|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Module - F
Unit - F05
Lesson F0545: Defining Dispassion
By Raja Subramaniyan
The cause or origin of dispassion is to see the inability of the worldly objects to provide lasting happiness.
Example: If food mixed with poison is given to a hungry person, he will have dispassion (and not eat) if he knows the limitation of such food.
Similarly, if a person knows the limitation of the worldly objects in leading one to sorrow, non-fulfillment and binding, he will have dispassion.
The nature of dispassion is dropping the dependence on the worldly objects for happiness, peace and security.
The consequence of dispassion is never again to become a slave to the worldly objects.
Dispassion is defined as non-attachment to any object, event or person. Attachment is a quality that binds us to the unreal universe. In order to live joyfully one needs to get freedom from attachments. Dispassion means not having any attachment that binds us to any object, event or person.
Statement 86: Dispassion is an internal mental understanding and does not warrant any changes in the behavior in the external world.
Example: You love your child. If you do not have dispassion, you are also attached to the child. Dispassion means to understand that the attachment is just an idea in the mind and not real. If you have complete dispassion, you will still love your child in the very same way. You will continue to do all your duties to the child (in a better way).
It should be noted that dispassion is not running away from the worldly possessions but it is a mental attitude towards worldly possessions. One who has complete dispassion may still be working and gaining worldly possessions. One can enjoy the pleasures of the world without any limit and still maintain the attitude of complete dispassion.
Example: A cashier in bank is handling lots of money. He does not feel sad when he gives out cash nor feels happy when he receives money because he has no attachment to the money.
One should be handle one's own money in this manner. The bank cashier is not careless with money but he does not have any feeling of ownership. Similarly, one should not have any feeling of ownership on the personal wealth. A person with dispassion will be able to handle wealth in a more efficient manner than one who is deeply attached to it.
Dispassion towards worldly objects, events and persons can be developed by seeing their inadequacy. People are generally caught in chasing the worldly possessions (including relationships/ friendships) thinking that they will get them the fulfillment. Unless one is weaned away from this wrong notion, he will not have the inclination to work towards enlightenment. To develop dispassion one should:
See that the material gains are impermanent
They do not give lasting happiness
One does not get complete fulfillment on gaining any object
It is not enough if the limitation or inadequacy of the worldly possessions is seen or understood once. One has to keep reminding himself as often as possible to change the ways of life.
Example: Cigarette smoking is bad for health. One should keep on meditating on this thought until it sinks into the sub-conscious mind. Only after repeated autosuggestions given over a period, it is possible for someone to take necessary steps to stop smoking.
If the knowledge that cigarette smoking can be compared to the raw stage of a fruit, stopping the smoking habit is the ripe stage.
Similarly, one should get into a right company which points out the defects of the worldly possessions repeatedly and consistently. When this happens, one will have a deep desire to stop desiring worldly possessions.
It is not possible to develop dispassion in a short period. It requires many life times to acquire complete dispassion. Everyone has some degree of dispassion and one should continuously try to increase it.