Many sincere seekers of Truth in different parts of the world write to me very often expressing their eagerness to take to the path of renunciation or the Order of Sannyasa. From experience I have found that many of those who renounce the world on account of the emotional type of Vairagya, which might have been induced special reason or other, eventually fail to keep up to the spirit of renunciation and consequently go back to the world or become a disgrace to the Order of Sannyasa. While to those who have genuine Vairagya and burning aspiration, I recommend immediate renunciation; others I advise as follows, in order to give them ample opportunity to develop their Vairagya and prepare themselves for the path:-
Worldly greatness is nothing, it is a child's play. You must become a great man in the spiritual field. Remain in the world, but be not worldly-minded. Mere college study cannot make you great. When you remain in the world, prepare yourself nicely for the path of Sannyasa. You have Vairagya, but you have no experience in the line. I am ready to give you Sannyasa at any moment. Suppose you remain with me as a Sannyasi, have you got the strength to face your mother, wife, sister and brothers when they weep bitterly with a broken heart in front of my Kutir? Think well and decide this point. Destroy Moha first. Occasionally go out and live in a secluded place for a month or two, away from your family and see if your mind often goes to your people, your property and native place. Test your mental strength.
Mere emotion and enthusiasm will not serve you much in the path of renunciation. The path of Sannyasa is beset with many difficulties. But it is full of joy and bliss and is smooth for the man of firm determination, patience and fortitude. The life of a Sannyasi is the best kind of life in the world. A true Sannyasi is the real monarch of the three worlds. Even a mere aspirant is an Emperor of the three worlds. Have courage. Be bold. Realise that the world is a mere illusion. Assert your real Satchidananda Svarupa.
Sit for a moment alone in a quiet room. Enquire. Cogitate and investigate. Realise the glory of living in the Atman. Introspect. Try to remove your defects and weaknesses. This is real Sadhana.
In the early stages of your life, do intense Sadhana in seclusion and a little service to Mahatmas, the sick and the poor-as much as you can. Do not think of conducting classes on Yoga and preaching and presiding over big Conferences. Do not entertain the idea of a world tour and of becoming a World-Teacher. All such hopes will only result in a downfall. When you are young, do intense Sadhana and have deep study. Forget the past and the future. Lord Jesus hid himself in solitude for several years. He came out for a period of three years to electrify and thrill the world with his spiritual powers and illumination. Empty bullets in the air cannot influence the birds. The words of a man who has no ethical and spiritual development will be like empty bullets. They cannot have any influence on worldly minds. Become a dynamic personality. Through pure thought (Satsankalpa) you can revolutionise the materialistic world. Do not be tempted by name and fame or comforts and conveniences. Lead a hard life.
COMBINE SERVICE AND MEDITATION
There is one difficulty when you live in a jungle or a cave. As you are a neophyte, you do not know how to regulate your energy and adjust your daily routine and spend the time profitably. You do not know how to get over depression when it manifests itself. Beginners cannot spend all the twenty-four hours in meditation alone. They have to work in the beginning for purification of the heart as well. They should combine work and meditation. I have never come across people in all my experiences of this life who always remained in meditation entirely and who emerged from it with flying colours. What I want to emphasise is that beginners cannot fare well in seclusion. They become Tamasic and lose their talents and hidden faculties after a long stay in seclusion.
I have closely studied the lives of Sannyasins, and I have come to the definite conclusion that a little money helps the Sadhaka in his Sadhana and evolution. Financial independence will bring peace of mind and strength during the Sadhana period. Downfall comes only when you try to augment the amount and to accumulate a bank balance. Yet, if you have a strong power of endurance, patience and fine health, if your Vairagya is intense and of a sustained type and if you are willing to do some selfless service to mankind, you need not worry about money. You can renounce the world even this moment. It is not advisable to waste your precious life in trying to earn more and saving a lot. There is plenty everywhere for sincere Sadhakas. Leave the world quickly. Fly, fly away from the company of worldly-minded persons. Get away from the bustle of cities and the tumultuous world. Run quickly to solitary places like Rishikesh. You will be outside the danger zone.
Good Sadhus are well looked after everywhere. It is only the beggars who come in the garb of Mahatmas that become a nuisance to the public. It is not easy for the public to differentiate Mahatmas from beggars by a mere casual look. But it is quite possible to find out real Mahatmas from their talk, walk and action. These days Sraddha is lacking among householders. To avoid interruptions in Sadhana I ask the students to keep enough money with them to meet their needs. Do not entertain the begging mentality. If possible provide for bare necessities or join some Ashram or religious institutions.
IMPORTANCE OF SERVICE
As a drastic measure to overcome the vicious nature and worldly Samskaras? I ask the students to drown themselves in active service for some months or years. This enables them to forget the past entirely and devote their entire energy and time to spiritual pursuits. They forget their body and surroundings. They train their mind to behold automatically the hidden essence behind all names and forms. They learn to keep a balanced state of mind under all conditions of life, pleasant or painful. The period of training varies according to the evolution and standard of the students.
In my method, every student should learn cooking, washing, nursing, serving the Sadhus, Mahatmas and the sick in all possible ways. They must spend hours in deep study, meditation, Japa and prayers. Even during work they should do mental Japa. They should learn to adjust and adapt themselves to various circumstances and persons. They all must learn typewriting and first-aid also. They should learn Bhajans and Kirtans and must prepare fine essays and articles on Yoga and Vedanta. I prescribe all the important items of Sadhana for a quick spiritual evolution and give them all facilities and comforts. When I find some progress in them, I send them to some cool places for deep meditation.
SANNYASINS AND POLITICS
In these days of political agitation, even Sannyasins are asked by political leaders to join the agitation. It is a sad mistake. These leaders have not understood the glory and significance of the life of pure Nivritti Marga. These Sannyasins purify the world, even though they remain in the caves of the Himalayas, by their thought-vibrations. They help the world better. My field is the spiritual path. Let the politicians and scientists work in their own fields. It may be that you cannot separate politics from religion. But different people should work in different fields according to their capacity and temperament. All are important and great in their own fields.