Babaji, could you please define dispassion?
It means without passion. But the term dispassion in yogic language is more subtle. We
translate it as dispassion, but the term is vairagya. Rag is the attachment which connects us to
every object. Vi = without. So dispassion means without that attachment that connects us to
every object. You have a child and you love your child. It's natural. In a state of vairagya, your
love doesn't change. Your duty doesn't change. But the mind understands that your connection is
only an idea. How we create an idea which appears very real? In marriage, what makes two
people wife and husband? When they divorce, what breaks? That idea. So it's only mental
conditioning and de-conditioning.
Why was Arjuna's desire to know God not directly seeking for God?
Because it was out of fear that he wanted to know God. In reality, God is known by dispassion
for the world. His attachment to his family and friends possessed his mind and he was afraid that
they all will get killed. So he wanted to renounce the world and live like a recluse.
Is it true that the only way to know God is through dispassion and not through fear?
There are four conditions out of which a person seeks for God. 1) Arta or out of pain which
includes fear. 2) Artharti or desire for worldly prosperity. 3) Jigyansu or out of desire to know
God. 4) Jnani or one who has knowledge of God principle. Dispassion is in all four conditions in
Can a person feel dispassion and compassion simultaneously?
Compassion is our nature. It is blocked by the ego and develops when the mind is pure. The
mind is purified by dispassion. Compassion means deep sympathy for the sufferer. Because we
have experience of sufferings and we understand the sufferings of others, so we develop
compassion. But it is still a lower type of compassion. The highest compassion is with
dispassion. We are not attached to the act of compassion. It automatically happens.
How can one develop dispassion or a disinclination to be attracted to the world?
How do you get attached to the world? When our senses enjoy the world, they create an illusory
reality of the world and, hence, get attached to it. By understanding that in the absence of
sensual pleasures, there is pain, we remove ourselves from that momentary pleasure. That is
In Patanjali's Yoga Sutras it says that in order to achieve dispassion we have to shun desire
for experience. What is a good way to approach this? Should we take the attitude of it is
One can also find fault in the object of desire in order to weaken the desire for the world. Think
how it ends up causing pain. For example, wealth: it is an attachment. It creates fear of losing,
being stolen. But you can still deal with it without attachment, like a bank manager deals with
money as his duty and doesn't develop attachment to it. In the same way, when the mind is not
attached to worldly activities, but still must be engaged in activities, it will not harm. Non-
attachment creates dispassion.
Is vairagya (dispassion) created by understanding or by practicing austerity?
1) Knowledge of reality is viveka. 2) Detachment from unreal is vairagya. When you attain
knowledge of reality, you become detached from the unreal. They both develop simultaneously.
But when we say develop vairagya, or detachment, we mean developing good qualities which will
remove bad qualities. Austerities are practiced to weaken desires for the world. When the desire
for the world is weakened the mind automatically becomes dispassionate.
I'm wondering whether it is appropriate for Westerners to focus on death and dying as a
method of learning dispassion toward the body.
Death creates dispassion in any person in any country. It's a reality of life which is seen. We
struggle for our whole lives for possessions, for pleasure, and for self-gratification. And then
what do we see? A person is dead.
© 1995 Sri Rama Publishing
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