This chapter is the English translation of Gujarati Book
Title - Sadhak and Sathi
Author - Shri Atmanandji (Dr. Soneji)
Detachment means true knowledge of the objects of the world
through right vision. This realistic knowledge brings the
power to differentiate between the self and the non-self. An
aspirant (Sadhaka) who realizes such vision and discriminative
power, experiences no attachment towards worldly objects and
gradually attains to equanimity and complete detachment.
Looking from one point of view, detachment is easy to
accomplish, while from another point of view, it is difficult to
acquire. It is easy because one has to recognize one's own true
self and nature as it really is and in this recognition, no
other external agencies can possibly interfere; no one can hide
it from one's true self, Atma.
Now looking from the other angle, it is difficult to acquire
because in the normal course, the desire for attaining truth and
its preparation usually arise in later years of life.
As the Sadhaka has remained acquainted throughout the early
years of life with false and perverse beliefs and practices, it
becomes difficult for him to accomplish and accommodate
different beliefs and practices. Just as it is difficult to
prepare the background of any new activity, so is also the case
in the practice (Sadhana) of detachment.
However one has to face and get over the evil effects of the
psychic influences of countless previous births and has to
implant new psychic effects of "Sat" (truth) and "Atma" (soul)
during the newly acquired mode of life. This, indeed, is not
Three stages of the success of detachment may be recognized
from the aspirant's point of view.
1. Detachment in the state of one striving for liberation.
2. Detachment coupled with self realization.
3. The detachment of the enlightened and seclusive
1. DETACHMENT IN THE STATE OF ONE STRIVING FOR LIBERATION:
Just as the Sadhaka who has acquired knowledge of the self,
travels on the path of liberation, the same way one who desires
detachment also travels on the path of liberation with the help
from true saints. He regularly propitiates right faith.
He can accelerate his pace of progress on the path of liberation
when he remains in association with an inspiring and highly
enlightened preceptor. In this association, he is induced to
practice nonattachment, remains active, and is regular in
devotion and self-study. He subdues his miseries and enhances
his divine love for gods, spiritual masters, and religion. Such
a Sadhaka spends more time in the company of the noble and the
virtuous aspirants. He spends less time at his job, business,
family, and bodily requirements.
Furthermore, by developing moderation, contentment, simplicity,
impartiality, humility, the practice of equal regard for all
life, love and acknowledgement of virtues, regular food-habits,
and allied virtues in life, he contemplates deeply on sublime
teachings and practices the discrimination of the self and the
non-self and thus tries to practice self-repose and meditation.
2. DETACHMENT COUPLED with SELF KNOWLEDGE.
The Sadhaka in this category has one great achievement to his
credit. He has annihilated all ignorance and illusions, as also
the self-obscuring Karma through direct self-realization. The
feeling, therefore, that "I am Atman - the pure knower and the
seer," is not a matter only of faith but also of direct
experience. He is delighted, his doubt are dissipated, he is
pious and fearless, and he has attained to the state of
self-realization which is his ultimate goal and abode of
Though he is rich in several sublime virtues which have helped
him in self- realization, he still pursues with due enthusiasm
the attainment of omniscience - the highest achievement in the
universe. Glimpses of inner divinity are reflected in every
aspect of his life but to visualize them truly, a high state of
dispassion or a true inner knowledge conferred by an enlightened
preceptor is essential. Such a soul firmly continues to enhance
his detachment day-by-day by accomplishing increasing
discrimination and dispassion.
3. DETACHMENT OF THE ENLIGHTENED SECLUSIVE SADHAKA:
This stage represents the culmination of genuine practice
(Sadhana) of detachment. Now that all the attachments to the
worldly objects, to the family and even to one's own body have
been severed completely, the time is ripe for the Sadhaka to be
merged in the practice of transcendental meditation (Nirvikalpa
As an external, concurrent, and collaborative means to achieve
this end, the Sadhaka should devote to and find more time for
silence (Mauna), stay in seclusion and meditation (Dhyana), in
deep study and contemplation of the subtle realities, and in
adopt a very simple life. All these constitute the various
traits of the Sadhaka of this status. Out of utter compassion,
this great man occasionally imparts his sublime teachings in the
form of discourses or initiates worth spiritual seekers in the
path of self-control and righteousness. Only these supreme
Sadhakas, by their own noble and firm efforts, attain to the
Supreme State of Self-realization (Omniscience) in due course of
GLORY OF DETACHMENT:
1. The Sadhaka whose infatuation and attachment have been
considerably reduced or calmed down is an enlightened soul
(Jnani). One whose infatuation and attachment are completely
annihilated, is a person of absolute knowledge (Purna-Jnani)
known as God the Supreme (Paramatma).
2. Real peace and tranquility either in this life or in the life
hereafter, will not be accomplished without annihilation of
the veil of ignorance and delusion.
3. One who is not at all influenced by infatuation and
attachment, one whose mind is well-established in firm
detachment, and one who is completely engrossed in the
pursuit of the self, is himself the temple, the God, and the
4. During the process of annihilation of infatuation, true
divine bliss (Sahajananda) grows richer and richer. The
Sadhaka who seeks this bliss of the self should become
adventurous enough to destroy the army of infatuation with
his great efforts.
5. Countless virtues of the nature of Supreme Reality develop in
the life of the great Sadhaka, whose infatuation is
thoroughly annihilated. These virtues are contentment,
humility, forgiveness, austerity, detachment, celibacy, love
of seclusion, and compassion towards all living beings in the
6. In the first stage, one should cultivate virtues like
detachment to worldly attractions, simplicity, obedience to
the great saints, good thoughts, compassion and gentleness.
In further stages of development, one should have control of
the mind and various senses, with the inclination towards
virtuous acts, evanescence of worldly pursuits, and supremacy
of the divine self above everything else - all these should
7. One should conquer infatuation through attainment of
self-realization. Such a one, who realizes that pure
knowledge is the essence of self-Atman, is the real monk, and
he alone has really conquered infatuation.
LIVING EXAMPLES OF DETACHMENT:
Shree Ramatanu Lahiri, who lived during nineteenth century, was
a great learned man in the state of Bengal, India. His life
was full of simplicity and contentment. He remained thoroughly
engrossed in truthfulness and regular meditation of soul. Once
in a week, on a fixed day, a religion discussion and the singing
of devotional songs were held at his residence with other
aspirants. This is known as Satsanga.
His eldest son was very bright and used to win scholarships and
prizes every year.
Unfortunately, he died in his early age, while he was in college
studying for a graduate degree. This was the day of Satsang for
Panditji. His son's dead body was still in the room and
religious people arrived for the weekly program. Just as one
member was entering the room, Panditji said, "Today, Satsanga
will be held in another room. My son's dead body lies in this
The members were simply aghast but Panditji said, "It is time
for our program. Let us commence the benediction."
As the program ended, the last rites of the son were performed.
No one who looked at the face of Panditji could guess that his
son had just died.
This is the reward of real Sadhana. The less the attachments
to the family, friends and worldly objects, the higher the
success in the spiritual life (Sadhana).
In the year 1952, a Jain monk known as Acharya Shantisagar
Maharaj was at the city Dahingaum in the state of Maharashtra,
India. His leg was injured by a nail. As his wound was being
dressed, despite the pain the Acharya remained calm. He
used to say, "The body, the disease, and the spirit (soul or
Atma) all perform their own functions independently."
Discrimination was his all in all - the motto of his life.
While the wound was being healed, he took the great vow of
In Jainism, Sallekhana means to end the life voluntarily by
giving up all attachments and aversions along with food and
water and remain in meditation until death. This is one of
the way a person attains divine-death (Samadhi-maran).
During Sallekhana, Acharya-shri lived for thirty four days, but
not even once he sigh from grief and distress!
Such great men have developed non-attachment not only towards
all worldly objects, but even their own body. we learn this
from such surprising events of their life.
This is an event which is about 125 years old.
One night there was a full-moon and near the bank of the river
Ganges, a small boat was moving on the river. There was only
one passenger with the boatman. The boatman was tired of work
after a long day. The passenger said, "Well friend, rest for a
while. We will proceed further after some time." The boatman
was tired agreed and rested for a while.
The passenger strolled on the bank. After some time he saw
something lying on the ground. He ran to the boat and said,
"Move the boat on quickly!"
"What are you afraid of?" asked the boatman.
"Get the boat moving! I shall explain later," replied the
The boat moved away to some distance. The boatman said, "Now
tell me what were you afraid of. What did you see?"
The passenger explained, "As I was walking on the bank I saw a
bag full of money. I observed it closely and my mind felt
covetous. I therefore ran away from it and approached you. How
can I, an ordinary man, subject myself to covetousness and grab
anything not for my own? I therefore ran away with firm
The boatman simply stared at the passenger in all amazement.
This passenger was Dindayal whose son Shree Naga lived his
whole life as a pupil of Shree Ramkrishna Paramahansa, who was a
great self realized person of the recent time. They lived near
Calcutta in the state of Bengal.
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