The ancient yogis understood that desire (kama) was a legitimate goal and an essential part of a balanced life. But they also saw that excess desire created impurities in the mind and produced unnecessary suffering in one’s life. The yogis’ technique for reducing desire was cultivating detachment (vairagya) through the conscious severing of our attachments to the objects of this world. Vairagya applies both to our likes and dislikes, with the ideal goal of seeing both sweet and bitter fruits of life as the same. The practice of detachment needs to be balanced with Abhyasa (Effort), and must never be an excuse to abandon one’s worldly duties and obligations.
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