How to be free from the idea of ‘I’, or the ego

Most minds cannot understand about the teaching and practice of yoga about the annihilation of the ego, or be free from the idea of ‘I’.

It’s beyond the logical thinking of many minds/people about the practice of annihilating the ego, or the idea of ‘I’. This is because the thinking itself is the identification of ‘I’. The thinking/The identification of ‘I’ can’t go beyond what is beyond the thinking or the identification of ‘I’. And hence, there’s a thinking/thought/idea/belief of “I am existing.” that leads to the doubt of “How come the teachings of yoga talk about ‘selflessness’, that there’s no ‘I’?”

Some people think and understand that the annihilation of the ego means “I don’t have an ego.” by thinking that there is an ‘I’ existing being aware of the absence of the ego, and thus, “I am being free from the ego or without the ego.” Then what is that ‘I’ that thinks itself doesn’t have an ego?

The ‘I’ is the ego. As long as there’s an idea of ‘I’, or an identity of a being existing as ‘I’, thinking that “I don’t have an ego.” this mind is not free.

The ego is the identity/idea of ‘I’ in the mind as a form of thinking/thought/belief/idea/part of the memories. The annihilation of the ego is the annihilation of ‘I’. There is no ‘I’ existing. And hence, there is no “I am free from the ego.” or “I am a being without the ego.”

The ego, or the idea of ‘I’ exists in the form of thinking/thought as an individual being experiencing life through a body and a mind, perceiving all the names and forms through the sense organs, being the performer of actions and the receiver/enjoyer of the fruit of actions, attaching onto and identifying with particular family and educational background/culture/religion/social group/spiritual or non-spiritual thinking and belief, being proud of certain qualities, abilities and possessions, thinking and not thinking, knowing and not knowing, believing and not believing, remembering and forgetting, feeling and sensing, desiring and non-desiring, growing and learning, acting and reacting, discriminating, judging and expecting, being peaceful and peaceless, to love and be loved, building a life and relationships, procreating, changing, decaying and dying.

The idea of ‘I’ is just a thinking/thought/idea/belief. The idea of ‘I’, or the ego, merely ‘existing’ as a stream of thinking/thoughts, or a continuous thought out of ceaseless thoughts arising and passing away. Under the function of the memory there is remembrance or acknowledgement of an ‘I’, being born, growing, experiencing, learning, feeling, sensing, acting, aspiring, inspiring, enjoying, suffering, changing, decaying and dying. If there’s no remembrance of certain parts of the existence and function of the body and mind, there’s no ‘I’ in those ‘blankness’. There’s no ‘I’ in Silence, or in the absence of the modification of mind/thought-current/thought activities.

People say, “I was happy or unhappy. I was good or bad. I enjoyed or suffered.” Even in this present moment, this ‘I’ is no longer the ‘I’ a moment ago. Mere countless thoughts generate countless ideas of the ever changing impermanent ‘I’ in different states/forms, of countless ‘births’ and ‘deaths’ of countless ‘I’.

Who/what is this ‘I’, if there’s no function of memory or the ability of remembering the countless thoughts that arising and passing away ceaselessly? Even though there is remembrance of certain thoughts throughout the day, not to say, weeks/months/years, it’s only a small part of all the thoughts arising and passing away, of the stronger imprints. And hence, why still holding onto all the past memories of good and bad/happy and unhappy past experiences (even the remembrance of the last moment) to be who/what ‘I’ am? While continuing to feel disturbed, or angry, or hating, or hurt, or disappointed by the past experiences that was unpleasant or not the way that ‘the thinking’ would like it to be, or feel sad and missing something that was pleasant and the way that ‘the thinking’ liked it to be, but is no longer available in this present moment. Continuously thinking that “I am hurt and in painful sorrow.” and “I need to be healed from hurt and be free from painful sorrow.” or “I am missing someone or something.”

The body and the mind is impermanent and selfless. The body and the mind is not ‘I’. There’s no ‘I’ in the body and mind to be in control or claim possession/ownership of the impermanent existence of the body and mind.

It’s like when the body suffered from an injury and there is a wound or scar due to the injury. But the body is not ‘I’. The body is impermanent and the wound/scar is impermanent, and it’s not “I suffered an injury, or I have a wound/scar due to an injury.”

It’s the same as the thinking mind. If the thinking mind is not free from ignorance and the ego, and the ignorant egoistic mind feels hurt by hurtful experiences. But the mind is not ‘I’. The mind is impermanent and the hurtful feeling is impermanent, and it’s not “I feel hurt by hurtful experiences.”

Whether we like it, or not, and agree with it, or not, the teachings and practice of yoga is all about the annihilation of the ego, or the idea of ‘I’.

But how to be free from the idea of ‘I’ or how to eliminate the ego?

Since the ego is just a thinking/thought/idea/belief, it’s not real or it doesn’t exist at all. It’s the egoism being the by-product of the modification of the mind under the influence of ignorance that ‘create’ or ‘generate’ the existence of the ego, or ‘I’, and making the ‘I’ seems ‘real’ and ‘existing’. And so, to annihilate the ego, is about freeing the mind from egoism of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation. This is the part of the yoga practice that many minds think and feel “It’s difficult.”

Once egoism is absent/annihilated, the mind is just what it is. The mind is neither good nor bad. Life existence is neither good nor bad. All kinds of experiences are neither good nor bad.

There’s no ‘I’ being there to assert wants and don’t wants, likes and dislikes, agreements and disagreements, and experiencing happiness/unhappiness, hurt, dissatisfaction, disappointment, greed, painful sorrow, offensiveness, defensiveness, agitation, depression, hostility, anger, hatred, fear and worry.

It’s all in the present moment, depending on whether egoism is present or absent in the mind. It’s neither easy nor difficult. It’s not something to be attained in the future after certain years or certain amount of yoga practice. The future doesn’t exist. There’s no guarantee that the ego will be annihilated after certain years and certain amount of yoga practice. But in this very moment, the only existence, whether the mind is free/not free from ignorance and egoism that generate the existence of an identity of ‘I’ being here to enjoy or suffer.

More important is that, there’s no ‘I’ being there to annihilate egoism from the mind. There’s no ‘I’ am performing yoga practice of purifying the mind and freeing the mind from the ego. There’s no ‘I’ am free or not free from egoism, or the ego. There’s no ‘I’ am practicing yoga or meditation. There’s no ‘I’ am good or bad. There’s no ‘I’ am suffering or ‘I’ am free from suffering. There’s no ‘I’ am selfish or ‘I’ am unselfish. There’s no ‘I’ am selfless. There’s no ‘I’ in attributelessness, namelessness and formlessness.

It’s just the mind purifying itself out of awareness, being aware of the consequences of egoism and be persevered to let go egoism of attachment, identification, desires of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation. It’s the mind/the thinking being free or not free from ignorance and egoism.

Be free.

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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.’

It’s everyone’s freedom whether to receive or reject the gift of Dhamma

Many people like to attend ‘yoga retreat’ are not about giving importance towards the yoga practice to be learning and practicing yoga under the guidance of a yoga teacher who teaches yoga, to leave their ego and worldly habits behind for a period of time, to quiet and silent the mind, to learn how to apply the teachings of yoga into the yoga asana practice, as well as applying the yoga practice/teachings or the Dhamma practically into everyday life while living in the society, to free the mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities.

Instead, they expect to be doing some form of yoga exercises/practice as a leisure activity while on a holiday that includes yoga and other holiday activities, where they expect the resort/staff/teachers to conduct/provide/lead/instruct/teach the yoga exercise sessions the way that they like it to be, in a resort style holiday environment, being away from any duties and responsibilities, and condition and situation in their everyday life that they don’t like and don’t want, to be indulging in pleasurable enjoyment of the senses of sights, sounds, smells, tastes, sensations and visualization, to be enjoying VIP treatments, resort facilities and services.

They are not interested to practice yoga in a simple place where it’s not much different from everyday life condition for most people, or even more challenging for those who live a comfortable lifestyle where everything is conveniently available and accessible and being served by other people all the time, but one needs to perform daily tasks to take care of one’s everyday living, just like in everyday life, but with additional restrictions of a more disciplined daily routine and limited social activities, or without personal assistant or servant to bring them what they want whenever they want, while learning and practicing yoga under the guidance of a yoga teacher who teaches yoga, so that when they go back into their everyday life, they can implement the yoga teachings/practice or the Dhamma into their everyday life while performing all their duties and responsibilities towards themselves and others, without the sense of superiority or inferiority, pride and arrogance, and dealing with all kinds of condition and situation that are not necessarily the way that they like it to be, be free from craving and aversion, without the need to runaway from what they don’t like or don’t want, and developing stronger self-discipline and reducing social activities to quiet the restless mind while living in the society, and realize unconditional peace that is beyond the impermanent qualities of names and forms, undetermined by time and space, causation, condition and situation.

If people feel that they can only have peace or practice yoga in a comfortable environment with very little distraction and without the need to deal with any discomfortable challenging condition and situation, and they find that it’s very difficult for them to have peace or practice yoga in everyday life as there are lots of distractions and have to deal with many discomfortable challenging condition and situation in everyday life, then they haven’t learn anything at all, even though they feel good and happy to practice yoga or do some yoga asana exercises in a comfortable distraction-less environment. A real yoga retreat should allow people to learn how to implement the teachings of yoga into everyday life and practice yoga and have peace under any condition and situation, with correct understanding, awareness, self-discipline, self-control, non-attachment, non-identification, non-craving, non-aversion, non-judgment and non-expectation.

It’s everyone’s freedom whether they want to receive or reject the gift of Dhamma and whether they want to practice yoga, or not. Even some yoga teachers are not really practicing yoga, although they have been doing different styles of yoga asana practice and teaching different styles of yoga exercise classes for many years. And it’s okay as everyone takes their own time to evolve. It doesn’t matter after many years of doing and teaching yoga exercise, the mind is still not free from ignorance and egoism, and being over-powered by impurities.

Many people who like to do the yoga asana exercises regularly are not necessarily interested in the yoga teachings and practice about silencing the mind and the elimination of ignorance, egoism and impurities. That’s their freedom. Even though many of them have been following some yoga teachers to be doing yoga asana exercises for some time or a long time, their minds are not necessarily be free from the desire of craving and aversion, and easily be disturbed and determined by the gratification of craving and aversion, and be influenced by impurities of dissatisfaction, disappointment, frustration, irritation, anger, hatred, jealousy, greed, hurts, regret, guilt, offensiveness, defensiveness, animosity, ill-will, ill-thinking, pride, arrogance, agitation, depression, fear and worry, and so on, being restless or peaceless.

A teacher presents the same teaching or Dhamma to different people at the same time, some people take it and practice and realize and be free, while some people reject the Dhamma, as that is not what they like and want and agree with, they only want to do something that they like and want to do, to gratify their desire of craving and aversion, to enjoy and to feel good. And that’s their freedom.

It’s not the teacher is being good or not good. It’s not the Dhamma is something good or not good. The teacher and the Dhamma are just what they are. They are neither good nor not good, but it’s the people themselves, whether they want to take it, or not, and through their own effort of practice and attain self-realization, or not, that allows them to be free, or not. Whether the people want to take the Dhamma and practice and realize yoga, or they don’t like and don’t want to practice the Dhamma, it’s not the responsibility of the teacher or the Dhamma.

Egoistic mind will try to runaway from something that it’s experiencing now, that it doesn’t familiar with, doesn’t feel comfortable, doesn’t like, doesn’t want and doesn’t agree with, that is different from or contradicted with one’s thinking and belief and familiar worldly habits.

Those who teach yoga, they do not try to please the people who are learning and practicing yoga with them, or in anyway, to boost or empower or feed the ignorance and egoism of the people. But to guide the people to see or know what is going on in their own minds, develop awareness, self-discipline and self-control to deal with their own mind, to free their mind from ignorance, egoism and impurities through their own effort to purify and silent their impure restless mind, to see the truth of things as it is. Compassion is not about trying to make people happy by gratifying their desires of craving and aversion, but to allow them to know the root cause of a disturbed mind, or the source of unhappiness and suffering, even if they have to go through discomfort and unpleasantness.

The practice of yoga and the coming in contact with the Dhamma is not as pleasant as many people thought it is. The Dhamma might appear to be very different or contradicted with the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice. To realize Dhamma one has to let go attachment and identification towards the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice, to allow the mind to be open. Those who have strong attachment and identification with the worldly cultural, social and religious thinking, belief and practice would likely generate great disagreement, rejection or aversion towards the Dhamma. There are lots of impurities bubble up onto the body and the mind to be eliminated on the path of yoga towards the annihilation of ignorance, egoism and impurities. There will be lots of physical, mental and emotional discomfort arising and passing away. And it might take a long time for the mind to be purified to the deepest level. It requires lots of courage, patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance. forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation. It’s quite an unpleasant or painful and even scary process for most minds, and many minds don’t like to confront with this and rather to runaway from any unpleasantness or hardship. They just want to do the parts of the yoga practice that would give rise to momentary relaxation and good feelings, to gratify their desires of craving and aversion.

Those who truly practice yoga learn how to confront with what the mind perceives as unfamiliar, discomfortable and challenging condition and situation, with compassion, patience, perseverance, determination, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, adjustment, adaptation and accommodation, without attachment, identification, craving, aversion, judgment, or expectation.

Only through letting go all kinds of attachment and identification, and the desire of craving and aversion towards the pleasant and unpleasant mind perception of names and forms, not by pushing or running away from something that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want, that is discomfortable or challenging for the mind, will allow the mind to go beyond all the qualities of names and forms and be free from being disturbed or determined by all the different qualities of names and forms that the mind perceives as pleasant or unpleasant experiences, positive or negative experiences, that the mind likes or dislikes, wants and doesn’t want.

Letting go and pushing away are two different things.

Letting go is unattached towards all the qualities of names and forms, allowing the unpleasant experiences to be there as they are, or allowing the pleasant experiences to be absent in this present moment, but remain at peace, without craving for something that is pleasant but it’s not here, without aversion towards something that is here that is unpleasant, being undisturbed or undetermined by them. The mind is peaceful as it is regardless all the mind perceptions of pleasantness and unpleasantness, being free from disturbs due to ignorance, egoism and impurities.

While pushing away is do not allow any unpleasant experiences to be there, and expecting pleasant experiences to be available in the present the way that it likes it to be, and are being disturbed or determined by the presence of unpleasant experiences that the mind doesn’t like and doesn’t want, and the absence of pleasant experiences that the mind likes and wants. The mind is restless or peaceless being over-powered by frustration, dissatisfaction, disappointment, unhappiness, anger, regret, ill-thinking, animosity, anxiety, fear and worry.

Be free.

Desires…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Om shanti.

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

Swami Sivananda