Friday, February 20, 2009

Ramana Maharshi : To think about one’s Renunciation defeats the purpose of Renouncing

Question : Is it necessary to take sannyasa (a vow of renunciation) in order to attain Self-realisation?
Ramana Maharshi : ‘Sannyasa’ means renouncing one’s individuality, not shaving one’s head and putting on ochre robes. A man may be a householder but if he does not think he is one he is a sannyasin. On the other hand, he may wear ochre robes and wander about, but so long as he thinks he is a sannyasin he is not one.

To think about one’s renunciation defeats the purpose of renouncing. What do you mean by ‘taking sannyasa’? Do you think it means leaving your home or wearing robes of a certain colour? Wherever you go, even if you fly up into the air, will your mind not go with you? Or, can you leave it behind you and go without it?

Why should your occupation or duties in life interfere with your spiritual effort? For instance, there is a difference between your activities at home and in the office. In your office activities, you are detached and so long as you do your duty you do not care what happens or whether it results in gain or loss to the employer.

Your duties at home, on the other hand, are performed with attachment and you are all the time anxious whether they will bring advantage to you and your family. But it is possible to perform all the activities of life with detachment and regard only the Self as real. It is wrong to suppose that if one is fixed in the Self, one’s duties in life will not be properly performed.

It is like an actor. He dresses and acts and even feels the part he is playing, but he knows really that he is not that character but someone else in real life. In the same way, why should the body consciousness or the feeling ‘I-am-the-body’ disturb you, once you know for certain that you are not the body but the Self?

Nothing that the body does should shake you from abidance in the Self. Such abidance will never interfere with the proper and effective discharge of whatever duties the body has any more than an actor’s being aware of his real status in life interferes with his acting a part on the stage.

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