Path of renunciation

The basis of Adyatma sadana or spiritual discipline is renunciation and sastras are very clear about what this term renunciation implies. Like bhakti, it is a bhava or state of mind that takes control of the individual in total and runs seamlessly through his thought, word and deed, pointed out Sri B. Damodhara Dikshitar in a discourse. That is why Krishna tells Arjuna that his decision to leave the battlefield and adopt a life of a renunciate would only complicate matters. One may turn away from the challenges of life and take up the life of a sanyasi in the hope that the way of life of a renunciate can be more peaceful and that the troubles of samsara can be overcome. Maybe one may live in solitude away from family, etc. But what matters is what is predominant in his mind at all times. Physical distance alone is not the issue at all.

Krishna’s word of advice to give up ‘sarva dharma’ and seek surrender at His feet as a sure way to salvation is not to be understood as turning one’s back on the dharma and karma ordained in the sastras. It only means one has to perform what is expected of him, that is one’s ‘swa-karma’ and ‘swa-dharma,’ to the best of his abilities, but dedicate the results or fruits of his actions to God.

Adi Sankara says in Moha Mudgara that it does not matter what one does, either engaged in yoga or in worldly attractions; whether he is alone or in the company of people; what matters is where his mind finds delight, whether in worldly attractions and relations or in the Supreme Brahman. He alone experiences bliss if his mind delights in the latter. To remain very much in the world but also detached from it in one’s inner being is the maturity of mind that one has to strive for.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 2:30:30 PM |

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