"In acquiring material wealth all are not equally blessed. But in gaining mental and spiritual wealth, every one has an equal chance. Beginning from character and disciplines and ending with supreme kindness and goodness, the wealth of the mind is displayed in abundance before all. The question is only who wants, and, to which measure !"

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Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

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While living in this world, we may have to face any situation and there is scope for the mind to produce practically every kind of response or reaction. The mind, which produces these reactions, also has the inherent capacity to live through and outlive them. This is a lesson that people do not understand and also refuse to remember. If the mind creates an emotion or agitation, it can as well live through and outlive it. Then what is there to be so much upset about?

 

Detachment - the only way to live well

Prabhāta-raśmih 25 July 1997 The fifth day of the Gurupoornima Retreat 1997.

Listening to Swamiji morning and evening for the past four days, a few seekers expressed a doubt before Swamiji after the night Satsang yesterday: “Swamiji, we have been listening to you for so many years. You have always inspired us to live a better life in the world. Your words and messages have always given us strength to steer through many difficult situations in the family as well as professional field. But, now we feel that you are mostly talking about vairagya and leaving the worldly life. That way the talks perhaps become a little alienated from the needs of ordinary people like us who are not yet prepared to renounce.

“Swamiji, we would like to hear from you the truth about this change of emphasis. You must tell us openly, without any sugar-coating, what we are supposed to do.”

Swamiji took up the point during the Prabhāta-raśmih

मत्कर्मकृन्मत्परमो मद्भक्तः सङ्गवर्जितः ।

Throughout the Bhagavadgeeta gospel, Sri Krishna is only explaining, re-explaining, confirming, re-confirming, strengthening, re-strengthening, the central idea that you are the Soul and you have no birth or death. You don’t have to be the Soul. You are the Soul. Only you will have to know it. If you are the Soul and the Soul does not have birth or death, then how can death become a cause of fear for you? If you are not born and you have no death, then what about the life which comes in between birth and death? You have to take it with a measure of indifference. Do not give anything in life undue importance, by virtue of which you get agitated, perplexed and subdued. The events of life are not to subdue you. On the other hand, you have to subdue them, outlive them, and get enriched by them.

While living in this world, we may have to face any situation and there is scope for the mind to produce practically every kind of response or reaction. The mind, which produces these reactions, also has the inherent capacity to live through and outlive them. This is a lesson that people do not understand and also refuse to remember. If the mind creates an emotion or agitation, it can as well live through and outlive it. Then what is there to be so much upset about?

In all the spiritual gospels, when they are properly understood, there is constantly a message of invincibility. Our body may not be invincible against the factors outside, but our mind is, and much more so is the Soul by Its very nature. The more and more you understand that this is so, you start feeling that you too are invincible. By the very fact of your being, this invincibility is there in you. If you don’t understand it, you are a fool! Ignorant! Deluded!

So, there is no message of spirituality, which makes a man timid or make him feel subdued. Let the family desert you; let the whole world turn against you; let poverty, death and disease assail you; as the adversities come they will also subside, as there is a calm after each storm. The sequence of events in life will not be as you want them to be. It is designed by nature with a view to enrich and sublimate you.

So my dear seekers and children, there is no message in spirituality which ever tells you to escape, to run away from any situation. But the message of spirituality will not become full unless it drives home well the fact that you are not born here to become attached to anything.

What is meant by attachment? It is self-courted bondage. You get married. The association of the partner should be a source of joy, harmony and additional strength for you. If it proves to be otherwise, if it becomes a source of agitation, anxiety and fear, if it constricts and subdues your personality instead of expanding it, then it is because of attachment. Similarly, the arrival of your child in the family should be an additional enrichment. If at any time it proves to be otherwise, that is because of your undue attachment. This attachment is to be identified and removed. Without detachment you cannot have strength, you cannot have composure. Without detachment you cannot have freedom, my dear children.

Whenever your composure is assailed, understand that you are attached. You may work in any office or factory, but you are not supposed to get attached to it. The air enters your lungs through the nostrils. Does it get attached to the lungs? What will happen if it does? The rivers flow into the sea, but do they get attached to the sea? If the continuity of the river is to be maintained, then the water has to be flowing – from the mountain, through a number of confluences, to the sea. For a while it remains merged with the sea, and then, rising in the form of vapour, coming down in the form of snow or shower, again it has to flow in the form of the river. Can it ever get attached to one prayaga (confluence) and refuse to flow further? If it wants to remain merged with the sea and refuses to get vapourised?

We are also supposed to be moving, flowing. Initially we are related to the parents. Then it is marital relationship. Then we have children, their marital relations and later the grand children. Through all these relationships we are supposed to flow, without getting attached to any. Whenever you suffer, the cause is attachment. Whenever you feel ease and freedom, it is the result of detachment.

See, how Sri Krishna, after having given the message of spiritual wisdom based on the concept of the unborn and undying Soul, finally concludes:

मत्कर्मकृन्मत्परमो मद्भक्तः सङ्गवर्जितः ।

Matkarmakrt - do everything for My sake alone. You are born in this world. In whose world? Not in your world or your father’s or grandfather’s! You are born in this world with a body which is not shaped by you. Is there anything then which you have to shape? Living in the world created by God, moving with a body created by God, all that you do should be for the sake of God, the supreme Power. This is the message of spirituality.

Where is the impracticality here? Can a servant appointed by the master or an employee appointed by a company do whatever he likes? Can a government officer do whatever he likes? As a servant, as an officer, as a minister, one has to work for the master, for the company, for the people. So, in this world created by God, you should work only for the sake of God. When can you do everything for the sake of God? Only when you consider Him to be the Supreme. So ….

Matparamah - consider Me to be Supreme. Are you considering God to be supreme in life? My dear seekers, you have to give marks to yourselves, Are you considering God to be SUPREME? If you do, then whatever you do will automatically be for the sake of God. Until you are able to do this, you are not a full sadhaka. If you are a sadhaka, then your fatherhood, motherhood, husbandhood, wifehood - all are only secondary positions, superficial positions. Primarily, you are a devotee. So ….

Madbhaktah - be My bhakta alone. Be devoted to Me alone, and not to anybody or anything else in the world. You feel, ‘I am a husband’, ‘I am a wife’, ‘I am a son’, ‘I am a sister’, etc. But, overshadowing all these, do you feel ‘I am a bhakta’? And how to ensure that you are a bhakta? -

Sangavarjitah - be devoid of all attachments. A devotee of God will not be attached to anything of the world. A person becomes a bhakta proportionate to the Sangavarjitatva he is able to understand and practise. Sangavarjitah - let this be your mantra from today onwards.

Yesterday I was told, “Swamiji, you are speaking only on vairagya.” I am not speaking on vairagya. I am speaking on strength. I am speaking on Truth. I am telling you what is reality, what will strengthen you, what will give you peace, joy, fulfillment and freedom.

I only speak to you about what will enable you to live victoriously and well. You don’t have to become a son or daughter. That you already are. You don’t have to become a husband or wife. That you already are. You have only to become a devotee! And for that, you have to become Sangavarjitah. There can be no excuse or postponement about this.

You are a sangi because you do not know what lives in the body. You are attached to worldly objects because you do not know who you are. You are not the body. So, never get attached to the things belonging to the body. This is the message of Bhagavadgeeta, the message given to Arjuna before fighting the war, not after fighting the war. The message was given to Arjuna to enable him to kill all the people assembled on the other side, including his own Teacher and the beloved Grandfather. And after the message was given, Krishna and Arjuna remained on the same chariot and fought the war for 18 days. Krishna did not abandon Arjuna; Arjuna did not abandon Krishna. They ruled the country for more than three decades.

After listening to the message, Arjuna did not go to the forest. He ruled. But, there came a time when Arjuna too had to withdraw. After ruling the country righteously for thirty six years, the Pandavas left the land and walked into the Himalayas. There they dropped their bodies one after the other. I think you should also be able to do it. Why not? It is the glorious end of a life of fulfillment! Having lived life well, you have so much of fulfillment that you feel like dropping the body. This is a wonderful fulfillment that human beings alone can expect to have.

So, in the message of spirituality, there is no contradiction, there is no scope for escapism. Understand it properly, put your ego down, knock your intelligence, be submissive, understand. It may take 10 years, 20 years or even 40 years to know the mystery. My dear souls, your Swamiji is not giving a message that is wrong or impractical. Know at least now: The strength of your mind is directly proportional to the detachment you grow. Towards whom? Towards the new-born child, grown up child, towards the newly wedded wife, towards the house you have built, towards the factory you have erected.

My dear souls, are we not constructing buildings, making furniture, painting walls? Looking at these never breeds attachment. Are we not regularly looking after a number of guests? Detached we do everything. But we are not running away from the Ashram! My dear souls, I do not find anything in this world to be attached to. I am not attached to God either! Not at all! Neither I am given to attachment, nor am I given to detachment. The Soul is neither attached to the body, nor detached from it.

तस्मादसक्तः सततं कार्यं कर्म समाचर ।

Tasmad-asaktah satatam karyam karma samacara

“Do all work, Arjuna, remaining asaktah always.” All actions are best done with asakti (detachment, dis-identification). Discharging arrows, beheading enemy, making Bheeshma fall, losing Abhimanyu - do everything remaining asaktah. With sakti nothing can be done. That is why a Doctor is not able to operate on his wife or son. Is it a success or a defeat, you tell me!

The one who does with asakti, alone attains the Supreme. So, there is no substitute for detachment, my dear children. Your Swamiji cannot take away the word ‘detachment’ from his talks. My role is to make you detached. It is never to make you attached. Your father has made you attached, your mother too has made you attached. Your married partner, your children are making you attached. The house, the car, the deposit – all these are only making you attached. Let there be a detached Swamiji to make you detached. I think it will be a happy and harmonious addition to your mind and family.

Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.

* * *

The above article is re-produced from the August 1997 issue of the Vicharasetu

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