Death and Decrepitude
March 24, 2016
Greed
March 26, 2016

Renunciation

The following part is translated from Shanti Parva of Mahabharata by U. Mahesh Prabhu

Diverse kinds of sorrow and happiness occur in life of a person from the very day of his birth. If you could ascribe either of them to Destiny, you’d neither feel glad when the happiness comes nor feel miserable when sorrow overwhelms. Only if you can go about renouncing all your possessions can you taste real happiness.

A person without anything sleeps as the happiest and even awakens as the happiest. Only having ‘nothing’, in this world, is a sure sign of happiness. It’s also a good regimen. It is the source of blessings; it is freedom from danger. This foe-less path is unattainable by those cherishing desire and is easily attainable by those who are freed from desire.

If only you can weigh poverty and sovereignty in a balance, poverty actually out-weighs sovereignty and seem to possess greater merits. Between poverty and sovereignty there is this great distinction, viz., that the sovereign, possessed of affluence, is always agitated by anxiety and seems to be within the very jaws of death. With regard to the man who has given up wealth, who in consequence of the divestment of all wealth has freed himself from hopes and emancipated himself, neither fire, nor foe, nor death, nor robbers can get the better of him. All men, albeit secretly, applaud such a man who wanders about according to his sweet will, who lies down on the bare ground with his arm for pillow, and who is possessed of tranquility.

Constant companionship with Prosperity astonishes a person of weak judgement. It drives off his judgement like the wind driving off the clouds of autumn. Companionship with Prosperity induces people to think “I am possessor of beauty! I am possessed of wealth! I am high-born! I meet with success in whatever I undertake! I am not an ordinary human being.” His heart becomes intoxicated in consequence. With heart deeply attached to worldly possession, he wastes all the wealth hoarded by his sires. Reduced to want, he then regards the appropriation of other people’s wealth. At this stage, when he transgresses all barriers and begins to appropriate the possessions of others, the rulers of men obstruct and afflict him like sportsmen afflicting with keen shafts a deer that is espied in the woods. Such a man is then overwhelmed with many other afflictions of similar kinds.

Therefore, disregarding all worldly propensities with all fleeting unrealities one should, aided by one’s intelligence, apply proper medicine for the cure of those painful afflictions. Without Renunciation one can never attain to happiness. Without Renunciation one can never obtain what is ones’ highest good. Without Renunciation one can never sleep at ease. Therefore, renouncing everything make happiness your own.

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