Symbols of the world's religions



Meher Baba

External renunciation means giving up completely all worldly delights and physical attachments to material things. In the early stages, this renunciation is helpful to the extent to which it leads to internal renunciation and preoccupation with God. Tens of thousands of so-called sanyasis (renunciators) are to be found in India, of whom far too many have adopted this external renunciation only as a profession that enables them to indulge in an unproductive life of idleness.

External renunciation, however, can be and often is real. When this is so it will inevitably lead on to internal renunciation, and this is the renunciation that matters. Internal renunciation means the control of desires at their very source so that the mind does not fall a prey to the demands of lust, greed and anger. This does not mean that one shall cease at one to have such thoughts. This is impossible, as such thoughts will continue to be troublesome as long as the sanskaras from which they arise are part of one's being. The fight is necessarily long and hard.

For the West in particular, external renunciation is inadvisable and impracticable. It should be internal and of the mind from the start. One should live in the world, perform all legitimate duties and yet feel mentally detached from everything. One should be in the world but not of it. The Sufis say, "Dil ba yar, dast bikar" (The heart with God, the hands for work)

Hazrat Nizamuddin Awliya, the Perfect Master of Delhi, was once asked by a visitor how one should live in the world. At that moment it so happened that a few women were passing by with pitchers of water balanced on their heads, and, as they walked, they gossiped and gesticulated. Pointing to them, Nizamuddin said, "Look at those women — that's how you should live in the world."

Asked to explain this cryptic remark, the Master continued, "These women returning from the well with pitchers balanced on their heads seem to be thinking of nothing else but exchanging tid-bits of gossip with each other; and yet they are all the time concentration on something far more important, on balancing the pitchers on their heads. Thus, whatever your body, your senses or the purely surface part of your mind may be occupied with, see that the root of your mind is constantly focussed on God."


GOD SPEAKS, 1st Indian ed, pp. 195-196
1973 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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