lshwarapranidhana (Devotion)

This means relying on the Divine Will, by ascribing the effects of whatever one does to Divine Providence. This attitude, if properly and faithfully developed, relieves an individual of tension, because of the habit to accept everything as the will of God. It is a good means for those who have faith in the existence of a Supreme Being as a Creator and Governor of the whole universe. They can relinquish the burden of fear and worry by developing a reliance on God’s will.

It may be said that the list of the positive and negative aspects of viragya as considered above, is not exhaustive, and we can add many more qualities to the list. But that is not very important, as all such qualities, in fact. exhibit one and the same basic fact namely, peace of mind.

We shall now consider the third behavioral aspect, which, although inseparable from vairagya as such deserves a few words. This is the aspect called pratyahara. It indicates a withdrawal of the senses and mind from the objects of enjoyment. The five cognitive senses,’ namely, the organs of sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste, grasp specific stimuli alone. For example, the organ of sight grasps light rays, the organ of hearing grasps sound waves, and so on. Pratyahara means a withdrawal of the sense organs from their respective areas. This does not, of course, mean that a student of yoga actually stops seeing, or hearing, or touching objects of experience. That is not the idea implied in pratyahara. It really means a detachment of the mind. i.e. a complete cessation of the urge for enjoyment, which is exactly the meaning of viragya.

Such viragya has been described in the Gita as a powerful and pointed instrument useful in cutting the tree of samsara It is said further that “wise men whose minds have become pure by washing away all the impurities accruing from attachment, infatuation, cravings, etc., and who have become free of all opposites like pleasure and pain, can reach the highest place of God, from where there is never any return.” Vairagya is thus the beginning of yoga. It is indispensable for those whose interest in yoga is deep is profound. Everyone who aspires for making progress on the spmtua pat must, therefore, see carefully how far he has acquired this quality of detachment and peace, because as long as this quality has not developed in one’s mind, whatever he does in the field of yoga has really no meaning at all.The great Shankaracharya has rightly declared (Viveka Chudamani, ) that “even though one is well-versed in all the branches of knowledge, he does not become fit for liberation unless he is a man of vairagya.” Vairagya is thus the most essential mark of a yogi.