Using Right Discrimination
Question: How does one use right discrimination without passing judgment?
Answer: Right discrimination, or viveka, is not about other people. Right discrimination is about oneself. Viveka means discrimination between the permanent and the ephemeral, and it has to do with me, not with other people. It’s not about sitting and judging others. That is not right discrimination; that is poor discrimination. The real problem is that I identify with false things, with things that are ephemeral, and I make wrong choices based on that mistaken identification.
The reason viveka is related to oneself is because what you see outside is your own prarabdha karma. If you see something outside that is wrong, it is nothing but the result of your actions in the past which are ripening in the present. It is your own doing, according to the yogis. When you look outside, whatever you see, you are seeing your own mind. You are seeing yourself. Therefore, if you see darkness outside, you had better start doing some serious yogic practice to purify the mind. Why do you see darkness outside? It is because of your own mind. You may not believe it, but this is how it is.
Viveka always has to do with me because I mistake things that are ephemeral as real, and I ignore the permanent. It is said, “Identify what is permanent, identify what is ephemeral, and discriminate between the two,” because the ephemeral is false, and the permanent is true. This is viveka, this is right discrimination: Find what is true, and stick to it, and do not attach yourself to what is ephemeral. That’s all. You should also be compassionate, and good to others. Don’t be judgmental, because when you judge others, you are actually judging yourself, because the others are yourself. That is who they are.
Swami Swaroopananda is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda. A practicing yogi from a very young age, Swami Swaroopananda has dedicated his life to the practice and teaching of yoga. He taught in Yoga Teacher Training Courses around the world and is currently teaching advanced yoga philosophy courses and lectures internationally. He is Director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat and acharya (spiritual director) for the Sivananda centers and ashrams in the Bahamas and the Middle East. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres.