Knowledge and action

Why not become a sannyasi? Then a question naturally arises, "Why should I not become a sannyasi?" This is what Arjuna asked Lord Krishna, "O Lord, you are praising sannyasa or renunciation of action and again praising yoga or performance of the action. Please tell me decisively which of the two is better". (B.G. V-1). Arjuna means to say that he does not know what he should do; whether he should perform action or renounce it. The Lord replies, "He who sees sankhya (sannyasa) and yoga as one, really sees".(B.G. V-5)

Now karma binds but karma yoga does not bind. karma yoga gives you a contemplative mind which helps you gain knowledge.. So a karma yogi also studies the scriptures. Arjuna himself was not a sannyasi and so if a sannyasi alone is supposed to learn the scriptures, why should the Lord teach Arjuna the seventeen chapters of the Gita?" And what the Lord teaches is no different from what is taught in the Upanishads. The Lord teaches the entire brahma vidya to Arjuna and that would not have been taught had Arjuna not been fit to listen to it. Therefore knowledge is open to all. The question is how much you will understand. And that makes a lot of difference. And so it is said, "One must listen to the scriptures after renunciation". One should be able to leave everything and then listen to the scriptures.

But suppose you leave your wife and children and also your loans and go to Rishikesh without a ticket: That is not sannyasa. You do not get the benefit of sannyasa because you continue to think about your home. You think of the child that must be crying and the wife who must be cursing. You will, in your mind, see all this happening. How can you be available to listen to the scriptures? That ils why Lord Krishna says, "sannyasa, O mighty armed, is difficult to accomplish without the disciplines of yoga". (B.G. V-6). The Lord does not say that sannyasa is impossible but He says it is difficult without the yoga.

Let us say you want a flower because you want to offer one to Swamiji. You go to the garden, find a bud on a plant and ask the bud to blossom right away. You may take the bud and open it by your fingers, but there would be no fragrance. It requires time for the bud to blossom into a fragrant flower. Similarly, it takes time for the mind to blossom into sannyasa. When a person is ready, everything is beautiful; sannyasa is beautiful.

Then there may arise a question, "Swamiji, how do I know whether I am ready for sannyasa or not?" You are not ready because otherwise this question would not remain. Always give yourself a benefit of doubt that you may not be ready. That is always good. While cooking the food, you sometimes keep the pot on the stove for a little longer than necessary just to make sure that it is cooked. It does not matter if it is a little over-cooked, but if the food is under cooked, it can create problems in the stomach. You don't lose anything by remaining a karmayogi because the culmination of everything is in sannyasa.