This section is from the "Advices on Spiritual Living" book, by Sri Swami Chidananda.See also A Call to Liberation.
Om Namo Narayanaya. Namaskars.
Greetings to you from this Holy Abode of Sri Sadguru Bhagawan Sivananda Maharaj. May this letter from this sacred Ashram find you all in good health, peace and joy. Let Guru Kripa bring into your life the Light of Discrimination, Strength of Self-Control, the Joy of Selflessness and the Loftiness of Loving Service and Spontaneous goodness or Paropakara.
This month holds for us a message of significance and importance. It brings to memory of a momentous event that resulted in an immeasurable good and blessedness to countless soul in this troubled century. Exactly forty years ago, in the June of the year 1924, Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji renounced his secular career to embrace a life of Sannyasa. He entered into the glorious path of Nivritti, plunged into a period of asceticism, seclusion, intense Sadhana and deep meditation. Thus he attained realisation and launched his great mission of spiritual awakening to inspire mankind and guide the seekers along the path of Divine Life and God attainment.
His renunciation resulted in world welfare. Verily Tyaga is indeed for Loka Hita. We celebrate the auspicious and holy anniversary of Gurudev's renunciation and Sannyasa this month. I would urge you all to reflect a while upon this great ideal of Tyaga. What is the role of Tyaga in your life? Is renunciation a negative movement? Does renunciation imply denial of the world and your relation to it? Is Tyaga a virtue for Sannyasins alone? What is true inner significance of Tyaga?
Dispassion and renunciation comprise the key to inner peace. Such peace alone makes happiness possible. Without peace, there is no happiness. Thus, it is clear that any one who wants peace and happiness must cultivate Vairagya and Tyaga. Attachment and selfishness constitute terrible bondage. Vairagya eradicates attachment. Tyaga cuts at the root of selfishness. They make you free and bring you peace and joy.
Life is a great and sublime Yajna. Yajna means self-offering, a noble giving of oneself for the good and the benefit of others. Paropakara is the overall governing principle of man's life. You can engage yourself in doing good to others, in bringing happiness into the lives of others, only when you shed your selfishness. This is real renunciation. The secret of renunciation is the renunciation of selfishness, egoism and personal desires. Renounce personal selfishness and live in the world, enjoying what Providence brings to you as your due. This is an admonition of the Seer of the Isopanishad.
We now see that renunciation is a virtue and a noble quality to be cultivated by every individual in human society. By this alone will the principles of Yajna and Paropakara be fulfilled. Tyaga is not the monopoly or the exclusive duty of the Sannyasins. It is a pervasive virtue that is to permeate and penetrate into every moment of your daily life. Then alone will your entire life flower forth into a thing of countless blessings unto your neighbour and of the society.
The loving mother is a true Tyagi. She renounces personal comfort, conveniences and happiness for the sake of her children and their welfare. The father of a family denies himself and renounces many a personal pleasure and profit to serve his family and children. The devout wife renounces all personal considerations to serve and to care for her Lord and Master. The faithful servant renounces personal happiness and comfort to serve his master and carry out his behests in loyalty and devotion. The doctors and nurses renounce sleep, rest and comfort and even forego food at times to look after the sick and the suffering. A brave patriot and soldier stands ready even to renounce his very life for the sake of his country's safety and welfare. A true social worker and leader of the people renounces everything to dedicate his life for his people's welfare. A true teacher renounces all personal ambitions and desires in life and dedicates himself to bring the light of learning, knowledge and wisdom to the young people who pass under his care. A saint renounces the whole world and everything in it to worship God and to serve mankind. It is this quality alone that ennobles human nature and makes life beautiful. Renunciation in the individuals renders sweet all relationship he has with the rest of mankind. Yes, renunciation is to be understood as a pervasive virtue, which rises Vyavahar to pure heights, and adds to the joy, welfare and unity amongst the mankind.
Beloved seeker, reflect well over this universal aspect of Tyaga. Renunciation alone enables you to become selfless. Selflessness is soul of life. Selfishness is the bane of mankind and the root of all conflicts, problems and unhappiness. By renunciation, rout out selfishness and become a blessing unto others. Diligently cultivate renunciation in your everyday life.
Practise renunciation day after day at home, in thy family, with thy neighbours, playing thy profession, walking the streets, in the market place, everywhere act with renunciation. Grow in this great quality day by day. Never allow selfishness to make your life ugly. Permit not pernicious desire and personal avarice to poison thy life. Shine resplendent with the radiance of true renunciation. Be rooted in true Tyaga. In thought, word and deed, be egoless and selfless. Renounce desire and be filled with peace. Renounce petty selfishness. Become a personification of Paropakara. Renounce Egoism; become an embodiment of egoless simplicity, humility and purity. Such a life is even greater than the life of mere external Sannyasa, which may not be filled with this spirit of real renunciation.
Thus has Sri Sadgurudev taught this servant of His. Even so do I speak this unto you in the name of Sri Gurudev, through these pages that bring the Light of His Wisdom to you, who are dear to him. Beloved Brother in the Spirit: Live to uphold this noble ideal of our great culture. Become a Tyagamurti in all walks of life. Even the care that you bestow upon yourself and your personal welfare, let it be based upon Tyaga. Look after yourself that you may preserve and keep fit this body instrument of thine so as to make it an effective instrument for service unto others and to achieve their maximum good and bring happiness into the lives of all. May your life be a witness to this great virtue and left all that you do, be a demonstration of what this noble principle of Tyaga truly means.
I close now with my best regards and Prem. We are moving towards a very sacred and significant event, namely the auspicious Punyatihi Aradhana of the first Anniversary of Gurudev's Maha Samadhi. At this Holy Ashram of Sri Gurudev, we are all earnestly engaged in drawing up a suitable spiritual programme of earnest Sadhana during the whole week, leading up to the Punyatihi anniversary on the 2nd of August. More of this we shall dwell upon in the coming issue of Wisdom Light. Until then, may you all dwell in the abiding peace and bliss of Divine Grace and Blessings. Jai Gurudev.
- Swami Chidananda
1st June 1964
Sivanandashram Letter No. X