Maitri Vasudev's picture

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It was past noon and the disciples and devotees had just finished chanting the Guru Gita in the Darshan Hall of the Ashram. They were engaged in a lively Jignyaasa or discussion on a spiritual topic, when to their great delight, Parama Pujya Shri Shri Nimishananda Guruji unexpectedly walked in. All of them prostrated at the Lotus Feet of Pujya Guruji and received His Blessings. Pujya Guruji smiled at their joy and asked – “What is the topic of your discussion today?”

A devotee replied – “Pujya Guruji, we were sharing our insights about ‘Tyaaga’ or ‘Sacrifice’. In this context we were discussing the role of a mother. Some of us were confused about where to draw the line between duty and sacrifice [Dharma and Tyaaga]. While a mother sacrifices a great deal for the sake of her children, isn’t this also a part of her role as a mother? Then, where does duty end and sacrifice begin?”

Pujya Guruji laughed and joked – “I can see you have some hard work in store for Me. Being Myself is not an easy task. I have to find answers to all kinds of questions.” As all the devotees laughed, Pujya Guruji said – “Why don’t all of you sit down? Tyaaga is really a vast topic, but let us delve a little deeper into it.”

When everybody had settled down, Pujya Guruji continued – “In Sanskrit, Tyaaga has many subtle shades of meaning – it can mean ‘dropping’, ‘giving up’, ‘relinquishing’ or ‘sacrificing’. In our day to day lives, there is actually no conflict between duty and sacrifice. Neither does the question of drawing a line between these two arise at any time. All of us must understand that in Sanathana Dharma, making sacrifices is our duty. It is an intrinsic part of our tradition, culture and lifestyle. Tyaaga is our Dharma.

“We must also remember that Tyaaga is always relative. What is a sacrifice for one person need not necessarily be a sacrifice for another. Since you were discussing the example of a mother – seeing that the mother has given birth to the child, as you rightly said, it is also her duty to bring it up and make all the sacrifices this requires. There is nothing really exceptional about this Tyaaga. However, if the biological parents of a child die and the neighbours adopt that child and bring it up lovingly with their own children, it becomes exceptional Tyaaga. Likewise, if a very rich man donates a large sum to a noble cause, it is not really a sacrifice. He has so much money that this does not make even a small dent in his purse. However, if a daily wages labourer, donates even a hundred rupees, it is a big sacrifice. So also, when it is exceptionally cold, if we take off our jacket or sweater and give it away to somebody who is feeling very cold, we are making a sacrifice. However, if we take off our jacket because the weather turned sunny suddenly and hand it to our friend, he is making a sacrifice by carrying it for us. Therefore, the timing and circumstance of the act are also extremely important. Moreover, whether we give with a selfish motive or a selfless one and whether the deed is performed mechanically or with the awareness of love are two more crucial parameters which decide whether a deed is a sacrifice or not. So, any act of sacrifice is recognized and defined by a combination of factors - the personalities involved, and the circumstances, timing, intention and feeling behind the act.”

One of the devotees asked – “Pujya Guruji, are there also different kinds of Tyaaga or sacrifice?”
Pujya Guruji replied – “Yes, Tyaaga / sacrifice can be external, where we physically give up something to empower others or it can be internal, where we mentally give up our vices, weaknesses and shortcomings to empower ourselves. Tyaaga can also be imposed upon us from outside or it can flow spontaneously from inside. Sometimes it can also simply happen because it is the Will of God.

“Now, let me tell you a very important secret – If we do not perform Tyaaga on our own, even after repeated opportunities, prompts and reminders, the Divine Mother will create circumstances that will compel us to do it. This is called Compulsive Tyaaga. For instance, if we are used to over indulging the palate and do not discipline or restrain ourselves when we should, our health will be affected in some way. Then diabetes may make us give up sweets, hypertension may make us give up fried, salty snacks or obesity may make us give up all kinds of junk food. However, there is usually an element of unwillingness in this kind of Tyaaga. Most of the time, we give up these things physically, but mentally we do not relinquish our desire to indulge in them. That is why we are so often bombarded by temptations and cravings. When we give up our mental attachment to them as well, we will never be tempted, however much we are exposed to these ‘forbidden’ items. Sometimes, compulsive Tyaaga can also be imposed upon us in a different way. When we go to the powerful pilgrimage centres of Kashi or Gaya to perform certain reverential rites for our ancestors, the priests ask us to completely give up eating our favourite dessert, fruit and vegetable from that day. This kind of Tyaaga increases our will power and gives us greater control over the body, mind and senses. Having our wallet stolen or pick pocketed is another kind of Compulsive Tyaaga that many of us encounter. Even in business people lose money suddenly; we are sometimes subjected to this kind of Tyaaga too. Sometimes, when there is a deadlock in a business deal, we may pay more than we want to buy something or give up a large margin of profit to sell something. Though we are unwilling to forgo this money, circumstances compel us to agree to it..."

To read more about Tyaaga, visit the source: 'Between You and Me' at http://www.shrinimishamba.org/html/dbd_18th_Jan_2010_tyaaga.htm. I am unable to fit the whole conversation here as the number of characters are limited.

Nathyogi's picture


I appreciate your devotion to your Guru. It is good to read the speech about sacrifice and duty from your Guru.
May I know who is your Guru's Guru?

Nathyogi | Wed, 08/27/2014 - 08:41