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 Yamas & Niyamas - Restraints & Observances
 Vairagya
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Herb

Canada
97 Posts

Posted - Nov 18 2018 :  11:43:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
I have a question for some of the more advanced practitioners here. Some, if not many, of the great Yoga master’s believe that vairagya must go hand in hand with meditation practise in order for moksha to occur. My own personal experience of having an awakening came at a time when I was practising self-denial, and following that initial awakening, I was doing some pretty extream self-denial and entered into a VERY spiritual time.

Here are two teachings by Ramana Maharshi on vairagya:

“Control of desire and meditation are interdependent. They must go on side by side. Abhyas and vairagya bring about the result. Vairagya is to check the mind being projected out; abhyas is to keep it turned inward.”

Q: Why is it that the mind cannot be turned inward in spite of repeated attempts?
A: “It is done by abhyas[practise] and vairagya[dispassion] and that succeeds only slowly. The mind having been so long used to go outwards, is not easily turned inwards.”

My question is does AYP share this view and, if so, what are thier teachings on self-denial?

Here is a link to an on line book on the subject for anyone interested: http://www.dlshq.org/download/vairagya.htm

The above two quotes are from “Conscious Immortality” by Paul Brunton.

Edited by - Herb on Nov 18 2018 2:50:59 PM

BlueRaincoat

United Kingdom
1402 Posts

Posted - Nov 18 2018 :  1:24:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello Herb
quote:
Originally posted by Herb
Some, if not many, of the great Yoga master’s believe that vairagya must go hand in hand with meditation practise in order for moksha to occur.


AYP's stance is that meditation is the core spiritual practice. Any other practice needs to be grafted on a solid foundation of regular meditation in order to give positive results. In the absence of meditation, most other techniques will generally be either ineffective or backfire. I say "generally" because there are exceptions. Some people do start on a spiritual path by doing a different practice, then add meditation later.

What is AYP view of self-denial?
AYP does not include self-denial in its system of practices.
That is because there are plenty of powerful practices that can be sustained without risking internal conflict. I understand self-denial worked for you, but many people would be unwilling to sustain the hardship. It could easily backfire, storing internal tensions and actually creating more cleansing work in the long run. Yogani's view is that, through meditation and other yoga practices, we arrive at a place where serving others comes naturally. Service then becomes a practice in itself, and we would not be denying ourselves while doing it, but be true and kind to ourselves while serving others.

Edited by - BlueRaincoat on Nov 18 2018 1:25:39 PM
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Herb

Canada
97 Posts

Posted - Nov 18 2018 :  2:32:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you Blue, note that I edited Ramana’s teaching. When I started this thread I went from memory. It took me a while to find his exact words which were only slightly different than I thought. And while looking for the one in question I found another so added that one too.

Edited by - Herb on Nov 18 2018 3:38:24 PM
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BlueRaincoat

United Kingdom
1402 Posts

Posted - Nov 18 2018 :  5:23:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, I see the change in your post. It does bring dispassion more into focus.

As you put it before, it seemed that you used 'vairagya' in the sense of 'renunciation' or 'self-denial', which could be a practice. In its basic sense, of 'dispassion', I see vairagya more as a quality arising from practice. It strengthens with the development of the Witness (or Inner Silence, as we call it in AYP). So as we practice meditation, dispassion will come, as a stage in our development.
quote:

Q: Why is it that the mind cannot be turned inward in spite of repeated attempts?
A: “It is done by abhyas[practise] and vairagya[dispassion] and that succeeds only slowly.


I would say that, in AYP, we would tweak that quote slightly, to read: "It is done by abhyas[practice], which leads to vairagya[dispassion]." And yes, it is a very gradual process.

With regards to turning the mind inwards, that, in AYP, is a result of practice too. In my experience, it has a lot to do with cultivating ecstatic bliss. The mind will turn inwards readily when extatic conductivity occurs. Indeed, with something soo enticing to turn it inwards , it comes a point when it will not wish to go anywhere else! (This is where grounding and self-pacing come in, to keep you anchored in day to day life.)

When you look at it like that, self-denial loses its meaning.
When you live in bliss, what does it matter that you forgo a few tiny crumbs of pleasure? Things that seemed necessary comforts and oases of pleasures in the past, will lose their significance. So 'denial' is not even a proper term. It might look like self-denial from the outside, but to a yogi with a few years of practice under his/her belt, it isn't. Not really.

Edited by - BlueRaincoat on Nov 18 2018 5:24:59 PM
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Herb

Canada
97 Posts

Posted - Nov 19 2018 :  01:59:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Awesome post! Thanks again Blue

I see your point, and relating it to my experience of awakening followed by extream self-denial, although the extream control of desires like lust, gluttony, anger, sinful bragging, retaliating aggressively when offended, etc, etc, etc, came immediately with the awakening rather than gradually, it wasn’t experienced as self-denial. I was suddenly experiencing so much bliss that, like you say, it didn’t matter that I was forgoing what had previously(to the awakening) been perceived as pleasure. Those pleasures suddenly lost thier pull, as I was then seeking the ecstatic bliss as you put it. For instance, I had a food addiction previous to my awakening that, over the years, had resulted in a LOT of extra baggage haha, but afterwards was living in so much bliss that I hardly thought of food after my awakening and, as a consequence, the excess weight just dropped away very quickly. But, where I should have felt weak during the weight loss, I was filled with energy and what Christ called “power” in Acts 1: 8.*

One very important point, however, without the teachings on purity and avoiding sins given in most, if not all, religions, I may never even have thought of self-denial before or maybe even after my awakening. According to Ramana and Christianity, the self must be denied via doing all we can to live a pure and sinless life. This self-denial does not, however, mean that we have to renounce the world and go live in a monestary or convent. It is an inner renouncement of worldly desires. As the identification with the Self or God-within becomes stronger and stronger, the pull of the self or ego towards worldly things becomes less and less. Jesus, Ramana, Ramakrishna and Gandhi for instance, were all celibates. To me, this has been the hardest thing to deny, but your comments on the overwhelmning joy of esctatic bliss obliterating other desires makes perfect sense. After my awakening was the only time in my adult life when I wasn’t indulging in lust.

As I read the e-book on vairagya mentioned in my first post and relate what I learn to your above posts, I will probably have more questions. Please check back here from time to time as I really appreciate your replies.

*as a side note, the “power” that came with the awakening was amazing. Here is the teaching given by Jesus, “When the holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power...” In Christianity, the holy Spirit comes immediately with your initial awakening or enlightenment. It is the “first of God’s gifts.” This phenomenon of power coming with the initial awakening is by no means unique to Christianity. In Kashmir Sivaism one cannot even be initiated into it by a Hindu preist without this “descent of power” which in Sanskrit is called “Saktipata.”

One other side note: speaking of ecstatic bliss. In Christianity we are taught not to seek the ecstatic bliss associated with blessings from God. We are to seek to love God for Himself alone and not for His gifts. To drive this point home, God often withdraws His blessings for a time to allow you to forget about the bliss and seek Him alone. This is called the “Dark night of the soul.” Does AYP teach that we should seek, or what you call cultivate, esctatic bliss in or during the practise of meditation? Thanks again.




Edited by - Herb on Nov 19 2018 05:19:46 AM
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Herb

Canada
97 Posts

Posted - Nov 19 2018 :  10:04:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
In my study of vairagya I found similar words to Ramana’s in the English commentary I have on the Yoga Sutras(YS’s). This one* has it: YS 1:12 “They(the mind waves or vritti) are controlled by means of practice and non-attachment.” YS 1:15 “Non-attachment is self-mastery; it is freedom from desire for what is seen or heard,” followed by the comments:

“Vairagya(Non-attachment) is the practise of discrimination...We gradually gain control of desire by asking ourselves: ‘Why do I really desire that object? What permanent advantage should I gain by possessing it? In what way would its possession help me toward greater knowledge and freedom?’

These questions show us that the desired object is not only useless as a means to liberation but potentially harmful as a means of ignorance and bondage; and, further, that our desire is not really desire for the object-in-itself at all, but only a desire to desire something, a mere restlessness of mind.

Non-attachment may come very slowly, but even its earliest stage is marked by a new sense of freedom and peace! And, as we progress and gain increasing self-mastery, we shall see that we are renouncing nothing that we really need or want, we are only freeing ourselves from bondage to the material world.

The ordinary undiscriminating life of sense-attachment is really much more painful, much harder to bear, than the disciplines that will set us free.”

The term vairagya appears three times in the Bhagavad Gita (6.35, 13.8, 18.52) where it is recommended as a key means for bringing control to the restless mind. It is also the main topic of Moksopaya or Yoga-Vasistha.

*From “How to Know God: the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali” by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood.

It’s interesting to note the different English translations of the Sanskrit word “Vairagya”; from the negative sounding “self-denial” to the less negative sounding “dispassion” to the rather neutral sounding “control of desire” all the way to the far more palatable sounding “non-attachment.” Also “discrimination,” a word I know well from the Christian practise of spiritual combat against sin, is mentioned. My take on it is: if one really desires liberation enough to develop vairagya, during it’s development, all these things must be come to terms with as the self or ego is overcome.

Edited by - Herb on Nov 26 2018 11:25:55 AM
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BlueRaincoat

United Kingdom
1402 Posts

Posted - Dec 11 2018 :  11:31:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hello Herb
quote:
Originally posted by Herb
Does AYP teach that we should seek, or what you call cultivate, esctatic bliss in or during the practise of meditation? Thanks again.


In AYP, we cultivate ecstatic conductivity in combination with inner silence(the witness). That is the formula for progress in yoga. We do not seek or get hang up on bliss. If/when it comes, fine. If it doesn't, that is fine too. Seeking a specific state, any state, is a hindrance.

Yogani points out more than once in the lessons that bliss occuring during sitting practices can be a distraction. His advice is to favour the practice because it is practice that leads to progress.

One word of caution about "overcoming the self or ego". AYP does not recommend this kind of antagonistic approach. We cultivate inner silence (i.e. "God the Father in christianity) and the energy ("the Holy Spirit"). That's all. Creating internal conflict by fighting or overcoming anything can be counterproductive.

Best wishes
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Herb

Canada
97 Posts

Posted - Dec 13 2018 :  10:58:17 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Blue
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