The Self must be freed from the world and its attractions

The Self is felt to be entangled in the world; it is entangled because it does not know, vitally and consciously, that the world is illusion. The appearance of bondage is caused equally by attraction – belief that pleasure-in-restriction is real, and by repulsion – certainty that the restriction of pain is real.

The entanglement can be compared to that of certain TV viewers who first voluntarily accept that a serial shows actual events, and then become so involved that they write letters to advise the characters what to do. The writers retain some insight at the deepest level, in that they address the letters to the broadcasting station; but they ignore it in practice. To be free does not necessarily mean turning away from the programme (though that may be necessary as a temporary measure), but it means not to be over-affected by taking it as real.

Nivrtti – Inner Renunciation of the world as unreal

Ni-vrtti means something like non- (ni) -operation (vrtti – a process, and especially a mental process). The renunciation by ni-vrtti is not a high-principled sacrifice by a hero of something good; it is more like the renunciation by children of toys which they have outgrown. The toys might still be around, but there is no interest in them; their magic quality was unreal.

Not Outer Renunciation by those given to raga (passion-struggle)

Someone says to a spiritual friend: ‘I have got to get away from all these quarrels and tangles, so I am going to stay for some months in a remote cottage; I have found one where I can live very simply, keeping the garden running and living mainly on what I can grow there. It will be a complete change.’

The friend said: ‘It won’t be a complete change, though. You will still be there.’


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