You are here :

Therefore, by cultivating non-attachment we spare ourselves a good deal of frustration, disappointments, anger, anxiety etc. The obvious mistake we often make is to equate non-attachment with abnegation. Non-attachment means to renounce the dynamics of attachment to anything or anyone, not to renounce contact or relationship. Whereas, abnegation is to reject wholesale any contact with the objects. Yoga, especially Bhakti Yoga, teaches moderation. Especially for those who maintain an active social life style, the tempered approach to life is recommended. This implies, to accept anything that is conducive to spiritual progress and reject everything that is detrimental. For success in all the above practices the Yoga-Sutra suggests three tools of application: lengthy period of cultivation, continuity without pause, and sincere devotion and dedication. Thus non-attachment is freedom from being a slave to desire, and this freedom makes one the master of his/her mind and thoughts and of one's destiny.

The mind is continually active, but does anyone of us hold the mind accountable for what it thinks, wishes or feels as emotions? We take its thoughts and speculations for granted, its wishes are our command to follow, and its feelings are absolute and always right. Never have we enquired into what may lurk hidden within these activities. He Vedas disclose that action is fuelled by motivation, and the intensity of motivation depends on the expected result in the end. Thus expectation is actually the impulse propelling all human actions. The tragedy however is that lurking within expectation is the seed of suffering. This point was poignantly presented by the Sage Dattatreya who recalled all that he had learnt from his twenty-four different spiritual mentors and masters.

One of them was the prostitute Pingala. Evenings, filled with excitement and expectation, she would dress to make herself beautiful to attract clients. Many times even late into the night she would not have had any client while the others of her trade were busy through out the evening. On these occasions, she became restless and agitated, frequently looking into the mirror to adjust her hair and dress. She became painfully aware of her age, of ephemeral beauty and youth. One day she concluded that lodged within any expectation is the seed of suffering and despair. The intensity of desire to have the expectation fulfilled waters the seed. Thus she concluded, by relinquishing expectation of any kind pain and frustration can be avoided. Henceforward, she decided to attend to her profession as a matter of duty, - a means to earn a living. However, on further contemplation she realised that this was only a fraction of the lesson life and nature of all things was teaching her. Because the mere grasping of the technique how to avoid suffering had limited use. It did not come in handy at all times, especially when she had to confront many obstacles at a time.

She finally understood that dissipating suffering and pain were not her main problem, or prime objective. Because suffering etc. are firstly, temporary and secondly a product of a mind held captive by duality and illusion. Suffering exists only in the mind. From this she learnt that suffering was a blessing in disguise that goaded her to further research. Thus, she realised that knowledge of the laws of nature, the functioning of this material energy and universe, of the natures of the human body, mind and soul, and the nature of the absolute, transcendental dimension is real knowledge that completely eradicates suffering and its original cause, ignorance.