Sanyasa – God Is A Possessive Lover
In most religions, and especially Hinduism, you have to walk alone on the path to God – if you wish to merge in oneness with Him, while physically still on Earth.
It’s a lonely road. In Hindusism, we call it `Sanyasa’ – a mental state, where you leave behind all that is dear to you, to take that 1 step forward. It’s your final test, your leap of faith. How much exactly do you love me? God wants to know. And how much can you leave behind for me?
You can reach the threshold of His gates with your bag & baggage; you’re welcome there; He’ll love you, provide for you, cherish you, nourish you – but when you wish to take that final step where you’re God & God is you – that’s when He challenges you to walk alone.
I don’t bring my countless devotees when I come to you; I don’t come to you with my baggage of near ones & dear objects, God seems to say. So, can you? If not, then you’re not ready yet. We’ll try some time again in a distant future.
There is a story about the Amarnath cave, in Himalayas, where Lord Shiva resides as an Ice-lingam. Shiva’s consort Parvati asks to be told the Amar Katha. Shiva agrees & walks her across the mountains to a cave, where He will tell Parvati the story of immortality. As He walks, He lightens himself by leaving behind His prized possessions:-
- At Pahalgam – (derived from Bel-gam, meaning village of the Bull), Shiva leaves behind His bull Nandi.
- At Chandanwari – Shiva removes his ornaments, while also brushing off the holy ash & holy sandal paste from His body.
- At Pissu Top – (derived from Trishul – Trishul/Trishu/Trissu/Pissu top), a mountain tip where he sticks His trident into, before walking forward)
- At Sheshnag – Shiva deposits the entwined snakes around His neck.
- At Panchatarni – Shiva drops the Ganga from his matted locks.
- Leading Parvati into the holy Amarnath cave, Shiva strips himself of His last baggage – the tiger-skin wrapped around His waist. He throws on the floor & sits down on it, in a state of complete truth & total surrender. He requests Parvati to do the same. Truth must be naked & surrender must be without doubt, he explains to Parvati. If you cannot strip yourself of what is dear to you – you are neither truthful nor alone. Parvati understands & complies.
- And Shiva begins His Amar Katha…
- From the Shiv Purana.
From the Vishnu Purana, there is Krishna’s oft-repeated-episode with the Gopis on the banks of Yamuna at Vrindavan:-
- Gopis are bathing in the river; Krishna steals their clothes; they stand inside the water & beg Him to return their clothes, so they can come out of the freezing river & head home.
- You won’t get your clothes while you’re inside the water, Krishna informs them; come out with folded hands & mind you, hands above your head, he tells them. Come to the tree, on top of which I’m sitting & I’ll drop your clothes into your arms.
- With no other option left, the Gopis comply 1 by 1. As they exit the waters, they see no one but themselves & Krishna. Everyone & everything around them surprisingly disappears into oblivion. They find themselves alone & in a moment of naked truth.
- What is this maya (illusion)?… they ask Krishna. Where is everything & everyone else?
- Between you & me, where is the need for another? Krishna asks. When you come to me, you must come alone. Leave aside everyone & everything dear to you – even if it is for a fleeting moment – but do it without hesitation, doubt, guilt or shame. In that moment, I will enlighten you.
- So saying, Krishna graciously drops the clothes into the outstretched arms of every Gopi, allowing her to return once more, to her worldly state. Wrapped in these gift of clothes, is the Gopis’ gift of enlightenment from Krishna.
- Then why does Krishna enact this episode every day? some may ask. Because for every Gopi that comes forward to receive her enlightenment, there are 10 Gopis that choose to stay behind till Krishna leaves; they are holding on their baggage still; covered within the confines of the water, they feel safe & unexposed. So Krishna returns day after day, offering numerous chances, so that some day you may have the courage to make that final sprint across the finish line.
God is a possessive lover. He comes to you alone in His naked truth. And He can brook not even an atom between Him & His devotees. Come in truth, come alone. There are no short cuts to Divine mergers & unions.