Omkaradatta's picture

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Probably the most potent 'spiritual medicine' in existence is that of vivek-vairagya -- the fastest way to Self-Realization.

This ancient practice involves only discrimination and dispassion/detachment, and the two feed off each other very nicely. When the mind discriminates, it learns that it is useless and helpless to do anything but think in circles, which aids greatly in dispassion. And when one is dispassionate, the mind becomes less interesting and involving, which makes discriminating between truth and falsehood much easier.

Traditionally, this practice has focused on people who are very serious and sincere about spirituality, as 'ordinary life' will soon have to change. One will lose interest rapidly in the type of nonsense existence most people are living, and Life Itself will become more interesting. Often monks and other sannyasins have focused on vivek-vairagya, but the way is open to all.

From here, discrimination is critical to eventual self-realization, and such realization is highly unlikely without it. One has to sort out the differences between truth and falsehood, and cultivating unattachment alone won't do it.

But discrimination alone won't do it either, as dispassion, detachment and disinterest (in the mind) is also critical -- without that, discrimination turns into a useless game of "truth and falsehood", like a cheap board game or parlor trick.

Without meditation and detachment, discrimination is a game, a purely theoretical mind trick that does nothing to increase clarity. And without discrimination, meditation is like taking a break from work, or a short nap in the afternoon -- it accomplishes nothing, except to give you a little bit of rest and relaxation -- and detachment alone can become a cold indifference. But combined together, vivek-vairagya is a potent catalyst for awakening. A careful balance between the two is necessary.

Anyone can begin discriminating, and at the same time become dispassionate and begin to drop attachments. And you can invent your own 'techniques' for this, because there are no rules, no recipes, no fixed paths. Spirituality is about self-discovery, self-independence, and eventually, Self-Realization. You yourself constitute both the path and the goal.

nathan's picture

From which path this comes from?

From which path this comes from? by the name i understand that it is some hindu one.

nathan | Mon, 11/03/2008 - 13:58
Omkaradatta's picture


It's part of advaita vedanta (nondual hinduism), specifically "jnana yoga" (transcending the intellect through the intellect). According to vedanta, this is supposed to be the most 'difficult' (steep, rocky) and also the quickest path to self-realization.

Here are a few links:

P.S. jnana yoga was a mainstay of 'my path' between 1998 and '03, the years I was seeking enlightenment (which is how I know something about it). Since then I've come to see that life is really the path, but of course there are sub-paths in life, things we end up doing, ways we end up going. I really don't think one is better than another... it's all in what we're attracted to, what fits us well.

Omkaradatta | Sat, 11/08/2008 - 05:05