Passionlessness Sutra 1.37

or (by) meditation on a mind free from passion

Some commentators explain the practice as meditation, ultimately with a sense of identity, on some saint who is free from passion. One way is to live through incidents in his life vividly through meditation.

Shankara gives a different practice, which is to consider the idea of ‘freedom from passion’, and he instances a well-known Indian example, how even the most passionate man feels his lust subside in the presence of one woman, namely his mother. There are other examples; one given by Dr Shastri was that there are certain fruits in the Himalayas which have a very attractive appearance, and the hungry pilgrim finds his mouth watering as he sees them. But when the guide explains how poisonous they are, the desire disappears. Their beauty is still appreciated, but the desire to eat them has gone.

The examples show that passion is not something inevitable in these cases it disappears, though not forcibly repressed. If it can disappear on these occasions, then in principle it can disappear on others also.

© Trevor Leggett

Share This