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KARMICvoyage by Alka Tyagi-freedom from attachment


‘Vairagya’: Freedom From Attachment 




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Buddha-photo by Shuchi Mathur

Photo by Shuchi Mathur; Copyright: Right Impact Media Inc.



Kabira Khada Bazaar Mein, Mange Sabki Khair

Na Kahu Se Dosti, Na Kahu Se Bair

[Kabir stands in the market place, wishes well for all; he bears neither  friendship nor enmity with anyone].

In our journey to our inner self, we have arrived at a point where we need to understand ‘Vairagya’ because we have realised  that it is  only through ‘Abhyasa’ and ‘Vairagya’ that we can make use of the energies of our mind to our best advantage in our lives.We have discussed ‘Abhayasa’ earlier, and it’s time now to dwell on the idea of ‘Vairagya’. 

‘Vairagya’ is generally conceptualised as ‘detachment’ .This is  only partially correct. ‘Vairagya’  is a state of  being where the mind is ‘free from attachment’. There is a difference when we say, ‘freedom from attachment’ and when we say, ‘detachment’. ‘Detachment' has a negative connotation and involves some kind of forceful suppression of desires while ‘freedom from attachment’ is a positive idea and involves transcending or going beyond the desire. We must understand ‘Vairagya’ in this perspective. Sage Patanjali states that ‘Vairagya’ is freedom from ‘raga’ i.e. attraction or attachment and ‘dvesha’ i.e. repulsion or detachment.


Lord KrishnaSri Krishna explains in the Bhagavad Gita how - ‘raga’ and ‘dvesha’; attraction and repulsion; attachment and detachment - are two sides of the same coin and are inherent in actions performed under the influence of senses. When any of our five senses get in touch with their respective objects, generally we react in two ways. We either like the object and get attached to it and desire it or we don’t like it , feel repelled from it and desire to run away from it.



Indriyasyendriyasyaarthe raga-dvesha vyavasthtau

Tayor na vasham aagacchet tau hy asya paripanthinau ||

                                              [Chapter 3, Verse 34] 

[Attraction and repulsion of the sense towards their respective objects is unavoidable (but) One should not be controlled by them as  they are obstacles in one’s path].

Krishna says that we should watch out when senses get attracted or repulsed with something and at this initial stage itself  there is possibility to be free  from  dualism of attraction and repulsion.

We have the option to remain un-attached and do the needful without any partiality towards one side or the other. 

Now the question arises , how can we watch out  if our mind is deeply drawn to something or badly  dislikes something . Lord Krishna gives a very logical answer in the last two verses of Chapter Three :


Indryaani paraanyahurindriyebhyah param manah /

Mansastu para budhiryo buddheh paratas tu sah  //

Evam buddheh param buddhava samstabhyatmanamatmana /

Jahi shatrum mahabaho kaamrupam durasadam //

[Senses are superior to the physical body but superior to the senses is the mind 

Intelligence is even superior to the mind  and That (inner Self,Atman) is superior than intelligence. 

Therefore, using the intelligence to understand the inner Self, Atman and controlling the mind by using the Intelligence, O mighty one, conquer this enemy that takes the form of desire]. 

Krishna suggests that when we are attracted or repulsed with something because of our senses’ association with an object then we should use the higher and subtler faculty to understand and to react to the situation.  We should check our senses by using  our mind which is higher and subtler than the senses . We should check our mind by using our intelligence which is higher and subtler than the mind  and  we should check our intelligence by using it to  know most high and most subtle that is our inner Self, the atman. 

 Buddha's dialectics

The Purnima of Vaishakh month is called Buddha Purnima as Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha, was born on this day. Buddha Purnima falls on 4th of this month. Buddha was born in a Royal house but he developed  such high degree of  ‘Vairagya’ that he left behind  the comforts and  pleasures of the Royal house.


He performed tremendous Sadhana-s to attain eternal peace and became a beacon of light to show the path of peace and kindness to the whole world. Let us remember the great Gautama who transformed into Buddha  with real ‘Vairagya’ and who through his  loving compassion has revealed the real and positive  meaning of  ‘Vairagya’. Happy Buddha Purnima!

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