Updated: Feb 12, 2019
What makes you slog for a promotion or cut down expenses to save money for a dream car or house? What makes you hold onto your goal? What gives you the power to direct your thoughts, emotions, senses & actions towards a goal?
Dhriti (Perseverance) is an important factor along with Buddhi (Intellect) in pursuing any goal in life. Especially when goals are months and years far away, or perhaps lifetime away. In this article, we are addressing Dhriti only. You can read the article on Buddhi on the blog.
Achievement of any goal requires an unwavering mind. Which means your thoughts, emotions, senses, energy, actions all should be focused on your goal at all times. This ability to direct yourself (thoughts, emotions, senses, energy, actions/body) towards your goal is called as Dhriti (Perseverance). This ability is not dependent upon any intermediary results or even the indication of such. Dhriti (Perseverance) is independent of any indication of success. Means you do not waver at all despite all difficulties, diversions and absence of results in between. It's like how you might have pursued your love/lover. Despite them ignoring you, chasing you away, not like you, not in love with you, their family against you, you just kept loving them and perhaps pursuing them for months, years. Every time you got knocked down, you got up again and were back to your goal.
Your thoughts, emotions, senses, energy, actions everything was directed at all times on your love/lover. Nothing could waver that, shake that for months, years. Right?
Now, it is not enough to just have Dhriti (Perseverance) after all one can persevere in making a nuclear bomb and destroying humanity. One could persevere for weeks and months to kidnap someone and torture them. Hence it's not enough to have #Dhriti (#Perseverance) but "Purity" of Dhriti is needed. Purity is of utmost importance.
What is the meaning of purity here? How do we measure purity?
Well, the purity of Dhriti (Perseverance) is measured by its capability to direct thoughts, emotions, senses, energy and actions/body towards the highest, purest goal of Human Life, which is Moksha/Liberation. In other words, the purest goal is "Being" which requires Dhyana/Meditation and other Spiritual Practices (Yog Sadhana). It also means not getting caught up in "delusion/Maya/worldly desires", realizing the impermanence & suffering that it creates. The purity of Dhriti is a directional measure. Purity increases towards the direction of Ultimate Goal (Moksha/Truth/Liberation) and Impurity increases towards the direction of Delusion.
Based on the level of purity Dhriti is of 3 types: Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamsik.
Sattvik Dhriti - Pure Perseverance
You sit for meditation and suddenly one by one all the thoughts start disturbing you, your legs start tingling, here and there your muscles start twitching, you hear all the noises that shouldn't be there, your back starts aching, at times your nose itches or an invisible ant starts crawling on you, grass pokes you and finally either you get up & give up or you keep fighting all these odds. Next day you make sure your environment, seating, clothing is all perfect but now you hear sounds of your stomach growling, one leg goes numb, sudden itching here and there, upper back pain comes up, and you end up fighting again. Then you exercise your body for a few days and the third time you sit again for meditation. This time, not very many physical problems happen instead mind starts roaming in all possible directions & dimensions, from past to future, from America to Australia, from morning till night, thoughts after thoughts and now you end up fighting your mind/thoughts. After a few more tries, finally, you give up. Because there is no way to fight your mind/thoughts.
The thoughtless mind is meditativeness/meditation/dhyana. You understand that, but when you try to do that, you sleep, it feels as if you slept briefly instead of meditating. You try meditation for a few more times and finally most of you give up. What is happening here? Why can't you meditate? You are not able to direct your body, mind, thoughts, emotions, senses to your goal. It requires balancing your Pranic Energy first through simple #Pranayam for few months. Then it requires pulling your #Pranic Energy from senses, mind and emotions and placing it into the void/oblivion/emptiness. But since you do not know void, oblivion or emptiness so, in other words, it means placing it nowhere or just pulling it from senses, mind, emotions where it should not be, so then it will automatically be where it should be. When Pranic energy is pulled no disturbance happens. One can meditate for hours, days, weeks, months and finally become meditative 24 by 7 by 365 and is a Being and attain #Moksha/#Liberation.
This was one example. For pursuing Spiritual Goal, the Ultimate Pure Goal, you might have to do so many different Sadhanas/practices, and who knows for however long.
Dhriti which allows one to stick to the path of meditation and other spiritual practices, allows one to be meditative for the ultimate goal of attaining Moksha is Sattvik Dhriti.
Despite all odds, people with Sattvik Dhriti do not give up their Spiritual Goal. They keep on fixing, changing whatever needs to be changed to be successfully Meditative one day, they persevere.
Those who have Sattvik Dhriti are able to do any and all spiritual practices that are needed and for however long they are needed and stay on the spiritual path until the ultimate purest goal is achieved, regardless of however many distractions, difficulties they face. Nothing can distract or waver them at all, even the absence of intermediary results. Sattvik Dhriti allows them to stick to the ultimate goal.
I did not know from direct experience what Meditation is? How will I know if I am meditating or lost in imagination or hallucinating? What is Kundalini and what happens when it is awakened? Am I doing the right Kriya to awaken it? I knew nothing. I had no one around to even talk about such things. But still, I kept doing what I felt was right in my heart, no overthinking, just doing. Two months passed nothing happened. I was doing all my practices for 2 hours from day 1 from 3:40 AM till 5:40 AM, but it was on my mind 24 by 7, with all worldly duties that one can imagine. No sign, no indication whether it was going in any direction or if something is happening. Finally, after two and half months when I was not in my Sadhana instead was sitting on my patio, first Samadhi happened for few minutes. And that changed my world, my perception all-together.
The switch was flipped, a Deep transformation took place. After that, I did not stop for the next 3.5 years, until Enlightenment happened and then 9-10 more months until Self-Realization happened, despite all worldly problems, distractions and duties.
No one was watching me whether I stay on my path/my goal or leave it anytime. No one would have held me accountable for leaving it. No one knew, except immediate family. Sattvik Dhriti doesn't need any external force, external pressure to stick to the path. One doesn't need Guru, Teacher, Boss, Elder, Parents, Lover to keep pumping you, inspiring you to stick to the goal.
One doesn't expect results, changes or assurance from time to time to keep himself/herself motivated to stick to the path. Sattvik Dhriti (Perseverance) towards ultimate, purest goal also means not deluding oneself in the worldly actions. Such people live worldly life for the sake of sustaining their body and fulfilling their duties towards their family, but not even for a moment they have mistaken all that with their goal of life.
Mundane is necessary, but is not the goal of life. Despite doing everything in the world they are in perfect awareness at all times what their ultimate goal is. Sattvik Dhriti people are able to persevere in the awareness of delusion and their ultimate goal.
Dhriti (Perseverance) requires not only love for the goal but also requires Vairagya from everything else.
Breath by Breath, Prana by Prana, Kosha by Kosha, Sattvik Dhriti takes one away from Bondage, Attachments (Maya-Jaal) and towards Vairagya, Liberation/Moksha. It all ends with Sat-Chit-Ananda, permanent joy, peace, love.
Rajasik Dhriti - Impure Perseverance - Dhriti for Worldly Desires
Dhriti (Perseverance) for Worldly Desires (Kama), Resources (Artha) is Rajasik Dhriti. Many people slog for promotion, salary hike, a better job, awards/recognition, green-cards, foreign citizenship, higher education and so on. They give up socializing, other duties, responsibilities towards kids, older parents and what not and persevere for their worldly goal. For months, years people cut down expenses and save money to buy a dream house, car or travel to an exotic place or mountaineering expedition. Many slog for years while pursuing higher education. A lot, that people do in the world requires a ton of patience, day by day thoughtfulness, careful actions, and perseverance. Those who are able to achieve their worldly goals possess Rajasik Dhriti. No matter how much hardship they face in achieving their worldly goal, they are able to do it. They will slog, means have Vairagya for other worldly activities, duties to achieve the object of their desire, even their education, degree. When they are near the promotion, they will be in office, onsite to impress their boss, despite an emergency or chaos at home & family life. One will not sleep, rest, eat or get up from their desk unless they are able to troubleshoot an issue. See the dedication here? That is Rajasik Dhriti (Perseverance) in play.
Such people have Rajasik Buddhi, they are Rajasik Karta (Doer) and they are doing Rajasik Karma (Worldly Life) and are depleting existing Karma (#Prarabdha) as well as Creating New Karma (#Agami) for hundreds of future lifetimes. Rajasik Dhriti results in "temporary pleasures & happiness". Permanent Joy cannot be achieved through it. Rajasik Dhriti makes one either juggle because desires are so many or be on the endless chase as desires are endless.
Rajasik Dhriti doesn't allow one to meditate or pursue spiritual sadhana with dedication. Rajasik Dhriti makes one give up any/all spiritual efforts sooner than later for the sake of their worldly desires, goals. If there is a choice between Meditating early hours or sleeping, such people will persevere in their sleep, if there is a choice between meditating or exercising their body by playing sports in the morning, such people will persevere in sports, if there is a choice between going for Satsang or Spiritual Discourse and Blockbuster Movie or International Sports match, such people will persevere in the latter and so on.
In a nutshell, Rajasik Dhriti people change, transform only when they have suffered enough or have a Grace from a Guru, and it may take whole life or a few lifetimes.
Rajasik Dhriti people cannot become Meditative unless Vairagya (Non-Attachment) from the World/Maya happens to them first through "suffering". After enough suffering, pain, sorrow, grief, they start seeing delusion for what it is and not get caught in it. That's how they acquire Life-Wisdom and get into spiritual practices, purify their Buddhi (Intellect) to be Sattvik and that's when they have Sattvik Dhriti.
Spiritual Seeking when happens to fulfill the desires of becoming a Guru/Teacher, protecting self-image by hiding psychosis or some psychological issue, creating a means for earning or for power, siddhis, name, fame, knowledge, immortality or something else, some worldly agenda then such a person is persevering on the Spiritual Path due to Rajasik Dhriti and will not attain Moksha/Liberation, will end up with anything else but not Sat-Chit-Ananda (Truth - Pure Consciousness - Bliss/Love/Peace). You get what you are truly seeking within and that which you seek is seeking you.
There is no escape!
Tamsik Dhriti - Highly Impure Perseverance
Tamsik Dhriti is highly impure one. Such people have Tamsik Buddhi too, hence their ability to comprehend life is severely impaired.
These people persevere, hold onto fears, past suffering, lost love, lost loved-one, lost pride, lost control, lost jobs, old wounds, mental/emotional scars and everything that is useless and is not of any help in life at all. They do not live in Reality. They imagine fears, scary noises, faces, criminals, ghosts, spirits, entities who might attack them and hold onto it, persevere, means keep re-imagining it, playing it over and over again in their mind.
Tamsik Dhriti people might have lost love/lover. Their lover might be long gone, but these people will not accept it. They will hold onto the past personality of their lover and will fail to see the changed, transformed new person/personality and the reality the way it is. Their favorite dialog are - You will always be same for me, I will never let you go, I will never stop loving you, You will always be there for me, You may change, but I will never. Heck, they hold onto past so tight. And they are so proud of their ignorance, they are in love with their foolishness.
Every wound heals. But for people with Tamsik Dhriti, nothing ever heals. Because they persevere in scratching it. I remember watching a sick movie long time back, where a girl was a mental patient and she used to keep on scratching her knee, wounded it, and kept on further scratching it and after some time, it had to be amputated, despite all attempts by doctors to save her. Tamsik Dhriti people are doing the same to themselves, except it is mental & emotional.
Other times Tamsik Dhriti people will persevere, hold onto their Foolishness, Ignorance, Superstitions, Wrong Concepts so damn tightly that no matter who tries to change/fix their thinking/understanding it doesn't work at all. Such a Soul/Jeevatma is hell bent upon giving suffering to herself and all those who are connected to her/him. Such people never understand that "everything changes, change is the only permanence".
Everything passes, all wounds heal, all people/places/events change. They live in strict denial of reality the way it is and either behave from their Tamsik perseverance for past or wants everything their way and become highly controlling.
Tamsik Dhriti people can even hold onto past Pride due to their own past richness, or the richness of their ancestors or their famous ancestors, or pride of being born to a certain caste, famous family or anything which was a matter of Pride long back, but the real condition is exactly opposite as of now. Imagine a really poor person taking pride in telling you about the richness and royalty of his grandparents, or a Tamsik Buddhi & Tamsik Dhriti person taking pride in being born in Brahman caste family and proudly wearing Janaeu (Sacred thread) at all times.
Will I have one type of Dhriti (Perseverance) lifelong?
One could be born with any one type of Dhriti, or it could be a mix of Tamsik+Rajasik or Rajasik+ Sattvik. Which type or a mix of Dhriti one will be born with depends upon what type of Buddhi (Intellect) one has got? How pure is their Buddhi (Intellect)?
Dhriti (Perseverance) follows Buddhi (Intellect). Buddhi chooses a goal and Dhriti helps to achieve it.
Note: During the battle of Kurukshetra, Arjuna asks questions about Dharma (righteousness) and Intellect that can understand True Dharma and Perseverance which can help achieve the goal of True Dharma. Krishna explains to him 3 types of Buddhi (Intellect) and Dhriti (Perseverance) in five shlokas which are consolidated in Bhagwad Gita. This article explains those shlokas as well as provides information for Spiritual Seekers.