Part 5. Vairagya. Dispassion in action

BKS Iyengar writes

Renunciation (Vairagya) is discriminative discernment. It is the art of learning to be free from craving, both for worldly pleasures and for heavenly eminence. It is training the mind to be unmoved by desire and passion. One must learn to renounce objects and ideas which disturb and hinder one’s daily practices. Then one has to cultivate non-attachment to the fruits of one’s labours.” [1]


Iyengar BKS, Light on yoga sutras of Patanjali, Thorsons 2002, p17

Taimni makes the following statement

Elimination of Citta-Vrtti by practising Vairagya alone, is like trying to stop a car by merely shutting off the gas.  It is better to apply the brakes which makes the car stop more rapidly and effectively’.

But.. Trying to still the mind, consciousness with Vairagya alone, whilst theoretically possible is not feasible nor advisable.  It is like trying to stop a car merely shutting off the supply of gas.  Why not apply the brakes and make the car stop more rapidly and effectively.  Herein comes the role of Abhyasa’. [2]

Taimni, The science of Yoga p 27

Geeta Sydney Lecture

In her visit to Australia in 2003 Geeta Iyengar made the following statements

‘First the Abhyasa then the Vairagya’

… I was after your shinbones so you were after your shinbones so the mind goes inwardI was after your shinbones so you were after your shinbones so the mind goes inward

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Reference below from Alan Goode Web Article on Twin Pillars

Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras revolve around the workings of the mind and the way the mind becomes attracted and attached to things. It outlines the way to break this link and gain freedom from desire and attachment as well as from aversion and fear. The practices of yoga are examples of watching how the mind interacts with objects whether they be intense sensation or thoughts. Through the practice of asana and pranayama we learn to internalize the senses (pratyahara). This turning inwards requires that we discipline the wandering senses and direct them. Usually we have no choice as to what our senses gather – eyes see, ears hear, etc, but through the disciplines of practice our senses become engaged and often we stop hearing external noises and distractions. The senses steady and focus internally. In directing the senses we have had to do two things :

  • to focus the senses. (Action)
  • to let go of the way they normally operate. (Release)

Read the article by Alan Goode on twin pillars

Why is Renunciation so difficult?

For an average intellect, this yoga (Kriya Yoga) filled with action is easier than jumping straight into renunciation. BKS Iyengar

Desire in its two expressions of Raga (attraction) and Dvesa (repulsion) is a tremendous driving and disturbing force which is incessantly producing vrttis of the mind (I.K.Taimni)

Assignment here??

Reference from Alan Goode Yoga web article.  Twin Pillars

Patanjali observes that we experience the world through our senses (taste, touch, smell, sight and sound). All our experience of the world comes through these doors. In the second chapter Patanjali states:

“2:17. The cause of pain is association or identification of the seer (atma) with the seen (prakrti) and the remedy lies in their dissociation.”

The seer refers to that place within us that is unchanging (sometimes referred to as the soul), while the seen (prakrti) is nature and includes everything of the world including our own body.  This sutra describes that our inner discomfort lies in the way that we attach our happiness to objects and people – things which fade or pass, and the way to ease this torment is to see or experience the illusion intimately by studying its effects. The senses either entrap us in an endless search for pleasure and delight or help us to refine our experience and understand ourself. It is only by stilling the senses that we break their agitating effect on the mind and can find inner poise and peace. This is done by searching out the core of our being beyond changing nature. Through our senses we are pulled into desiring objects and wanting other. We become attached to worldly objects.”

Raga and Dvesa are two of the 5 Klesas – those things that are seen to be the cause of misery and pain.  

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