Section 6 of Prabodha Sudhākara has eight verses and deals with dispassion. Dispassion means detachment or emotionless state. First, this chapter talks about detachment. What a person feels if he or she is married and blessed with a child? Is it joy or sorrow? Joy and sorrow are described as deterrent factors to dispassion, as they signify dualities of mind (afflicted mind; dyads). The next verse says that he or she should stay in that house as a guest. What a guest does when he or she visits another’s house. They do not get attached anything in the guest’s house. Though he or she exists in the house of the guest, he or she cannot claim ownership of anything in that house. He or she lives in that house as a guest, like a lotus leaf remaining in water. Though lotus leaf remains in water, no trace of water is seen on lotus leaves. They remain detached from the surroundings (water). This type of dispassion is advocated. It is said that this type of dispassion can be developed only by those who do not have ego (Ego is of two types – one is essential ego, by which our body is identified and another non-essential ego (pride), which claims doership of all the actions done. Essential ego cannot be dispensed with and non-essential ego should be dispensed with).

If a person does not have ego, he is not bothered about the surroundings. He is not affected by his or her sensory organs. As long as we live, sensory organs will also co-exist along with our body. If this ego is subjugated, the sense of “I” ness would be lost. He or she continues to stay in the material world, yet not attached to the material pleasures. Spiritual world cannot be separated from the material world. Former exists within the latter. It is like a flower in a tree, lotus in a pond, etc. Realization can happen only through the mind and mind cannot exist independent of the body.

An example is quoted here. A man who sleeps under a tree regularly becomes used to the tree, its leaves, flowers, fruits, etc. Even the birds that live in the tree become friendly with him. Chirping of the birds becomes melody to him. Thus in all aspects, the man becomes so accustomed and comfortable with his life under the tree. This example is cited not only to prove the point that how can one transform, but also says that such a man is protected Prakṛti, Mother Nature. What one needs to do is to put forward his first step towards Brahman and the rest is taken care of by Him.

Next verse explains the reward of dispassion. It is explained as the greatest gift and fortune, which leads to calmness of the mind. What is the benefit of equanimousness of the mind? He is not worried about what others say, he does not have expectations, he is not interested in rewards and above all he remains contented and happy all the time. Why so? His life mission is accomplished. The purpose of his life is fulfilled. He does not have desires, attachments, and ambitions and in fact he enters the state of nirguṇa (devoid of qualities, both good and bad). Nirguṇa is the state beyond māyā and he is about to be liberated.

Now, how this person lives?

त्रयंबकं यजामहे सुगंधिं पुष्टिपर्धनम्।

ऊर्वारुकमिव बंधनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ॥

trayaṁbakaṁ yajāmahe sugaṁdhiṁ puṣṭipardhanam |

ūrvārukamiva baṁdhanān mṛtyormukṣīya māmṛtāt ॥

This means “We worship Shiva who supports us in our movement auspiciously, who pervades us with a happy feeling like a good fragrance, who increases our nourishment. Please free us from death, like a ripened cucumber, but not from immortality.”

What is the purpose of offering the highest knowledge to someone who is not worthy of it. (Highest knowledge means the knowledge imparted through Upaniṣad-s.) On the contrary, if the same wisdom is imparted to the one who seeks ultimate wisdom, he gets satisfaction. The highest knowledge and wisdom pave way for dispassion and renunciation. Renunciation does mean sainthood; it is living in the material world without ego, attachment, desire, etc. This leads to Bliss (ānanda) and then to Brahman.  Tattvabodha says that Brahman is saccidānanda svarūpaṁ, at least we know what is sat, cit and ānanda.  We know that sat is the existence. Sat means the one who exists in all the three periods of time viz. past, present and future.  We know about the three periods of time.  Therefore, by sat we know that Brahman is eternal, and we know what eternity is. We also know cit or consciousness.  Cit is knowledge that is related to the mind. We also know that gross body is nothing but the superimposition on one’s consciousness. What is the necessity for consciousness to know the Brahman?  Brahman is surrounded by ignorance known as māyā and this ignorance can be disbanded only by knowledge.  Knowledge not afflicted by māyā is the purest form of consciousness, the Brahman.  Therefore, we know that the Brahman is to be known only through the mind, where there should be no other thought process except the Self.  This is the attentive awareness or the consciousness. Finally, it is ānanda or the bliss.  We know the difference between joy and bliss.  Joy is temporary state of mind, which is bound to change.  When there is joy, there is bound to be sorrow, as nothing is permanent for an untamed mind.  However, bliss is perpetual happiness that arises only if renunciation is practiced. One can effectively renounce only if he is beyond desires and attachments. Renunciation leads to dispassion.

The last verse in this chapter draws another analogy. Mind is compared to a deer. The deer out of sheer joy goes deep into the forest, forgetting its original abode. Once in the deep forest, it begins to enjoy eating lush green grass. In the moment of happiness (eating grass), it forgets the presence of animals like lions and tigers around. Ultimately, the deer gets killed by lions and tigers. This means that we have to do our duties to exist in the material world. But at the same time, when the prescribed limits are crossed, we end up in trouble. Kṛṣṇa beautifully explains this in Karma yoga (Bhagavad Gītā).

More related articles:

Prabodhasudhākara - Part 4

Prabodha Sudhakara - Part 6