What is Sannyasa? (Renunciation)

What is Saṁnyāsa ?

Desire to give up is as natural as desire to procure. They are both necessary aspects in determining the path of life experiences. Both are healthy desires. Both can prove beneficial or detrimental to survival as well as to the quality of living. The desire to procure can become detrimental when it exceeds a limit. Among the many ills, few are, it makes a person greedy, arrogant and insecure. Whereas the desire to give up, when it exceeds limits can prove dangerous as giving up one’s responsibilities and sometimes, even one’s life. On the other end of extreme, the desire to give up can also pave the path of absolute freedom. Mokṣa. This, the desire to procure can never bring. Mokṣa.

Saṁnyāsa is the healthy desire to give up which paves the path of Mokṣa.

Saṁnyāsa, its essential meaning is त्याग Tyāga. And Tyāga, the essential meaning is ‘To give up’. ‘To abandon’. ‘To leave’. But while Saṁnyāsa involves giving up, mere giving up is not Saṁnyāsa.

What is it that needs to be given up? To know this, we first recognise what is it to procure? What propels the desire to procure?

All procuring is prompted by an inner sense of unfulfillment. An inner sense of security, wanting to be loved, cared for. A felt incompleteness which drives one to seek a projected fulfilment. Upaniṣads call them एषणा eṣaṇa. All our material assets upto, all our relationships, are driven by the same sense of incompleteness. Brihadāranyaka Upaniṣad divides all our fundamental desires into three eṣaṇas. वित्तैषणा Vittaiṣaṇa, पुत्रैषणा Putraiṣaṇa & लोकैषणा Lokaiṣaṇa. They are representing Desire for wealth, Desire for a Son and Desire for a Heavenly life respectively. One desires some material possessions since they are necessary to expand a family. And son is expected to further the family and also grow it further, so son is desired. He is also expected to release his father from his debts, which ensure a heavenly life for the father. In these three fundamental desires, all the complex desires get included, for their ends would fall into one of these three. These remain the fundamental propellers for all forms of procurement. And the Upaniṣads further bring these down to अहंकार – ममकार संबन्ध ahaṃkara – mamakara. Relationships born of the notion “My Body” “I am an individual” one begins to own objects and also exert an authority of ownership on people. This brings relations like, “My family” “My husband” “My children” My house” “My car” “My table” My pen” “My bat” “My doll” Etc. Etc. As long as these remain in limits of universal laws, or even, and also legal laws, they give some happiness and fulfilment, limited and short-lived as they are.

But, when any of these procurements begins to be strenuous, riddled with pain and suffering, man wants to abandon the same. By such a giving up, the physical effort is given up. Even the mental chase of that particular may be given up. But the inner sense of unfulfillment, cannot be given up. It remains nudging inside. Due to this, man resumes to procure something else with a fresh hope, may be now, he gets the fulfilment, which will result in peace, mental relaxation and innermost happiness that will last his lifetime! Such a giving up in the first place, is called Rajasic Tyāga.

Sometimes one just gives up something or someone, without truly having understood the value of the object or the person. It is out of haughtiness or sheer lack of wisdom, or information. Many a times man gives up, only to regret later, when the value gets known. Such a giving up is called Tamasic Tyāga.

Both Rajasic and Tamasic Tyāga are not qualifying for Saṁnyāsa.

In the ahaṃkara-mamakara relationships and their strenuous nature to sustain them, possibly, some see, the futility and falseness of the assumed association, “that the method of procurement of objects and people, gives fulfilment.” It dawns upon them that it is a chase of 99. A spiral leading nowhere. It is simply wrong to assume that outward possessions or relations born due to “me being a body” can ever, can in fact NEVER bring inner fulfilment. They want to now instantly give up this life leading to procurements. They give up. All actions. All relations. All procuring habits. Such a giving up, is Sātvika Tyāga. An essential requirement for Saṁnyāsa. But, it still does not remove the inner felt unfulfillment.

Saṁnyāsa is of two essential kinds.

1.Ceasing activities that promote self procuring. And directing them towards means which help in discovering inner fulfilment. For facilitating this, one may take to the Saṁnyāsa Āśrama. The characteristic of Saṁnyāsa Āśrama is taking on certain vows, along with and including which are; काषायवस्त्र dressing one’s body in ochre coloured clothes, दण्ड carrying a stick, कमण्डलुआदि, a vessel for receiving food Anna Prasadam and मुण्ड shaving off the hair on the head. Without possessing anything, they choose to dwell modestly. This shift of āśrama without inner completeness yet, and for the sake of pursuing, discovering the inner completeness is called Vividiṣa Saṁnyāsa. Many kinds of saṁnyāsi fall in this category. It may be safe to presume the majority are such saṁnyāsi. They may pursue inner completeness through service, devotion or even austerities. But, they put little or no emphasis on ātma jñana as the primary and sole means of inner completeness.

Inner incompleteness is not a truth. It is a false belief. Man is inherently complete. He has to just discover it. And as with any belief, this too gets corrected with knowledge only. In this case, with self knowledge, ātma jñana, regarding one’s completeness.

Few take to vividiṣa saṁnyāsa for pursuing ātma jñana solely. To them, everything else is only incidentally relevant. All service, devotion, austerities will never occupy their life completely. They will spend their life seeking a Brahma Jñani ācharya, who would only be interested in dispersing the ātma jñana for the sake of the seeker. They will do the śāstra adhyayanam (indepth study of śāstra), will reflect, question, exert to understand the Mahāvākya, TAT TVAM ASI. All this, for liberation only. For in their minds they have well observed the endlessness of all other pursuits and the struggles and limitations. They are ready to give up everything for discovering the inner completeness.

Among all such, the One who rises enough in his inner pursuits to discover the Truth which ends all struggles and he is able to claim AHAM BRAHMĀSMI. He gains the Brahmānandam. The absolute, unbroken happiness.
2. There is another route to claiming Brahmāndam. Without taking vividiṣa saṁnyāsa. He remains with his life activities that he generated so far and begins the Tyāga of ahaṃkara-mamakara along with pursuing ātma jñana. This is Mānasa saṁnyāsa. Once his pursuit for the same culminates in discovering the Brahmānandam, he may then choose to give up all his possessions and relations. He has culminated his life journey. He may choose then to remain the rest of his life in his atmajñana. For this sole reason he may take to saṁnyāsa āśrama. It is then called Vidvat Saṁnyāsa. Or he may not take Saṁnyāsa at all and continue living among his life activities as a liberated one!

The following are also possible

3. When one takes to Saṁnyāsa Āśrama born from Rajasic Tyāga, it is referred to as Marakat Saṁnyāsa. Marakat means monkey. Such a person will keep wavering on his decision to have taken Saṁnyāsa.

4. There is a provision of an exception. Under a specific condition as an debilitating or a fatal disease, some wish to take Saṁnyāsa. It is taken almost at the dying moments. Such a Saṁnyāsa is called Ātura Saṁnyāsa.

For Mokṣa, ātma jñana is mandatory, and for ātma jñana, saṁnyāsa is essential. Whether vividiṣa or mānasa. But giving up the ahaṃkara-mamakara is what determines one is a saṁnyāsi or not.

In the world, many take to vividiṣa saṁnyāsa for the sake of filling their bellies and desires. A seeker should know, learn to differentiate and recognise the real from the fake!

In the Bhaja Govindam, verses attributed to Ādi Śaṅkarācharya, his student Padmapāda points out the foolishness of those who fake saṁnyāsa.

जटिलो मुण्डी लुञ्छितकेशः
काषायाम्बरबहुकृतवेषः ।
पश्यन्नपि च न पश्यति मूढो
ह्युदरनिमित्तं बहुकृतवेषः ॥ १४॥

There are many who go with matted locks, many who have clean
shaven heads, many whose hairs have been plucked out; some are
clothed in orange, yet others in various colours — all just for
a livelihood. Seeing truth revealed before them, still the foolish
ones see it not.

Whereas in the Bhagavad Gītā, Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna in the

अनाश्रित: कर्मफलं कार्यं कर्म करोति य: ।
स सन्न्यासी च योगी च न निरग्निर्न चाक्रिय: ॥६.१॥

Anāśritaḥ karmaphalaṃ karyaṃ karma karoti yaḥ
Sa sannyāsī cha yogi cha na niragnirna chākriyaḥ |6.1|

श्रीभगवान् बोले-

जो पुरुष कर्म फल का आश्रय न लेकर, करने योग्य कर्म करता है,
वह सन्न्यासी तथा योगी है;
न केवल अग्नि का त्याग करने वाला और न क्रियाओं का त्याग करने वाला ।।1।।

Śri Bhagavān says –
The one who does what ought to be done, without depending on the results
Such a One is called a saṁnyāsī and He alone is the Yogī
Not the one who merely gives up physical worship, nor the one who gives up actions.

Arjuna wanted to take to Rajasic Tyāga, and Marakata saṁnyāsa, when he saw his close ones standing across him in war, ready to fight him. Overwhelmed, Arjuna collapsed in anxiety at the thought of loosing them all. And suddenly he began to talk all philosophical. “What is the use of war?” “Why should we be greedy?” “Better is a life of Bhikśa (another discipline of saṁnyāsa, where they request to be fed from the householders) than to kill one’s own for the sake of a piece of land?” Etc. Etc. He came up with many such seeming intelligent arguments. But Kṛṣṇa knew him well and also his inner maturity. He was not ready for giving up the ahaṃkara-mamakara. On the contrary he was suffering the attachments born of them. Thus, Kṛṣṇa gives Arjuna the above advice. That it was better for him to act as ought to be done and first begin by giving up his attachments to the outcomes of his actions. That itself will qualify him gradually into a full fledged saṁnyāsi, ready then for Mokṣa. This was the advice to begin Mānasa saṁnyāsa. He tells Arjuna to be a saṁnyāsī, to be a yogī. And by telling Arjuna, Kṛṣṇa is telling us all. To stop leading a deluded life and live a more deliberate and conscious life which raises one’s own being.

© Deepti Vishwanath
24.2.17
Mahā Shivarātrī

Praying for the ‘third eye’ to open. Wishing everyone a blessed  Mahā Shivarātrī. 🕉

Love

Love is an enigma to mankind. As much as God is. Whereas God is still easy to dismiss as non-existent, when some want to; the inherent need for love is difficult to dismiss by the same people. The ‘love-need’ is as perceptible, and equally impossible to dismiss voluntarily, as breathing is to life.

The love-need is universally seen. Spanning all life forms. It is the same urge running through the zillions. The bird, the fish, the goat, the donkey, the pig, the dog. Even the plants, science now says, respond to love. An artist, poet, musician, sculptor, writer, all try to depict it. The thinker, the philosopher, even the scientist, the mathematician! Or the deeply religious, or the atheist…. who has not dabbled with love? The mathematician says, “I Love the figures.” The artist tries to capture it in his figures!  The religious say, “Love God”, the atheist say, “Love Mankind first!”

What is this deepest, consistent need in all life forms? Why is it always felt lacking, wanting? And for the human, who is blessed with free-will, it is always a seeking. Seeking outside of him. In some person, relation, or even a pet. A career graph or some material acquisitions. But, the ‘seeking love outside’ is a thrust to all our passions, engagements. In fact, it is the direction we take, continuously. Where ‘love’is expected, anticipated, we turn towards it, where it is not, we turn away, naturally!

Love is a pointer, that shows the direction, on the path of self development. Love is not something you meet outside, but you find it within.

Enclosed and identified with her / his body alone, a  person, is aware of only her / his wants, needs, desires, hopes, aspirations, expectations etc. She / He  is individual-centric. With this default notion, she looks at other life forms, who can fulfill her. If someone does feed some aspect of her, she reciprocates, but, only as much as she is is being met with or has capacity. And, it is largely left unmet, or compromised, in the entire of one’s life. Such a view and approach, is missing the opportunity that Love unfolds.

The felt – want of love, is a way of telling, to be that person. To be the love you expect. Love, pushes one to encompass the other. The other gets folded, as if, within the individual-centric field. Looking from other stand point, the individual -centric circle has expanded. Is this then, the purpose of Love? To show the direction of self growth. From individual -centric default mode of living, to the universal-encompassing conscious living.

Love has many names. It has many forms. It has many expressions depending on the roles and relations. It is called by respect, regard, devotion. It shapes as fondness, like, adoration, pride. It has expressions as care, share, give, receive. But, all in all, it points to the direction we need to grow towards. Love is only a North Pole star! Walking towards it is developing the love. When it gets developed enough, it shapes as  compassion. Compassion, the highest point of inner development and the greatest expression of love, culminates in knowing oneself as the non-dual! Where all beings are embraced within, who is now the centre of expansion, so vast, that everything falls in it. The individual -centric notions now have fallen off, like petals for the fruit.

Few embark on this beautiful journey, for it means to give up on the individual, which, for most, is fraught with fear. A ‘loving person’ is ‘the happy, peaceful person’. A ‘wanting to be loved person’ is ‘the ever distrubed person’. If man seeks  peace, he needs to develop himself, to love.

Turn the Valentine day as a reminder, do I grow towards the Pole star called Love, or do I wait for the star light to shine upon me!

© Deepti Vishwanath

14th February, 2017

When God becomes a delusion.

God takes a pedestal in most lives. Yet is the most misunderstood. All misunderstandings are nothing but non understandings. So, is God understood, ununderstood or is God misunderstood, or does he remain alive in Faith alone?

Visiting any place of worship, Churches, Mosques, Temples, seeing the throngs of people, leaves a question in some minds. Is God there at all? Or is he a product of human frailties? An outcome of his delusion. And to worsen it, the imagined God now stregthens the delusions!

Was God meant to solve man delusion or was God created due to the man delusion? Why do so many people pray?

God, sadly has been the greatest crutch of the deluded.  By deluded one means, the one’s not ready to face life and its challenges. In an everyday life, they choose to close an eye to the real condition, and face the helplessness. Man has this desperate need of short term resolutions, and his easiest lean on, is God! It gives him an illusory assurance of a relief sometime.

The difference between real faith and an escapists lean on God, is huge! Faith is a result of inner maturity, of personal command and yet there is a connect with the greatest force -God. It brings peace, dynamism, independence, cheer, detachment, a consolation that even if things are not right, they do get right in the end, it brings inner strength. Whereas, an escapists use of God, is avoidance of responsibilities, of blind rituals, superstitions, of rigidity, of fear, helplessness, inability in taking important decisions, in the name of leaving it to God’s will, deep laziness, inertia, taking easy solutions, avoiding any strenuous disciplines. An easy dependence on anything in the name of God.

God is the most exploited, and in the name of God, most get exploited. For ‘real’ faith is rare. Most don’t have it.

-Deepti Vishwanath

Social media and Karma

Social interaction media has entered everyone’s life like televisions did in the 1970’s. The impact of it is huge. In terms of how it is affecting human behaviour. The leisure to get and remain’bored’ occassionally, is getting extinct. That leisurely boredom; which brought spires of creativity.

Imagine the time, when sitting under the stars, gazing into them till sleep took over! Or sitting by the shore, absorbing the environment with all the senses, till the sun rose or set! Or walking in the rain, or the summer thirst! Who was the constant companion then? Who was with us when we were alone?  Our own aware self. In the form of our being aware of the surroundings, people, senses, more aware of our feelings, our own thinking ways. Conscious of our own self, our responses, ready on a guard, for we knew we were being judged by other ‘bored’ people as well. Overall outcome was, there were impressions of physical sensations we carried to sleep. Our minds had a storehouse of impressions gathered from the physical reality! And now, recently I heard from someone a few months ago, “when I go to sleep, which is very difficult for me, in my mind are popping images of the colours of the candy crushes”

It is not unknown that a human takes the longest time to grow. Physically as well as emotionally, few even reach the stage of intellectual growth and very few aspire for a spiritual growth. And for all this she needs a lot of time with herself to know her own person. As a person who are we? What do we like /dislike? Why do we like /dislike what we do? What do we truly desire? What do we want? Who /what makes us uncomfortable? Whose company gives us happiness? Is that happiness my true seeking? Or is this a camouflage; the real person behind, is entirely different from their projected self? How will I know, where I want to be in 10 years from now, if I am unclear what I want? And a thousand such questions are there for a young person whose life has just begun to shape up… leading to experiences she will live in the coming years.

The point is this. Humans have to choose constantly. What to choose requires some fundamental knowledge of the kinds of choices and their outcomes. And all this requires time.

The social platforms is now ever a companion. It has successfully replaced the connection with the elements for most people. Not just the introverts.  And This. Is dangerous! For all. For the human life and its development, even of, the development of survival skills! Social platforms are robbing man of his ‘real time’ with a ‘virtual time’.

Man has a limited life but unlimited potential to live it. His greatest tool as a human being is his choice. This makes him ‘do’or ‘not do’ all the time, throughout the life. This brings experiences back to him as an outcome of his actions. The capacity of this and implications are momentous and also spiralling. Upwards or downwards, depending upon the choice and course taken.

But, when the social media engagements increase, man spends away this great choice without significant outcomes, except, may be entertainment! His connections with people, are reduced to formal responses. An adapted social behaviour. Not necessarily obliged to follow his character.

Entertainment and connection with other humans was always a human need. Perhaps, television was also an outcome of the same! Once it took centre stage of his life, there was no stopping man’s dependency for entertainment. It was becoming available at a button.

But, with entertainment also come a varied other emotions. Amongst all, dislikes also grow propotionately. We become ‘choosey’. Not based on knowing what we want, or Is good for us, but based on what entertains us!  Infact, we now believe it is our right to get entertained! Many ills in the society are known to have been generated from this.

What televisions triggered; an uncontrollable upsurge of want, to get entertained, the social interaction platforms has aggravated the situation! It is alarming, how much time averagely a person spends with their social media… television still a part of life along with all other forms of entertainment.

The issue is this.

It takes away man’s focus from the real situations! The real reality. At the slightest opportunity he plunges into the virtual reality and an imagined entertainment. It is great to connect with people. But, does the independence, in seeking independent modes of entertainment improve the social skills? Is it improving the communication between people? Is it helping her to discern the projected person from the real person? Is it teaching her to adapt to physical responses. Is it in anyway, helping the human to mature! It would be interesting if there were studies taken up, to show how man’s incessant urge for entertainment is affecting his life, physical, emotional, intellectual, social. And most, spiritual, if that is even understood to be a criterion of importance! But, any such study (of course may be there) will ever be taken up – seriously. The virtual world has reduced us to ‘a moment of pleasure seekers’.

Human being has a very short span of life and thus available opportunities to make any changes within himself. Human goal is liberation. This is the final goal. Very few, or maybe even none in a generation can ‘practically’ visualise this goal for herself. But that does not reduce the potential of a human birth. The potential of every human being is finding his limitless nature, the changeless, the birthless, the object free state of unconditional joys, the source of all knowledge and many more such expressions as a human capacity to enjoy life here on the planet (which alone is called liberation)! But, alas! Not paying heed to this, we, ignorant of our potential, barter it away for perpetual sorrows in the name of imagined possibility of a moment of pleasure seeking! That is a pity.

To come close to having Liberation as goal, even a possibility to be entertained, one has to live more in the earthly world which is to do with his connect with the physical elements. His opportunities to make a difference to his life does not come with social networking, but with elemental networking! The hand which operates the gravity or the movement of the Moon around the Earth, while the Earth rotates and revolves round the Sun, call whatever name to that Hand, it is the same, which governs the Law of Karma! For which you have to be in touch with your earthly actions, emotions and thoughts and touching the virtual keys and creating images, is not touching the full utilisation of the Hand! It has no seed capable of creating ‘adrusta phalam’, the capacity to generate an invisible result! Generating a positive adrusta phala (commonly called punyam) is essential in the beginning stages of one’s spiritual growth.

Virtual world based karmās fall in the category of only a loukika karma (worldly activity) which produces only some visible result -‘drusta phalam’. Usually,  it ends with getting entertained, being subject to misery, when not getting entertained! The problem with such an approach to life? It is not adequate, is grossly insufficient for inner maturity! And far undermining the human potential of life. Yet, as Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gītā, “यथा इच्छसि, तथा कुरु ।” “(After knowing), Do as you wish to choose!”

– ©️Deepti Vishwanath