Satsang with Swami Brahmananda
Q: Should one renounce all comforts and live the austere life of a renunciate?
A: Kartalabhiksha, Starutala vasa (begging your maintenance and living as a hermit) does not make a sanyasi. Sanyas is not by clothes, or a solitary living, or practising austerities. It is a mental climate of detachment from the Unreal and attachment to the Real. Even a grihastha ( householder) can be a sanyasi, and a sanyasi, despite his saffron robes and rudraksha mala could be writhing in the shackles of attachments.
Q: Swamiji, I only desire “ekanta”(solitude) so that I can do my “sadhana” undisturbed. As a housewife how can I?
A: Even this is a desire, no matter how subtle. It will shackle you and make you unhappy. Learn to be content and happy in whatever situation you are. Use that very situation as a means to grow spiritually. Even the smallest desire is a “Kapi mushti” (a binding trap) enough to tie you down. People will always be around you. Else, you will very soon desire someone to take care of you. Desire is like a tissue box, you get one and another has already cropped up. Even God did not want to be alone, hence the creation (laughs).
Q: Should one always speak the truth even if it causes hurt, harm, or insult to another?
A: No. Only Hinduism makes this great distinction. It says: “Satyam bruyat Priyam bruyat, Na bruyat Satyam apriyam.” Which means: utter only that truth which is “priyam”. It should be spoken pleasantly and should generate love and a good feeling in the listener. Never should truth be uttered if it is “apriyam”. It should never be said if it hurts or insults anyone. Silence is a better option at such times.
With this Swamiji arose and left us to ponder on how we can arise.
Prarthna Saran is President, Chinmaya Mission Delhi.