The Melody of Sanyas Renunciation is highly esteemed in Indian culture. However, in present times the meaning of Sanyas has reduced to mere external changes in life. Pujya Gurudevshri redefines Sanyas and unfolds its grandeur The saints say that your life is like sitting in a kitchen with an open recipe book. You have the instructions and all required ingredients. But to appease your hunger, you can’t just continue reading the book; you must bring the ingredients together and begin cooking. This skill of preparing ‘food’ from available ‘ingredients’ is the practice of dharma. Mere reading or memorising can accomplish no task. Experiment you must. You have the light by which you can attain enlightenment, the supreme gain, the unparalleled state of being. But the cunning mind gives excuses to support its cowardice. Sanyas is Renunciation of Thoughts A boy asked me, “I am thinking of taking sanyas but am unable to decide. I feel the pull, but my mind overpowers and dwindles my desire.” How could mere thoughts of sanyas lead one to sanyas? Thoughts can only create logic, for or against. But sanyas means samyak (well) + nyaas (putting away); renunciation of thoughts. Sanyas arises from a state of intense feeling, not thoughts. A radical change is not possible by remaining at the thought level. If you take sanyas remaining at the thought level, the mind continues to be active, and identification with it prevails. Doubts may arise, ‘Have I done the right thing?’ or ‘What benefit has ensued from taking sanyas?’ Your expectant mind will stay irritated and unhappy, ‘Even after sanyas, nothing has happened.’ The significance is not in leaving the world, but in leaving the thoughts. And the thoughts drop when one is madly in love with the divine. Such sanyas alone is rewarding. Sanyas is like wine. You want the joy of intoxication but you aren’t ready to let go of your ‘I’ and ‘my’. Your mind traps you in a myriad of thoughts, ‘Why insist on outer changes when transformation must happen within? If it can happen while being with others, then why renounce?’ You use such logic to support your cowardice. Sanyas is Giving Up Cowardice You have the understanding but not enough courage to walk the path of the Enlightened Ones. The divine is unknown to you. You have never tasted this ‘wine’. Unfamiliarity breeds fear that you will not remain the same; you will be separated from the rest; you will be treading a path different from the world and lose your familiar world. You fear becoming alone. Do not fear. You are not alone. The divine is within you. Sadguru is by your side. Show the courage to be alone. For God sides with him who, giving up all relations, calls out for Him alone. Courage therefore is an inevitable quality of an aspirant. A violent, angry, lustful person can transform and become spiritual but not a faint-hearted one. Without giving up timidity, how will you give up violence, anger, lust, possessions or thoughts? Give up cowardice, and bravely take the first step towards changing your belief, your direction and footing. The roots must be re-rooted in new soil and the interim period is difficult. Moreover, during that time, you may even become a laughing stock. People may advise otherwise. This has always been happening. But they are merely saving their face. Their ridiculing or advising is only to hide the pain from their lack of courage to do so. But in time, they too will realise that this step wasn’t madness; instead, it was true wakefulness, true wisdom. Actually, courage is not the right word because courage is needed when you have something to put at stake. But what do you have that you can lose? The founder of modern communism, Karl Marx ends his book ‘Communist Manifesto’ with, “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries unite!” This is true for aspirants as well. Take a leap into sanyas, for you have nothing to lose but your ignorance and you have the divine to win. Therefore, the word ‘wisdom’ is more appropriate here than ‘courage’. The saints use ‘courage’ only to inspire you to give up cowardice. Sanyas is Not Business-Like Attitude Once a disciple approaches his Guru and asks, ‘I wish to take sanyas but before that, I want an assurance that I will be successful in attaining liberation.’ The Guru explains to him that, “Sanyas is not a guarantee. Sanyas is to venture out into uncertainty with faith that, the divine is my security. I shall live the way He keeps me, and do what He wills for me. All I have is His. Now all accounts are closed! A worldly person wants to stay assured. Seeking assurance is a business-like attitude. If you are here to take sanyas and not strike a deal, then why fear? Good you did not ask that if I take sanyas, will I get ‘Bharat Ratna’ or Nobel prize?” Once Mulla won a lottery for a million rupees. When asked how he chose the numbers, he said, ‘In my dream, number 7 appeared three times so thinking that 7X3=18, I chose number 18 and won!’ The man questioned, ‘But, Mullaji, 7X3 makes 21 not 18!’ Mulla said, ‘Because you get stuck in the math, you don’t win. I am only interested in winning the lottery.’ One with a business-like intellect works based on calculations and logic. He wants assurance even while taking sanyas, not knowing that expecting success is worldliness alone. And to become free from such desire is liberation indeed. Wanting success is ego. And liberation is dissolution of ego. You cannot enter the portal of the divine with ambitions and desires. Liberation is attained only upon leaving them. Embrace sanyas with great reverence, not assurance; with joy and not a desire to achieve. Understand the worthlessness of the world. You have tried in vain to live happily with desire for status, prosperity, wealth and relations. Now change. Sanyas is to change the way of life. Sanyas is Calling the Divine Once someone asked me, ‘I am ready to take sanyas but how do I know that the divine has surely called for me? Couldn’t this decision be my delusion?’ I asked him to look at the ego hiding behind this question. Sanyas is you calling out for the divine. The divine has always been calling you, ‘Come back. Return home. Where have you been lost? Return and rejoice.’ But the ignorant feels, ‘I want to be assured that it is the divine calling.’ The ego finds many ways to escape. It wants to throw the entire responsibility on the divine. Is your calling out for God not enough that you expect an invitation from the divine? What kind of ego is this? Even if you take sanyas, it won’t have the fragrance of surrender. If you are really ready for sanyas and if it has become your need, then why such conditions? Devotion means unconditional surrender. Where there is condition, there is no love. Be ready to drop all your conditions. Also, who will reply to you? For silence is His language. So don’t wait. If you get a desire, take the leap. If you take this leap, you will get many proofs that the divine has desired this only for you. As you walk the path, you will get many evidences. A song will spring from your heart. Eyes will radiate light. An unprecedented peace will emerge from within. You will become new and different. You will be reborn. You will see the eternity of life. Your relation with a life between birth and death will be severed. You will abide in the life which existed before birth and shall remain after death. Sanyas is not merely to leave the world but to be in profound love with the divine; it is marriage with the eternal. The world is left behind for it appears worthless and hence there is no ego of leaving it either. This is the greatness of true sanyas. Such sanyas alone will bear the fruit of liberation.