Renunciation Is Service: My Path to Brahmacharya Vows

I’m going to come clean.

I’ve looked upon the renunciates, the monks, who wear yellow or orange robes, with not so slight amounts of judgment. Especially when I saw a brahmachari/brahmacharini (man/woman monk) struggle on worldly stuff; if I see anger, frustrations, or frailty in them, I felt a kind of pity for them: Poor person! They’re weak; they’re using whatever outward form they can find to keep themselves protected from spiritual falling, repeating vows before others, wearing monk clothes, running away from all world temptations. Yet one way or another this suppression and internal unbalance comes out for everyone to see!

If anything, the little I did know about renunciation, to live life for God only, sounded an internal thing to me, and things like wearing certain color or repeating vows out loud seemed superficial to me. I’m stronger, more real, than that…

Until last week that is.

I received certain guidance lately that shifted my view of monkhood. It shifted my understanding of renunciation as something for others, as service to humanity, rather than for me. This made it aligned with my nature and I came to a realization how it is right and admired for me.

A few years ago I experienced a beautiful human love relationship with a beautiful soul. It had to end, however. Shortly after that, and following the usual phases of despair, anger, inquiry for meaning and purpose of life, I was guided into the spiritual path. I never felt that I had lost the love, even if it wasn’t on the physical anymore. I feel as if this was my first and last one, a love of my life, a desire that was beautifully fulfilled. I never did feel the need to add to it, or replace it with a new experience. I have practically lived a life of a monk since then. Rather, I set my mind to expand the love to everyone, all life. First, I came to love the trees. My walking commutes to work became longer and longer as I would stop often to commune with the trees and flowers. And I got to work later and later in the morning! I gradually opened myself more to other people. I have tried to give myself, my attention, my friendship, my energy, to the best of my ability, without discrimination.

But lately I realized my intentions may not be clear to people whom I meet, who don’t yet know me well. I visited the nearby meditation retreat to visit my friend a few times, enthusiastically asking people where she is. Later she told me she was asked by people if she was in a relationship with me. A few cases like this was some part of the guidance I have received.

It’s been a year, since I have left my life in Los Angeles as a computer scientists, and half a year since I had left the big city to live in a spiritual community in northern California at the foothills of Sierra Nevada mountains. I have learned that we happen to live in exciting times in the course of humanity’s evolution. We are just out of kali yuga, the dark age. Spirituality, a deeper knowing of what God means is coming to modern societies. Religion as we have known it is shifting into something actually enlightened, a true understanding of God and ourselves as part of one consciousness that is that.

I feel elated to be a part of this generation, to be in a group as spearheads for this shift in consciousness of an entire race. With this in mind, I see wearing the garb of renunciates of the new age, with my fellow brothers and sisters, as a service to humanity. To be an example to the broader population of what is going to come! To make a statement that light, love, and joy is coming, and greed and darkness, at least for a few thousand years, will be dimming away!

For this, to make my intentions as clear outwardly, for others, as clearly as it is inwardly for me, and to be a servant, a humble example for my other brothers and sisters who will soon be awakened from the delusions of the world, I will happily wear a monk’s garb.

– painting art by Swami Kriyananda


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