It is not by mere external renunciation that one attains God. There are so many who have externally renounced and gone to the forests but have not realized Him. It is not necessary that one should externally renounce anything. It is not the outer condition that matters so much as one’s inner state of mind.
If we dedicate our life to God and live in His light, it does not matter where we live. We can live in the family and still realize Him, because God is everywhere and not only in forests and caves. He is in us, with us and all about us. To seek Him, we need not go anywhere.
The examples of Buddha, Chaitanya and Vivekananda are not for all to follow. They are rare cases in which God made them renounce the external ties also so that they might freely serve all mankind. When God wants us to undertake such a glorious mission, by all means, let us not resist the current when it comes to sweep away our narrow limitations.
Sri Krishna and Janaka in their lives have shown that even for the work of Lokasangraha, the normal duties of life that fall to our lot need not be abandoned. To attain Moksha for oneself, willful breaking off from external ties is not at all necessary.
God-realization is not getting away from the world, but looking upon it as the manifestation of God and serving Him in all creatures and beings, in a state of perfect submission to His will. What we have to give up is the ego-sense, the idea that we are the doers.
God within us is the doer, the sole master of all our activities. If we dedicate all our actions to Him we can destroy our ego sense and find our supreme union with Him. Surrender does not denote any change in the external mode of life, but a right attitude towards it.
Ramdas still belongs to the world, not in a partial sense, but in totality. His Beloved is not only in particular persons, but is in His full power and glory in all beings, creatures and things. Ramdas has only expanded the narrow family circle into a world-family. So it is not renunciation, but expansion.
God has in His mercy made him embrace the whole universe as his. Ramdas’ Beloved dwells everywhere, as all beings and creatures in the world.
Action in itself is neither virtuous nor sinful. The error lies in attributing it to our false individuality, when really it emanates from Him. So no action which we are engaged in need be discarded. All actions are to be surrendered up to Him who is the master of all actions.
‘Possess things, but do not be possessed by them’. Whenever you accept presents from any one, take it that the Lord Himself gives them to you and the moment an occasion comes when you have to part with them, give them away with as much delight as you had when you received them.
Understand that you are returning them only to Him who gave them to you. In the same light consider every gain and loss. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. The sense of possession is a great obstacle to the realization of God.
The idea of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ must disappear entirely before the aspirant can find absolute freedom and peace in union with God. Verily, everything belongs to the Lord who dwells in the hearts of all creatures and things.
Attachment to any external object narrows our vision, fosters egoism and gives rise to the false notion that we are separate from God, i.e., from the universal life and spirit. The whole universe is permeated through and through with God. The visible and invisible worlds are all He. There is nothing and none but He.
Excerpted from Thus Speaks Ramdas. The 139th birth anniversary of Swami Ramdas will be observed on April 10