Symbols of the world's religions

               

VAIRAGYA

Meher Baba

 
Vairagya (irrevocable renunciation) however is an attitude of mind involving such a longing for God and such a deep indifference to things worldly that, once roused, it knows no retreat and is proof against all temptations to give it up. The famous example of Gautama Buddha is illustrative of vairagya.

We have already explained that renunciation is the overt expression of a latent desire for union with God combined with a latent spirit of disgust for the world, and we used an analogy of flower, pollen and fruit. As far as fertilization is concerned the flower and the pollen by themselves are helpless, for the two can only be brought together by some outside agency, such as the wind, the bee or the insect.

Whether or not fertilization takes place in nature may depend upon so many thousands of unknown factors that modern science gives up trying to predict it, and labels it chance. That, however, is beside the point at the moment, and in our analogy we shall think of this fertilization as a gift.

To return to vairagya, let us remember that the longing for union with God is latent in every living being. However, it only pushes its way into consciousness when the soul approaches the beginning of what Meher Baba, in the "Divine Theme," calls "the realization process." The disgust for the world is also something that develops naturally in all of us and which grows more and more powerful as we draw nearer to the beginning of this realization process.

When the flower is in full bloom and the pollen ripe, the wind or the bee gives the gift of fertilization that produces the fruit. In the same way also, when this moment of inner readiness comes, a divine gift descends upon the soul which fertilizes the longing for God and the disgust or indifference for the world, and so brings about the priceless fruit of vairagya. This divine gift may be a touch of inner grace from the indwelling God, or it may be the result of contact with a saint or a Perfect Master. But it is always a gift.

Vairagya, when it first becomes manifest, will almost certainly express itself for a time as an external renunciation. But vairagya, being permanent, will always lead sooner or later to the real renunciation which is internal.

When an aspirant has such an intense longing for Truth he is qualified to enter the Path. There is a story of a Master who was pestered by a disciple as to when he would realize God. Once when they went to bathe in a river the Master held the aspirant under water for a few moments. When the disciple was on the verge of suffocation the Master pulled him out and asked what he had thought of and longed for most while under the water. The aspirant replied, "Air." The Master explained that when the disciple had just as intense a longing for God then Realization would come.

 

GOD SPEAKS, First Indian edition 2001, pp. 196-197
1973 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust

               

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