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True Renunciation

by Swami Sivananda

The mind is the all in all. Its mastery leads to the renunciation of all. True renunciation is in the abnegation of the mind. It consists in renouncing all desires and egoism, not world existence. Through such mental abnegation you will be able to free yourself from pain. Then will come immortality in life - the enjoyment of the infinite delight of existence free from ego, founded on the oneness of all in Brahman.

Sanyasa (renunciation) is a mental state only. It is gerua (or colouring) of the heart and not of the cloth alone. He is a sanyasi who is free from passion and egoism, who possesses all the satvic qualities, even though he lives with the family and in the world. If you have a stainless mind you are a sanyasi (a renunciate), whether you live in a forest or in a city, whether you wear white cloth or an orange coloured robe, whether you shave your head or keep a long tuft of hair.

Shave the mind. This consists of getting rid of all attachment, passion, egoism, infatuation, lust, greed, anger, etc. Vedanta does not want you to renounce the world; it wants you to change your mental attitude. It wants you to give up this illusory feeling of 'I-ness' and 'mine-ness'.

Mind is a mass of objectified desires. Desire in the mind to eat, has manifested as the tongue, the teeth and the stomach. Desire in the mind to walk has manifested as legs and feet. Control the mind and you control the desires. Eyes can only see. Ears can only hear. Tongue can only taste. Nose can only smell. Skin can only touch. The five senses are blended in the mind and the mind directly sees, hears, smells, tastes and feels. It does this quite independent of the senses.

Understand clearly the aim of your life. Chalk out the line of work that is congenial to your aim. Then you should work hard to realise that ideal. Have your ideal ever before you and try, every second, to live up to it.

Develop a strong desire to remove carelessness and forgetfulness from your character. Have confidence in your own powers and faculties. Keep your mental poise in the world, without consideration of failure, without consideration of gain or loss, pleasure or pain.

Have the mind always rooted in God, amidst all the activities of life.


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