Verses for Introspection

Shloka 09 vairagya-bodhau

Ma Gurupriya

  • Shloka 09 vairagya-bodhau

    Ma Gurupriya

Viveka & Vairāgya – the Two Wings

वैराग्यबोधौ पुरुषस्य पक्षिवत्
पक्षौ विजानीहि विचक्षण त्वम् ।
ताभ्यां विना नान्यतरेण सिध्यति ।।
– विवेकचूडामणिः ३७४

vairāgya-bodhau puruṣasya pakṣivat
pakṣau vijānīhi vicakṣaṇa tvam |
tābhyāṁ vinā nānyatareṇa sidhyati ||
– Vivekacūḍāmaṇiḥ 374


O learned one! For a seeker of Truth, dispassion and discrimination are like the two wings of a bird. Know that without the help of both of them, by either alone, it is not possible to ascend to the top of the mansion of liberation.

Points for Introspection:

A spiritual seeker (sādhaka) is considered to be qualified to inquire after Brahman only when he has developed discrimination between the Real and Unreal (Nitya-anitya-vastu-viveka), has aversion to enjoyment from all transitory objects here and hereafter (iha-amutra-phala bhoga-virāgaḥ), when he possesses calmness and allied six virtues (śama-dama-ādi-ṣaṭka-sampattiḥ) and has a wholesome yearning for liberation (mumukṣā) (Ref: Vivekacūḍāmaṇi 17). These four-fold qualities are called Sādhana-chatuṣṭayam and all of them are absolutely indispensable for a seeker of ultimate Reality, Brahman.

In this śloka, the goal of attaining the Supreme has been compared to climbing the peak of a tall mansion called Vimukti-saudha – mansion of liberation. It is mentioned here, how for a sādhaka, both viveka and vairāgya together are most important.

They are like the two wings of a bird. As for a bird it is impossible to fly if it has only one wing, so is the case for the sādhaka. The sādhaka will not be able to progress in the path of liberation (moksha) if he has only viveka or only vairāgya. He must have both in ample measure.

If he does not have these two, by no other means he can attain the supreme Reality. On the other hand, if both these qualities are there, they together will generate strong mumukshā– yearning for liberation, and the progress towards the supreme Goal will be very fast.

What is viveka? It is nitya-anitya-vastu-viveka – the ability of the intelligence to discriminate between what is Real and what is unreal, what is Eternal and what is transitory, what is Imperishable and what is perishable, what is Immortal and what is mortal.

The sādhaka who wants to attain the supreme Truth should use his discrimination in all his thoughts, words and actions. He should associate with those that lead him to the supreme Reality and dissociate from those that take him away from that goal. Constant discrimination is necessary every moment so that the mind withdraws from the perishables and focuses on the imperishable Soul alone.

As the power of discrimination becomes deeper and subtler, the sādhaka’s mind is graced with dispassion for the worldly enjoyments – he feels disinterested in any enjoyment either here in this world or hereafter in the heavens.

This dispassion on the other hand helps to strengthen viveka. The sādhaka is able to see the futility of life and worldly enjoyments clearer. He is able to choose what is supremely good for him. So, each augmenting the other, viveka and vair¡gya take the seeker towards liberation.

Chanting this śloka again and again, the mind’s resolve to reach the supreme Goal gets strengthened. It also makes the mind see the importance of cultivating both viveka and vairāgya.

Word Meaning:

वैराग्यबोधौ (vairāgya-bodhau) = vairāgya (dispassion) and bodha (discrimination, the experience of the true nature of the Self); पुरुषस्य (puruṣasya) = of man (human); पक्षिवत् (pakṣivat) = like that of a bird; पक्षौ (pakṣau) = a pair of wings; विजानीहि (vijānīhi) = know; विचक्षण (vicakṣaṇa)= O learned one; त्वम् (tvam) = you; विमुक्ति-सौधाग्रतलाधिरोहणं (vimukti-saudhāgra-tala-adhirohaṇaṁ) = (विमुक्ति – liberation, सौधाग्रतल – top of the mansion, अधिरोहणं – ascending) Ascending the top of the mansion of liberation; ताभ्यां (tābhyāṁ) = those two; विना (vinā) = without; (na) = not; अन्यतरेण (anyatareṇa) = by just one of the two; सिध्यति (sidhyati) = becomes successful;

(हे) विचक्षण, त्वं वैराग्य-बोधौ पक्षिवत् पुरुषस्य पक्षौ विजानीहि । ताभ्यां विना अन्यतरेण विमुक्ति-सौधाग्र-तलाधिरोहणं न सिध्यति ।

(hē) vicakṣaṇa tvam vairāgya-bodhau pakṣivat puruṣasya pakṣau vijānīhi. tābhyāṁ vinā anyatareṇa vimukti-saudhāgra-talādhirohaṇaṁ na sidhyati.

Verses for Introspection

Shloka 09 vairagya-bodhau

Ma Gurupriya

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