Renounce everything that would disturb your peace. Then, serve others by helping them find that same peace. Whatever be your position in life, learn to be a renunciate. You don’t need to leave things and go away from where you are. Just have that detached attitude in life and perform everything as your duty. Then you will always be happy. What else do we want in this life?
A truly renounced, dedicated person is the emperor of emperors, the king of kings, and the richest person in the world. Who is the richest one? The one who wants nothing. That’s the biggest wealth—to want not. I heard a proverb once when I was a young boy, “Waste not and want not.” But after some time I decided it should be the other way around: “Want not and waste not your life.” Yes. Because the more you want, and the more you are affected by things, the more you waste your time and energy and the more you miss the joy within.
Don’t want anything. If you are really established in that attitude of not running after anything, I guarantee that all you once wanted will come and run after you. All wealth or artha, and all knowledge or vidya. In the Hindu mythology they call those two Lakshmi and Saraswati. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth, Saraswati of wisdom. Wealth and wisdom will be at your door. You need not even study anything, because Saraswati will be there to help you know whatever you need to know. You needn’t go out and work hard, because Lakshmi will dwell with you and give you everything you need. That’s why the scriptures say a true renunciate will have everything: all wisdom, all wealth, name, fame, everything will be waiting at his or her feet.
But, don’t stop wanting the wants with this idea in mind. Then you still have a want! The wants know it. They are very cute things. They know whether you are really wanting them or you are indirectly wanting them by not wanting them! They know. They all have that consciousness. Imagine the ocean. It never wanted the rivers or sent invitations to them, yet all the waters are running towards the ocean, singing: “We want you, we want you, we want you.” If ever the ocean says, “Hey, come on, I want you,” then, probably the rivers would say: “Oh, there must be something behind this. He’s going to swallow us; no, let’s stop running to the sea.” And even after so many rivers fall into the ocean, the ocean is still the same. It doesn’t get swelled by ego or pride. It knows contentment.
That’s why when someone is quite happy, we say: “Oh, he is above wants.” What does it mean? Not that he already has everything, so he is above wants, but rather that he never wanted anything and so everything he needs has come to him. Contentment is golden. A contented mind is a golden mind. That’s what we should learn. When you keep your mind always still and steady, that is Yoga. Once you acquire that steadiness, the whole world is at your feet. And what is the whole world? Nothing but God’s manifestation. So God is at your feet. You don’t need to go after God if your mind is contented.
There was a great saint in North India. He was just doing his duty without wanting anything. At one point God came to give him darshan (a holy vision). The saint said, “Oh, you have come. I am sorry, I am busy with my duty which I have not finished yet.” And he just pushed a brick toward God and said, “This is all I have, please be seated on it and wait.” He continued performing his duty and God waited for him. That’s why even today there is a temple dedicated to that God who is still waiting there for that dutiful devotee.
A person of steady contented mind will not even want God. A great Tamil saint says, “Even with God, don’t have desire.” When you are ready, He will be there with you, in you. You don’t need to call Him. This is the secret of all the religions, of Yoga, and of success in any endeavor. A Yogi achieves success. He never knows failure. Aren’t we interested in success in life? Yes. So the secret of success is: Don’t run after it, it will come to you. Success follows contentment.
That is the message of Yoga. That is the message of all the great religions. Feel the Divine within which is peace and joy. Doesn’t the Bible say, “Blessed are the pure in heart; they shall see God?” This truth is found in almost all the scriptures. The Bhagavad Gita says, Samatwam Yoga uchyate, “Equanimity is Yoga.” Patanjali says, Tadaa drashtuh svarupe vasthaanam, “Once you accomplish that (control of mind), you remain in your own true nature.”
What else do we need? If we have the inner peace and joy, we have everything. If we do not have that, even though we have all the things of the world, we have nothing. So let us seek that inner peace and joy first. Once that is found, all the joys, all the beautiful things that the nature could give, will follow. You don’t need to miss anything. You don’t need to run away from anything. But get that peace first. The Bible also says, “Seek the kingdom of heaven first. Everything else will be added unto you.” The Hindu Scriptures say the same thing: “Know that first by knowing which you will have known everything.” All the joys, all the pleasures, all the happiness of the world will look for a happy person. If you are not happy, happiness is not going to come to you. If you are happy, all happiness will run towards you.
It’s not just a mere philosophy, a mere idea. It’s practical. We have to experience it. We can read it in thousands of books. You may be a walking library, but you still have nothing without the direct experience. To get a taste of that experience, try this for a week: Make the entire week a “Don’t Want Week.” Think, “This week I don’t want anything. If anything comes, I accept it. If anything goes, I accept that, too.” I promise you will be so happy. I have tried this in my own life. For some time I wandered around India without any money. I was tested. For a few days I went hungry. I just accepted it. Then the food came; everything I needed came. Why? Because when you don’t want, the things you wanted before will want you.
So experience is the most important. Don’t run after things. Look within. Experience that joy, that peace, that Jesus, that Moses, that Allah, that Mohammed, that Buddha, within you. Call it any way you want. Use any name you want. Find that within you and then contentment will be yours. And everything else that you need will be added also. That happiness and contentment is my sincere wish for you. Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthi.