Another important thing to consider is non attachment. To understand non-attachment, I would like to share one story. There was one sannyasi outside a village, he used to sleep under one tree and like sannyasis, they don’t have much. A cloth to wrap around the body and a begging bowl, very simple things for living. The sannyasi was extremely happy, very famous among the people and respected. Anyone who would come to him would feel these positive vibrations and feel good. The king of that area also knew him. At times he would also come and sit with him.
After sometime, he requested the sannyasi, “Instead of living here why don’t you start living in the palace. We will all serve you. You will have whatever you need. ” The moment he said this, the sannyasi accepted, “Yes, let’s do it.” And the king got a shock, expecting him to say no, but he did not say no, he straight away accepted. “Let’s go.” He went to the palace and enjoyed the nice bed, the king sized bed. There were nice carpets on his path to walk, when he would walk then flowers were showered on him and he enjoyed the great food served in the palace. All kinds of tasty food and he didn’t refuse any of it. Many days passed and the king started to doubt the sannyasi. “Is he really a true sannyasi or is he just enjoying everything?” And as the days were passing the king was convinced that he is not a true sannyasi. He did not say, “I don’t want to use this king sized bed, I will sleep on the floor.” He didn’t refuse tasty food and so on. So one day he went to the sannyasi and said, “Now I am starting to doubt you.” To which the sannyasi said, “The doubt arose on the first day not just now. Come with me outside the palace and I will make you understand.” So they walked for a very long time. The king asked, “How much longer will we go?” to which the Sannyasi replied, “Keep walking.” They left the king’s territory, they entered another area and they walked in the jungle, then it was evening. The sannyasi finally stopped and said, “I will leave now, I will not stop. And I am inviting you also to come with me.” The king said, “I have family, I have the empire, how can I come? So many people are waiting for me.” To which the sannyasi responded, “That’s the difference. I was under the tree and you took me to the palace. I enjoyed the palace also but now I am walking away from it and I will keep walking to have kindness on you so that you are free from doubt. If I come back with you, again you will have doubt. If you want to come with me, come. Otherwise return to the palace. But I am walking away.” And so the king watched him walk away. What he had said to him was remarkable: to have kindness on you, I am walking away and you are relieved from doubt. Please see, non-attachment is not about renunciation or leaving things and places behind. One can have and enjoy things and at the same time be detached. The difference is, if it’s there it is good, if it is not there it is good too. It’s not like one keeps collecting and collecting and then cries if it’s gone.