The kingdom of independence

When the yogi stops identification with the illusory perceptions of the body, mind and the intellect completely, that withdrawal gives the experience of joy.

Published: 28th February 2021 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th February 2021 08:02 PM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes

Whatever movement we experience through the body, vital energy, mind and the intellect—which are limitations on the human personality—we assume that movement and form are happening in us. Sri Adi Sankaracharya in the Vivekachoodamani hence asks the yogi or the seeker to withdraw from living out the desires through thoughts and actions as fulfilling them gives only a temporary satisfaction.

When the yogi stops identification with the illusory perceptions of the body, mind and the intellect completely, that withdrawal gives the experience of joy. The seeker experiences a blissful state of unalloyed joy. This state is not temporary as in the case of the joy experienced when we enjoy the objects of our desires. 

Glorifying the state of the dispassionate seeker who longs to be free, the Acharya says that he gives up attachment to any thoughts and feelings within and objects that promise to give joy without. With the goal of liberation in mind, he gives up all attachments within and without. Repeating the words of praise for the Virakta or one who is not attached, the Master says that only the one who is established in the eternal truth called Brahman is capable of giving up attachment to objects of the five senses outside and the notions of ‘I’, “I think,” “I feel,” “I like,” “I dislike,” “I am hungry and thirsty,” “I am short, tall, dark, fair, thin, fat, beautiful, handsome or ugly.” Every one of these is just a notion and a notion has neither reality nor permanence. 

Taking a cue from a concept in the Yoga Vasistha by Sri Valmiki, the Master here compares dispassion and discrimination between who I am and what I am not, as the two wings of a bird. If the bird has to fly up to the creeper called liberation that grows atop a bungalow, it is not possible with just one wing. It needs both. In the same way, to glide up the lofty heights of a meditative mind, the seeker needs the keen discrimination between what is truth and what is not, and the dispassion to hold on to the truth and drop all that is not real. 

What is the result of this practice of meditation with intelligent discrimination and dispassion? The Master says that the knowledge that happens as a result of this meditation is firm. Free of this bondage of wrong notions about the Self, the individual always experiences bliss within.

When so much has been said about the importance of discrimination and dispassion, the wise man for his own good will take up this practice beyond which there is no other source of joy for ones whose senses are controlled. Along with the knowledge of the Self, he experiences the kingdom of independence. Sri Adi Sankaracharya gives an alluring simile to the experience and says that this indeed is the gateway to reach the palace where the young girl called liberation lives.

The writer is Sevika, Chinmaya Mission, Coimbatore (; email:


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