Episode # 358 – What is real “VAIRAAGYA”? Sage Shaunaka explains beautifully!!!

In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of Sage Shaunaka’s accord to Yudishtra, wherein he talks about consistency in whatever we do. Many of us have this issue as well – We might start something good with a lot of fanfare, but whether we continue the effort on a sustained manner is something that we should ponder within ourselves to check. For instance, we might listen or read about some spiritual practice like chanting a Mantra. We might be able to appreciate the significance of chanting the Mantra, and we might even approach a Guru for obtaining the “Mantra-Deeksha”. However, after obtaining it from the Guru, we must chant the Mantra regularly, isn’t it? This is where we would falter! We might start chanting meticulously on day one, but as days progress, we might end up losing steam! After a few months, chances are very high that we might even forget the Mantra that we had obtained! This should not be the case, isn’t it? If we’re following a spiritual practice, we should continue doing it continuously without a break. Thus, the more we are consistent with our Spiritual Saadhana, the easier it becomes for us to get closer to Bhagawan. This is exactly what Sage Shaunaka is advising Yudishtra too. He explains that if Yudishtra meticulously follows the path of “Dharma” at all times, Bhagawan Krishna is always going to be behind him at all times. 

Moving on thus, Sage Shaunaka comes to the next important point here. He answers an important question: “What is real “Vairaagya”?” Here, “Vairaagya” means “Self-control”. Sage Shaunaka gives an important and an interesting explanation here. For instance, there is a very expensive item in front of us – Gold. A gold necklace that costs around Rupees one lakh. I do not have the financial capability of purchasing such an expensive gold necklace. Hence, can I say that I’ve developed the “Vairaagya” not to desire for such expensive items? Let us look at another example – I’m a very mediocre student and I struggle to pass my board exams in the twelfth standard. Can I say that I’ve developed the “Vairaagya” not to try for an medical seat? This is actually not “Vairaagya”. This is mere escapism! But what is real “Vairaagya”? If for instance, I earn more than five lakh rupees per month and if I come across an expensive gold necklace costing Rs. 1 Lakh, and if I move out from that place without even looking at it, this is called “Vairaagya”. Now I can say that I never desire to buy any expensive item for myself, even though I have the financial capability to buy it. 

Many of us grossly misunderstand this in our everyday life – We think that we can be happy and content if we have all the facilities in the world – A three or four bedroom apartment, three cars, five servants, air conditioned house, etc. But such things are all temporary in nature. One can never be satisfied with all these facilities. However, if we’ve to be really happy and satisfied with life, we should minimize our desires, which would lead us to buy all these facilities. The moment we’re free of desires, automatically our needs and wants would come down, which would automatically give us a lot of happiness and satisfaction. We should think about this very deeply. We shall even conduct a small interview with people with all the luxuries. We can ask such people a simple question – “Oh! You have all the facilities in the world, don’t you? Now tell me – Are you happy?” Most of the time, the answer would be “No”! These people would only keep lamenting that they want more and more facilities, or they might be lamenting that they are under a financial crunch because they’ve invested all their money in buying all these facilities! Or, some people would even go on to say thus, “Oh! I’ve invested so much money and time in buying all these items, but I do not know how am I going to maintain all these!” This is where the problem lies. Isn’t it a mere common sense that the more we buy stuff, the more we’ve to spend time in maintaining them? Is it easy to maintain a luxurious car? Is it easy to maintain a four bedroom apartment? We’ve to constantly keep dusting it, sweeping, mopping, etc. to make it look spic and span, isn’t it? Now if we do not have anything of these, we can save a lot of time which might otherwise be spent in maintenance, isn’t it? 

Thus, readers should spend some time pondering over this important point. Of course, I’m not saying that we should leave all our possessions and come to the platform. We shall have facilities as per our basic requirements of sustaining life. However, if we start going for “extra” facilities, this is where the problem comes. We would end up running behind those “extra” items forever, and this would indeed suck away all our productive time and effort! Thus, we should develop the attitude of “Vairaagya”, not to go behind luxuries beyond a certain point, even though we might have the financial strength to do so. This is real “Vairaagya”, and this is exactly what Sage Shaunaka explains to Yudishtra. Hence for today, let us understand this important point and let us ponder within ourselves as to how do we develop this “Vairaagya” within us! We shall wait till the next episode to witness this further! Stay tuned! 🙂 


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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