Vairagya with focus on ambitions
One fine day at the dawn of 40th birthday one may feel, what is the meaning of all this? What have I been ding all these years? Some call it mid life crisis. It may be an early onset of stronger form of Vairagya. The pace of life catches us at some point of time, at what point differs by individual. That’s the time to face the most profound question: what is the reason for my birth? The urge for identification of oneself then leads us on the path of spiritualism.
It is said that the path to spiritual knowledge and growth starts with Vairagya. The trigger for Vairagya may be plenty. Ex: The Vairagya may start after witnessing a cremation or it may start after loss of business on which one has invested everything.
As a concept, Vairagya, feels like giving up on everything known and going towards unknown. Which probably it is. For people completely dedicating themselves on the path of Vairagya, the path is probably clear: Without any attachment, giving up all worldly pleasures, go away from material aspects and focus deep within. Can a regular family person seek truth? How can the family person have Vairagya but not let it impact achievements, performance and progress in so called material life.
With the deep understanding of how Vairagya manifests on humans, our seniors and ancestors defined various stages for our life: Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa. With changing times can we relook at the definitions of the stages, modify them and yet be able to seek truth? Surely we would not want our parents living in a forest, surely we cannot expect our children to sit in a college campus washing professor’s car and working towards gaining knowledge. It is a different world.
The answer lies in Yoga Sadhana. As we understand, Ashtanga principle of Yoga takes us on the path of self realization. As a young Yoga Sadhaka till the age of 30, we become stronger and focused. This helps in our journey of worldly knowledge, the knowledge that helps us in making a career. As we move on in the next phase of life, Yoga helps us in being aware of our passions. Looking at smaller and minutest parts of life and finding immense joy in it. This is the wonderful phase between 30 to 60. Yoga mellows us down as a person. This prepares us for the journey beyond 60. While still continuing to live within the society, working on our regular chores, we can slowly focus on deeper meaning of life.
Yoga takes us on the path of self realization step by step. First we realize our body and mind. We become aware of our surroundings, the aura. Then we become aware of our inner self. This is the time when the spiritual journey starts. This is the time when the contradictions set in: material interests versus looking beyond. This is the time to remember, कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन । मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥ We should focus on our ambitions, wanting to build a company, wanting to build houses, wanting to be the king, …want want all wants are good. Effort towards achieving the wants of life is wonderful. However, insisting that the results happen, insisting that we do get the success; that is a problem. This can lead us to stress and in turn lead to onset of chronic health issues. With Yoga we specifically avoid this. The balancing act between material wants, focus on goals while being aware on where we are heading, being aware that finally we all are heading in one direction, this takes a lot of effort. With proper practice of Ashtanga we should be able to work on this balance.
To summarize: Material wants are natural. We need to remain within the society. We need to be competitive. All wants are good. However, we should not insist on result. Yoga Sadhana should help us in the thin balance between want and must have.