N:   vairagya -  non-attachment

Let us suppose that you have been living in a particular house for a long time. One day you have to shift to another dwelling. You pack all your belongings and put them in a conveyance and bring them to the new house. Now, it is a common experience that you even go to the extent of wrapping the worn out slippers and the old broomsticks in newspapers to carry them with you because you think that they belong to you. What is the reason for this attitude? The reason is that you have become bound by your attachments to the sense objects. You have so much interest in packing up all those old things and taking them with you because you are attached to them. You feel they are yours.

But then, consider another example, that of a college principal or the headmaster of a school. In every educational institution there will be a number of valuable articles. For instance, in the lab there will be some highly valuable equipment, many tables, chairs, other items of furniture, a wall clock and so on. When the headmaster of that school retires or is transferred, he feels no attachment to these things. And so he leaves with the same free mind that he had when he came. He does not worry and bother himself about leaving behind all those valuable articles when he goes. The reason is that he knows perfectly well that none of those things belong to him. They belong to the management or to the school trust or to the government. Therefore, with a sense of detachment and indifference to those objects he leaves the school.

Where there is a sense of my-ness and possessiveness, there will be suffering. If you do not have that feeling of possessiveness you will not be bound by anything and will not suffer. Therefore, for all bondage, suffering and sorrow, it is just the I-ness or my-ness that is responsible. Like the school principal, you may make use of all the objects that you find in the world. Do not give up the objects themselves, and do not give up your actions and activities. Just give up the attachment that you have towards the objects and give up the attachment that you have towards the world and your activities in it.