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Utter (vashikara) desirelessness is called non-attachment (vairagya).

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.15: Utter (vashikara) desirelessness is called non-attachment (vairagya). http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-11216.htm#1.15 YOGA SUTRA
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2005
      Yoga Sutras: Sutra 1.15:
      Utter (vashikara) desirelessness is called non-attachment (vairagya).

      YOGA SUTRA 1.15: When the mind loses desire even for objects seen or
      described in a tradition or in scriptures, it acquires a state of
      utter (vashikara) desirelessness that is called non-attachment
      (drista anushravika vishaya vitrishnasya vashikara sanjna vairagyam)

      DRISTA = seen, perceived

      ANUSHRAVIKA = revealed, scriptural, heard in tradition

      VISHAYA = objects, subjects, matters of experience

      VITRISHNASYA = of one who is free from desire or craving

      VASHIKARA = supreme, mastery, total control

      SANJNA = awareness, consciousness, knowing

      VAIRAGYAM = non-attachment, desirelessness, dispassion, neutrality or
      absence of coloring, without attraction or aversion

      LETTING GO AND NOT TAKING ON: The simplest way of describing non-
      attachment is as the process of letting go. We gradually learn to let
      go of our attachments and aversions, systematically moving subtler
      and subtler through the layers of attachments in the mind. However,
      non-attachment goes beyond this; it is not just a practice of letting
      go, but is a practice of not taking on in the first place.

      NON-ATTACHMENT IS NOT SUPPRESSION: Non-attachment is not a mere
      personality trait that one practices in dealing with the other people
      of the world. It is very easy to fool oneself into thinking that non-
      attachment is being practiced when what is really happening is
      pretending to be non-attached. It is like saying that you have lost
      your inner craving to some object while inside you are longing for it
      intensely. Non-attachment is not a process of suppression or
      repression of wants, wishes, desires, thoughts, or emotions. It comes
      by the ongoing practice of awareness of the existence of attachments
      (kleshas, 1.5, 2.3) and gradually letting these weaken (2.4).

      NON-ATTACHMENT IS CESSATION: If attachment does occur (whether
      attraction or aversion), wherein attention wraps itself around a deep
      mental impression, the ensuing non-attachment comes from the
      cessation of mental clinging, not from a act of prying attention away
      forcefully. It is easy to hear of the philosophy of non-attachment
      and then mistakenly walk around lying to ourselves, internally saying
      something like, "I'm not attached; I'm not attached." This is not non-
      attachment. It is better to see realistically where our minds are
      attached, and then learn to systematically release that coloring
      through the external and internal practices of yoga meditation.

      NON-ATTACHMENT IS NOT DETACHMENT: It is not mere semantics to say
      that non-attachment is different from detachment. Detachment implies
      that there is first attachment, and that you then apply some method
      or technique to disconnect that attachment. It implies an act of
      doing something to cause the separation to occur. Non-attachment, on
      the other hand, means that the connection simply does not occur in
      the first place. Non-attachment is not a case of doing something, but
      is instead a non-doing sort of thing. It means that your attention
      does not grab onto that impression in the mind in the first place.

      LIKE TWO EX-SMOKERS: While the principle applies to all the gross and
      subtle levels, a gross level example will help. Think of two people
      who stopped smoking many years ago. One is still attached to
      cigarettes, and when he sees a cigarette, the craving begins. When he
      resists acting on that desire, and then let's go of the desire, this
      is the meaning of detachment. The other person also used to smoke,
      but when he sees a cigarette there is literally no reaction; the
      desire has completely disappeared at all levels of his conscious and
      unconscious mind. This is the meaning of non-attachment. The
      attachment is not released, but is simply not there any more; it is
      non or the absence of attachment.

      non-attachment applies to progressively deeper levels of our being.
      While we might begin with our more surface level attachments, such as
      the objects and people of daily life, the practice deepens to include
      all of the objects or experiences we might have only heard about,
      including the many psychic or subtle realms powers or experiences. We
      gradually see that even these are nothing but distractions on the
      journey to Self-realization, and we learn to set them aside as well.

      EXERCISE WITH VAIRAGYA: Vairagya or non-attachment does not often
      happen in black and white, either being there or not there. Usually,
      non-attachment comes in stages (See Sutra 2.4 on stages).

      To better understand non-attachment, it is useful to explore personal
      examples of both attachments and aversions (aversions are actually
      just another form of attachment). By writing on a piece of paper your
      personal examples (like the columns below), you can see not only
      currently active attractions and aversions, but older attractions and
      aversions, for which you've already witnessed and experienced the
      process of letting go.

      In the blank marked #:___, enter the degree to which there is
      attraction or aversion, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the


      Ideas, beliefs, opinions, people, organizations or institution
      towards which I feel an ATTRACTION that is not useful; I need to
      gradually let go of these attractions:

      1) ______________ #:___
      2) ______________ #:___
      3) ______________ #:___
      4) ______________ #:___
      5) ______________ #:___
      6) ______________ #:___
      7) ______________ #:___


      Ideas, beliefs, opinions, people, organizations or institution
      towards which I feel an AVERSION that is not useful; I need to
      gradually let go of these aversions:

      1) ______________ #:___
      2) ______________ #:___
      3) ______________ #:___
      4) ______________ #:___
      5) ______________ #:___
      6) ______________ #:___
      7) ______________ #:___


      Enter the current # (0-10) of that attraction or aversion that you've
      mostly let go of. Seeing those low numbers can help reinforce, or
      give insight into the process of letting go, of non-attachment. If
      you have let go of attractions and aversions in the past, you can
      also do it in the present and the future, and even more efficiently
      and thoroughly through the process of yoga meditation.

      Some OLD ATTRACTIONS that I've mostly let go of:

      1) ______________ #:___
      2) ______________ #:___
      3) ______________ #:___
      4) ______________ #:___
      5) ______________ #:___
      6) ______________ #:___
      7) ______________ #:___

      Some OLD AVERSIONS that I've mostly let go of:
      1) ______________ #:___
      2) ______________ #:___
      3) ______________ #:___
      4) ______________ #:___
      5) ______________ #:___
      6) ______________ #:___
      7) ______________ #:___

      WHAT TO DO WITH ATTACHMENTS: As you are reading this current sutra on
      non-attachment, it is useful to keep the perspective that the whole
      process of Yoga has to do with the mastery and integration of the
      fluctuations of the mind field, as introduced in Sutra 1.2. This
      allows the seer to rest in its true nature, the state of Self-
      realization, as outlined in Sutra 1.3. By also being mindful of the
      broad categories or clusters of sutras (as clustered on this site),
      it is relatively easy to see that we gradually need to stabilize the
      mind, weaken those attachments, and then start the ongoing process of
      letting them go entirely. In the meantime, we seek the direct
      experience of the Absolute, so that we might do an even more
      efficient job of letting go of the attachments. To better understand
      that process, take a look at the Chapter Outlines, which include the

      Efforts and commitment (1.19-1.22)
      Obstacles and solutions (1.30-1.32)
      Stabilizing and clearing the mind (1.33-1.39)
      Minimizing gross coloring (2.1-2.9)
      Dealing with subtle thoughts (2.10-2.11)
      Breaking the alliance of karma (2.12-2.25)
      The 8 rungs and discrimination (2.26-2.29)
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