09:09 PM Apr 26, 2019 | Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

When you are miserable, know that you have gone away from the Self. This is called ashaucha- becoming unclean.
In India when someone dies, the close relatives are said to be ashaucha for 10 days because they are very sad. They are impure because they have moved away from the Self. After 10 days of just living through that experience and reading the Bhagavad Gita, being with the knowledge and pulling themselves back into the Self, they become shaucha. They have purged the impurities that arose during those events.

This happens again and again in life. You become ashaucha and then you must get back to shaucha. Go deeper into yourself; then real shaucha happens.


Shaucha’s benefits are clarity in the intellect, a pleasing mind, focused awareness, control over the senses – and thus eligibility to realize the Self.


Shaucha is disinterest in the tendencies of your own senses. You have the understanding, “Oh yes, here is this old familiar tendency again. Come on, I have had this experience enough, and still my body craves for it again.” By being disinterested for a moment in one’s own body and senses – just an idea, a sort of distaste – you will find that the situation changes.

Why do people love each other so much, have such an intimate relationship, and then fight? Ashaucha has happened. If you do not have distaste for the tendency of the senses, then distaste for the object of the senses is bound to come and you will blame the person or object.

Your attraction or craving can exist only as long as you think someone is “other”. When you think they are a part of you or your Self, then the attraction dies out. That is why a husband or a wife may not be attracted to their partner but to someone else, because their partner has already become a part of them. When you realize everyone is part of your Self, you enjoy the whole world without a sense of craving.

When ashaucha happens, quickly come back to shaucha. Suppose you feel drowned in any worldly event, just know this is ashaucha- “That is why I am miserable.” Then come back to shaucha. Your practices, meditation, Sudarshan Kriya, service, and Satsang will all help you.

New Delhi, India
November 9, 1995

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