Babaji, could you please define dispassion?
It means “without passion.” But the term dispassion in yogic
language is more subtle. We translate it as dispassion, but the term is
vairagya. Rag is the attachment which connects us to every object. Vi =
without. So dispassion means “without that attachment that connects us to
every object.” You have a child and you love your child. It's natural. In
a state of vairagya, your love doesn't change. Your duty doesn't change.
But the mind understands that your connection is only an idea. How we
create an idea which appears very real? In marriage, what makes two people
wife and husband? When they divorce, what breaks? That idea. So it's only
mental conditioning and de-conditioning.
Why was Arjuna's desire to know God not
directly seeking for God?
Because it was out of fear that he wanted to know God. In
reality, God is known by dispassion for the world. His attachment to his
family and friends possessed his mind and he was afraid that they all will
get killed. So he wanted to renounce the world and live like a recluse.
Is it true that the only way to know God is
through dispassion and not through fear?
There are four conditions out of which a person seeks for God.
1) Arta or out of pain which includes fear. 2) Artharti or desire for
worldly prosperity. 3) Jigyansu or out of desire to know God. 4) Jnani or
one who has knowledge of God principle. Dispassion is in all four
conditions in degrees.
Can a person feel dispassion and compassion
Compassion is our nature. It is blocked by the ego and develops
when the mind is pure. The mind is purified by dispassion. Compassion
means deep sympathy for the sufferer. Because we have experience of
sufferings and we understand the sufferings of others, so we develop
compassion. But it is still a lower type of compassion. The highest
compassion is with dispassion. We are not attached to the act of
compassion. It automatically happens.
How can one develop dispassion or a
disinclination to be attracted to the world?
How do you get attached to the world? When our senses enjoy the
world, they create an illusory reality of the world and, hence, get
attached to it. By understanding that in the absence of sensual pleasures,
there is pain, we remove ourselves from that momentary pleasure. That is
In Patanjali's Yoga Sutras it says that in
order to achieve dispassion we have to shun desire for experience. What is
a good way to approach this? Should we take the attitude of “it is my
One can also find fault in the object of desire in order to
weaken the desire for the world. Think how it ends up causing pain. For
example, wealth: it is an attachment. It creates fear of losing, being
stolen. But you can still deal with it without attachment, like a bank
manager deals with money as his duty and doesn't develop attachment to it.
In the same way, when the mind is not attached to worldly activities, but
still must be engaged in activities, it will not harm. Non- attachment
Is vairagya (dispassion) created by
understanding or by practicing austerity?
1) Knowledge of reality is viveka. 2) Detachment from unreal is
vairagya. When you attain knowledge of reality, you become detached from
the unreal. They both develop simultaneously. But when we say develop
vairagya, or detachment, we mean developing good qualities which will
remove bad qualities. Austerities are practiced to weaken desires for the
world. When the desire for the world is weakened the mind automatically
I'm wondering whether it is appropriate for
Westerners to focus on death and dying as a method of learning dispassion
toward the body.
Death creates dispassion in any person in any country. It's a
reality of life which is seen. We struggle for our whole lives for
possessions, for pleasure, and for self-gratification. And then what do we
see? A person is dead.
© 1995 Sri Rama
Publishing To the Index