5 – Tattva Bodha: Healthy Dispassion, Mind Mastery, Sense Control, Moral Duty


Discourse 5 speaks about healthy version of detachment/dispassion (viraga), mind management (shama), control of senses (dama) and uparama (doing what is to be done).

Source: Tattva Bodha

Adhikārī qualification 3 — 6-fold-wealth:

śamādi sādhana saṃpattiḥ kā? (What are [6-fold] sādhana wealth, starting with śama?)
They are, (1) śamaḥ: management of mind. (2) damaḥ: control of senses. (3) uparama: observance of duties. (4) tititikṣā: endurance. (5) śraddhā: faith/trust. (6) samādhānaṃ ca iti: and single pointedness.

  • What are the 6-fold qualities/virtues that promotes adhikārī to successful spiritual progress, resulting in mokṣa?
  • All 6 are mutually dependent. If finetune one, other 5 follow. So adhikārī doesn’t have to work on all.


śamaḥ kaḥ? mano nigrahaḥ
What is śama? Management of the mind.

  • What is “mind”?
    • It’s an inner instrument (antaḥkarana) for perceiving and engaging with the world. For solving problems. Gaining insights. Recalling. It’s the only instrument you have by which moksha takes place.
    • It thinks/emotes according to habits. This is why our thinking is more or less the same each day, because we thought like that yesterday. 
    • It’s like a pet. Needs repetitive reminding to break out of a particular thinking/emoting pattern.
      • For example: Deliberately intervene the tendency to opinionate or label a given situation/person, and instead recognize the intelligent order (Lord; which we'll discuss later) is at work, and has been at work before you were born, and will continue to work even after our departure.  You and I are mere instruments of the intelligent order. 
  • What is śama?
    • Mind can't be controlled else could turn on happy thoughts at will. Therefore, śama is mind management. We can manage the mind's process to a certain degree by various methods, like: Meditation, japa (repeating a mantra to return mind to single point of focus), duty (getting busy), lighter foods, prayers. 
    • Śama is being more alert to our actions and words. For example we even scold or get upset consciously.  Meaning our behaviour takes a less mechanical tone, and more deliberate.
    • What does mind management involve? Involves creating some distance between you and mind's incessant chatter.


damaḥ kaḥ? cakṣurādi bāhyendriya nigrahaḥ
What is dama? (It is) the control of external organs such as eyes etc.

  • Bahendriya: Mastery over perception and action organs.
  • Perception organs:
    • Organs simply report. They don't block what they report. Hence they do not harm.
    • Only need to manage FANCIES that arise from senses reporting the world.   
    • What happens if don't manage fancies:
      • Senses (innocently) report > triggers fancies > objectivity lost > becomes desire (another burden to bear). 
      • EG: Eyes report dress/pants > triggers fancy > see yourself wearing it [objectivity lost] > One goes home and starts pondering over the dress/pants. 
    • Thus dama in reference to 5-organs-of-perception isn't about manipulating world to sound/look better, but rather managing your internal fancies that arise from perceiving the world. 
      • Although sometimes physically changing your environment can help. Like moving away from loud noises, exiting an unproductive conversation, removing distractions while studying.
  • Action organs:
    • When śama is present, then dama not needed. If miss śama (internalized it, feel triggered), then need dama. Get angry later.
      • Even though feel like going after or doing it, you STOP the going/doing. Called “damaḥ”.
    • You say it, and you mean it. EG: Bhagavad Gita, As it IS: but person translates in own way. Should be purely original convo.
    • Today's “Mindfulness” is purely śama + dama.


uparamaḥ kaḥ? svadharma anuṣṭhānam eva
What is uparama? (It is) the observance of one’s own (svadharma) duties. 

  • What is to be done by me, whether I like it or not — is my duty (svadharma). One's likes/dislikes are subservient to svadharma (what is to be done in this situation), which is further subservient to dharma (morals, ethics).
    • EG: Employee svadharma is not only to do the assigned task, but also ensure it's within limits of ethics. 
  • Long term svadharma is based on your unique personality (guna-disposition). Meaning noone can tell you what's your svadharma (duty in life), because it changes according to your ever changing growth and values.
  • Benefit of sticking to svadharma:
    • Reduces future conflict, because your actions are enveloped with dharma (ethics, morals). So there's no reason to feel guilty or wronged if someone is displeased with your actions.
    • It's actually possible to experience inner conflict while doing your svadharma, because it may not necessarily be your idea of “what's fun and easy”. EG: Father may not enjoy changing baby nappies. However after doing it, there's no conflict felt.
  • In reference to moksha — uparama is recognizing your spiritual goal is so important, that you invest time in it regularly, whether feel like it or not.  Meaning one's fancies are subservient to a BIGGER VISION.
    • EG: Chinmaya was asked, “Can I skip study class?”. He replied, “Yes, on day you die”


  1. Śama is when your responses are not mechanical, but conscious and deliberate.  Why is this important?
  2. Dama is holding oneself back from speaking much or making decisions when emotionally triggered. Why is this important?
  3. Uparama is doing what needs to be done, whether you feel like it or not. When you don't do what is to be done, how do you feel afterwards?


Credit for help in Tattva Bodha to Chinmaya Mission's Swami Advayananda, and Arsha Vidya's Swami Dayananda.

Recorded 18 June, 2023


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