Every religion has a
band of anchorites who lead the life of seclusion and meditation. There are
Bikshus in Buddhism, Fakirs in Islam, Sufistic Fakirs in Sufism, Fathers and
Reverends in Christianity. The glory of a religion will be absolutely lost if
you remove these hermits or Sannyasins or those who lead a life of renunciation
and divine contemplation. It is these people who maintain the religions of the
world. It is these people who give solace to householders when they are in
trouble and distress. They are the harbingers of divine wisdom and peace. They
are the messengers of Atmic knowledge and heavenly messages. They are the
disseminators of Adhyatmic (spiritual) science and Upanishadic revelations. They
heal the sick, comfort the forlorn, nurse the bed-ridden. They bring hope to the
hopeless, joy to the depressed, strength to the weak, courage to the timid by
imparting the knowledge of Vedanta and the significance of the ‘Tat Tvam Asi’
A real Sannyasin is
the only mighty potentate on this earth. He never takes anything. He always
gives. It was Sannyasins only who did glorious, sublime work in the past. It is
Sannyasins only who can work wonders in the present and in the future also. Sri
Sankara’s name can never be obliterated so long as the world lasts. It was
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayananda, and Swami Rama
Tirtha who disseminated the sublime teachings of the scriptures and preserved
Hindu religion. A Sannyasin alone can do real Lokasangraha, because he has
divine knowledge, he is a whole-timed man. One real Sannyasin can change the
destiny of the whole world. It was one mighty Sankara who established the
doctrine of Kevala Advaita philosophy. He still lives in our hearts.
Just as there are
research scholars or post-graduate students in Science, Psychology, Biology,
Philosophy, etc., so also there should be post-graduate Yogins and Sannyasins
who will devote their time in study and meditation, in research over the Atman.
These post-graduate Yogins will give to the world their experiences and
realisations in the field of religion and spirituality. They will train students
and send them into the world for preaching. It is the duty of householders,
zamindars and the administration of the nation to look after the wants of these
Sannyasins. These Sannyasins will take care of their souls and in turn they will
have to take care of their bodies. Thus the wheel of the world will revolve
smoothly. There will be Peace in the land.
Sannyasins should, on
their part, be rooted in Advaitic Consciousness. Mere study of Vichara Sagar or
Panchadasi cannot bring in the experience of pure, Advaitic Consciousness.
Vedantic gossiping and idle, dry talk on Brahma Sutras and Upanishads cannot
help one in feeling the unity or oneness of life. There is no hope for him to
feel the Advaitic unity of consciousness—‘Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma’—‘all
indeed is Brahman’, unless the aspirant destroys ruthlessly all sorts of Ghrina,
hatred, petty-mindedness, jealousy, envy, ideas of superiority, and all barriers
that separate man from man, by incessant, protracted service of humanity with
the right mental attitude or Divine Bhava. Practical Vedanta is rare in these
days. There are only dry discussions and meaningless fights over the
non-essentials of various religions.
The central teaching
of the Gita is Self-realisation in and through the world. The same thing is
preached by sage Vasishtha to Sri Rama. To serve humanity,—God in
manifestation,—and to think of God while living in the world amidst various
activities, is superior to a cave life. Selfless work is Yoga. Work is Atma
Pooja. There is no loss in Nishkamya Karma. Real spiritual progress starts with
Nishkamya Karma Yoga.
Serve everyone with intense love, without the idea of agency, without
expectation of fruits, reward or even appreciation. Utilise this body-machine in
selfless works. Feel that you are only Nimitta (instrument) in the hands
of God or a Sakshi (witness) of Prakriti’s activities when you do Karma
Yoga. Have no attachment to any place, person or thing. Keep up the mental poise
amidst the toil and moil of the world without consideration of success or
failure, gain or loss, victory or defeat, respect or disrespect, pleasure or
pain. Have always a balanced mind. Have the mind firmly rooted in the Self
amidst all activities. Then you will become a true Karma Yogi. Work elevates,
when done in the right spirit. Even if people scoff at you, revile, beat, kill
or taunt you, always be indifferent. Be steady in your Sadhana.
This Sadhana demands
constant practice, steadfastness, patience, perseverance and endurance. Practice
of combined Karma and Jnana Yoga in the world is far more difficult than the
practice of pure Jnana Yoga in the cave of Himalayan retreats. The former Yogi
will have no Vikshepa or tossing of the mind, while the latter will be easily
disturbed by a little sound, or bustle of the city. To keep up meditation while
performing actions is a different kind of difficult Sadhana. That Yogi who keeps
up the meditation while performing actions is a powerful Yogi indeed. He has a
different mind altogether.
Sannyasins do not
want to remove Mala (impurities) by Nishkamya Karma Yoga. They think that
service and Bhakti are nothing. They at once shave their heads, put on coloured
clothes, remain in a cave and pose as great Munis or Yogins. They study a few
books on Vedanta and style themselves as Jivanmuktas. This is a serious mistake.
Even if there is one real Jivanmukta, he is a great dynamic force to guide the
whole world. Some Sannyasins of the old, orthodox school think that a Jivanmukta
is without powers. He can change or alter the destiny of the whole world.
A Sannyasin should
understand that this body which is supported by the pillars of bones, bound by
ligaments, which is plastered over with flesh and blood, and covered with skin,
as the foul-smelling refuge of urine and excreta. He shall have to quit this
bodily frame which is subject to old age and imbecility which is the abode of
diseases, afflicted with pain and suffering, the transitory embodiment of
material elements, characterised by the impure quality of Rajas and Tamas.
As a tree tumbles
down from the bank of a river, as a bird quits a tree at daybreak, so does the
self become liberated from this delusion of a body. Thus by gradually abandoning
all associations, and becoming free from pairs of opposites, his self shall
merge in the Great Brahman.
The knowledge of the
Supreme Brahman, extinction of all feelings of ‘I’ or ‘Mine’ etc.; become patent
to a Sannyasin only through the practice of unbroken meditation on the Supreme
Brahman at all times. He who has not acquired this Knowledge of the identity of
the individual with the Supreme Brahman will not obtain the highest good through
mere dull meditation.
A Sannyasin must
constantly mutter the sacred Mantras related to the Wisdom of Brahman and the
sentences of the Vedanta which treat of the Eternal Truth. Brahman is the refuge
of the all-knowing as well as ignorant beings. It is the final Goal of the
aspirations of all who wish to become Immortal.
On account of the
privilege of witnessing the Self, a Sannyasin gets freed from all work, and
becomes indifferent to the pleasures of heavens as factors of embodiment and
enchainment. By constantly brooding over the Supreme Brahman, the wise one
attains the Highest Bliss.
exalted they may be in spirituality, should not eat meat, eggs, etc., and should
not take tobacco, Ganja and opium. They should not smoke also. If they do so,
they set up a very bad example to the public. They should lead an ideal
exemplary life and advice the householders to give up meat, eggs, etc. Mind
always imitates. If the Guru eats one pound of meat daily, the disciple will eat
five pounds daily. ‘Yatha Guru Tatha Sishyal’—‘Just as the Guru is, so is
It is a great pity to
see that some Sannyasins eat meat and eggs. They argue vehemently: "We are
Paramahamsas. We can convert Tamasic foodstuffs into Sattvic ones. Meat helps
our meditation. We do not care for public criticisms. For us vegetable and meat
are the same. We will take whatever is served on the table. We see Brahman in
everything. Eggs come under vegetable diet only." Very fine logic indeed! They
can see equal vision in meat and vegetable but they cannot have equal vision in
censure and praise, heat and cold, pleasure and pain. A single harsh word or
slight disrespect will throw them out of balance!
Sannyasa is sterner
stuff, indeed. Comfortable Sannyasa is very dangerous. It is no Sannyasa at all.
All the rules prescribed for Sannyasins in the Narada-Parivrajaka-Upanishad
should be rigidly followed by Sannyasins. Then only they can shine as true ideal
Sannyasins. Then only they can set an example to the householders. Glory to the
true, ideal Sannyasin, who leads an exemplary life! This world is in dire need
of true, ideal Sannyasins who will serve the country and humanity with Atma
Bhava and disseminate Self-knowledge and Bhakti, far and wide.
May Sannyasins, the
repositories of divine knowledge, the torch-bearers of Truth, the beacon light
of this world, the corner-stones of spiritual edifice and the central pillars of
the eternal Dharmas of religion, guide the different nations of the world