This article will contain a lot of labels. I am aware of it but for the sake of communication, I will have to use it. True, human language is flawed. But then again, the moment we give words to epiphanies and experiences, they become flawed in themselves. Labels or sans labels, this is by far one of the most important realisations that ever dawned upon me.

While walking the path with Gurudev I realised that a human can never really be ‘a’ human. He/she is a paradox, a culmination of all the contradictions that the mind can ever come up with. And I am no different. A walking paradox that I know I am, there is something that happened inside me in the past few weeks which baffled my brain out. My life till this point of time has always been about extreme detachment. Like any other tendency, even this one comes with a great deal of loss and suffering. By experience I can humbly say that detachment isn’t an overnight process. It essentially takes several dark nights of the soul to finally arrive at that destination. It should be easy for it is our real nature but it really isn’t. The deeper the conditioning, the more painful the trail is. Detachment is the tip of that huge iceberg below which lies loads of life-lessons and soul-wrenching suffering. Breaking of conditioning is more of an exothermic process. It burns like the agony of death before you reach the place where tranquillity flows. And this tranquillity isn’t that tranquil all the time. Nothing changes around us. Everything is the same with just one difference, we are aware of the emotions and we learn to play along with them till we wish to and to drop it all the moment we like to. And detachment is really an earned shield. It protects the soul from prolonged dissection. One of the hallmarks of this state is the super swift recovery from things. It’s not that you won’t really be bothered by anything. Just that now you recover from things so quickly that people start to believe that you never really had that thought or emotion or intention at the very first place. I may very well be wrong. But personally, this has been my truth.

There was someone (or should I say is) I was deeply in love with. A friend of mine gave her verdict, “Now that you dared to love someone, your Vairagya is gone.” I smiled at her. From her perspective, she isn’t completely wrong, is she? We have been born up in a society where either we are a Grihastha (householder) or a Sanyaasi (renunciant). We can’t be both. And this is one of the most flawed concepts of Sanyaas or enlightenment that the society has come up with since ages. Sanyaas isn’t about the robes. It is about the state. It’s not something we take up. It is something that happens inside us. There was a picture of Gurudev that my soul-sister Sanjana Om had shared with me once. Swamiji has always been the epitome of Divinity in human form. But what caught my mind in that picture was Vidya Swamiji. He was beside Gurudev but in formals and not in robe. And even in those formals, he was a complete sanyaasi for his surrender towards Gurudev rested in his heart and not in his clothes.

Vairagya isn’t about being indifferent. That can be Tyaag (sacrifice) or Sanyam (restraint). Vairagya is about being fully present and available to what is going in your life at this point of time, to embrace it in its entirety and to be able to drop it in its entirety when the moment is gone.

Loving him was a part of the Love that I feel for every single creature on the face of this earth. I was told to love myself more than I love him. But the thing is he wasn’t someone different from me. Nobody is different from us. There are no ‘others’.

You make one person smile and it will brighten up your entire day. You abuse a person and deep down your heart will be sad the entire day.

This is not something I have read in some book and just copied. This is what I live by. It was surely a romantic love but for the most part of it, I never viewed my relationship with him as something I own exclusively. There were no demands and claims. No give and take. At least not from my side. And deep down I know, even he never really kept this relationship on the carnal level of give and take. When he was with me, I was with him completely. Now when he is not, he is in me completely. For the world, we might look like two separate individuals who are either together or not. For me, he isn’t separate from my own Self. And nobody else is. They are either with me (my ownself projected outside) or inside me. As my cutie, Raman Maharshi, says, “There are NO others.”

I might have not answered my friend then and there, but the way I was taught by Gurudev, what I realised is-

Sanyaas/Vairagya isn’t about breaking up ties and relationships. It is about breaking the mental conditioning that we have been nurturing regarding those. It isn’t about excluding people from our lives. It is about including every single being in our circle. It isn’t about restraining ourselves. It is about being aware of “This mind isn’t who we are”. It isn’t really about caring about ourselves before others. It is realising that there are NO others. It isn’t about not owning things and emotions. It is essentially about not being owned by them.

As far as my own truth is concerned, Vairagya and Love aren’t two different things for me. Love is what oozes out of my capital “I” (the Self) as a result of my Vairagya or detachment towards my own small “i” (my limited identity). Love is the command of my Gurudev for me, Vairagya is the outcome of surrendering to His command. 

Vairagya or detachment didn’t leave me even when I was in love. For we can take a tiger out of the jungle but can we ever take the jungle out of a tiger?