Waiting Forever

[Lord Rama]“Giving up His very valuable upper garments, that very celebrated one put aside any thoughts of the kingdom and told me to stay with His mother.” (Sita Devi speaking to Hanuman, Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 33.26)

sa vihāya uttarīyāṇi mahāarhāṇi mahāyaśāḥ ||
visṛjya manasā rājyam jananyai mām samādiśat |

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One good trick when dieting is to give yourself something to look forward to.

“I’ll eat light throughout the day and then reward myself at night. A little austerity now for some real pleasure later on – this way I can stick to the diet.”

[Doughnuts]Indeed, that is what it means to have motivation. In order to go through some tribulation, you must want something in the end. Without the cherished objective, why endure the trouble? In the Supreme Lord we find full renunciation, vairagya. This means that He does not bide His time, hoping to indulge later on.

What is wrong with indulging? Why should a person have renunciation?

Bhoga and tyaga are like two sides of a pendulum that swings constantly. One second we want something and the next we don’t want it anymore. Sometimes we just want something else, which automatically means renunciation of that which we currently have.

In this swinging, there is no judgment as to which side is better. Consciousness is present in either situation. Even if there were no swinging, wherein the mind was in a steady state, consciousness would still be present. The mind would need something to contemplate. Therefore what is the harm in swinging from attraction to aversion and the reverse order?

Vairagya and jnana are valuable when one tries to understand their constitutional position. By definition, this means that the opposite conditions are not beneficial. Ignorance is bliss only if someone with intelligence is protecting you. Lack of self-control is only fun in the short term. Later on you’ll pay for your overindulgence, such as through obesity, unwanted pregnancy, and chemical addiction.

Jnana gives you the theoretical understanding of your constitutional position as spirit soul, part and parcel of God. You are not the body. That body is constantly changing, so you can’t really identify with it anyway. If you are a child now and think that the child’s body is what defines you, pretty soon that will change. If you are overweight now and consider yourself a fat person, if you lose some weight then your identity changes.

But actually you are spirit soul throughout. This identity cannot change. The soul cannot be cut, it cannot be burned, and it cannot be made wet. You can take the sharpest knife in the world and stab at the soul all you want, but you’ll never terminate its existence. What we know as death is only the temporary shifting of the soul’s position, going from one place to another.

nainaṁ chindanti śastrāṇi

nainaṁ dahati pāvakaḥ

na cainaṁ kledayanty āpo

na śoṣayati mārutaḥ

“The soul can never be cut into pieces by any weapon, nor can he be burned by fire, nor moistened by water, nor withered by the wind.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.23)

[Bhagavad-gita As It Is]Jnana brings the theoretical understanding of your spiritual position, but without some renunciation you won’t get the practical realization. If you are overly attached to your own body and the bodies of others, your understanding has little value. Vairagya is helpful in bringing the sobriety of thought necessary to have a practical realization of the constitutional position.

In the Supreme Lord we find full knowledge and full renunciation. The full knowledge isn’t difficult to prove; simply read the Bhagavad-gita. This is the song of God, whose truths are timeless, though to our understanding they were first written down after a conversation between Shri Krishna and the warrior Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Even in that conversation, Krishna references how the words were spoken before.

śrī-bhagavān uvāca

imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ

proktavān aham avyayam

vivasvān manave prāha

manur ikṣvākave ‘bravīt

“The Blessed Lord said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikshvaku.” (Lord Krishna, Bg. 4.1)

[the disciplic succession]You will not find the truths of the Bhagavad-gita anywhere else. If you hear about topics like the supreme controller, time, the material nature, the living entity and reincarnation from someone who doesn’t reference the Bhagavad-gita, it should be known that they are simply concealing the fact. They got the knowledge from Krishna, but in the flawed hope to remove His transcendental attributes, gunas, they present the knowledge as if it were their own. They might also refer to only a generic God, some figure that can be defined based on preference.

The verse quoted above from the Ramayana gives proof to God’s full renunciation. Here Sita Devi says that Shri Rama completely put aside any thoughts of the kingdom when He left Ayodhya for fourteen years. Sita does not just accidentally stumble upon this realization. This fact is significant because ordinarily the tendency is to accept renunciation for only a limited time, with a benefit awaiting at the end.

This was not the case with Rama. Though He was the rightful heir to the throne occupied by His father Dasharatha, Rama did not hesitate to leave when asked to do so. He was told to leave due principally to the fear of Queen Kaikeyi. She worried that her son Bharata might get overthrown should Rama stay in the vicinity. The people were loyal to Rama. After all, He is the Supreme Lord in an incarnation form, so the pious souls will naturally be attracted to Him.

[Sita and Rama]Rama did not leave for fourteen years with the hope that He would come back and become king. He completely renounced everything, including Sita. He told her to stay with His mother, Kausalya. Ah, but vairagya is not limited to God alone. His dedicated servants have it as well. Though they are detached from material comforts, they are fully attached to serving His lotus feet. Therefore Sita insisted on following her husband, and He could not refuse her. In the same light, the devoted souls who always chant the holy names and think of Rama can never be abandoned by Him, despite His possessing full renunciation.

In Closing:

With purpose this renunciation of mine,

For end reward to bide my time.


With Shri Rama not the case,

Thoughts of kingdom to erase.


By father’s order to the forest sent,

Without any possessions He went.


As God, the wrong eventually to be right,

To residents His coronation a welcome sight.


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