Abhyasa and vairagya, the core principles of yoga, set the stage for other practices that lead to control of the mind and Self-realization. Together, the principles take one through the right path to achieve the ultimate goal of realizing the Self.
The intensity or degree of vairagya is classified into three types: mridhu (meaning "mild"), madhyama (meaning "moderate") and teevra (meaning "intense"). It is teevra vairagya that makes Self-realization possible.
Vairagya has four stages:
- Yatamana, which refers to the efforts to lead the mind away from sensual pleasures;
- Vyatireka, meaning "logical discontinuance," the stage that makes you aware of your level of vairagya toward certain objects;
- Ekendriya, the stage in which the senses remain subdued with the mind having attachment or aversion to an object; and
- Vasirara, the highest stage in which there does not exist any temptation toward objects, there are no likes or aversions, and this is when Self-realization and spiritual supremacy become possible.
Attaining vairagya is the only way to achieve spiritual progress. Vairagya can be achieved by learning to discriminate between the essential and non-essential as well as by practicing the art of developing right thoughts, speech and action.