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Life as a hermit

This morning when I was out for usual stroll, though later in time then usual, I met some hermits (sanyasi) sitting opposite the gate of an apparently rich man. Hermits must have been waiting for the alms. One of the hermits asked me as to what was the time. I told him the time and asked him ‘you left the world but could not leave the time?’ He replied ‘Time is everything.’ A correct reply but from a wrong person.

Some time back I received an invitation from a perky friend whom, I had not met in years, to join goodread. I obediently did. But it took me some time to understand the purpose of that forum. It is a diary to keep track of what we are reading or read. Coming back to hermits, there is such an attraction in running away or in renunciation. However most of the hermits in India are the ‘running away’ type. Being poor, unable to sustain, they put on saffron to add honour to their begging. There are renunciation type also but that is a different story.
This reminds me of a book that glorify running away. That was ‘A monk who sold his Ferrari’. This is a work of a fantasy fiction but sold as a self help book. It appears that it did well because now there are dozen sequels of this book. It is rare to find a book with a completely false title. This was such a book. A busy lawyer, tired of his life renounces everything and becomes a monk. Now the lawyer may have had Ferrari but we do not know. But renunciation is not ‘selling’. Selling means converting a product into cash. No such thing happened in the book. Further the lawyer renounced his possessions. Monk had none. Therefore the title is false. It was an aimless but good fantasy fiction. It is dangerous to sell such books as self-help book.
About renunciation, do we actually possess anything? A house? Which even if free from mortgage, has to be maintained, taxes to be regularly paid, lawn to mowed, ensuring security against trespass if not robbery and what not. It appears we are possessed by house not the other way round. Similar is with other things. Most other things like car or clothes or furniture come with a time frame and it’s decay is only a matter of time. So ultimately what is left with us is ‘time’ with things. Things are temporary waiting to vanish in decay but we keep these by re-possessing everyday.
Time represents anxiety of possessing and re-possessing.
Waiting for alms is same as waiting to pay the bill or to mow the lawn. So long anxiety to act or of result exist there is no renunciation.
Possession is a state of mind. So is renunciation.

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About Sandeep Bhalla

A lawyer, thinker, author, Linux/Ubuntu power user but often an economist or gardener or philosopher or cook or photographer depending upon the current thought and environment. View all posts by Sandeep Bhalla

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