In The World But Not of the World


For the sannyasin who is part of an established ashram, it is a different matter. He does not have to beg for his food or clothes or to look for shelter. But he is not a sannyasin in the strictest sense of the term. He has left his family and entered a larger family, which is the organization he belongs to. He doesn’t work like the ordinary layman, but work he certainly does….in the ashram bookshop, in the temple, in the kitchen, keeping accounts, or in whatever area that needs his help in running the ashram. He seeks donations for the ashram, sells books, collects money for various thithi pujas that take place and so on. All that is not for himself but for the ashram, the existence of which is linked to his survival. If the ashram survives, he survives and vice versa.

Such sannyasins who belong to religious organisations also have a part to play in the drama of life. And it is indeed an important part, but only if they can keep their hearts anchored to the Spirit and not get lost in organizational politics or the subtle desire to get their feet touched by devotees or the temptation to become famous orators or the arrogance of being spiritual advisers to important politicians.

For most people, married or unmarried, the best course advisable is to live in this wonderful creation of maya, and at the same time, keep in touch with the mighty Spirit who wields this magic wheel. The great rishis have done it — Vyasa, Yajnavalkya, so many others — great yogis like Lahiri Mahasay, the Sufi Masters, the great Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, although he is incomparable and in a class by himself. In the beginning, it is difficult to live like them, but by the guru’s grace and sincere effort, you will find that even your day-to-day activities are performed more perfectly than before, once the stream of Atmic bliss begins to flow through your heart for twenty-four hours of the day. You will become not only more loving, compassionate and tranquil but also more efficient, alert an practical.


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