"The power to promote and reward, as also to demote and punish the individual and his fate in this world, lies within his mind, its thoughts and feelings. No external agency is necessary to bring this infallible fruition. As the growth and development of a seed, an embryo, or a cell designed and preserved by its own inner makeup, here too the causal forces for what one rightly deserves lurk within one’s own invisible bosom."

The Guiding force of Narayanashrama Tapovanam & Center for Inner Resources Development

Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

Renunciation for a Householder
[Satsang with Malaysian devotees. 11 January 2009]
Devotees: Pra¸¡ms, Swamiji. Pra¸¡ms to M¡ and Nutan Swamiji.
Swamiji: Ë¿¢rv¡d to everyone of you.
Devotees: Renunciation is fundamentally abandonment at the mental level and
maintaining equanimity towards dvandvas or pairs of opposites. At the same time,
being a householder, one has to discharge all duties and be responsible towards the
household. This being the case, a question arises: Is renunciation compatible or
even possible for a householder?
Swamiji: Is there any speciality in being a householder? A householder is in the
house; we are in the Ashram – both are buildings upon the earth. You live with
your blood and matrimonial relationships, we live with our spiritual relationships.
If renunciation is possible for us, should it not equally be possible for you? This
is a question I am asking you.
Renunciation is of course in the level of the mind, helped by the understanding of
the intelligence. What is to be renounced? We cannot physically renounce anything
at all. We cannot renounce our body. We cannot renounce air, water and earth.
Then what is it that we can renounce? So, what is meant by renunciation?
Renunciation means dropping possessiveness. If possessiveness can be replaced
by non-possessiveness, which is a spiritual and philosophical development, it
should be possible for every human being – whether one is an anchorite or a
householder. Do you agree?
You have given birth to children. Your daughter gets married. After the marriage
are you not comfortably sending her away with her husband? Is it not
renunciation? Some of you have migrated from Malaysia to Australia and you are
not able to be with your relatives for a number of years. This is also a renunciation.
Our mind is capable of taking to any level of renunciation.
In the Ashram, I have looked after a few brahmacharins. After a few years, many
of these brahmacharins have gone away on their own accord. I tell them: “You
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don’t have to tell me where you are living. It is enough if you are comfortable.” I
bless them and send them away. Is it not renunciation?
I also have a sense of renunciation about many of you. What is that renunciation?
When you take d¢kÀ¡ from me, you become my m¡nasa-putras, mental sons or
daughters. Just as parents have a feeling of parenthood about their child, the
same or even greater feeling I have about all of you. But I find that many of you
are not pursuing the d¢kÀ¡-s¡dhan¡ properly. And many are the blemishes and
impurities you have allowed in your mind. Even in your small group, you don’t
love each other. I feel sad when I don’t see mutuality amongst you co-disciples.
Unless I have a sense of renunciation about all of you, do you think I will be able
to adjust with all these imbalances and irregularities? I find a number of
undesirable elements in you. You are not able to get rid of them. But I don’t hate
you on that account. I still come to you. You also come to me. In spite of your not
doing what I expect you to do, if I am able to carry on very well with all of you, is
it not because of my sense of renunciation? In the same manner, will you not be
able to develop renunciation, is my question! What is your answer?
Don’t say that Swamiji is living in the Ashram and he has no children to look
after. I have more children and grandchildren than you have. You believe only in
physical children! Our ¿¡stras speak about five kinds of fathers:
V… x…i…… S……‰{…x…‰i…… S… ™…∫i…÷ ¥…t…Δ |…™…SUÙ i… *
+z…n˘…i…… ¶…™…j……i…… {…\S…Ëi…‰ {…i…Æ˙: ∫®…fii……: **
— Ch¡¸akya Neeti
These five are to be considered as fathers: One who gives birth, who bestows
the sacred-thread, who imparts knowledge, who gives food and who
relieves us from fear.
My dear souls, you are only blood-fathers and blood-mothers. There are four
other categories of fathers in our tradition. I am not the blood father but many are
my mental children – m¡nasa-putras! To the inmates who are living here, I am
also anna-d¡t¡. I am three parents put together – vidy¡-d¡t¡, anna-d¡t¡ and bhayatr¡
t¡. You are only one. Even with three-fold responsibilities I am able to practise
renunciation. In fact, but for renunciation, I would have been very, very miserable.
I have no sense of ‘mine-ness’ with regard to anything in this world. My body
does not belong to me. The earth on which the body moves does not belong to
me. My body is made by Nature and God. Understanding that nothing is made
Vicharasetu - August 2009
by me, what shall I consider in this world as mine?
Tell me clearly. Your ego and possessiveness — are they doing any good to you? No!
Then, why don’t you shed them? Shed them with enlightenment and knowledge.
Take to this renunciation. It is fully possible for householders.
Once you are able to do it, some of you will come to the Ashram also. Unless
Malaysia is able to produce three or four renunciates – one or two to remain there
at SIRD and one or two to come to the Ashram here — you will not have renounced
anything at all. Unless you are able to do it, I will not consider you to be
enlightened at all.
Dear children, understand that ego and possessiveness certainly can be renounced
and they can only be renounced in the mental and intelligential level. Physical
renunciation, by its very nature, is impossible. Have I answered your question?
What was your question? “Is renunciation compatible or even possible?” This
alone is compatible and possible; nothing else! Attainment of heaven is
incompatible and impossible if you develop attachment to your house members.
The attachment will make you miserable as many of you already know. Without
renunciation it is not possible to live a comfortable, happy and fulfilling life. Think
about it.
Devotees: While doing s¡dhan¡, we feel that it is possible to overcome some of the
sensory delights with constant practice. However, we find it extremely difficult to
maintain an even-mind with difficult individuals – whether in the family or in the
office. Very often we lose our temper. What is the one weapon you can give us to
address this weakness or shortcoming?
Swamiji: You may find some people difficult. Sometimes such people can be in
the house as well. You can say: “My relationship with you is becoming difficult.
At the same time, I don’t want to quarrel or fight.” You can perhaps communicate
with written notes. But in all these matters, one important factor is that you should
not hate the person. Never hate him at all. Hatred and dislike from your mind
should be completely annihilated.
We are born of the father and mother. Whether they are ugly or not, whether they
are healthy or unhealthy, we accept them. We also accept our children. In the
same manner, understand that there is a larger family for all of us. Which is the
larger family? It is the entire society. Everyone is a member of this larger family.
Just as you do not hate your parents or your children, you cannot hate the members
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of the society also.
Many are coming to SIRD now. Not all will have acceptable and amiable
behaviour. But I want all of you to like all members of the Society. When are you
going to expand your mind to this level?
Devotees: In the pursuit of moksha, can we renounce our family responsibilities?
Swamiji: I am a little hesitant to answer this question. First of all, I compliment
you for having raised this question. This is the one question that any good seeker
should raise and should answer, and should live by the answer. Now, I give you
two examples here.
What did the gopikas of Brindavan do, when they heard the flute of Sri Krishna?
áreemad Bh¡gavatam gives a graphical account. Some mothers were suckling
their children. Some were boiling milk or rice in the kitchen. Some were churning
curd. Some were sweeping. They were involved in a variety of household works.
But, whenever they heard the flute of Krishna, they were so much attracted to
and fond of him that they stopped everything and left. What does it mean? (No
reply from the audience.)
Answer me! Did they ask anybody for approval? If you are really fond of moksha,
then renunciation is imperative. Moksha means what? Freedom from everything.
It means leaving everything.
The other example is of Uddhava. Coming to know that Krishna would soon
leave his earthly sojourn, Uddhava told Krishna: ”My dear Lord, you are going
away. I am so fond of you that I cannot keep away from your holy feet even for
half a second. So, please take me along with you.” Krishna listened to Uddhava
and said: “If it is so, then rather than facing my departure, you leave me before I
depart. Go to Badrinath and do tapasy¡ (penance) there.” He further said:
i¥…Δ i…÷ ∫…¥…» {… Æ˙i™…V™… ∫x…‰ΩΔ˛ ∫¥…V…x…§…xv…÷π…÷ *
®…™™……¥…‰∂™… ®…x…: ∫…®™…E¬Ú ∫…®…o˘OEM¥…S…Æ˙∫¥… M……®…¬ **
áreemad Bh¡gavatam 11.7.6
[Cast aside all your attachment to your relations and friends. Imbue your
mind with fondness for Me. Look at the whole world as permeated by Me.
With an equal vision then meander heartily on this earth, free of all concerns
and expectations.]
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Uddhava said: “As my Lord and master when you tell me this, I should be able
to do what you say. But I am not able to. So please instruct me so that my
delusion and attachment will be removed and I will be able to follow your words.”
Then Sri Krishna gave his last message. It consists of 24 chapters in áreemad
Bh¡gavatam. After listening, Uddhava tearfully prostrated before Krishna, and
taking Krishna’s sandals, went to Badrinath. There, sitting in between Nara and
Narayana mountains, he started contemplating on Krishna and finally left his
Now I have a question before you. After listening to me, tell me very clearly, how
many of you are prepared to have this mokÀa and renunciation? Come, tell me!
Are you prepared for mokÀa? Do you really want it? (No response from the other
See! Nobody is prepared! None of you really wants this mokÀa! Then why this
discussion? Are you discussing it for the sake of others?
Yet, I am happy that you are raising this question. The Malaysian group is
definitely a distinct group. I wish that all of you realize this and grow well along
with questions and answers.
Now please listen to me! All the duties and responsibilities of the householder
will get crowned and fulfilled only when the householder takes to renunciation.
After g¡rhasthya you must take up v¡naprastha, and then sanny¡sa. If you don’t
do that you would complete only half of the journey – you remain as half-humans.
Your life will be complete only when you take up the fourth order of life.
You may look after your children. But it is certainly not ordained that you should
look after your grandchildren too! Let your children look after their children.
Why are you usurping into their area? It is not right. Do you know what the duty
of the householder is when the children have become old and they are capable of
looking after themselves? The householder should say: “Now that you are grown
up, look after the house. Leave us to ourselves. And let us look after our further
development of mind and heart, our spiritual growth and fulfillment.”
This is what a householder should do. If you don’t do it, you fail in your duty.
Householdership is not the be-all and end-all of life. You are not supposed to be
clinging on to your children after they get married. Allow them the freedom to live
a beautiful married life of their own. Educate them; get them married. Don’t cling
to them beyond that. After they grow, you have no role in your house. Please get
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away from there.
As you are listening to my words, I can see that some of you are even angry with
me! I am going to thunder the voice of renunciation from now on. I have been a
little moderate so far; now I am going to be very eloquent.
Be a society-holder! Embrace the whole society in your heart and mind. Were you
not happy when you were a family-person? You will be many more times happy
provided you enlarge your mind and embrace the whole society. Right from today
onwards, spirituo-philosophical dimension should grace your mind and your
mind must enlarge to encompass everything. Am I clear?
Devotees: Is it necessary to become a sanny¡sin in order to serve the society?
Swamiji: I don’t make it a condition – start serving the society right now. Let the
societal dimension start engulfing your mind. And within three years, you will be
asking me: “Swamiji, is it not better to become a sanny¡sin?”
At that stage, the only message will be: “Be true to your enlightenment. Honour it.
Cherish it. Try to embody it as much as possible”. What I want is a zealous and
devoted heart, nothing else. Have no conflict at all; live peacefully, comfortably
wherever you are. But always allow your mind to soar higher in spiritual and
philosophical dimensions. Be a member of the society and not just a member of
the family.
Instead of working with a mustard mind, you can start living with an oceanic
mind. Then everything will become light and easy. This is my message.
I bless all of you, and embrace you mentally. Have no conflicts. Let the centre
(SIRD) radiate greater fondness, spiritual power and responsibility. Ë¿¢rv¡d.
HariÅ Om Tat Sat! Jai Guru!