Yoga Sutras Study – 1.15

1.15

Drsta anusravika visaya vitrsnasya vasikarasamjna

 

Renunciation is the practice of detachment from desires.

 

Detachment means letting go. One sees and hears, but there is no craving to possession, or attachment for the objects. In mundane life, we have so many desires and spend a lot of time imagining how desirable or happy it would be if we could possess something. However, we are not aware that we have been continuously confusing about the source of happiness. What is the actual source of happiness?

 

Think about the movies that are shown in a particular cinema. Every day, there are many movies on showing, love stories, fantasy movies, horror movies, etc.. Each movie takes its audients to a different emotional level, we laugh and cry as the story goes. Are the stories real? Do we realize that the movies are just projections projected onto the screen? And the only real object, the screen, remains unaffected by whatever movie projected on it. Our desires or cravings are like the movies, one after one, keep popping up. In daily life, we see our desires rather than reality. We do not realize that desires come and go with nothing left behind and we tend to ignore the fact that true source of unconditional bliss is within. The   

 

Realizing desires and cravings are illusion, but detachment cannot be achieved immediately. Patanjali mentioned there are five stages of detachment. Firstly, one should begin with detachment towards objects experienced through the five senses. Secondly, one should burn all the desires which prevent him from approaching the true self, the soul. The third stage is to bring the mind one-pointed towards self realization. After that, indifference is to be developed towards all objects. Lastly, one will achieve renunciation and free himself from all gunas, i.e. sattva, rajas and tamas. At this stage, the objects seen and heard are just like clouds in the sky, passing by with no disturbance.

 

To achieve the state of detachment, willpower is required. The Sadhaka has to constantly remind himself to let go the cravings and desires, not to get caught in the pleasures and comforts in life. At the same time, one should gradually establish the indifference concept between success and failure, gain and loss, pleasure and pain, etc. Through practice, we can see through all the dirt on the mirror, realize what is the true self.