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What is Thyaga ? The concept of letting go

Updated: May 3

There are many instances where I have heard people say “you need to let go to be happy”. What should I let go? How will I know that? Does letting go mean I should sacrifice everything and run to Himalayas? Should I give money/food to needy? No one answered these questions convincingly and I realized that many use such statements very lightly. Probe a little they will be as clueless as you are 🙂 Finally I got the answer to my question. Let us understand the concept of letting go or “Thyaga” in this blog. Before we start, try to introspect the questions I have raised. Remember, we learn only through enquiry.

Indian thought system says that we need to let go all the obstacles in our life and hold on to those that are essential. Hmm..If we think deeper, this sounds like a very subjective statement. What is essential to me may not be essential to others and what is my obstacle can be some one’s boon. For example- Some can argue that eating food 6 times a day is essential to them, or wearing an expensive jewellery is essential to them. So we should define words “essential” and “obstacle” in order to understand this concept.

Indian thought system clarifies this point by saying that essential and obstacles are those that act or doesn’t act as means to ultimate realisation (“Nirvana”, also called, “Samadhi” is a Yogic term). This ultimate realisation is everyone’s goal of life. (What is this ultimate realisation is out of this blog’s scope. Read blog: “What is God? Let us understand scientifically…” to get an idea of God). For now imagine realisation to be a stage where we have complete control of our energy. Figuratively, we can play with our energy!!! This is the state we are talking here. Anything which acts as a means to our goal is essential, otherwise it is not. Obstacles are an end in itself and will not take us anywhere. We go to temple or worship God/Guru daily because we think temple/God/Guru to be a means to our realisation but if we think going to temple or worshiping God itself is an end then even this act becomes an obstacle. Now the question is, How do we know whether something is a means to my end goal or not?

Experience…We experience a state of happiness/bliss when we do something which is essential. Now, we may question, drinking alcohol daily gives me happiness, smoking gives me happiness etc etc. But lets ask ourself whether that is taking us anywhere closer to our goal. These experiences are deteriorating our health both mentally and physically. Thoughts, feelings, desires, relationships, possessions and the sense of me culminates in to obstacles in life in the path of realisation. Right experience of happiness is the one that uplifts us towards our goal, the one that gives us fulfillment and doesn’t make us regret about it anytime. These are the kinds of experiences which we should value.

So to summarise, “let go the obstacles in life which are not acting as a means towards our end goal and learn from our experiences as to what is essential. Essentials will give us happiness/bliss and will uplift us towards our goal”

I hope you understood the concept. On behalf of you all, I would express my sincere thanks to my good friend, my philosophy teacher, Research scholar – Swaroop Sharma, for answering my questions related to Thyaga.

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