Baba says, ‘become a great renunciate‘. Without renunciation, there cannot be fortune.
Sometimes, we hear the word renunciation and find it to be harsh. But we are thinking of what Baba calls limited renunciation- leaving home and family and becoming a sanyasi or recluse. This is cowardice, He says. The renunciation that Baba talks about is something we would wish to do – renouncing all that which is useless, wasteful and takes away my happiness. It is more akin to cleaning the house – sweeping away all the dirt, throwing away unnecessary clutter and purifying the air of pollutants.
You have your fist full of the waste, He reminds me. When you let go, you can then hold that which is valuable.
The thing I hold the tightest is the body- the consciousness of the body. And it is therefore the first thing I need to let go. The body itself is of course neutral and necessary to perform action on this physical plane but it is when I think of myself as the body that I get in trouble. Then, I wear many masks associated with this consciousness – my role, relationships, position, title etc. These things being temporary are constantly changing and with it my stage. I lose a job or get assigned to a role that is seemingly ‘unimportant’ and my self-respect falls.
Remember who you are and the falsehood will automatically dissolve, says Baba. Rather than fight a battle with myself and remind myself of what I am not, let me simply remember who I am – a pure soul, a child of God.
When there are ups and downs in a relationship, my stage goes up and down too. I try to remember Baba but see in front of me the face of someone I like or dislike a lot. Either way, it is an attachment or a preference. When I learn to see myself as a soul, I will also see others as souls too. Renunciation is not about being aloof, it is about shifting from attachment to love, from body consciousness to soul consciousness. I learn to see other’s specialties and virtues. I remember that everyone is on a journey of their own and are therefore not an extension of me. I will stop demanding and expecting and therefore, will stop being disappointed.
‘Have all your relationships with Me‘, says Baba. He doesn’t mean that I leave my family and settle down at the ashram. At this point in the cycle, I have forgotten how to relate to others the right way because my vision, my attitude is clouded by the vices. By having my relationships with Baba, I remember once again what it means to relate. He becomes my reference point. I see, learn and transform my own sanskars. Then, I approach my bodily relationships differently -with love, with stability, with respect and appreciation, not with dependence.
With the body, also come the physical senses. They are my windows to the world but let me learn to use them as the master rather than be subservient to them. When I cannot control what my eyes see or ears hear, then I waste time thinking about what I saw or heard. If I cannot stop myself from eating something I shouldn’t be, then I am subservient to taste, to my tongue. Baba says, this body should serve you, not the other way around. Let me decide what I want to see or hear or eat based on what nourishes the soul, what elevates me rather than pulls me down into the mundane or wasteful.
But to renounce anything, I first need to have distaste for it. Else, it seems like I am losing something I wanted or liked. Then, renunciation seems difficult and I find myself heaving deep sighs and feeling heavy. It also becomes very likely that I go back to that which I renounced…or more accurately, thought I renounced.
When I renounce something, it means I leave it behind for good, I no longer have a right to it, not even in my thoughts. And so, it comes down to making a firm decision based not on what I am told but based on my own experience. It is not about being a ‘good girl’ or a ‘good boy’ but instead of what I believe to be true. I have half a cycle’s worth of experience of body consciousness, of hustling, of chasing, of a life of ups and downs, of sorrow and fear of loss. Let me examine that vast body of evidence and decide if I still want to hold on to that way of life based on a fundamental falsehood about who I am. Do I still want to build a house over quicksand?
Baba says, let go of the falsehood. When I do, I feel good and happy because I realign with my truth. I become light and experience a sense of freedom because I claim my power back. I become an angel.
I come bearing the gift of paradise on the palm of My hand but you insist on playing with shells, says Baba. Let me check today: have I renounced the old world and it old ways of sorrow? All I do is turn my face to the new world, to the gift Baba has brought me. I become aware of the attainments I am receiving. Then, before I know it, my fist opens on it’s own and the shells roll off.