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Fruit from the Garden of Wisdom
by Swami Krishnananda

Chapter 9: Renunciation

Universality transcends all things. Transcendence does not mean negation of something. We are not rejecting some reality and then going to God. It is not like that. We are acquiring everything that we want in a more abundant manner than we could get otherwise. We are not renouncing the world for reaching to God, as people generally say; you renounce nothing. You are renouncing only the lesser characteristic and the inadequate form of it for the sake of a higher inclusiveness.

There is no such thing as renunciation, if it is to be properly understood. You are renouncing only an inadequacy and not a reality. You can renounce for the sake of God – become a monk and anchorite, and all that. Sometimes the idea is not clear – what are they renouncing? When you say, "I have renounced," what have you renounced? You cannot renounce a building or a wall or a brick; it is not your property. What are you renouncing when nothing can be regarded as your belonging?

It is only the renunciation of an inadequate idea that you have about things, for the sake of a higher, more adequate achievement. It is a renunciation of a lesser degree of consciousness for the sake of a larger, more inclusive consciousness, so that it is not renunciation at all - it is only a growth into a higher realm. In such renunciation you lose nothing; but, ordinarily, when we speak of renunciation, it looks as if we have lost money, land property, relations, etc. But that is not the correct way of grasping it. Renunciation is detachment of consciousness from every form of its externalisation.

If you have left your home and come here, it doesn't mean that you have renounced it. The thing is still there; it has not gone anywhere else. Your idea about it has to be renounced. The world is nothing but an idea, and a big idea it is. The universe is an idea ultimately - one thought. There are no substances; solid things do not exist. It is only an idea that is operating in the cosmos. Here we are agreeing with what Plato said in one way, that reality is an idea, a universalised consciousness.

But, nobody can swallow this hard truth. People will not understand what you mean by saying that the universe is an idea. A little education along these lines is not enough. People will think that you are talking nonsense, though it is the fact. One thought is there, that's all. There is nothing else anywhere; and That Is. This is what they call "consciousness existence." Thought is chit-sat. That is all. And all these hard things like brick and mortar and the entire stellar region, the universe of solidity, melt into 'such stuff as dreams are made of,' as Shakespeare would tell us. All the solidity of the rocky mountains in dream will melt into airy nothing when you wake up. That will happen to you in regard to this world also. All these things will melt into one, single, thought - call it God, if you so like. This is what the Veda says, this is what the Upanishads say, this is what the Gita says, this is what prophets have said, this is what any religion will finally proclaim. "God created the heaven and the earth." says the Genesis. But what was God before He created them? He was Thought, Idea, Consciousness, Being.

You must try to think God minus this world. God must have existed even before creating, and how was He existing? Where was He sitting? He had no place to sit because space was created afterwards. Then where was God before creation? No question – the question cannot be raised at all. It was just Pure Idea. That is God. Call it Consciousness. Once you utter this, you have said everything. Further than that, you cannot speak. Being-Consciousness, sat-chit. Thought. Thinking Itself – all these are the messages of our philosophers. One Thought is; One Idea is; One Person is. Let this go deep into your feelings, and you will require nothing else. All shall be well.