Chapter 3: Meditation Is Non-Doing
There is no conflict between the world and sannyas. One has to renounce ignorance, not the world. Renouncing the world is not sannyas. The awakening of knowing, of self-realization, is sannyas. This awakening leads to a renunciation, not of the world, but of attachment to it. The world stays where it is and as it is, but we are transformed, our outlook is transformed. This transformation is very original. In this awakened state you do not have to give up anything. What is useless and superfluous drops on its own like the dry leaves from a tree. Just as the darkness disappears with the coming of light, so with the dawn of knowing, the impurities of life are swept away and what remains is sannyas.
Sannyas has nothing to do with the world. It has to do with the self. It is the purification of the self, just like the purification of impure gold. There is no contradiction between impure gold and pure gold but only a refinement. Looking at life from the standpoint of self-ignorance is sansara, the world. Looking at life from the standpoint of self-knowing is sannyas.
Therefore, whenever someone says to me that he has taken sannyas, the whole thing seems very false to me. This “taking” of sannyas creates the impression that it is an antagonistic act against the world. Can sannyas be taken? Can anyone say he has “taken” knowing? And will any knowing that is taken like that be true knowing? A sannyas that is taken is not sannyas. You cannot put a cloak of truth around you. Truth has to be awakened within you.
Sannyas is born. It comes through understanding, and in that understanding we go on being transformed. As our understanding changes, our outlook changes and our behavior is transformed without any effort. The world stays where it is, but sannyas is gradually born within us. Sannyas is the awareness that I am not only the body, I am also the soul. With this knowing, the ignorance and attachment inside us drops away. The world was outside and it will still continue to be there, but inside us there will be the absence of attachment to it. In other words, there will be no world, no sansara inside us.
To try to cling to the outside world is ignorance and to try to renounce it is also ignorance, because in both these states you continue to be related to it. Attachment and antagonism to the world are both ignorance. They both are relationships. The non-relationship is going beyond both. Non-attachment is not renouncing, it is the absence of both clinging and renouncing. This absence of clinging and renouncing I call sannyas.
Freedom from both attachment and renouncing comes through knowing, through understanding. Attachment is ignorance, and the reaction that comes from being fed up with that attachment is renouncing. This reaction too is ignorance. In the first case a person runs toward the world; in the second case, away from it. But in both cases he runs and he does not know that bliss for the one enshrined within him is neither in running after the world nor in running away from it. The bliss is in being firmly settled in one’s own self. One has neither to run toward the world nor from it. Rather one has to come within, to one’s self.
Remember, we have to come into our selves. This coming home happens neither through attachment nor through renouncing. It only becomes possible by becoming a witness to the inner conflict between attachment and renunciation. There is one within us who is the witness to both our attachment and our renunciation. We have to know this witness. By knowing that which is only a witness, non-attachment happens on its own. This is a natural outcome of self-realization.