The 4 D’s (Qualifications): Sadhana Catustayam
– Discrimination (Viveka)
– Dispassion (Vairagya)
– Discipline, six fold (Sadhana chatushtaya sampatti)
– Desire for freedom (Mumukshutvam)
Think of the four qualifications as practices, that prepare the mind for jnana yoga or Self Inquiry. The qualifications, along with karma yoga, upasana yoga and a study of values, reduce tamas (inertia) and rajas (projection), cultivating the predominant sattva (clarity of mind) necessary for Self knowledge.
The student must be prepared for higher learning, just as the pilot, surgeon or lawyer must complete the prerequisites before gaining certification. While it only takes a pilot 100 hours to get their private pilot ticket, it may take 10,000 hours of flying to become a professional pilot with mastery.
Viveka (Discrimination) between sat and asat (truth and not truth), between satya and mithya (reality and the apparent reality), and between nitya and anitya (that which is permanent and that which is temporary). With viveka we negate the apparent reality and hold our attention on what is always true – the Self.
Vairagya (Dispassion) for sense objects and the temporary pleasures they bring. Knowing, without doubt, that objects and experiences cannot bring lasting happiness. With viveka, comes vairagya.
Samadhi-Satka-Sampattih (Six-Fold Disciplines)
1. Sama – Mind mastery. The ability guide our mind towards what is truly important. “Controlling the mind is not suppression but learning to consciously regulate, channel and direct our thoughts to avoid anxiety, stress and depression.” Swami Paramarthananda. “Cultivating a mind that is available.” Swami Dayananda.
2. Dama – Sense mastery. Having control over what we experience via our senses including what we eat, look at and listen to. The five senses are designed to hook up with the world of objects and experience and we blindly follow our likes and dislikes (raga/dveshas) without discrimination, we will be a slave and waste our energy.
3. Uparama – The ability to withdraw from sense objects. Moving from extroversion to introversion. The turtle pulling in the legs and head into the shell. Living a simple life dedicated to Self knowledge. Formal and informal sanaya or renunciation. Formal sanyas is to renounce our familial and societal roles and live the life of a monk. An informal senyasa, renounces attachments but honors his or her duty to family and society.
4. Titiksha – Forebearance, the ability to meet life’s discomfort. There will always be discomforts, physically, emotionally and mentally, yet can we stay the course?
5. Shraddha – Faith in the scripture and teacher pending the results of our investigation.
6. Samadhana – Concentration, one pointed focus. Keeping our eye on the prize – freedom.
Mumukshutvam – The burning desire for freedom. With practice (sadhana), using the three yogas – karma, upasana and jnana, we discover the value of freedom and our desire for it grows.
Along with the Four D’s presented above, it is highly recommended to pray for an adept teacher who understands the Vedantic methodology, has assimilated its meaning and has the ability to communicate the teachings with context. The reason being, the Upanishadic mantras, which can be quite cryptic, can be misinterpreted based on proportion of knowledge and ignorance we carry. Additionally, we will have doubts and questions as we work through this process of Self discovery.