, had they come in contact with great sages, had they a real grasp of the purpose of life, goal and the nature of the Svarupa of the Atman, mind and the world.

A little comfortable living, a little bread with butter and jam cannot relieve the sufferings of the people, cannot give salvation or Absolute Independence and Freedom to them, cannot remove ignorance, the root cause of all human miseries and of births and deaths. Wise men, with great talents, should attempt to give spiritual food to the people and make their lives lofty, worthy, sublime and grand and make them immortal.

Even if all the leaders are taken out of the world now, the world will run on smoothly, probably more smoothly. Even if all the people retire into the forest, the world will go on.

Poor worldlings! One would think that they have taken a contract with Brahma that they will procreate children in this world and take care of it!

The world is unreal. All are born to die only. All are illusory in this world.

Egoism deludes people. Though the world is nothing, it deceives the worldly man into thinking that it is everything. It is associated with ‘mineness’. This egoism is born of Avidya (ignorance). It springs from conceit. Vanity fosters it. It is the greatest enemy ever known. The secret of renunciation is the renunciation of egoism. Ahamkara or ego is the direst of diseases. He who is free from egoism is ever happy and peaceful. Desires multiply and expand on account of egoism. This inveterate enemy has spread about man the enchantments of wives, friends, children, relatives, whose spells are hard to break.

This world is a manifestation of this mind only. All pains are generated through the mind only. If this mind is annihilated through discrimination and Atmic enquiry, all pains, along with this world will vanish.

Desire is the cause of rebirths and all sorts of pains, miseries and sorrows of this earth.

The body has a tendency to rot. Egoism lives in this body as the master with avarice as the mistress. The body is in reality a pot of filth. The shining skin is subject to wrinkles in old age. Fie and shame on them who have mistaken this body for the immortal Pure Soul and rely on it for their happiness and peace!

This body appears only in the present. A thing, that has neither past nor future must be considered as non-existent in the present also. If you think over this matter more deeply with Suddha-Buddhi or pure intellect, you will find Atyanta-Abhava or complete non-existent of the world.

“Nothing on this earth belongs to me! This body even is not mine.” This is true wisdom. “He is my son. She is my daughter. She is my wife. That bungalow is mine. I am rich. I am a Kshatriya. I am a Brahmin. I am lean. I am fat.” This is foolishness of a superior order. This body is the rightful property of fishes, jackals and vultures. How can you call this as yours?

In this scientific era – the age of the so-called modern civilisation – greed, passion, selfishness are increasing day by day, nay, hour by hour. One nation wants to devour another nation. Man has lost his manliness. The son drags his father to the courts for the division of property. The wife divorces her husband and marries another, if he happens to be more rich, more beautiful and younger. The younger brother poisons his elder brother to take possession of the estate. You see cruelty, dishonesty, injustice and atrocity everywhere. No one keeps his promise. The father has no faith in the son. The wife has no faith in the husband and vice versa.

There is no end of craving (Trishna) in the life of a worldly man. That is the reason why a worldly man is ever restless despite his wealth and comforts. There is always dissatisfaction with his lot. He is ever discontented. Before one craving is satisfied another craving is ready to occupy his mind, and this craving agitates the mind and makes a constant demand for gratification. He forgets his real divine nature and plunges himself in the ocean of Samsara (worldliness).

If you place the worldly-minded persons in the company of saints, Yogins and Sannyasins, in solitary places with charming sceneries, they can never live in peace. They will feel as if they are fish taken out of water.

Sages compare a worldly-mined man to a street-dog, or a pig that eats filth, or a worm that revels in rubbish. The comparison is very very apt, indeed!

O worldly-minded persons! Wake up from the deep of dark ignorance! Open your eyes now. Stand up and acquire the knowledge of the Self. Approach the Brahmanishtha Guru. Attain Absolute Independence of Kaivalya. Merge yourself in the State of Satchidananda.

A worldly man kills himself by clinging to things unreal. That man who does not struggle to attain Self-realisation, although he possesses knowledge of the scriptures, human body, youth, energy and other conveniences, commits suicide. His lot is very miserable. What greater fool is there than this man who neglects the goal of life? That man who does not care to make enquiry of ‘who am I?’ ‘what is the goal?’ ‘how to attain the goal?’ is really a great fool, although he may be endowed with high secular knowledge.

Imagine for a moment that your skin and flesh are inverted and exposed. Then some one will have to stand always with a long hill-stick to drive off cows and jackals. Why do you have Moha (infatuated love) for this dirty body? Why do you apply perfumes? Are you not a big fool? Get Jnana. You are the Atman, ever pure and Effulgent.

Birth is suffering; disease is suffering; death is suffering; sorrow, grief, pain, lamentations are suffering; union with unpleasant objects is suffering; separation from the beloved objects is suffering; unsatisfied desires are suffering. O man! Is there any real pleasure or happiness in this world?

Why do you cling onto all these mundane objects? Why do you stroll about here and there like a street-dog in search for happiness in this earth-plane? Search within. Look within and introspect and rest in the Supreme Abode of Peace and Immortality now. Realise now and be free.

Lust invariably leads to extreme suffering on the impediment of senses in old age.

Nobody has been benefited in this world by this Maya. People invariably weep in the end.

The worldly man never comes to the senses although he gets severe knocks, kicks and blows from different corners. The strolling street-dog never stop visiting the houses even though pelted with stones every time.

The whole world is a ball of fire though there are the so-called charming sceneries of Mayaic illusion. The whole world is a huge furnace wherein all living creatures are being roasted.

Lord Buddha says: “On the whole, life is a sorrow.” Patanjali Maharshi in his Yoga Sutras says: “Sarvam Duhkham Vivekinah” – “All indeed is pain to a person of discrimination.” Just as a fish in its desire to eat flesh does not see the hook that lies beneath, so as man in his passionate desire to get sensual pleasure does not see the noose of death.

Pleasure is not in the objects; it is in the imagination or inclination of the mind. Mango is not sweet but imagination makes it sweet. Woman is not beautiful, but imagination renders her so. An ugly woman appears very beautiful to her husband because his imagination is beautiful. There is a grain of pleasure in objects, but the pain that is mixed with it is of the size of a big mountain.

Sensual pleasure is tantalising. There is enchantment so long as man does not possess the desired object. The moment he is in possession of the object, the charm vanishes. He finds that he is in an entanglement. The rich but childless man thinks he will be more happy by getting a son; he worries himself day and night to get a son, goes on pilgrimage to Ramesvaram and Kasi and performs various religious ceremonies. But when he gets a child, he feels miserable. The child suffers from epileptic fits, and his money is given away to doctors. Even then there is no cure. This is Mayaic jugglery. The whole world is fraught with temptation.

The cause of pain is love of pleasure. The cause of death is love of sensual life. Death is a horrible thing to him who is intensely attached to sensual life. Words like cremation, murder, death, corpse, burial, make the sensualist shudder at heart; for he is extremely attached to the body and the objects of the senses. “How to part with the sensual objects?” is his great cause of misery. Pity!

The body is the first Mayaic knot or tie. Wife is the second knot round the neck. Son is the third knot round the waist. Daughter is the fourth knot round the knee. Grandson is the fifth knot round the ankle. He who has cut asunder these knots or ties and who has no Moha is really a strong and powerful man (Dhira).

All hope of happiness in this world terminate in pain, despair and sorrow. Pleasure is mixed with pain. Beauty is mixed with ugliness. Kindness is mixed with anger and harsh words. There is no real prop in this world to lean upon. Sensual indulgence brings diseases, exhaustion, weakness, and loss of vigor. The sensual objects destroy the whole man, and he has no help from any quarter of this earth. Fair sex infatuates. Money and power fill the mind with hollowness and vanity! There is often war between nations. There is no peace anywhere. Trust not this illusory world.

Go wherever you may, to Gulmarg or Pahalgaon in Kashmir, to Darjeeling or Simla, to Vienna or the Alps. It is all the same. You will not find any real rest. The charming scenery may soothe the retina for a second. Raga, Dvesha, jealousy, passion and greed are everywhere. You will finds the same earth, the same sky, the same air and the same water. And you carry with you the same mind. Imagination and change of places have deceived not a few.

Friends! Is there not a higher mission in life than eating, sleeping, drinking and talking?

An ignorant worldly man says, “I have to do my duties. I have to educate my four sons and three daughters. I have to please my boss. I have got heavy duties in the office. I have to remit money to my widowed sister. I have a large family. I have six brothers and five sisters. Where is the time for me to do Sandhya Vandana and Japa and study religious books? There is no time for breathing even. I have no leisure. Even on holidays I have to work. Even on Sundays I have to worry myself with work. I bring office-papers to my house and work at night till the small hours of the morning. I do not want Yoga. This office-work and the maintenance of my family is itself a great duty or Yoga.”

Do you call this duty? It is mere slavery. It is a work of a coolie. It is mere bondage. The man is in fear every moment. Even in dreams he meets his office-mates and his boss and posts figures in the ledger. This is not a right sense of duty. He takes tea, eats food, and sits at the table for writing, sleeps and procreates. His whole life passes away like this. This is not duty. This is gross delusion. This is foolishness. This is selfishness. This is work for gain and satisfaction of lower appetites. Anything done under compulsion and expectation of rewards is not duty. You must not take as duty works done from attachment, greed or passion.

You have travelled in many countries, fed your dear relatives, and amassed immense wealth. Yet, of what avail are these, O friend? You have not realised the Blissful Brahman.

Desire for name and fame, infatuated love for the body, desire for vast erudition, are stumbling blocks in the attainment of the Self-knowledge. He who wants to free himself from Samsara should annihilate the desire for these mundane things.

Who are you? Who am I? Where from have we come? Who is mother? Who is father? Think deeply in these. Leave off this world, which is a dream, and seek the One, Eternal, Undivided Essence of Brahman.

Friends! Is there any limit to the number of fathers, mothers, wives, sons, daughters, uncles and aunts you have had in the countless incarnations in the past? And yet the clinging to these false relationships has not gone. Discrimination has not yet dawned. What a great pity it is!

The attraction for external objects ceases; but there yet remains the internal craving or sense of hankering or thirsting, which is called Trishna.

You have spent eight hours in sleep, and the rest of the day in idle gossiping, telling lies, deceiving others, in selfish activities, in amassing wealth. How can you expect spiritual good, how can you expect immortality and peace, if you do not spend even half an hour in the service of the Lord, in singing his names and in divine contemplation?

Will your son or daughter or friend or relative help you, when you are about to die? Will they accompany you to share your miseries? Have you got one sincere, unselfish friend in all this world? All are selfish! There is no pure love. But that Lord, your real Friend of friends, Father of fathers, who dwells in your heart, will never forsake you, though you may forget Him. Adore Him in silence, that God of gods, that Divinity of divinities, the Highest of the high. May He bless you with His love, Wisdom, Power and Peace!

The Rishis and the Seers tapped the source through living the Truth. They had deep penetration into the Truth through the eye of wisdom or intuition in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. They did rigorous Tapas and intense meditation. They disciplined the outgoing senses and led a virtuous life. They were absolutely moral and righteous. They developed all the qualities of the heart. They practised dispassion and renunciation. They had no attachment for mundane things. They kicked off ruthlessly all wealth, relatives, wife, family, children, position and status. They embraced poverty, purity and austerity. They lived in forests. They ate fruits and roots. They breathed pure air. They lived on the banks of the Ganga amidst Himalayan scenery, which had, and has, high spiritual vibrations. They did not live in Mount Road or the Mall.

All the things of this world pertaining to men are attended with fear; renunciation alone stands for fearlessness. Shun honour, respect, degrees, name, fame, power, position and titles. They are absolutely worthless. They will not give you eternal satisfaction. They will only intensify your vanity. They are all intoxicants of the mind. They bring misery and mental disturbance.

In the Vishnupurana it is said: “If the deluded fool loves the body, a mere collection of flesh, blood, pus, faeces, urine, muscles, fats and bones, he will verily love hell itself! To him who is not disgusted with the nasty smell from his body, what other argument need to be abduced for detachment?” It is needless and useless to say more.

Knowledge of the Self or Brahma Jnana is more precious and important than the kingdom of all the worlds.

If you do not possess Viveka, if you do not try your extreme level best for the attainment of Salvation, if you spend your whole lifetime in eating, drinking, sleeping, marrying, divorcing and propagating the race, how are you better than an animal? As a matter of fact, they are better than you! You will have to sit at the feet of the animals and learn a few several lessons from them. Even animals possess self-restraint to an astounding degree. O man! where has your self-restraint gone?

O man! Never say; “My body, my son, my wife, my house, my property, my garden, etc.” Attachment is the root cause of the innumerable miseries and troubles of this world. Discipline your mind well, realise the illusory nature of all that appears here in this world.

Renunciation comes only to those who were once kings in their previous births, who developed discrimination between the real and the unreal in their previous births, who have done meritorious actions in their previous births, who led the life of a Sannyasin in several births. Only those who have tremendous will-power, spiritual strength, dispassion, discrimination, and who thirst for salvation can renounce the world. Renunciation demands superhuman strength. Renunciation or Sannyasa is stern stuff.

After all, what is this world? It is like a footprint of a calf when compared to the Infinite Brahman or the Absolute. It is a small bubble in the ocean of Existence. It is less than an atom. The worthless nature of the joys of this world is already known to a Viveki or a man of discrimination or an aspirant or an ordinary worldly man even in whom there is not even an iota of spiritual awakening or a little opening of the eye of wisdom.

The Upanishads emphatically declare: “Yo Vai Bhuma Tat Sukham – Naalpe Sukhamasti!” You cannot have real happiness in this world. The real ‘Santi’, is Peace which the mind is hankering after is only to be found in the ‘Bhuma’. Bhuma is unconditioned, beyond time, beyond space and causation. Bhuma, the Great, is freedom, – freedom from the trammels of flesh, freedom from the tricks of the mind, freedom from the plays of delusion. Bhuma is perfection, beyond all limitations. Bhuma is Brahman, the eternal Absolute! You will have to remember all this constantly. You will have to write this and read this, talk of this and preach this, meditate on this and live in this, ‘Yo Vai Bhuma Tat Sukham.’