Sannyas has always been wrongly associated with renunciation. You don’t have to renounce anything. You just need to understand that you are a temporary custodian of some wealth, which is a part of Existence, just as you are as well. Then you won’t need to renounce because you never possessed anything in the first place! Even if you have to part with wealth, you will not feel that you are giving away or losing your possessions. The problem starts with the attitude of possessing, the feeling of ‘mine’.
Sannyas is the art and science of creating wealth flawlessly.
I read a beautiful line in a Zen book. It said, ‘Mentally give away everything that you think belongs to you. Then one day, if it is really not there, you will not suffer.’ This can be done as a beautiful 10-minute meditation everyday. It can have a powerful impact on the attitude of possessing.
- Just sit by yourself as soon as you wake up in the morning.
- Close your eyes and visualize that all your things belong to Existence.
- None of it is yours.
- Existence is so graceful that it has allowed you to have it.
- Feel the gratitude flowing in you towards Existence. Experience this strongly and clearly.
- You will see, suddenly, the whole thing takes a 180 degree turn. You will wonder what is really yours in the first place.
Sannyas starts with gratitude.
Neither does a sannyasi need to renounce the world nor does a samsari need to be afraid of renouncing. Just the plain understanding that Existence gives and takes at the right moment is enough. Then you know that what is happening is the right thing for the moment and life is flowing as it should. This creates a mental gap between you and your wealth and that gap is called renunciation! It is just a gap, a break in the attitude of possessing, nothing else. It has been wrongly used in the context of sannyas. Renouncing is ‘having’ without the idea of having, and ‘parting’ without the idea of parting.
Otherwise, by merely renouncing outer wealth, you will not gain anything. You will only feel the pain of sacrificing the ‘mine’. Sannyas is not escaping from the ‘mine’. It is going beyond the ‘mine’. That is possible only through a proper understanding. If you renounce with understanding, it is okay. Otherwise, the ‘mine’ will simply persist wherever you go. Not only that, if you renounce with the idea that you are renouncing ‘yours’, it becomes the right action but for the wrong reason! By merely renouncing outer wealth, you can never be a sannyasi. Sannyas is a change in the inner mental setup, not a change in the outer material setup. Renouncing outer wealth to be a sannyasi is like doing the right action but for the wrong reason.
There were three men in a mental asylum. One day, they went to the doctor and said that they were ready to be discharged.
The doctor was surprised! He said, ‘Alright, come with me. We will have a small test to see if you are well enough to leave and live safely in the world.’ He took them to a swimming pool that had no water. He told the first man to jump into the pool and swim. The man jumped and sprained his ankle. The doctor told him he was not ready to be discharged.
Next he told the second man to jump. The second man also jumped and sprained his wrist. The doctor told him he too was not ready to be discharged.Then he told the third man to jump. The third man refused to jump, saying ‘No, I will not do it!’
The doctor was very happy and declared that the third man was cured and could go home. When the man was signing his papers to leave, the doctor was curious and asked him, ‘Tell me, how did you decide that you would not jump?’
The man replied, ‘How can I jump? I don’t know how to swim!’
Understand: right action, but for the wrong reason!
Renouncing wealth to become a sannyasi is doing the right action but for the wrong reason. Wealth and sannyas are not mutually exclusive. In fact, sannyas is the art and science of creating wealth flawlessly.
You should know one fact, the highest percentage of India’s gold is sitting inside temples and monasteries! In South India alone there are so many temples with golden towers. Just imagine! When you understand the reality or truth of sannyas, you will not escape from wealth. You will have honest respect for wealth. The only thing is that you will never be caught in it. You will never internalize it. There will be no space for wealth in your inner space. So you will never suffer for it. You will never suffer because of it.
A real sannyasi is the one who lives beyond wealth. When he has gone beyond wealth, it does not matter whether he has it or not.
If you read the vedic scriptures you will see that they always talk only about the abundance of life. They never teach escaping from it. They teach loosening the attachment over possessions, not renouncing or hating it. Sannyas is seeing the vast abundance of life as one whole, and therefore not being attached to your own small possessions. It is knowing that wealth is also a manifestation of Existence and not the essence of life itself. Once this is known it doesn’t matter how much wealth is lying with you. You remain untouched by it. Remaining unattached to wealth has been described as ‘renouncing’ in the ancient years.
The sannyasi who renounces wealth physically may do so as a choice, not because it is any definition of a sannyasi. A real sannyasi is the one who lives beyond wealth. When he has gone beyond wealth, it does not matter whether he has it or not. If at all he physically renounces, it is out of a deep understanding of the whole thing, not out of failure or compulsion.
Sannyas is not suicide. It is life. Sannyas is living in tremendous beauty – inside and outside you. Outer beauty and wealth are not enemies to the path of sannyas. They are complementary. Sannyas adds inner wealth and beauty to your outer wealth and beauty. It gives us the intelligence to handle the outer wealth and beauty without any suffering related to it.
source: Living Enlightenment