Home Wisdom Articles Pujya Gurudevshri Pujya Gurudevshri Insights Dispassion and Practice

Dispassion and Practice

Since time immemorial, all endeavours to gain happiness from the world have gone into an abyss; happiness has remained ever so elusive. Pujya Gurudevshri elucidates dispassion and practice as the inevitable means to realise the Self and attain supreme bliss

Bliss is realised when the mind becomes free from thoughts. Just as reflection of the moon does not appear steady in turbulent waters, the light of consciousness does not remain stable in a restless mind. You can experience the blissful Self only when your mind retreats from the non-Self. To turn your attention within, you must make your mind still. In this stillness, Self-realisation shall emerge.

It certainly isn’t easy to free the mind from thoughts. Restraining the mind is like stopping the wind. However, the mind can be silenced through two means, dispassion (vairagya) and practice (abhyas). Dispassion is non-attachment to house, family, etc. while practice is turning sense-indulgent inclinations towards the Self. Dispassion can be cultivated by reflecting again and again upon the twelve types of contemplations, and practice can be accomplished by reflecting upon the knowledge of the Self. Dispassion makes the mind quiet and pure while practice helps it become single-pointed. Dispassion helps in removing identification with the non-Self, and practice helps in abiding in the Self.


The cause of ceaseless thinking is absence of dispassion. Dispassion comes through Guru’s teachings, and repeatedly reflecting upon the impermanence, hollowness, and unreliability of the world, body, and sense pleasures. Reflecting upon the twelve types of contemplations, you can cultivate dispassion towards sense-objects, and gradually bring the mind under control. As dispassion blossoms, the mind starts becoming free from desires and thoughts.

Dispassion leads to absence of thoughts regarding sense enjoyments. The activities of sense enjoyment are of four types – the thoughts about the sense-objects, the efforts put into acquiring sense-objects, enjoying the sense-pleasures, and the desire that the pleasures should last forever.

Annihilation of desires is possible only when the superimposition of the experience of happiness on sense-objects is removed. So long as you consider the non-Self to be the source of happiness, you are interested in acquiring and enjoying the sense-objects. But as soon as that notion is removed, you are no more interested in acquiring and indulging in them.

With dispassion, one no more has any hope from the world. Blessed is the one who has become completely hopeless regarding the world. You may wonder how a hopeless person could be called blessed. In fact, we console and encourage a hopeless person saying, ‘If not today, you will surely be successful tomorrow. Muhammad Ghazni, even after being defeated seventeen times, did not get disheartened and attacked for the eighteenth time and won.’

The word ‘hopeless’ must be understood differently here. It doesn’t have the general negative connotation of an unfulfilled hope; rather, it means that there is no desire arising at all; the realisation that it is not worth hoping from the world. This hopelessness is a matter of joy and not sorrow. Will the realisation that sand does not have oil and hence no matter how much effort you put in, you cannot churn oil from it give you sorrow or joy? Having realised why up until now, all your efforts have gone in vain and what must be done now so that they start bearing fruits, you have given up the worthless. Is this a matter of sorrow or joy? Desire causes restlessness. The cause of all sorrows is hope. Therefore, to be without hope is not negative. To be free from hope is to remove the cause of suffering.

Saints say that desire makes you a beggar. The moment desire arises beggarliness begins. Hope to have anything from the world and you have a begging bowl in your hand. You start pleading for more. Even if you continue filling it, your begging bowl shall remain empty. Alexander’s wasn’t filled, and neither was Napoleon’s or Akbar’s. This is a rule with no exception, not even you.

Horizon is just an illusion. You feel that horizon is very near and you will reach there soon. But as you walk or even run towards it, you realise that the distance between you and the horizon remains the same. In the same way, happiness in the world is just an illusion. The objects are real but they become joyful or sorrowful because of your mental projections. There is hope in the world only because of the ignorance within you. The objects and events of the world appear joyful to you even though your hopes have been shattered many times in the past.

The great detective Sherlock Holmes goes for a movie with his friend, Dr Watson. In it was the scene of a horse race. Watson says, ‘The black horse will win.’ Sherlock said ‘I hope so too, but the yellow one will win.’ The yellow one was lagging behind and seemed weak too, but very soon, it won the race. Watson was amazed and said ‘I agree you are world’s most famous detective but how did you know that the yellow horse would win the race?’ Sherlock said , ‘I have seen this movie many times.’ Saints say that you have seen the movie of this world so many times and yet, you hope for the black horse to win. Hope wins over your experience because your ignorance is very strong.

One who has given up all hopes from the world is an aspirant. This does not mean he has given up hope of happiness. But now, he endeavours to turn within for happiness. The mind that has thus become dispassionate begins to become pure, and is qualified to reflect upon the Self.


Practice is the effort of transforming the indulgent inclinations into those filled with the Self. Mind can be made still through constant reflection upon the knowledge given by the Guru that ‘I am existence, consciousness and blissful Self.’ One should remember it and stay absorbed in it. For stronger connection it is necessary to increase the contemplation on the Self, ‘I am the soul that is of the nature of supreme consciousness, separate from the body, illuminating the Self and the non-Self’ and decrease the thoughts about the non-Self, ‘I am a man, I am happy, I am sad, etc.’

Gold fallen in mud does not get spoilt. In the same way, the body does not sully the soul even though they exist together. It is as unbound and unattached to the body as lotus in the water.

With the giving up of identification with name and form when the intellect merges in the true Self, supreme bliss is attained. The armour of Self-abidance is such that no sorrow can ever pierce through it. Always keep this awareness that ‘I am not the body, etc.; I am the pure consciousness; the indestructible, unattached Self.’ Learn this from the characters being played in a drama.

There is an actor named Prakash, playing the role of Prahlad. While playing Prahlad, he doesn’t stop being Prakash. With his own will, he became Prahlad and also the enjoyer of Prahlad’s joys and sorrows. The cause of this becoming from Prakash to Prahlad is the guise. But, even after becoming Prahlad, Prakash can know himself as Prakash and can remain away from the joys and sorrows of Prahlad. In the same way, the soul, that has become a limited identity, upon realising, can experience itself by remaining detached from the joys and sorrows of the body.

You cannot realise the Self by merely reading or listening about it. Without the practice of the knowledge about the Self, direct experience of the Self is not possible. The practice alone matures and bears the fruit of Self-realisation. Constantly remaining focused in the Self and by repeatedly practicing the feeling of being the pure soul, the ignorance of the Self gradually fades away.

While practising, when the awareness gets tuned with the Self, when all thoughts get dropped, the Self is realised. Transcending the thoughts of the Self, the Self is experienced. At the time of the state of no-thought, direct realisation of the soul is attained. Thus with the practice of contemplation upon the Self, one attains its realisation and abides in the state of Samadhi.


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