Give up hundred things when time to eat comes. Give up thousand things and take bath. Give up lakhs of things and give in charity. Give up crore of things and remember the Lord Hari. - Traditional Saying












CONTENTS4. Viveka, Vairagya, Shatsampatti and Mumukshutva  






               4. Viveka, Vairagya, Shatsampatti and Mumukshutva




     Constant effort should be made to hold on to what may be called 'Brahmic Consciousness' - that we are Brahman, we are Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute. We should always be conscious of 'Consciousness'. We must be aware of our inherent divine nature. We must try to live continuously in tune with our real eternal Self. If we do not, then there is every possibility of our mind being assailed by various kinds of temptations and distractions of the outer world. Not to dwell on the plane of Atman means that we live in our inferior self.

     We are not concerned with the vast majority of mankind who do not bother to know about their Real Self. We are concerned with the real seekers of Truth, genuine aspirants after liberation. Such aspirants should never be slack in their spiritual efforts. They must have what is called 'Brahma Nishtha'. If they do not have it, then again they are likely to be covered by Ignorance. Let us hear what the Vivekachudamani says on this point in verse 324:

     yatha'apakrstam saivalam

     ksana-matram na tisthati |

     avrnoti tatha maya

     prajnam v'api paran-mukham ||


     - As sedge, even if removed, does not stay away for a moment but covers the water again, so Maya or nescience also covers even a wise man, if he is averse to meditation on the Self.

     This is also a very very important point. As moss, even if removed from the face of water does not stand away even for a moment, but closes up to cover the placid surface of the water, so also, if we are careless, Maya or nescience will cover up our mind. Even a wise man, it is pointed out, cannot escape the clutches of Mahamaya if he is not alert. The point that is emphasised here by Sankaracharya is that if we want to reach the supreme goal, we must be introverts and not extroverts. Many may have a conventional type of religion. But that is not genuine spirituality, which is not meant for one and all. There cannot be any kind of mass spirituality. It is for the chosen few. As it is said in the third verse of Chapter 7 of Bhagavad Gita:

     Manusyanam sahasresu

     kascid yatati siddhaye |

     yatatam api siddhanam

     kascin mam vetti tattvatah ||


     - Among thousands of men scarcely one strives for perfection, and of those who strive and succeed, scarcely one knows Me in truth.


     Only those who have some inherent good tendencies hear the call of the highest Self, and we are concerned here only with such people. Once we hear the call, we must be ever vigilant, ever-careful. As Sankaracharya says in Vivekachudamani verse 325:


     Laksya cyutam syad yadi cittam isad

     bahir-mukham sannipatet tatastatah |

     pramadatah pracyuta keli kantukah

     sopana-panktau patito yatha tatha ||

     - If the mind ever so slightly strays away from the ideal and becomes outgoing, then it goes down and down, just as a playing-ball inadvertently dropped on a staircase bounces down from one step to another.

     In the same way, if the mind strays away from the highest ideal even a little, it goes down and down. And once deflected, it is very very difficult to bring it back to the point from where it started. Then what is the remedy? Along with Vairagya (detachment), we must have Brahma Nishtha. To reach the goal supreme, we are asked to become introverts; that means we must withdraw the mind from everything that is non-Atman. But if it is to be withdrawn from everything that is non-Atman, there must be something positive before us, as the mind cannot remain in a vacuum without an object. Therefore, by mere detachment alone we won't be able to solve our problems. Along with detachment, we must have something positive to hold on to. So, it has been said in verse 374 of Vivekachudamani:

     Vairagya-bodhau purusasya paksivat

     paksau vijanihi vicaksana tvam |


     tabhyam vina n'anyatarena siddhyati ||


     - Learned one! Know that Vairagya and Bodha (true understanding) are two means, like the two wings of a bird. The ascent to the upper storey of the palace of Vimukti (liberation) is not secured by either of them singly.

     A bird cannot soar in the sky with one wing alone, it needs two wings. Similarly, if we are after liberation, then we need two things - Vairagya and Bodha. Bodha here means Brahma Nishtha. Both are necessary, if we want to reach the highest goal, which is like a flight to the Infinite. For this we must be fully equipped, not only with Vairagya or dispassion for things mundane, but we must also cultivate Bodha or constant attunement to our real nature. Only then can we hope for success. Thus we can have a practical formula. What is that practical formula? No doubt, we need Vairagya. We have to be convinced of the utterly deceitful nature of this world. Anything of this world cannot make us really happy. Abiding peace, lasting happiness, we can never hope to get from the pursuit of anything mundane. Therefore, we must practise introspection and try to withdraw the mind from the external world. We need Vairagya, but along with Vairagya, we need real Sadhana (practice).

     We must be ever conscious that this life is transitory and of short duration, and that one day we are surely going to die. No one is going to accompany us, not even our nearest and dearest relatives. It is only when such thoughts come to our mind that we would become serious and seek guidance from the scriptures and a genuine teacher to provide us with a Sadhana - a way of spiritual practice for attaining our goal. So Vairagya plus spiritual practice would lead us to the Goal Supreme. Both are necessary. It is often found that after getting direction from a teacher, an aspirant at first begins spiritual practice with great enthusiasm and eagerness. But as days and months pass by, that initial urge for spiritual unfoldment evaporates and fizzles out, so to say. Only those who keep up the original fervour, can reach the goal. This fervour will be kept up only if we have strong aspiration for liberation, which is technically known as Mumukshutvam.

     On this point here is another important guideline given by Sankaracharya in verse 29 of Viveka-chudamani:

     Vairagyam ca mumusutvam
     tivram yasya tu vidyate |
     tasminn ev'arthavantah syuh
     phalavantah samadayah ||

     - Only in the case of him, whose renunciation and yearning for freedom are intense, do calmness and the other practices really become fruitful.

     All things of the world are totally unreal. Unless we grow genuine dispassion for things of this world, we cannot achieve Moksha. The first important prerequisite is real Vairagya, but that is not all. To illustrate the point, take a table. It has four legs. Consider one leg as Viveka (discrimination), another as Vairagya (dispassion), the third as Shatsampatti or the aggregate of six virtues (namely, Sama, Dama, Titiksha, Uparati, Shraddha and Samadhana), and the fourth as Mumukshutvam (desire for liberation).

     Unless all the four legs of the table are in perfect position, the table may tilt. That fourth leg is Mumukshutvam. So it is said, only when one has the real desire for liberation, one's Sadhana becomes effective or fruitful. Hence, if we do not make progress in spiritual life, we can find the answer within: 'Am I serious about my spiritual life? Do I really hanker after liberation?' Swami Vivekananda in one of his lectures has said, 'Take care of the means, the end will take care of itself.' What is the end? The end is spiritual perfection, i.e., reaching the goal supreme. What are the means? They are Viveka, Vairagya, Shatsampatti and Mumukshurva. These are experimented truths and those who practise them will reach the goal. Therefore, we can say that our pilgrimage towards this goal will become fruitful provided we have real Vairagya and desire for liberation.

     So spiritual unfoldment, spiritual progress, does take place in a heart, only if it is watered by Vairagya, then we are to plough it also. Suppose we are to water a field for cultivation; simple watering will not do. We have to avoid by all means any kind of double movement. Now, what does double movement mean? The Lord has created us in such a way that our senses have always a tendency to possess or enjoy the outside world. But there are some people, intelligent people, who discriminate, who are wide awake, who realise in their heart of hearts that if they allow themselves to be drawn by different kinds of allurements of this external world, they will not then be able to reach the desired goal in this life; for, the senses have a tendency to drag us out from our inner world to the outer world. In our quest for the mundane, ephemeral so-called pleasures of the world, we forget that the world is a world of appearances and that it is not real. If we allow ourselves to be deceived by the allurements of the world and at the same time want to proceed along the spiritual path, we are guilty of what may be called double movement. If we are serious about our path towards the our final, lasting goal, then we have to make the choice once and for all. Our line of thinking should be in this manner: 'We have enjoyed the world in innumerable births. In those we knew what sense pleasures mean. Should we allow ourselves again to be cheated by this deceitful world?' If we do not want to be cheated again, then we must make a resolution to that effect and live according to that. If we do not do that and try to proceed on our pilgrimage towards the goal supreme, we are likely to yield to different kinds of temptations of this world. Then we will have what may be called grievous discord, which every aspirant should try to avoid.

     The next question is why this double movement? Double movement is there because of innumerable desires of the body and of the mind acquired through our past Каrmа. Is there any remedy? Yes. The mind must be subjected to a conscious and voluntary discipline. Mark the language. It should be a self-imposed discipline. Those who take to this higher spiritual path, the inner path, will have to face a struggle. Millions and millions of people on this earth do not face such a struggle. Only those who take to spiritual life seriously, are in for that struggle, because of our biological heritage, which is but another name for our past Karma. From biological heritage, we must go onward to the domain of divine heritage. Naturally, there will be a struggle before this is achieved.

     Listen to what Swami Prabhavananda, a disciple of the great Swami Brahmanandaji Maharaj, told the present writer: "When we were novitiates, we would tell Maharaj, (Swami Brahmanandaji) about our difficulties. Then he would say that every one has to pass through such a struggle; do not lose heart, do not give up the struggle.' Once you give up the struggle, then there is no further hope. But if you keep up the struggle, even if you fail, you can rise again. Progress is never in a straight line. Those who take to the spiritual path are in for a serious struggle. They will be up against different kinds of inner conflicts, and they should therefore be prepared to pay the price for it. Why? Ultimately, if we keep up the struggle, we shall be victorious. We shall realise our divine nature and consider ourselves blessed. So, ultimate victory is assured. But on the way, we may have to encounter a number of difficulties. If this is not done consciously, it may lead to some kind of psychological complexes. However, if these struggles are faced willingly, then there will be no complexes. Instead of suppressing and repressing our desires, we should try to sublimate them. Our desires are to be given a Godward direction. That is what is meant by voluntary spiritual discipline. Without doing that, if we only suppress and repress the many kinds of desires in us, we shall have to face many undesirable consequences. Some would say therefore: if you have a desire, fulfil it. But there is a great danger in this. We may get into the great whirlpool of worldly life and find it difficult to extricate ourselves from it for a long time, even for the whole of this life. It is better and safer to adopt another method. We should take a philosophical attitude. What does this mean? The external world, according to Vedanta, means five things - Nama (name), Rupa (form), Asti, Bhati, Priya (existence, knowledge, bliss). If we can continuously eliminate name and form, then we perceive the omnipresence of Brahman - Asti, Bhati, Priya or existence, knowledge, bliss absolute. We are so many in this room. Basically and intrinsically, we are all divine. Swami Vivekananda says, 'Each man is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest the divinity within.' We are all of the same stuff, absolutely of the same stuff - pure consciousness. The difference between us is just in name and form. This truth is what our ancient rishis discovered in their transcendental mystical realisation. Anything animate or inanimate in the universe consists of five things; it exists (Asti), it is revealed (Bhati), it is pleasing (Priya), and it has a name (Nama) and form (Rupa). Now, if we go on eliminating the name and form, we are all of the same stuff. So we have to practise this daily. A devotee meditates and then comes out of his meditation cell and has to mix with hundreds of people of this world. So many types of attractions and allurements are there. Through the grace of God, if Vichara (discrimination) can be kept up, then one can be established in one's real nature in unity, by denying name and form, i.e., multiplicity. So, if we can eliminate name and form as an external layer, then we can realise the substratum, i.e., Sat-Chit-Ananda. If we have that attitude, then the entire universe will be seen to be pervaded by the omnipresence of Brahman. Then we are safe. This will give a right direction to our Antahkarana. We shall be able to avoid all kinds of mistakes and pitfalls and shall no longer be deceived by the world. Only in the Infinite lies real bliss.

     Once we are persuaded that the same ultimate reality is here, there and everywhere, then because of its omnipresence, whenever we are about to make any mistake, we are sure to remember that we can deceive the world but we cannot deceive that all-knowing God, our real Self. There is another advantage in this. If it is a fact that God is always with us, in us, outside us, everywhere, then even if I am going to make mistakes, even if I have hundreds of evil desires in me which want to pull me down, even then I can unload my mind to the indwelling Lord, saying, 'Oh Lord, You have created me in such a way that I cannot but run after the pleasures of the world. There are such horrible Samskaras in me that I feel there is no hope for me. But as my indwelling Lord, You are conscious of all my failings and shortcomings. Unless You give me strength enough to overcome all my weaknesses and imperfections, there is no hope for me.' So, if we have faith in the guidance of the omnipresent Brahman, we are safe. If we are going to make any mistake, immediately this thought should come, 'Well, I can deceive the world, but not God. I am helpless, О Lord! I run after so many things of the world. I am going to commit the same mistakes; so come to my rescue. You alone know of what stuff I am made.' Then the Lord will certainly come to our help.

     Also, different kinds of unwelcome thoughts come to our mind as if they are bubbling up to the conscious layers. If this happens, we should not lose heart. These are indications that we are continuing further in the process of purification. These are indications that perhaps in the subconscious layer of our mind, there are many neglected corners. No real transformation is possible, if we are just in superficial contact with Reality. We are to get into the innermost recesses of our beings. We have to direct our attention to the depths of our being. Just a tiny bit of light enters our mind when going into meditation and all the dirt and filth consisting of various kinds of evil impressions are pushed to the background into some corner of the mind for the time being. When we come out of meditation, again they come to the surface. So we are to take steps for the removal of all the dirt that lies in the nooks and comers of our mind.

     Now, sometimes we try to achieve mastery over the mind and establish control over the senses. But this should not be mistaken as inner transformation. Inner transformation, according to the Bhagavad Gita, will not be complete if we have only external control of the mind. What is needed is internal control. Let me refer to verse 59 of the chapter 2 of the Bhagavad Gita.


     Visaya vinivartante

     niraharasya dehinah |

     rasa-varjam raso'py asya

     param drstva nivartate ||

     - The objects of senses turn away from the embodied soul who abstains from feeding them, but the taste for them remains. Even the taste turns away when the Supreme is seen.

     Now, in this verse of the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna explains the difference between outer abstination and inner control or inner renunciation. There may be some of us who can reject the sense objects, but there may still be lurking desires in our mind to posses those very objects. Outwardly, we may reject but inwardly there may be hankering. That means only outward control, and not inner control, has been achieved. If we want to reach the final goal, with outer or external control alone we are hopelessly mistaken. Until we have achieved inner control, sense objects recede for the time being. But the taste for them remains as lurking desire. However in the case of one who has reached the goal, of one who is established in the substratum behind the world of name and form - from his mind even the lurking desires go once for all. Even the taste (Rasa or the lurking desire or attachment to enjoy the sense objects) turns away when the Supreme Self is seen. So when we speak of external control and inner control, we should remember this important verse of the Gita.

     Another verse, the next one (2.60) also contains a warning for those who are careful and vigilant enough, including wise persons who want to practise control of both kinds, the external and the internal. The senses, it is said, are so violent and turbulent that they may carry us away and cause a spiritual fall of even a striving aspirant:

     Yatato hy api Kaunteya
     purusasya vipascitah |
     indriyani pramathini
     haranti prasabham manah ||


     - The impetuous senses, О Arjuna, of even a learned man who strives, forcibly drive the mind astray.

     We are not only to control all the senses, but we are to remain steadfast and live an integrated life. We should be exclusively and deeply devoted to our real self and reject as poison all that is non-self. So here is a warning. The senses are so turbulent that they are always about to overpower and devour us. Even wise people who take to the spiritual path may fail. So, we must be very, very careful.

     Again coming to the distinction between external and internal renunciation, in the case of external renunciation, one renounces the world and goes to a cave or to a forest, but if one does not renounce the world internally, then there will be attachment and craving for sense objects wherever one may go. The mind will be cheated and deceived by various sense objects. Therefore, external renunciation is not of any consequence if it is not followed by what is called inner renunciation. Whatever might be our station in life, if we want to follow the ideal of external and internal renunciation, we must be very vigilant and pay constant attention to our ideal. We must have a firm grip on our ideal. We must strictly adhere to the goal supreme. Otherwise, no one will be able to save us. In this connection, it will be relevant to refer to a conversation that took place in the Dakshineswar Kali temple between Sri Ramakrishna and one householder disciple. The question that was put to Sri Ramakrishna was this, 'Sir, can we not realise God without complete renunciation?' (complete means both external and internal). Sri Ramakrishna, who was the embodiment of compassion and mercy, replied with words of assurance to that householder disciple. Though he addressed his words to a particular householder disciple, what he said is meant for all of us. Sri Ramakrishna said, 'Of course, you can. Why should you renounce everything? You are all right, as you are following the middle path. I tell you the truth. There is nothing wrong in your being in the world. But you must direct your mind towards God. Otherwise you will not succeed. Do your duty with one hand and with the other hold on to God. After the duty is over, you must hold on to God with both hands.'

     Note the emphasis on the word 'must'. We must direct our mind to God, otherwise we shall not succeed. 'Bondage is of the mind and freedom is also of the mind.' A man is free is he constantly thinks: 'I am a free soul. How can I be bound whether I live in the world or in the forest? I am a child of God, the King of Kings. Who can bind me?' By repeating with grit and determination, 'I am not bound, I am free,' one really becomes so - one really becomes free.

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International Yoga Day 21 June 2015
International Yoga Day 21 June 2015







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