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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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.