I am easily influenced by others – if they are positive and happy I become that; if they are arrogant and angry I become like that. How can I protect myself from a negative person?
When your body gets dirty you go for a shower. When your mind gets dirty you also have to go for a shower. You have to remove the dirt from the mind just as you remove dirt from the body. We cannot choose our associations but we can definitely choose how we wish to live. If there is negativity all around and you feel you are affected and influencedby people, the environment, the negativity and criticisms, then there has to be one part of you the drashta,the witness-mind, which says, ‘Enough is enough, now go and take a shower, clean your mind of all the dust that has accumulated’.
Then you do your meditation: you connect with positivity, remove the grime of negativity, put on the soap of creativity and use the waters of purity. Use the soap of creativity and the water of purity and just clean the mind in meditation.
The next day, when you see the person again, salute and say to yourself, “I am ready to face you again today.” You don’t have to avoid the person, or become friends with that person, yet you keep on taking a shower every evening before bed.
How can we, as householders, practise detachment from loved ones, and from our own positive desires that include desires for the benefit of humanity?
There are two things raga and dwesha, which are often translated as attraction and repulsion. Attachment and detachment mean something specific: to come together and to separate. However, raga and dwesha do not just mean not coming together or separating. Raga is natural attraction, not a conscious attraction, not a forced attraction not a willed attraction. Dwesha is natural repulsion, not only because you have had enough. It is a natural process like a magnet. One side of the magnet simply pulls, and the other side of the magnet simply repels. The side of the magnet which pulls is known as raga, and the other side of the magnet which repels is known as dwesha. This is an ongoing activity of the mind.
You may order three pizzas due to greed yet you can only eat one because of the size of the stomach. When the stomach is full what will happen to the remaining two pizzas? You won’t be attracted towards them. You will say, “Pack them, I’ll take them home in the doggy bag.“ First there was attraction, “No I want more, I want three,” but when the stomach was filledthen there was a natural repulsion, “No I can’t have this anymore. Pack it, I will take it with me.”
It is a natural process like the magnet – one side pulls the other side repels. It is this that one has to become aware of as the drashta, the witness, to become the observer of raga and dwesha. Becoming the drashta of raga and dwesha eliminates all the hassles and problems of detachment like when to detach and when not to detach.
Asakti is the name in Hindi for attachment and virakti is the name in Hindi for detachment. Asakti means something which can influence you and virakti means something that has lost all its blood. When life loses blood it becomes dead, when a memory loses prana it becomes dead. That is virakti or bina rakta, without blood . Virakti, with out blood, means detachment in the sense that the thing from which you disconnect is dead, there is no further association, and that is the final stage of dwesha – out of sight.
Of course it is sanyam which helps us regulate the effect of raga and dwesha. Sanyam is conscious control, voluntarily control, not involuntary control.
What describes the state of sattwa? I can think of three options: 1. The six friends have been overcome and there is no ego anymore; 2. The six friends have been overcome, however, there is still ego; 3. The six friends and ego still come up, however, there is enough awareness to identify them and turn them into the positive.
All the three options represent the three syllabi. The third option that the six friends and ego remain but you are able to better manage them, that is the novice option – the jignasu option. All right, I struggle, I can overcome them, and some-times they can overcome me, and both ways have to co-exist together, that is the jignasu option.
The second option that all the six friends go but the ego remains is the karma sannyasa option for you have to continue functioning, working, surviving in the world. With a better, positive, peaceful mind yet still with ego – you continue with ego, for ego is necessary in your life.
The third option is for the sattwic person and that is the real option and description – you are able to overcome the six including the ego, the seventh one. Then you are continuously in the state of sukham and anandam, comfort and bliss. When there is no ego there is total comfort, and when there are no six friends there is total anandam, and that is the final sattwa.
—14 April 2019, Ganga Darshan, Munger