The power to withdraw and be is bliss. Sri Sureshwaracharya, one of the disciples of Sri Adi Shankaracharya continues to sing with the other disciples in the Moha Mudgara—Bhaja Govindam to have the roots of the temple tree as one’s resting place, the earth for the bed, nature’s gift for clothing, giving up all holding of things and all enjoyments. To whom will not dispassion give joy?
The disciple was himself living such a life of a renunciate, wandering with his Guru and singing the praise of Vairagya. The only means to happiness is to give up and let go, he says. The word is very beautiful when it is split—Vi-Raga. Raga means attachment. When through my eyes I see a person, situation or thing, I get attached to it mentally because there is a ‘Like’ tag attached to it.
When I put my power and force on an object, it grows stronger because I have lent it the power and it begins to pull me towards it. In practice of Vairagya, I have no tags of Like or Dislike that attracts me towards something or repels me away from something. My mind is ever calm like a ship that is sailing in peaceful waters.
How do I practise this in my life? We get moment-to-moment opportunities. In fact, illness gives us an experience of natural Vairagya. When one is down with fever and cold, there is no interest to check and respond to that WhatsApp message which is nervously attended to, throughout the day.
There is no feverish browsing of social networking sites. Even the heat of the computer one becomes sensitive to and there is an urgent need to just experience simple fresh air. The hand can go for a hot cup of coffee on ordinary days, but when sick, even a glass of hot water can taste so delicious.
Practice can always be kept short, but continuous over a long period of time. In the words of Sri Patanjali Maharshi, our practices should be for a long period of time, continuously, respecting the concept we are trying to imbibe (very important as qualities we wish to cultivate are very sensitive.
They need to be approached with love and respect.) Vairagya can be practised for 48 days for one particular person, object or situation that we are unduly attached to, for just an hour daily. Withdrawal is joy and to realise that one has to practise it.
However, it is not so easy for all to take up such sadhanas and work on them consistently. For those of us who feel so and are also lucky enough to have faith in a personal God, they can place their practice at the altar of their favourite God. That is surely bound to be successful with help and support from an external force that is actually within us too.