VairAgyA – The Treasure of the Spiritual Aspirant

Sri Gurubhyo Namaha

A spiritual aspirant is one who is consciously seeks unconditional happiness in one’s life, which is also known as Knowledge of God or Knowledge of one’s own Atman or MokshA.

This knowledge is to be known with the help of a Guru who is already living his/her life according to this knowledge and knows how to teach it systematically.

Four-fold qualifications (SAdhana Chatustaya) is listed by the scriptures for the student to become qualified to receive this knowledge. They are

(a) VivekA (Discrimination between the Constant and the Changing entities)
(b) VairAgyA (Dispassion towards objects)
(c) The Six-fold set of Disciplines including shamA, damA, uparati, titikshA, shraddhA, and samAdAnam.
(d) Mumukshutvam (Desire for MokshA).

VivekA is discrimination between the one unchanging entity and all other changing entities. It is the knowledge by which one understands that “I am the only unchanging entity and the entire world, including one’s own body and mind keep on undergoing changes “. Knowing this fact, and desiring for that unconditional happiness, the aspirant cannot afford to depend upon the changing world for his/her happiness.

Thus, there arises in him/her the supreme quality called VairAgyA, the quality of Dispassion towards the objects of the world, starting from the objects of the senses upto the one’s own physical and mental conditions.

In the JnAni who has already known his/her real nature and therefore achieved MokshA, VairAgyA is naturally manifest as complete indifference towards the pleasures and pains of this world. Thus besides JnAnis being SanyAsis or great Rishis, we also find in the scriptures JnAnis like Janaka MaharAja who did not feel the necessity to give up their kingship externally, as they are completely indifferent to the enjoyments and the pains arising from their grandiose lives also.

In the aspirant who is yet to completely understand the Guru’s teaching, supreme VairAgyA becomes manifest as complete distaste towards the objects of the world. The aspirant must very consciously try to avoid objects which are purely meant for one’s own pleasure. The aspirant should use the objects of the world as little as possible only to the extent necessary, with the awareness of purpose that he/she wants unconditional happiness which is not available through these objects. This conscious moving away from the worldly objects is very much essential because the aspirant could still be in a stage where the mind is still swayed by the objects of the world, and therefore associating with them repeatedly means one could still slip from the path to MokshA.

This VairAgyA which follows from VivekA can be viewed as the most crucial qualification to be earned for MokshA, for without acquiring it, any amount of listening to the words of the Guru will not help the aspirant. The mind which seeks unconditional happiness cannot also be involved in aspiring for happiness from the petty things of the changing world. Also, if such a mind listens to the Guru teaching, there is a possibility of completely misinterpreting them and falling deeper into ignorance and misery that one wanted to avoid in the first place. Therefore it becomes supremely important to cultivate this important and difficult qualification called VairAgyA.

It is with the aim of acquiring this VairAgyA (however much slowly) that this series is started. All are encouraged to post whatever stories, snippets, scriptural verses, experiments and experiences that they might have learnt/had on the journey of acquiring and practising this VairAgyA.



    • Hi Sharada,

      I read the article. Unfortunately or fortunately the only basis I have for relating to it is traditional Advaita. So though I can relate some of the concepts and SAdhanA to what I know, I don’t believe in the “necessity” of the mental journeys or the experiences advocated in the link.

      Traditional Advaita is not a path of UpAsanA or YogA. It is simply a matter of learning to grasp intellectually what the teacher is telling. Not very different from grasping mathematics or physics, except that it is about oneself.

      The qualified student (mumukshu) who is a vairaagi and has tried every door either in this life or the previous ones finally comes to a teacher who teaches him that there is no more journey to be undertaken for happiness or Moksha. Moksha cannot be an event in the future for what comes in the future will go away at a later time.

      So Moksha should be Eternal and one’s own real nature which has really never left one. All that is left to be understood is how the error of Bandha (bondage) has been assumed and why it is not true. This understanding comes through the Guru’s teachings. Through the correct understanding of mere words.

      The Maharshi too points this out in every one of his talks. As you will know his first question to every one who says “I am suffering” was “Who is this “I” being referred to?”. Therefore he kept on pointing out that Bandha was not “real” as it was assumed. It is there to the body and mind but never to the “I” which is always free and always infinite. People who could understand it understood their own Eternal Moksha Swaroopa and remained in peace. People who didn’t went on journeys, either physical or mental. Finally everyone comes to the same conclusion put so nicely by GaudapAdAchAryA.

      ” na nirodho na cotpattir na baddho na ca sādhakaḥ
      na mumukṣur na vai mukta ity eṣā paramārthatā ”

      ” There is neither destruction nor creation, neither bondage nor liberation, neither the spiritual aspirant nor the liberated one, this alone is the Ultimate Truth (Paramaartha Satya) ” [ My free translation ] .

      Edji also echos a somewhat similar (though not exact) sentiment –

      ” The model was only useful as a pointer, a suggestion of a sequence of experiences he would pass through on the way to the ultimate Self-Realization. The model is not real, but was a crutch used to attain an understanding of his nature as the Absolute.”

      Finally it is this

      (1) What is Seen is Unreal and Changing, it does NOT matter what it is – whether it be auras, or bright lights or colours, or images of deities or Buddhas or Rishis, or whether it be the mundane occurrences of daily life, food, traffic, the sun and the moon, the thoughts in one’s minds, happiness and sadness, etc.

      (2) What is the Essence of the Seer, that alone is Real and Unchanging. It is also Infinite and forms the Basis of all experiences and all things which are seen and not seen.

      The steadfast mental adherence to this fact is called Jnaana Nishta or Jnaanam itself. It renders supreme and unchanging peace and happiness which really never left or never was gained newly.


  1. Thank you for taking time to read Prasad! My path is set and I have a Guru guiding me now. Mental suggestion and intellectual knowing alone has never been my path. I am more of the heart. But in real I don’t find a conflict in all these paths. For the truth is something I do not know for sure yet. My mind or intellect have not been consistent or perefect tools that reflect truth or eternal joy thus far.

    Continue the good work of posting in the blog.
    Have a nice journey!!


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