Home Wisdom Articles Pujya Gurudevshri Pujya Gurudevshri Insights Possessing or Getting Possessed?

Possessing or Getting Possessed?

Forgetting the magnificence of one’s true Self, the worldly take pride in owning things. Pujya Gurudevshri not only reveals the ugly consequences of possessiveness but also shows us the path to eternal happiness by giving up the illusory sense of ownership

In ‘The Story of a Horse’, a play written by Tolstoy, the main character, a horse, beautifully describes his perspective of the humans. He sarcastically remarks on his owner, “While talking about me to other humans, he always refers to me as ‘his’ horse. How can I become ‘his’ just because he has paid for me? I am I, independent and completely separate from him. Even if he rides on me, this brief association with me cannot make me ‘his’. Can a fly sitting on me become my owner? Neither am I his, nor is he mine. These humans are a creed of fools who live with a false sense of my-ness. They do not realise the futility of being possessive of fleeting associations. This is ignorance, the root cause of all their suffering.”

Possessiveness is a Disease

Having wealth, family, etc. is one thing but the inclination of clinging to them is possessiveness, unawareness, and attachment. The more you get attached, the more is the anxiety. Become the master of yourself by severing the bonds of possessiveness. Possessiveness is the enemy of life. It smothers life. It is a barrier to the flow of life. You are not able to enjoy life and end up only guarding your possessions. From being the master, you become a guard. The one who possesses nothing lives peacefully.

Possessiveness is a disease of the mind, a bondage of the mind. It makes you believe that life cannot run without this or that. You embrace things, cling to them, become dependent, and soon begin to beg for more. You become slave to your attachments and lose your freedom and self-respect. He who holds gets caught. Mental possession is mental imprisonment.

Anulom – Vilom

Life can be lived in two ways – Anulom or expansion, and Vilom or withdrawal. Those living a life of expansion are worldly and extroverts. They are restless and want more and more of everything – wealth, status, family, etc. And so disturbance, suffering, bewilderment, power struggle, competition, jealousy, rivalry, fights etc. are natural to them. Whereas those living a life of withdrawal believe that ‘nothing in the world is mine’. They are introverts and show virtues like contentment and detachment. If they can make do with little, they will not wish to hoard more. Therefore, peace, happiness, and enlightenment are natural to them. He who lives for expansion loses everything. And he who adheres to life of withdrawal attains that which is worth attaining and becomes fulfilled.

Viloma means withdrawing one’s self from worldliness. When the inclination to possess more ends, withdrawal begins. After that, the external activities may continue but you will remain centred within.

Shattered Hopes are the Moments of Grace

Every day you go through some or the other experience where you realise the worthlessness of worldliness and you can begin a life of withdrawal. Many times, your hopes regarding status, reputation, family and wealth have been shattered. So often, you have come across occasions where you could develop dispassion. But the majority hoodwinks you and your own impressions of the past do not let you take the about turn. Because everyone does, you do; they covet wealth, so you too want it. The neighbour gets a new car; you too want one. Your relatives get a new house; you too want a bigger and better house. To save yourself from the pain of insufficiency, you go on running around imitating the majority.

Like a tired horse is caned to get up and run again, caned by your deceitful intellect, you once again get up with new hopes, inspired to run in the same direction. You cannot muster courage to move towards withdrawal. Sometimes your wife, family, friends, colleagues cane you, and you give in. Many times you get a chance to stop and turn within, your grip of worldliness gets loosened, but you divert your mind, or prompted by others, you get occupied with the outside. You lose the opportunity at hand. At that time, the mind forgets the teachings of the wise and identifies with worldly talks. Leaving spirituality, it indulges in sensual pleasures.

Realisation of Death

Think! Before long, you will be gone; leaving behind all those things you think you cannot live without. Then why can you not do it now? Why do you not willingly leave what you will be compelled to? Reflection upon your death helps you to come out of the clutches of possessiveness. You can see the futility of everything that is fleeting. They seem worthless because you realise that none can accompany you beyond death. A thought plagues, ‘What is that which will come with me after death? I must pursue that alone.’ He who scrupulously applies himself to the pursuit of seeking, ‘Who am I? What is mine? What is not mine?’ renounces the world before death snatches it away from him. All die, but he who dies before death is fortunate. He has realised that death can take away only that which does not belong to him. Therefore, withdrawing from the worldly pursuits is not painful for him.

Only if you can keep the end in mind, and looking at the saints, their detachment and ecstasy, their activities and solitude, their peace and spontaneity, if you can steadily contemplate upon them, you will stop wandering, and some revolutionary transformation will occur.

Enter the Life of Withdrawal Soon

Gautama Buddha withdrew at 28, Adi Shankaracharyaji at 9. The great ones have awakened at a young age, while the unfortunate deluded ones do not wake up even after 80 – 90. The crocodile of attachment to wealth, fame, family, etc. has seized your leg. Soon, it will devour you. From the spiritual perspective, the real death is at every moment when you indulge in dreadful thoughts and feelings that result in cycles of birth and death. Certainly you too can come out of this vicious cycle. You too can begin the process of withdrawal. Do not waste time.

Give up inadvertence. Inadvertence means you are not utilising your human birth well. The day has dawned but you are not waking up, you continue to sleep. Where you could be earnest, dancing in ecstasy, you remain indolent, and dead like a corpse. The fate has favoured you by giving you an opportunity but you are letting it go waste. God is calling you but you are not listening to Him. It is gradual suicide; but you are under delusion that ‘I am alive.’ Your wicked logic is supporting your inadvertence, ‘I have a long life to live, I will do it later.’ You will need to hurry; otherwise you will miss this opportunity. Like waves that touch the shores and recede, having come so close to the Lord, do you want to return? Wake up!

Counsel of the Wise

The Enlightened Ones say, ‘what you call reality and what you call a dream essentially have the same property, impermanence!’ The only difference is you see ‘dream’ with closed eyes and ‘reality’ with open eyes. Yet, both are dreams alone. Get awakened to the real ‘I’, the one that is constant, sees both, and is separate from both. When you see dream and reality, death and life in the right perspective, through the eyes of wisdom, you will realise your true nature that is pure and beyond everything that is seen. But this is possible only if you experiment.

Become free from the slavery of things, beings and circumstances. Remove the veil of fancy you have spread over them. See them as they are. Give up the illusory belief of doer and enjoyer; build a new flawless relation of the knower and the known. Renounce hoarding and possessing, and turn within. Stop being a guard and be a master.

Cultivate the yearning for liberation. Realise the worthlessness and devastating nature of hoarding and possessing. Following the path of withdrawal directed by the supremely compassionate Enlightened Ones, come to abide in the real Self.


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