Recently, I have been studying a frequently misunderstood Dharma concept, that of renouncement, (Sanskrit; Sannyasa). It is not, as some seem to think, a mandate at any stage of life, although as people age it seems to come naturally. Actually, material renouncement is not exactly the same as sannyasa but it is the first step. Most of us could use a bit of renouncement at any age, as was brought to my attention by my daughter as she explained to me after a rigorous “material cleansing” of what seemed to me to be most of her worldly goods.
“I am getting better”, she said, “slowly becoming more minimalist. It feels great to be content with what you have, and grateful!”
A minute to read a lifetime to practice. Material lust
The main cause for developing discontentment is temptation. Let us see how a beggar’s discontentment lead to his misfortune!
A beggar would chant God’s name all day. One day, God manifested before the beggar and asked him to name his wish. The beggar wished for gold coins. God asked him, “What will you collect them in ?” The beggar put forward his sack. Before pouring gold coins into the sack, God said, “I will give you gold coins till you say ‘enough’, but on one condition. The gold coins should not fall to the ground. If they do, they will turn into dust”. The beggar accepted the condition. Gold coins immediately started to rain into his sack. The sack began to fill up gradually, but the beggar could not control his avarice for gold. Now, with the weight of the coins, the sack began to burst at its seams. Despite realizing this, the beggar did not say ‘enough’. Finally, the inevitable happened; the sack tore open and all the coins fell to the ground and turned into dust ! The beggar’s discontentment lead to his downfall !
A timeless story from https://www.hindujagruti.org/hinduism-for-kids/594.html
I have my own problems with material attachments which thanks to Sanata Dharma I am working through. Let’s all work through our material lust together. More later on this subject
Finite and transient are the fruits of sacrificial rites. The deluded, who regard them as the highest good, remain subject to birth and death.
Living in the abyss of ignorance, yet wise in their own conceit, the deluded go round and round [on the wheel of death and rebirth], like the blind led by the blind.
Living in the abyss of ignorance, the deluded think themselves blessed. Attached to works, they know not God. Works lead them only to heaven, whence, to their sorrow, their rewards quickly exhausted, they are flung back to earth.
Considering religion to be observance of rituals and performance of acts of charity, the deluded remain ignorant of the highest good. Having enjoyed in heaven the reward of their good works, they enter again into the world of mortals.
But the wise, self-controlled, and tranquil souls, who are contented inspirit, and who practice austerity and meditation in solitude and silence, are freed from all impurity, and attain by the path of liberation the immortal, the truly existing, the changeless self.
We live in accordance with our deep, driving desire. It is this desire at
the time of death that determines what our next life is to be. We will
come back to earth to work out the satisfaction of that desire.
But not for those who are free from desire; they are free because all
their desires have found fulfillment in the Self. They do not die like
the others; but realizing Brahman, they merge in Brahman. So it is said:
When all the desires that surge in the heart
Are renounced, the mortal becomes immortal.
When all the knots that strangle the heart
Are loosened, the mortal becomes immortal,
Here in this very life.
You shine, all living things emerge. You disappear, they go to rest. Recognizing our innocence, O golden-haired Sun, arise; let each day be better than the last. Rig Veda X, 37, 9
Bless us by your gaze, your brightness and shining. Bless us in cold and in heat. O Sun, grant us blessings at home and, when we are traveling, bestow upon us your wonderful treasure. Rig Veda X, 37, 10
Protect both our species, two-legged and four-legged. Both food and water for their needs supply. May they with us increase in stature and strength. Save us from hurt all our days, O Powers! Rig Veda X, 37, 11
Whatever grave offense we have committed against you, by our tongue, O God, or by carelessness of mind, lay the burden of this sin on the one who plans evil, on him, O Vasus, who wishes us ill. Rig Veda X, 37, 12
His shining beams now introduce the God who knows all living things, that all may see the Sun. Rig Veda I, 50, 1
A father knows about the birth and life of his son, because he witnesses it. But the birth and childhood of his father are beyond the ken of the son, because they occurred before he was born. Likewise, the devatās (celestial gods) and the ṛiṣhis (sages) cannot comprehend the real nature of the origin of God, who existed before they were even born.
And so, the Rig Veda states: “Who in the world can know clearly? Who can proclaim from where this universe was born? Who can state where this creation has come from? The devatās came after creation. Therefore, who knows from where the universe arose?”
Again, the Īśhopaniṣhad states: (Īśhopaniṣhad 4)[v2]