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Of Renunciation

Disciple:
Teacher divine! Thy light is breaking in upon my mind,
I now know the cause of my sorrow and suffering;
I apprehend the sorrows of mankind,
For my sufferings are the sufferings of the world;
I see that sorrow and suffering are rooted in self.
That evil and woe are in the desires of self,
And that all the desires of self must be relinquished,
Guide me, O Master! into the way of self-sacrifice;
Teach me how to abolish self from the mind;
Reveal to me the truth about renunciation.

Master:
Renunciation, O disciple! is twofold;
There is renunciation in the letter;
There is also renunciation in the spirit.
The renunciation of outward things and particular acts only—
This is the false renunciation in the letter;
The renunciation of inward desires and defilements—
This is the true renunciation in the spirit.
Beware, O learner! of the renunciation which is false;
Perform thou the renunciation which is true.

Disciple:
Instruct me further in the renunciation which is according to Truth,
Then I will embrace and perform it;
So shall I avoid the renunciation which is erroneous and misleading.

Master:
Seek no gratification in the things which thou doest;
Look not for reward in the things wherein thou strivest;
Do all thy duties meekly, putting away desire—
This is the true renunciation.
Do not think of gain or loss to thyself ,—
Think not to obtain pleasure and avoid pain in thy acts;
Do all things faithfully that are necessary to be done—
This also is the true renunciation.
Sever not thyself from the world,
But relinquish all love for the world and its pleasures;
Do thy work in the world without thought of personal ends—
This, again, is the true renunciation.
Not by the outer things of the world is a man defiled;
He is defiled by the low desires of his heart.
To renounce the world, and not to relinquish to clinging to self—
This is the false renunciation.
Not from riches or poverty,
Not from wife or children,
Not from power and servitude—
Not from these things do afflictions spring.
From indolence and self-indulgence,
From lust and covetousness,
From hatred and pride—
From these things only do afflictions spring.
Renounce the evil within, and the things of the world will not defile thee;
Put away all thought of self, and whatsoever thou doest it will bring to thee no suffering;
In all thy duties forsake the thought of self, and sorrow will never overtake thee.
He who quiteth a duty that is irksome,
Seeking happiness thereby;
He who fleeth from the scene of temptation.
Seeking strength thereby;
He who abandoneth his obligations,
Seeking bliss thereby,—
Such a man, O disciple! falsely renounces;
He is deluded, and will not attain to purity of heart.
As a brave soldier, when death is inevitable does not desert his post,
Thinking of duty only, and not of self-preservation,
So he who renounces truly, remains in his place in the world,
Performing all his duties steadfastly, not thinking of self.
Renounce self, O disciple!
Renounce all the tendencies of self;
Renounce all the passions and prejudices of self;
Renounce all the errors and egotism of self;
Such is the true renunciation;
Such is the sacrifice which leads to enlightenment and peace.

Disciple:
What, O Master! are the tendencies of the self?

Master:
Lust and self-indulgence,
Self-seeking and avarice,
Hatred and anger,
Vanity and pride,
Doubt and fear—
These are the tendencies of self;
These are the things that must be renounced;

Disciple:
And these things, O spirit immaculate! I will renounce;
I will obliterate them from my mind;
I will abolish them from my inmost heart;
For now I see how they lead men into ways of blindless;
That they make snares of suffering for the feet of men;
That they dig deep pits of sorrow for men to fall therein.
I rejoice, O Divine One! in that which thou hast revealed to me;
For thou hast opened unto me the highway of holiness;
Thou hast pointed out to me the straight path of peace;
Thou hast shown me how to walk the sure way of wisdom.
Thee will I follow; lead me to thy Law.

Master:
Blessed is he who follows where I lead;
He shall ascend unto high and Heavenly Places;
He shall behold with the vision that is faultless;
He shall see with the eye of truth which comprehendeth all things.


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James Allen

James Allen was a little-known philosophical writer and poet. He is best recognized for his book, As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the unique ability of explaining these subjects clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. He often wrote about cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief. For more information on the life of James Allen, click here.

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