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I was staying at Rishikesh during those days. An American gentleman was staying there as well. He came to Rishikesh three years prior to our first meeting.  Once acquainted, he started visiting me regularly. He was young and wealthy. He used to keep a beard and wore a saffron kafni. He was interested in Yoga. He met lots of saints and sages in India during his stay.

Once he asked, "Are there any self realized, all-powerful saints dwelling currently in India?”

I replied, "Yes, of course. But they meet only those who earnestly seek them.”

He said, "I have not taken sanyas (renunciation of worldly objects) formally. I am in search of the right Guru who can give me sanyas.”

I said,” Sanyas is not something that is taken from someone. It is a state of mind and when the appropriate time comes, it comes from within. External sanyas does not necessarily mean the inner renunciation. I advise you to not to take sanyas.”

“Why?” He asked with surprise.

I said, "You are not prepared for that. Your heart and mind is not ready. They are not filled with renunciation.”

“My heart is full of renunciation”, he argued.

“No. There is something else in your heart. Let me tell you. You are in love with an American girl of about 25 years of age. Even though you love her, you left her. She is ill and is in a hospital in New York.”

He was simply stunned. "How you know all these?” he asked.

“That is irrelevant, but tell me frankly, is it true?” I asked him.

“Yes. Absolutely true.” he confirmed.

Next day he came to my place with an album of that girl. The photographs depicted her in different yoga postures – Shirsasana (headstand), Sarvangasana (shoulder stand) etc. The album contained other photos of her as well.

I asked, "The girl seems to be very educated and with good morals. Still you want to leave her alone and want to take renunciation? Until and unless your heart and mind is free from any material desires, you will not succeed in sanyas. It would remain outward and formal only. “

He said,” Bless me so that the girl will get well soon. I will do as you said.”

His doubts were satisfied.

We should learn from this incident that one should strive for inner renunciation. Once internal renunciation awakes, external renunciation takes place automatically. An aspirant should try hard for preparing his mind for true renunciation.


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In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.
- Dalai Lama


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