Detachment: The Key to Pure Happiness
न संसारोत्पन्नं चरितमनुपश्यामि कुशलं विपाकः पुण्यानां जनयति भयं मे विमृशतः ।
महद्भिः पुण्यौघैश्चिरपरिगृहीताश्च विषया महान्तो जायन्ते व्यसनमिव दातुं विषयिणाम् ।।
It means “I do not see any happiness in worldly works. In my opinion, even the fruits of virtues are dangerous. Apart from this, by doing many good deeds, the objects of sensual pleasures that have been obtained and enjoyed for eternity, are also the cause of the sorrows of those who seek sensual pleasures in the end.”
This verse is the third verse of Vairagya Shatak, which is written by Maharaja Bartuhari of Ujjain.
This is the same Maharaj Bhartuhari who, seeing the beauty of his wife wrote saundrya shatak (hundred verses to describe beauty), seeing the infidelity of the same wife, he wrote a hundred verses of vairagya shatak, a hundred verses which led many divine souls to detachments from worldly desires.
So, the story goes as follows.
Once Guru Gorakhnath arrived in Ujjain. Bhartuhari gave proper respect to Gorakhnath. The ascetic guru was very pleased with this. Pleased, Gorakhnath gave the king a fruit and said that by eating this, he would remain young forever, will never get old, will always be beautiful and will be immortal.
Gorakhnath went away after giving this miraculous fruit. Since the king was deeply infatuated with his wife, he thought that if Pingala ate this fruit, she would remain beautiful and young forever. Thinking of this, the king gave that fruit to Pingla.
Queen Pingala was not infatuated with Bhartuhari but with the security officer of her kingdom. The king did not know this thing. The Queen thought that if her lover ate this fruit, he would be able to fulfil her wishes for a long time. Thinking this, the queen gave the miraculous fruit to that officer.
That officer was in love with a prostitute and he gave her the miraculous fruit. So that prostitute always remains young and beautiful. After getting the fruit, the prostitute thought that if she remained young and beautiful, she would have to do this dirty work forever. There will be no salvation from a life like hell. Our king needs this fruit the most.
If the king will always be young, then he will continue to give all the comforts and facilities to his people for a long time. Thinking of this, he gave the miraculous fruit to the king. The king was astonished to see that fruit.
The king asked her where she got this fruit. She said that the fruit was given to her by his security officer. Bhartuhari immediately called that officer. On asking strictly, he said that this fruit was given to him by Queen Pingla.
When Bhartuhari came to know the whole truth, he understood that Queen Pingla was cheating him. Bhartuhari’s mind was awakened by the betrayal of his wife and he handed over his entire kingdom to Vikramaditya, he took sanyas and left his queen and kingdom forever.
What is Vairagya???
If you were born and brought up in India, there is a high chance you’ve heard a term called “Vairagya”. It basically means the state of being detached from the materialistic pains and gains of the world.
Vairagya is a Sanskrit term meaning “Detachment“. Vairagya is the opposite of Raga (Attachment). Vairagya is dispassion. It is a state of being free of attachment to materialistic life. It can also be defined as the mental state of mind that lets go of all attachments that belong to the materialistic world. Letting go of feelings such as pride, ego, aversion, inferiority and superiority complex, false identities and fear, are all also associated with vairagya. It’s a state of being unattached to the tangible world.
There is a very famous kirtan of Niskulanand swami
“Tyag na take re Vairagya vina“
which leads many kings, scholars, saints and devotees to a desireless attitude and through that they opened the doors of salvation and reached to the final destination of birth and death, the Akshardham.
This kirtan is very influential in saving one’s self From this world, the world which is drifting in the flow of lust.
This was one of the favourite kirtans of our nation’s father Mahatma Gandhi, which led him to a desireless attitude. This kirtan was so dear to him that he has included this kirtan in the prayer book of his ashram and has sung it many times with other devotees and dignitaries in his Sabarmati ashram of Ahmedabad.
It is not enough to go to the Himalaya for Vairagya but it is necessary to melt the Himalaya of desires within you.
I believe that living in the constant chaos of this world gives us a better understanding of why all these materialistic pleasures are not the sole purpose of life.
It is said that the origin of suffering is craving. We mostly try to measure happiness with materialistic components. We think that we will only be happy if our lives head the way we planned or desired them to be. We keep forgetting about the higher purpose, the salvation, the Akshardham.
Is your favourite sport, favourite movies, food or your mobile capable of giving you pleasure for a lifetime???
No, I think neither these nor any Worldly material can do No single thing can make you happy for a lifetime. You won’t have pleasure from it for your whole life, you would love it but to a certain extent, their use will give you momentary pleasure, not lifetime.
Just one thing is capable of giving you a lifetime of joy, is detachment from the world and attachment to god. There are so many saints and devotees who have surrendered their lives at the pious feet of god and made their lives joyful.
How to Develop “Vairagya”?
By looking at the lives of saints, reading books on Vairagya or even an incident that you have never imagined(like, the incident of Bhartuhari) dispassion should be cultivated.
Attaining vairagya is the only way to achieve spiritual progress. Vairagya can be achieved by learning to discriminate between the essential and non-essential as well as by practising the art of developing the right thoughts, speech and action.
To attain true Vairagya one must understand that no one belongs to us and we belong to no one other than god.
King Janak’s Detachment
King Janak, the father of Sitaji, was the best example of detachment. He was regularly going for Satsang to his guru Rishi Ashtavakra’s ashram. Other saints at the ashram were a bit jealous of King Janak because when King Janak came into the ashram, their guru was more concerned with Janak’s satsang, rather than those saints.
Ashtavakra was well aware of their feelings. So, one day he arranged a way to take them out of that.
Ashtavakra was preaching to saints, and King Janak was also present. As the discourse was going on, a soldier came barging into the room, bowed down to Janak and said, “Oh king, the palace is on fire! Everything is burning. The whole kingdom is in disarray.”
Janaka got up and just yelled at the soldier, “Get out of here! How dare you come and disturb the Satsang and how dare you bow down to me and not to my Guru! Just get out of here!” The soldier fled from the room. Janak sat back down and Ashtavakra continued to speak.
A few days later, All of them were once again seated in the hall and Ashtavakra was giving a discourse. Right in the middle of the discourse, a helper in the ashram came running into the hall and said, “The monkeys have taken the clothes off the clothesline and they are playing havoc with the saint’s garments.”
All the saints immediately got up and ran to save their clothes. When they got to the clothes-drying area, there were no monkeys and their loincloths were still hanging on the clothes-line. They realized what had happened. They hung their heads down and walked back.
when they came back, Ashtavakra said, “Look at this. This man is a king. A few days ago his palace was burning. His whole kingdom was in turmoil. his wealth was burning, but his concern was that his soldier disturbed the Satsang. That was his concern.
and you, You are saints. You have nothing. You don’t have a palace, you don’t have a wife, you don’t have children, you have got nothing. But when you heard the monkeys come and pick up your clothing, you ran. But for that one cloth, without even paying attention to what I was saying, you just ran out to save those worthless pieces of cloth. Where is your detachment? He is having true detachment. He is a king but he is a renunciate. You are saints. You are using things that other people discard, but there is no Detachment in you. This is where you are. That is where he is.”
A person’s progress within oneself has nothing to do with what a person does on the outside, what is most important is, what a person is doing within himself. What you are doing with the outside world is just social; you conduct yourself as it is suitable for the situation in which you exist. It has social relevance but no existential or spiritual relevance. How you are within yourself is all that matters.
Vairagya just simply promotes why all wealth, desires, attachments or emotional turmoil that we go through on a daily basis are illusions and just a mind game. If you control your mind, you’ll win over every situation in life.
When we realize that all pleasures are short-lived and the body with which we are so attached is only temporary. With this realization comes the seeking for liberation from this bondage and the true desire for vairagya develops.
Like the cashier sitting in the bank knows that whatever money I am counting is not mine, it is just my job to count it. The money at my home is only mine, all millions or billions in the bank are property of the bank. Similarly, we should also think that all this is not ours. We also came on this earth to do our duty. our ultimate home is Akshardham. After finishing the duty of this life we will need to go to Akshardham.
This is the only thought of detachment that needs to be remembered throughout life.