Patanjali Yoga Sutras - Knowledge Sheet 11
Often people who have dispassion keep blaming the world. They are afraid of the objects of senses and keep running away from them. They think it is a big temptation. How can something tempt you if you are not under its control? The fear of temptation is worse.
Tatparam purusharakhyaterguna vaitrushunyam
Due to the knowledge of the Self, the person is in a higher state, being indifferent to the qualities.
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra #16
Once you know the nature of your being as total bliss, total pleasure, even the fear of the gunas, fear of the world and fear of the senses vanish. It is like a diabetic patient being afraid of sweets. Even looking at the sweet frightens them. It is forbidden. One who has found sweetness in oneself, whether sweets are there or are not there in front of such a person, it does not make any difference. This is paramavairagya or the supreme type of dispassion where one is not scared or running away from the world, but being in the world, remains completely detached. Centered. Do not even say the word detached, as it has been so distorted. Say centered.
People have very funny ideas about enlightenment
Every culture, every religion has its own ideas about it. In Christian culture, a rich man cannot be enlightened. It is impossible. You have to be in poverty to be enlightened. From the Christian point of view, Rama cannot be enlightened! Even a camel can go through a needle, but not a rich man!
Many years ago, once I was travelling from Bangalore to Delhi. I met a Christian priest at the airport. He looked at me and I smiled back. He came to talk to me and said, “I feel like talking to you, my dear brother. You seem to be a nice person.” He asked me if I believed in Jesus and I said yes. He was a little stunned. He asked me the question again and I said yes again. Then he asked if I was a Hindu. And I said, “Perhaps”. He then asked if I believed in Krishna and I said yes. He then said, “But how can Krishna be God? He is a butter thief. He was married. How can somebody be married and steal butter and all and be God? He is not the one who can give salvation. You know, Jesus is the only way. I was also a Hindu before and now I have become a Christian. From the time, I have become a Christian everything is happening. Jesus is taking care of me. I tell you, you better become a Christian.”
How can Krishna be enlightened? Jains do not think that Krishna is enlightened. He created the war. Arjuna was going to go away, take sanyas and renounce the world. Krishna brainwashed him and made him fight. Krishna was responsible for this huge war. How could he be enlightened? Stealing butter, having so many wives. Impossible!
Jains do not think that an enlightened person, sadhu, should ever wear clothes. Their idea of an enlightened person is one who walks nude. One who is not nude is a little less great. Who knows what will happen? What desires would come up in him? Whether they are free from lust or not, how would you know? What is the proof? Jain sadhus are nude. They do not wear any clothes. They are considered enlightened. This is their idea of enlightenment. They simply do not consider those as enlightened who eat two square meals a day. That too one who enjoys a meal is not at all enlightened. Can a saint eat chocolate? He is not a saint then!
Buddhists have got their own idea of who is and who is not enlightened. Somebody who sings, dances, looks at the whole world, pleasing the world is not enlightened. Someone who meets their family and sits with their family is definitely not enlightened. I have seen many of these so-called sanyasis. They are so afraid that they cannot meet their families. They run away from their family and fear that attachment for the family can come up anytime.
I know of a so-called sanyasi who would not meet his mother. He would meet everybody else but not the poor old lady who is his mother! What had she done? He would not meet her. She was 70 years old and would cry and cry. So-called sanyasis, nuns, brothers, fathers behave like this because that is the idea they have. When you can love everybody, why can’t you see your family members in the same light? Many sanyasis go through this difficulty in their heads about not seeing their family. These are all just concepts about enlightenment. The main essence forgotten is dispassion or centeredness. Being centered in spite of everything is the second essential principle in yoga. This is vairagya.
(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)