Friday, May 22, 2009

A lesson in non-attachement

My master has given me everything, and I could not give anything to him. His devotees used to give him so much money that he did not know what to do with it. I, on his behalf, used to distribute to others and spent it the way I wanted.

Once I told him, "I want to go to Bombay." He said, "Take money, as much as you want." I took 5000 Rupees and I purchased many things, including three gramophones. He only said, "Wonderful, my boy; play them all at the same time." When I played them all together, I could not understand a thing.

Lust and greed never satisfy anyone. Desires for possessions increase incessantly and finally become a whirlpool of miseries. such ignorance cannot be dispelled by going to the temple, worshiping in the church, listening to sermons, or performing rituals. For centuries human beings have been fulfilling their desires, yet they are still miserable. To attain the ultimate Reality, it is necessary to free oneself from the desire for non essential encumbrances.

Possessing more than necessary only creates obstacles for oneself. It is a waste of time and energy. Fulfilling wants and desires without understanding needs and necessities deviates one from the path of awareness. Desire is the mother of all misery. When the desires for worldly attainments are directed towards attaining self-awareness, then the same desire becomes means. At this stage the desire, instead of becoming an obstacle, becomes a useful instrument for self-realization.

This can be explained by a simple simile. A candle light is extinguished by the breeze very easily, but if that light is protected and allowed to catch the forest, it will grow into a forest fire. Then the breeze helps that fire instead of extinguishing it. Similarly, when an aspirant, with the help of discipline, protects the flame of desire burning within, it grows more and more. Then all the adversities, instead of becoming obstructions, in fact start becoming means. The obstacles which are supposed to obstruct the path of self-realization are not really obstacles.
Our weaknesses and the values we impose on the objects of the world create these obstacles for us. Attachment is one of the strongest obstacles created by us. With the help of non-attachment, we can overcome such obstructions.

There are four ways of removing these obstacles. First, if there is no object, the human mind cannot become attached to it. Renouncing the object is one way, but it seems to be quite difficult for ordinary people. Second, while having all the objects of the world, if we learn the technique of using them as means, then the objects are not able to create obstacles for us. On this path, attitudes need to be transformed.
One who has transformed his attitudes can change his bad circumstances into favorable ones. The third way is the path of conquest, in which one learns to do his actions skillfully and selflessly, surrendering the fruits of his actions for the benefits of others. Such a person becomes detached and safely crosses the ocean of life. Fourth by self-surrender, one surrenders himself and all that he owns to the Lord and leads a life of freedom from all attachments. This path seems to be easy but is really rather difficult.

My master, instead of correcting me, used to make me aware of the fact that the human mind and heart have changed because of human weaknesses. I used to ponder over any weaknesses and then meditate for self-transformation. He never said, "Do this, and don't do this." But he showed me the path, which I started treading alone. "Learn to walk all alone" was a lesson for me.

Living with the Himalayan Masters
Swami Rama

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