Baba says, ‘You must now renounce body consciousness.’
The soul only becomes a Brahmin if there is renunciation, but everyone does not renounce to the same extent. The first renunciation is the renunciation of body consciousness. This is the foundation of all vices. It was when I forgot who I am and started identifying as the body that the five vices emerged within me. And so when I correct my consciousness and once again start identifying as the soul, then, the five vices will also leave me automatically. This is what renunciation of the body means, explains Baba. In bhakti, bhagats who perform intense devotion, sacrifice themselves at Kashi to attain liberation but that is suicide and a great sin. Sannyasis leave home and family and move to the jungle in their effort to attain liberation. Baba says, you neither take your own life nor move to the jungle. Yours is true, unlimited renunciation. I continue to live at home with my family, I live in this body but I renounce the wrong consciousness of being a body.
At the end, it is this practice of being an incorporeal soul living in the body, it is this practice of bodilessness that will take your boat across, teaches Baba. I am a soul, I came to this physical plane and took on a body to play my part in this unlimited drama. I am not the body, I am not the role, I am not the relationships, I am and will only always be the pure soul, a child of God. For half a cycle, I had the wrong kind of practice – that of being the body. Now, I have this one short birth to course-correct and so every second is precious. Every second lost in body consciousness is a second too long. Maya will try her very best to keep me in the wrong consciousness using various tactics. This is a boxing match, says Baba, at no cost must you lose to Maya. If I lose now, Baba cautions, I will lose every cycle.
In fact, the very meaning of the word ‘renunciation’ is that if an object or something has been left, then I have stepped away from the consciousness of it being ‘mine’ i.e. I have relinquished all rights to it. If I renounced it in favor of someone, then that object now belongs to that person. Just as King Harischandra kept his pledge of renunciation till the very last breath, so too, Baba says, you must as well.
And more often than not, I want to, I mean to but as I go through the day, there are tests and sometimes, I fail. Most children have passed when it comes to the vice of lust but not so much when it comes to anger. The boss behaves dismissively toward me in front of the team and I can barely control my rage: ‘how dare she treat me this way! after all that I do around here!’. Everyone was invited to that meeting or get-together except me; I feel overlooked and disrespected. I wasn’t consulted about something, I wasn’t put forward for that project; I feel rejected. In every scenario, the instant I feel anger, my stage falls completely and I lose all my inheritance and my connection with Baba. This is the punishment you face, He teaches. So not only do I fall but I also experience punishment. Why would I put myself through this?
Throughout the day I also come upon several opportunities to be nice to someone else- that co-worker who seems stressed and could clearly use a hand or that family member who is going through a tough phase and could use someone to talk to or that delivery person who has to climb up one more flight of stairs to bring me my package that I could go downstairs and receive myself. I even know that in the past when I’ve been nice to someone, I’ve experienced happiness through it. But when I am in the grip of body consciousness in it’s manifestation as the ego, I think: ‘why should I help them, what have they ever done for me?’ ‘why should I give them my time, do you think they will ever return the favor to me!?’, ‘why should I go down, it’s their job to deliver to my door!’
Irrespective of how body consciousness shows up, the root is the same: ‘I and mine’, I go through the day with the attitude: ‘but what about me, but what about me,…’ Baba says, ‘it’s time to take yourself off your mind and think about the world’. He has reminded me of who I am! I am not just a soul, I am an ancestor soul, an image of support of the whole human world tree. It is my duty to give, not stretch my hand out to take as I did for half a cycle in Ravan’s world. ‘Yes, that sounds good’, I think ‘but really…what about me!, what if others take advantage of me! what if I get left behind’ When I take care of God’s children, He takes care of me. Let me never fear being left behind, I won’t when I help God in His task, when I live my life according to His shrimat. Let me give freely and without fear, to others, what I have received from God and He will ensure I never run dry.
‘Realize‘, He teaches, ‘that giving is receiving‘. I cannot genuinely give to someone and not receive in return. In fact, it happens instantaneously; instant return is the blessing of this confluence age. I receive good wishes, blessings and gratitude from people that pushes me forward in my journey. I don’t have to always give something physical, or even do anything. Often, I only have to show patience when someone is new and still learning, show tolerance and acceptance in the face of anger, show understanding when someone messes up. But if I try to inculcate these virtues individually by thinking: ‘I have to be sweet…’, ‘I have to be patient…’, ‘I have to be tolerant…’ etc., I will burn out. The principle is: ‘when I use the right method, there is success’. Not just success, but it also then feels easy. Here, Baba teaches, the right method is to change my awareness: ‘I am a soul, mine is One Baba. Through Him, all other souls are my brothers, this is my family.’
The moment my awareness shifts, body consciousness ends and I am instantly liberated from all the bondages of ‘I and mine’, from agonizing over ‘but what about me!’. My thoughts, attitude, words, actions, all change along with the awareness. When I am soul conscious, I already have the only thing I ever wanted- God, my Father, my eternal Beloved. I have the wisdom that when I have the Fortune-Maker with me, I have nothing to ever worry about; All I have to do is follow His directions. I had been thirsting for true love, happiness and peace, this is what I had been chasing people, possessions and accomplishments for. Now, God has come and reminded me that these attainments are in fact, my birthright and I know how to access it. What more do I need or want? I happily surrender myself to Him, accept His offer to be responsible for me and simply obey His directions. I know that by doing so, I am making my fortune for the whole cycle.
‘It is only when you are soul conscious that you will have fear of Baba’, He says. When I am in the grip of body consciousness, I am too bothered by ‘I, me, and myself’ to have any room for Baba. Yes, I know He is my Father and I do love Him but I love my ego more. As long as there is no threat or sacrifice of ego involved, I obey Baba; but the moment the ego feels threatened, the moment I am required to sacrifice my pride in a situation or forgive something, I choose ego over Baba. I hear His guidance to let it go but it’s too hard, it’s too unfair, it feels like I will lose and they will win…and just like that, I collapse into Maya’s hands. Body consciousness makes me disobey God and push Him away.
Unless I renounce body consciousness, therefore, I cannot truly experience the love of God, or a close relationship with God. Is that a tradeoff I am willing to make? As long as I am body conscious, I remain disguised to myself, live a false life and never attain my true God given potential. Is this a tradeoff I am willing to make? And so Baba teaches, ‘Through every second of renunciation, continue to attain at every second, because this is the confluence age when you can create your fortune. Whatever fortune you create at this time has to be experienced throughout the cycle, whether it is elevated or low. So create carefully! It is only at the confluence age that you can create your fortune. You can create as much as you want, because you have the company of the Father who is the Fortune-Maker. Later on, this Father will not be with you nor will there be this attainment. The One who enables you to attain something is with you now, and the attainment has to be made at this time.’