Continued from page 1

to have their way, will rid us of all inhibitions and will give us complete relaxation, thus relieving us of all tensions. But tension is again a state of the nervous system and the nervous system is not what we inherently are. It is external to us and any time we allow something external to us to tell us what we have to do, we have lost self-control. And this disease of being controlled by  things external to us, the 'us' that we really are, is a worse disease than the so-called disease of suppression. Slavishness to the vagaries of the mind is the entry visa to hell. On the other hand the discipline of self-control brings us the prescription of the supreme alchemy of the divine urge. 'Discipline' and 'Suppression' should be carefully distinguished. To follow the discipline of driving on the lawfully correct side of the road cannot be called a disease of suppression of the urge to drive 'as we like'! To train oneself in this discipline of self-control, Hinduism, like other religions,  prescribes fasts, penances and certain routines which are necessary exercises for this discipline. Note that the broad discipline of self-control embraces qualities like patience, forbearance, modesty, humility, self-sacrifice, self-effacement, sense-control,  and, last but not least,  absence of anger, of hatred and of pride.
The next virtue,
DETACHMENT, has to be elaborated upon at length. It can be easily misunderstood. Detachment is freedom from attachment to anything that is transient. It is the cessation of the feeling of attachment to anything that is not you. Anything that is yours is not you. So detachment means non-attachment to one's external possessions, as well as to one's body and mind; in fact one should not be attached even to one's opinions, which is perhaps the most difficult attachment to discard. Such detachment comes from an absence of egoism. Identification of oneself with the external body, external action, external pleasure and pain is egoism. The only identification that is enjoined is that with the inner Self, Atman. Other identifications which is what happens most of the time, is the reason for all miseries. So detachment is a cardinal virtue which has to be gradually cultivated.  The methodology is to intellectually analyze 'Who am I' and get rid of all trace of attachment to anything that is not 'I'. But all this is theoretical. What is the practical way to be detached and at the same time not fail in one's responsibilities to oneself and to society?  For this the Gita gives an extraordinary recipe, called the cultivation of the yajna attitude. We elaborate this in The yajna Methodology for Detachment.
The next cardinal virtue is
TRUTH. It is the most important of the five cardinal virtues. It is so important that the scriptures proclaim again and again that dharma is rooted in satya

July 31, 99  ©Copyright  V. Krishnamurthy  Home  Contents   Next