Saturday, September 27, 2014

Satsang Bhavan Lectures, Message 9

Satsang Bhavan Lectures of Swami Sivananda

18. Vairagya / 19. Spiritual Discipline   

Today I will talk on vairagya. Vairagya is the opposite ­of raga. Vairagya is dispassion. Vairagya is detachment.­ Vairagya is indifference to sensual enjoyment herein and hereafter. It is the second item in sadhana chatushtaya—viveka, vairagya, shadsampat and mumukshatwa.
Vairagya is born of viveka, discrimination between nitya and anitya (eternal and non-eternal), sat and asat (real and unreal), tatwa and atatwa. Viveka comes through disinterested selfless service done in several births and through puja and aradhana, and through the grace of the Lord. From viveka is born vairagya. It gives spiritual strength.  
A man of vairagya has no attraction for the world. It is like a straw. So vairagya is a supreme inexhaustible ­wealth for aspirants. Vairagya produces concentration of mind, samadhana, and generates burning mumukshatwa, strong yearning for liberation or emancipation, or release.
Raga is attachment to objects. Wherever there is a little pleasure, there is raga. Wherever there is pain, there is dislike. Like and dislike are one. Raga-dwesha is also one of the important afflictions, according to Patanjali Maharshi. The five afflictions are: avidya (ignorance), asmita (egoism), raga-dwesha (like and dislike) and abhinivesha (clinging to life). First there is ignorance, the original avidya. From this is born egoism, asmita, and from asmita is born raga-dwesha, and from raga-dwesha, abhinivesha, this clinging to this life. 
Vairagya is of different types or degrees—mridu, madhyama and teevra (mild, moderate and intense). Intense vairagya only will help the aspirant to stick to this path. If it is of a dull type like smasana vairagya or prasava vairagya, the mind will simply be waiting to get back the objects that were renounced previously, and the aspirant will get a downfall. He will not be able to climb again to the heights he formerly reached. So aspirants should be careful. Even though the vairagya is of a mild type, they should try to make it moderate and then intense. Vairagya comes through looking into the defects of sensual life. Sensual pleasure is not real happiness. It is illusory, transient, impermanent. It is mixed with pain. So again and again looking into the defects of sensual life, vairagya dawns. It should be strengthened through study of spiritual books, satsang, vichar and enquiry. 
Simply living in nudity and eating neem leaves, and drinking cow's urine does not constitute real vairagya. Vairagya should be born of discrimination, enquiry and Vichar. By these, the mind is weaned from sensual enjoyments and rendered thin like a thread—thanumanas—and then only the vairagya is lasting. Again and again you will have to make enquiry. Physical nudity and these external things will not constitute real vairagya. Real vairagya should come from enquiry, vichar. All these objects do not give us lasting happiness. They lead us into pain and sorrow. Such deep enquiry, again and again persisted in for a very long time, produces real vairagya. It is the real sadhana. It makes the mind introvert. The vairagya puts a brake to the extrovert tendency of the mind. Even if the mind runs towards objects, at once it will point out that there is pain there, that sensual enjoyment is the cause for rebirth and intense suffering. So the mind is terribly afraid, and gradually through intense practice, it is established in real, lasting, sustained, intense vairagya. 
Vairagya is of two kinds also: para vairagya and apara vairagya. Para vairagya comes after one attains self-realisation. The whole world then looks like a straw. That is intense spiritual strength. That is para vairagya. 
Without vairagya there cannot be any real spiritual progress. In vedanta it is the only vital, fundamental sadhana. If you have vairagya, all other virtues will come by themselves. Patanjili Maharashi says: abhyasavairagyabhyam tannirodhah—"The mind is controlled by meditation or sadhana and vairagya." They are the two wings of the aspirant to soar high into the realm of immortal abode. The same thing Lord Krishna also says: abhyasena tu kaunteya, vairagyena cha grihyate—"The mind is controlled by practice and viragya, dispassion, intense detachment." By vairagya, the mind is detached. He who works in a detached way, is not bound by karma. So it is aspirants' duty to cultivate this one virtue, or sadhana-anka, vairagya. 
Vairagya is, doubtless, a mental state wherein the mind does not run into sensual grooves. It moves towards atma, toward God. Queen Chudalai ruled a kingdom, and yet she had absolute para vairagya. Even amidst the temptations of the world, she had mental vairagya, through vichar and wisdom. So she was not affected in the least by the attractive objects of the world, even though she ruled a kingdom, whereas her husband, Sikhidwaja, went to the forest renouncing his kingdom, yet he was not established in vairagya. He was attached to the body, he was attached to the kamandal. A man may be attached to any one object. 
You see a vairagi. His whole body is smeared with ash, but he will fight for a rupee, if he finds you giving a rupee to another vairagi. This is his mental state. So, by external appearance you cannot tell that one has vairagya. Vairagya is a mental state. Sri Ramanuja does not belong to this extreme type of vairagya—wearing only a rope around the waist. He was amidst luxurious things, but his mind was not polluted. He had that mental state of vairagya, detachment, indifference, born of viveka. 
Lord Krishna says that He is not in favour of extreme asceticism. Karsayantah sareerastham bhootagramamachetasah, mam chaivan tasareerastham tanvidhyasuranischayan—"They torture all the elements in the body and Me also who dwell in the body." Lord Buddha also tortured his body, and later found out that there was not much spiritual progress, and then he came to the golden medium, the middle path. So we should go by the middle path always. The body is an instrument for attaining self-realisation. Especially in this kali yuga, prana lives in the bones. So you should not torture the body. Whatever is needed for the body, you should have. You should not expose the body to chill. God has given commonsense. So you should practise 'commonsense sadhana'. There is no harm in taking good, healthy, food. Every man has got a different physical constitution. Some may require nutritious food. Some strong people like bhumananda may take only kitchedi. You should use commonsense in your sadhana. If you are weak and you cannot sit for a long time in one asan, you can take a little chyavanaprash or some fruits. 
Generally aspirants say, "I have given up umbrella." "I take only one meal." Their whole sadhana is "I have given up shirt," "I have given up sweater," "I have given up shoes," "I live only on bread and dhal." Their sadhana consists in 'giving up'—give up this, give up that. Real spiritual life does not involve any giving up or taking. There is no giving up or taking. The only thing is you should not give too much leniency to the mind. If you are very hungry in the morning, take one or two iddalies and a small cup of milk. Vairagya is a mental state. But do not give leniency to the mind. It will hurl you down. Always be watchful. Be eternally vigilant.
At the present moment, there is a Swami Krishnashram in Gangotri. He is a great vairagi. For the last so many years he is living without clothing in the icy region, and he sleeps over the ice sometimes. Rao Bahadur Modi gave a very good description of him, sleeping on the ice. He found him to be a wonderful man and made him his guru. 
Avadhoot Kesavananda is another vairagi. He was living in Rishikesh. He was very much liked by Malaviaji. He always slept on grass. Malaviaji once took him to Mussorie. He refused to sleep on blanket. It was raining and Malaviaji had to bring grass for him to sleep. He was a vairagi. Vairagi is a cult. Our Ram Kumar belongs to this cult. They put ash all over the body and make the hair look golden, and they wear a very thick rope, of size used for drawing chariots. This is vairagya sampradaya. In Lakshman Jhula there is a vairagi. They do panchagni tapas. They have got a good physical body. 
There was another great vairagi, our Sendamangalam Brahmendra Swami. He lived on gomukha vritti. He used to take food left in the leaves that are thrown out by others after meals. 'Avadhootas' are naked people. They have no clothing or home. Real avadhoota is one who has shaved his mind of all vasanas. When all vasanas are destroyed, you will have manolaya. Brahmendra Swami lived a very austere life. He was Poornabodh's guru and Swami Krishnanda's guru. Once in his ashram, they prepared very good food, and Brahmendra Swami ordered the food to be given to cows. He used to make severe tests. Sankarananda is also his disciple. He had a very strong body and lived an austere life.  
Each one will have to do sadhana according to his constitution and strength. What one does may not suit another. 
Another swami with vairagya was Swami Narayana who lived in Swargashram. For some time he would take only milk, and for some time only dal. His blanket was only two layers of grass specially brought for him. He would not use blanket. The intelligent method is instead of using grass as blanket, have a small blanket. Vairagya is necessary, but too much of it will produce a dilapidated constitution. You will have no progress in sadhana. So use your commonsense and take whatever you want. This is my doctrine. Train the stomach in different ways. Lord Krishna says clearly that the food should be snigdha. You can take a little ghee or a little halva. He does not ask us to eat grass. We do not find report that Sankara lived on grass. In the next sloka Krishna says, do not take too much chillies, do not take too much salt. That means a little chilli is good for health and digestion. There are people in Ayodhya who live on chilli alone. If you eat chilli alone, you will not be able to take food for some days. I do not advise this sort of sadhana. You must train the stomach in different ways. For a week live on fruit. For a week live on halva. For a week live on kitchedy. For a week fast, live on water alone. Whatever you take, it must be digested. Thus, you will have no difficulties. Wherever you go, you will have perfect balance and your constitution can work under different climatic conditions and different kinds of food. That is called commonsense discipline. 
In our Ashram we have got vairagis. Swami Mownananda is also a vairagi. Chidananda is also a vairagi. Krishnananda is a vairagi. There is no world for him. There is no world for Swami Omkarananda. He goes to his table, studies, write articles. Hari Sharanananda, Hari Om Ananda—they are also vairagis. Venkatesananda is a vairagi. I only checked him in the beginning. He was sleeping on the floor, without clothing. I scolded him, and he came back to his senses. Our Mokshananda is also a vairagi. He never accepts even cashew nuts from me. He is a man of service—very useful man. A superman is Swami Satchidananda. He sleeps on the floor. His hands are his pillows. He takes a little milk, and a little fruits. That is all. He studies, composes books. He is rendering great service. If he wants to make his body fat, he can do it. If he takes curd and lady's finger, he can reduce the fat. If he takes milk, his whole body will be bloated. He has got his body under perfect control. He is a great vairagi. There are many other vairagis also. Vairagya is a great help to sadhana. 
How to develop vairagya? By looking into the defects of sensual life and reading vairagya books, lives of saints, Bhartrihari's Vairagya Sataka, and Vairagya Prakarana in Yoga Vasishta. These will increase your desire for liberation and your conviction in spiritual life. Sri Rama describes the disastrous effects of lust, wealth, the miseries of birth, infancy. A beautiful description is given in the Vairagya Prakarana. Everyone should read it. Everybody should study vairagya books. Advanced students should not think that they have attained self-realisation, and that they need not study these books. These books are important to neophytes, middle students and advanced students. You should study 'How to Get Vairagya' and 'Vairaga Mala'. If you are established in vairagya, the super structure of samadhi, ritambaraprajna, can be built very easily. Some of the important slokas if you can remember daily, it will be a great help to you. In Gita there are verses: anityam, asukham, dukhalayam, asaswatam. There are two hundred diseases for the eye. There are fifty thousand diseases or more for the whole body—two hundred for the eye, two hundred for the throat, and so on. In this beautiful body which we worship and adore, there are fifty thousand diseases. Sareeram vyadhi mandiram—'The body is the abode of diseases'. Anityam, asukham, dukhalayam, asaswatam, ye hi samsparsa ja bhoga, dukha yonaya eva te. In the early morning you should repeat these slokas. Then you can start your meditation. Indriyarteshu vairagyam, anahamkara eva cah, janma mrityu jara vyadi dukha doshanudarshanam—'Birth is painful. Death is painful. Old age is painful. Disease is painful'. Again and again you should meditate on these verses. If you have vairagya, your sadhana is over. Yattadagre amritamiva, pariname vishopamam. In the beginning sensual pleasures are like nectar, but in the end they are like poison. Too much sugar produces diabetes. Too much meat produces albumen in urine. Too much cinema leads to cataract, too much indulgence produces debility and impotency. 
janma dukham jara dukham, jaya dukham punah punah, 
samsarasagaram dukham, tasmat jagrata, jagrata. 
Birth is pain. Old age is pain. Wife is pain. Samsagara is pain. Samsara is an ocean of pain. Therefore, wake up, wake up. 
mata nasti, pita nasti, nasti bandhu sahodarah. 
artham nasti, griham nasti, tasmat jagrata, jagrata. 
This is a jati vada. Matri devo bhava, pitre devo bhava—is meant for those who have no vairagya. When vairagya dawns then: mata nasti, pita nasti …. yadahareva virajet, tadahareva pavrajet. The moment you get vairagya, you should renounce the world and come to Ananda Kutir before Sivaratri. 
asaya badhyate loke, karmana bahuchintaya, 
ayuksheenam na janati, tasmat, jagarat, jagrata. 
Man is tied by thousand ties, thousand desires and expectations and hopes and anxieties. But he does not know that he is advancing in age. 
'Vairagya dimdima' is a very great help to aspirants. Patanjali says: sarvam dukham vivekinah—"Everything is pain only for the wise." Even rasaswad is a hindrance. Once gets false satisfaction and stops his sadhana, thinking that he has attained self-realisation. Only in nirvikalpa samadhi there is the greatest happiness. All others are productive of pain. So let us remember all these points, cultivate para vairagya, real vairagya, born of viveka, vichar and enquiry. Otherwise, you will be half-baked aspirants. 
Vairagya does not mean that you should not wear a sweater. 'Commonsense sadhana' is very necessary. Doctors will say, "Do not take this," or "Do not take that." But if you have an inclination to take certain things, you can take them. Instincts speak aloud. They are your guide. Even doctors may say, "Do not take white pumpkin." But you will take it, because you know white pumpkin will give you strength and tushti. 
Vairagya is the only one sadhana. Not all other things. If you have vairagya, all other things will come—manonasa, tatwa jnana. 
May Lord grant you para vairagya. May you all be established in vairagya. It is the only vital, fundamental sadhana for all people to get themselves established in their own satchidananda swaroopa, whose swaroopa is vairagya, whose swaroopa is sanyaya, whose swaroopa is nivritti.
Behold, listen. Come. There is a way to the immortal abode. There is a way to the supreme happiness. There is a way to the fourth state. There is a way to the fourth dimension. Follow the way. That way is vairagya, serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realise, be kind, be compassionate.  

Today I shall talk on spiritual discipline. 
Discipline is necessary for keeping order and harmony in schools and colleges, in military departments. Discipline is necessary in all offices. Punctuality, cleanliness, obedience are some of the ingredients of discipline. Obedience is better than reverence. Obedience is better than sacrifice. 
In the spiritual path rigid discipline is essential. Then alone the different organs, mind, intellect and prana will be controlled. This will help in the attainment of God-realisation. The body must be rendered supple and must be under the control of the aspirant. If it is filled with tamas or inertia, it will become heavy, the aspirant will not be able to sit in one asana for two or three hours, but the body will be unsteady, and when the body is unsteady, the mind will be unsteady. Padmasana or any of the three asanas which are beneficial for concentration should be practises—padmasana, siddhasana, or sukhasana. One should be able to sit in one asana steadily for three hours. This will produce asana jaya, mastery of asana. When one is established in asanas, the prana also will vibrate harmoniously, and the mind also will become steady. Padma asana produces poise of mind. So, every aspirant should practise asanas, first beginning with five or ten minutes and then extending to half an hour and more, keeping the head and trunk in one straight line, steady like a statue. It is of great help to concentration.
You should practise other asanas also. Practice of bhujangasan, halasan, ardha matsendriyasan will keep spine elastic. The bones will not ossify quickly. Siras asana is good for digestion and in the practise of celibacy or brahmacharya. It supplies sufficient quantity of blood to the brains, bestows good concentration and develops the intellect. 
You should have ethical discipline—practice of ahimsa, satyam, brahmacharya (cosmic love, truthfulness and celibacy), asteya (non-stealing) and aparigraha (non-covetousness). You should lead a simple life. When there is ethical discipline, when there is ethical purity, then only one will be established in nirvikalpa samadhi. Ethical discipline is of paramount importance. It is the 'be all'. He who is established in ethical perfection will attain God-realisation very easily and quickly. The heart must be purified. In a pure heart serenity, tranquillity, tolerance, humility and divine light will descend. Ethical discipline, physical discipline, discipline of tongue, dietetic discipline, mitahara, (moderation in diet)—all of these should be practised. Half the stomach should be filled with food, quarter with water and the remaining quarter of the stomach should be left free for the expansion of gas and also propitiation to God. 
You should take satvic food. In Gita, 17th Chapter, Lord Krishna says: Ayuh sattwabalarogyasukhapritivivardhanah, rasyah snigddhah sthira hridya aharah satiwikapriyah—"Food should be bland, non-irritating, delicious, oleaginous (snigddha). It should be calculated to produce good health, longevity, cheerfulness and strength. This food is suitable for satwic people, who meditate." Too much of chillies, too much of pungent things, too much salt, fried things excessively sour things should be avoided. Stale food, remaining of food, (ucchistham), putrid food, should be avoided. It will produce tamas. You should take light food, not heavy food at night. Generally people fill the stomach at night. If you do so, you will not be able to get up early in the morning. Rice at night produces tamas. You will not be able to get up early in the morning. 
Aspirants should go to bed early by nine or ten o'clock and get up at 4 a.m., brahmamuhurth. The atmosphere is satwic at this time, and the mind is refreshed after sleep and is free from disturbances. You should fill the mind with sublime, divine thoughts—recitation of stotras, mantras meditation on OM, pranayama. So, go to bed early and get up early. This is one discipline. Generally people do not do that. They are in the club till 12 o'clock and get up at 8 o'clock. This is unfavourable for the meditator. The aspirant who wishes to meditate should get up early in brahmamuhurth. At this time the sages meditate in different parts of the world, and the aspirant gets help during contemplation. This is very important—trying to get up early in brahmamuhurth and starting kirtan, pranayama, meditation or enquiry into Brahman, practice of sravan, manan and nidhiddhyasan. 
You should practise mowna, discipline of the tongue. Speak sweetly. Speak softly. Speak gently. Speak lovingly. Speak truthfully. Speak measuredly. Speak with force, emphatically. You must practise pranayama. Then only you will be able to control the impulses of speech and emotions. You will have a calm mind. 
In Gita, you will find three kinds of discipline—discipline of the body, discipline of speech, and discipline of them. 
devadwijaguruprajnapujanam sowchamarjavam, 
brahmacharyamahimsa cha sreeram tapa uchyate. (XVII.14)  
Sowcham, (purity internal and external), arjavam, (straightforwardness), practice of ahimsa (non-injury and cosmic love), worship of gods and wise people and practise of perfect brahmacharya and the discipline of the body. No half measure is allowed in the spiritual path. Perfect brahmacharya, physical and mental, should be practised. Ahimsa is not only non-injury and non-killing, but development of positive cosmic love. Embrace all creatures. Love all. Serve all. Be kind to all. Then there is the discipline of speech. 
anudwegakaram vakyam satyam priyahitam cha yat, 
swaddhyayabhyasanam chaiva vangmayam tapa uchyate.  (XVII.15)  
Anudwegakaram—not harsh, not giving pain to others, truthful, pleasant, sweet, beneficial—this is the discipline of speech. Discipline of speech is very necessary. Man wastes his energy in gup-chup. This energy should be transmuted into ojas sakti. It is a great help to meditation. Anger when controlled becomes ojas sakti. You can move the entire world with the help of ojas sakti. Energy is wasted in anger and idle talk. So an aspirant should be very careful in conserving the energy, and transmute it into ojas sakti, which is stored in the brain, and which is a help for concentration. Swadhyaya, study of scriptures, also is a discipline of speech. 
manah prasadah sowmyatwam, mownamatmavinigrahah, 
bhavasamsuddhirityetattapo manasamuchyate. (XVII.16)  
Cheerfulness, equilibrium, silence, self-restraint, purity of nature—this constitutes mental discipline. 
Vigil is another discipline. You have got Sivaratri and Vaikunta Ekadasi. You try to keep awake at night on these occasions. Man sleeps more and through practice of vigil, he can reduce sleep and utilise that time for meditation. Lord Krishna says that the spiritual aspirant should be moderate in sleep, he should regulate diet, he should be moderate in work, in exercises. Do not read too much, do not sleep too much. Keep to the golden medium. These are the aids for the practice of meditation and living the spiritual life. Fasting also is a good discipline. Observance of ekadasi vrata, pradosha vrata, chandrayana vrata and krichra vrata are forms of self-discipline. 
In Japan they have got Nippon discipline, very rigid discipline. In the West also in monasteries belonging to St. Francis they observe very good discipline. They sleep on the floor. They observe silence. 
So, spiritual discipline is very necessary for keeping the body, mind and the senses under your control. Some people like moving about always. This is due to rajas. If you sit in one asana, this rajas will be removed. So sitting in one asana is a help to remove rajas. Practice of tratak, gazing on a spot or the Lord's picture steadily, will make the mind and eyes steady. When the eyes are steady and the mind is steady, you will have good concentration. These are the aids for bringing the body and the senses under control, for purifying the nadis, for purifying the heart and mind. And when you are purified, you will have very good meditation, and you will be able to rest in your own satchidananda swaroopa. So let us all practice spiritual discipline.  
He who has conviction in the existence of Parabrahman, he who has the conviction that he can find eternal peace in Brahman alone, will try to have spiritual discipline and try to control the mind. 
vihaya kaman yah sarvan puman charati nisprihah, 
nirmamonirahamkarah sa santim adhigachchati. (Bhagavad Gita, II.71) 
Peace is not an eternal object. Peace is not in accumulation of wealth. Peace is not in erudition. Santi is in that man who has given up mineness and I-ness, who has given up trishnas, desires, longings for objects. That man alone will have peace. Peace is not in a dark bungalow. Peace is not within the reach of all. He who has got vairagya, he who has understood the magnitude of human sufferings here, he who knows the real value of this earth, composed of the five elements, of colours and sounds, he who has analysed "What is this vast world of mountains and rivers and high posts in government," what this world can give him, and has got vairagya can have santi. The world is nothing for a man of vichar. He who has found out the real worth of this world, who yearns for liberation, who has understood that beyond the names and forms there is one eternal, everlasting Atman or Brahman—that man only will try to discipline the mind and indriyas. That man only will develop viveka and vairagya. That man only is the King of kings, atmasamrat, not he who is simply carried away by a little colour, by a little touch, a little nervous titillation. He is ever miserable who has not got viveka and vairagya—discrimination between the nitya and anitya, sat and asat, tatwa and atatwa. To a man of vichar the world is nothing more than a little bit of sensation and titillation of nerves. So let us have vairagya or dispassion. It is a mental state. Without it we cannot have spiritual progress. That man who has vairagya only is the strongest man. He has inner spiritual strength born of dispassion. He is the King of kings. So let us all try to develop discrimination and dispassion along with spiritual discipline, discipline of the mind, body and senses, and let us march towards the goal of perfection, of kaivalya, of independence. That is the goal of life, the summum bonum of life. Man forgets his goal on account of the forces of attraction and repulsion, because he has not strengthened himself by discrimination. Vairagya is real spiritual wealth, because it opens the door of intuition, the door of Brahman, where you will get eternal sunshine, everlasting peace and bliss, whose nature is satyam, jnanam, anantam, vijnana ghana, ananda ghana, chit ghana. 
So, let us gaze within, introspect within and rest in our own essential nature. Let us not forget our essential nature. I may remind you of the last word of the Upanishads, TAT TWAM ASI—Thou art That!