Surface Sanyas | Bhaja Govindam 16th stanza

(Understandings from Swami Mitrananda’s talk to Yuva Veers of Youth Empowerment Program 6thbatch)

Agre vahni prushthebhanuh, ratrau chubukasamarpitajanuh
Karatalabhikshastarutalavaasah, tadapi na munchatyashapaashah || 16 ||

Meaning: Here’s a man who sits in front of the fire to warm him up (during night) and turns around with his back towards the sun when it gets too hot during the day. In the cold night, he lifts his legs upto his chin and lies down to keep him protected from the cold. He takes bhiksha (food received in alms) in his hands, doesn’t even keep a begging bowl for that purpose. He sleeps on the naked ground beneath a tree. Even then (in external renunciation) the desires have not gone from his mind.

Padmapada spoke about a guy who pretends to be a Sanyasi, an imposter. Totakacharya spoke about an ordinary person who does not know how to get rid of desires. In this verse, Hastamalaka speaks of a third kind where a person is not an imposter; he has genuinely taken up Sanyas, but still is not able to realize the Self. Even though he has renounced everything externally, internally he still holds on to his desires. Here, Hastamalaka makes it clear that Sanyas is not external renunciation. Sanyas is a state of mind. Unless one is able to detach from things ‘mentally’ he cannot attain the Self.

It does not matter how much we have around us. What matters is how much we are detached from all of it internally. King Janaka was a Self-Realised Master. Imagine a king, who lived amidst all comforts, staying detached!

Swami Chinmayananda stayed with his Master Tapovan Maharaj in Uttarkasi for two years to study the scriptures. Throughout his stay Swamiji lived in a small hut inside which he could neither stand straight nor lie down straight. So small was the hut. In the extreme climate of the Himalayas, living in such conditions makes it all the more difficult. But, he lived that way being not at all affected by lesser comforts. Later in his life, when Chinmaya Mission had become a worldwide organization, one of his devotees asked him, “Swamiji, Chinmaya Mission is expanding so fast. What do you think, how is it going to survive after you are gone?” Swamiji’s reply was, “I don’t care what happens to it while I’m living.” That was his level of detachment. For him, his own organization was just a tool to spread the knowledge of the scriptures, nothing beyond that.

Only a person who has renounced mentally can realize the Self. Otherwise, even though a person might be staying detached from the world, the desires in his mind will be running after different things. In such a condition, attaining the Supreme Goal of life is impossible.

Distance between you and Divine is – Desire.


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