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What is the difference between rag, desire; virag, renunciation of desire; and veetrag, beyond desire?

Rag means attachment to something, virag means going against that attachment, and veetrag means beyond attachment.

If you try to understand what I was saying just now, then rag is the attachment to something and virag is the denial of that attachment. If a person accumulates money it is rag, and if someone renounces money and runs away, this is virag. But the focus in both cases is money. The person who is accumulating is thinking about money, and the person who is leaving it behind is also thinking about money. One is getting joy from having accumulated so much – he has so much and his ego is satisfied by thinking about it – while the other is satisfying his ego by thinking about the fact that he has renounced so much.

You will be surprised…the people who have money keep an account of how much they have, but the people who have renounced money also keep an account of what they have renounced. These monks and religious people have lists of how many fasts they have done! They keep track of the different kinds of fasts they have done. Just as there is a record of renunciation, there is also a record of indulgence. Rag keeps a record, and virag also keeps a record, because their focal point is the same; they are holding onto the same thing.

Veetrag, to be beyond attachment, is not the same as virag, the denial of attachment. Veetrag is to be free of both attachment and the denial of attachment. Veetrag is the state of consciousness where there is neither attachment nor non-attachment. He is neutral. He has money but he is unconcerned.

Kabir had a son, Kamaal. Kabir was in the habit of virag, the denial of attachment. He did not like Kamaal’s way, because if someone presented something to Kamaal he would keep it. Kabir told him many times, “Don’t accept gifts from anyone. We don’t need any money.”

But Kamaal would say, “If money is useless, then what is the need then even to say no? If money is useless, then we don’t ask for it because it is useless. But if someone comes here to unburden himself, why say no to him? After all, it is useless.”

Kabir didn’t like it. He said, “I want you to live separately.”

His virag, his denial of attachment, was being shattered by it. So he told Kamaal to live separately, and Kamaal started living in a separate hut.

The king of Kashi used to go to visit Kabir. He said, “I don’t see Kamaal around.”

Kabir said, “I don’t like his ways, his behavior is shallow. I have separated from him. He lives separately.”

The king asked, “What is the reason?”

Kabir said, “He is greedy about money. Someone offers something and he takes it.”

The king went to see Kamaal and, bowing down, placed a very valuable diamond at his feet. Kamaal said, “What did you bring? Just a stone!”

The king thought, “But Kabir said that Kamaal is attached to wealth, and he says that I have only brought a stone!” So he picked it up and began to put it back into his pocket.

Kamaal said, “If it is a stone, then don’t bother to carry the burden back with you; otherwise you will still be thinking that it is a diamond.”

The king thought, “There is something tricky going on.” But he said, “So where should I put it?”

Kamaal replied, “If you are asking where to put it, then you don’t consider it to be just a stone. And you are asking where to put it, so you don’t think it is only a stone. Simply throw it away! What is the need to keep it?”

The king put it into a corner in the thatched roof of the hut. Then he left thinking, “This is cheating! When I turn my back it will be gone.”

After six months he returned and said, “Some time ago I presented you with something.”

Kamaal said, “Many people present things. And only if I have any interest in those gifts do I bother to either keep them or return them. But I have no interest in those gifts, so why should I keep track of them? Yes, you must have given me something. Since you are saying so, you must have brought a gift.”

The king said, “My gift was not so cheap, it was very valuable. Where is the stone that I gave you?”

Kamaal said, “That is very difficult. Where did you put it?”

The king went and looked in the corner where he had stuffed it, and the stone was still there. He was surprised! This opened his eyes.

This man Kamaal was unique: for him it was only a stone. This is what I call veetrag, going beyond attachment. It is not virag, denial of attachment. This is to go beyond attachment.

Rag is an interest in holding on to something, and virag is to be interested in renouncing the same thing. Veetrag means that it has lost all meaning. Veetrag, going beyond desire, is the goal.

Those who attain to it know the ultimate bliss because all their attachment to the outside has dissolved.

 

* - excerpt from OSHO. The Path of Meditation.

Updated on 02-07-2018







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