and Vairagya are two of the most important fundamental principles of Yoga. Abhyasa means practice and Vairagya means non-attachment. The balance between these two principles is the key to a spiritual life, which allows us to achieve exceptional results in yoga and meditation.
In literal translation Abhyasa means passion and Vairagya means detachment, but both words have a much deeper meaning in yoga philosophy.
These are the two essential principles on which the entire yoga system is based. Using these two principles, the spiritual seeker can gain control over his body and mind, realizing his true Self. The two terms are to some extent opposed to each other and together they maintain the inner balance necessary for a harmonious life.
In yoga, Abhyasa means the persistent effort to obtain and maintain a physical, mental and spiritual state of tranquility. In order to become firmly established in this state, this effort must be done over a long period of time and in a regular way. Abhyasa means the action that is done without interference, without feeling bored or scattered. This principle applies not only during the execution of asanas or pranayama exercises, but also in the actions we perform in everyday life.
Abhyasa also means being as involved as possible in the action. For our practice to be effective, we must always be extremely present and put passion in what we do, avoiding doing things reluctantly. When we are totally involved, when we put all our energy and soul into what we do, the universe is on our side, we have no way to make mistakes, and success is certain.
The way we perform our daily sadhana , or yogic practice, will be reflected in our daily routine, so we will become more focused and effective in everything we do and eventually we will be more successful in what we do.
"When desires do not arise even in the presence of objects of pleasure, this is the state of Vairagya – non – attachment, or lack of desires." – Adhyatma Upanishad, chap.46
Vairagya means detachment, lack of desires or non-attachment. It is indifferent to the objects of the senses. This state is born of discrimination (viveka). Vairagya is the opposite of raga or attachment.
"Vairagya" literally means "transparent". Just like clear water flowing through a river, it acquires the color of the soil that is underneath, it is transparent and has no color of its own. Color is produced by the reflection of light, depending on our ability to see. Vairagya is a free state of any distortion that can enlighten the world. Only in a state of Vairagya can one see the world as it is.
When we hear the detachment word "Vairagya" we immediately associate it with indifference or lack of enthusiasm. Most people who teach that they are indifferent, uninvolved, are usually negligent persaone without minimal hygiene. This is not the true meaning of detachment (vairagya).
Vairagya means to detach ourselves from what belongs to the lower interests of the ego such as: attachments, fears, fear, superiority or inferiority complexes, revenge or things that are beyond what we can control. This does not mean that we must abandon our material possessions, family, friends or beliefs, we just have to recognize the transient nature of these things and be ready to abandon ourselves in the flow of life.
Adi Shankaracharya explains in Bhaja Govindam that Vairagya brings happiness, but usually there is a certain degree of feverishness even in happiness and that is why we cannot fully enjoy happiness.
Vairajya is a happiness in which there is no such feverishness.
A sign of her vairagy is her contentment. How much can we enjoy? Our senses have a limited ability to savor, but our mind has unlimited desires. How much can you watch a wonderful sunset? After some time, your eyes will become tired or you will close them or you will look elsewhere.
Desires can be tempered by consciousness. Otherwise, even happiness can lead to unhappiness. In order to get it, you make an effort, after you have obtained it you strive to keep it. When you lose it, you become depressed.
When you possess Vairagya no one can kidnap your happiness. It is pure contentment, joy and race (elevated emotion).
Thus, by harmoniously integrating the persistent effort (Abhyasa) and the detachment (Vairagya), our yogic practice will benefit, and we will become more attentive and involved in everything we do, becoming the masters of our own lives.