When you want to swim in the lake, you can jump from any side of the lake. Even if you take a boat and jump from the middle of the lake, it is the same as jumping from the shore. You cannot learn swimming unless you are in the water. You cannot say you will first learn swimming and then get into the water. “I don’t want to wet my feet, my socks will get wet, but I want to swim.” This is not possible. Sa na kamyamana - it is not an object of desire, you cannot make it into an object of desire. Nirodha rupatvat - it is of the nature of restraint, of relaxation, of retiring.
If one is in a corridor and is walking from this end to that end, and all the person really wants is to relax, what you will say? “Wherever you are, just sit and relax. That is called nirodha - withdraw. No, withdraw is not the correct word, retire, repose. Repose wherever you are - nirodha rupatvat.
Nirodhastu loka veda vyapar nyasah
What are you retiring from? From all worldly and religious activities. You do worldly activities in order to gain comfort and religious activities in order to gain some spiritual merit. You do so many charities and work so that when you die and go to heaven, there you will enjoy these comforts. There is this desire to gain a better accommodation in heaven, to have a more comfortable air conditioned room if you have earned the merits (laughter)!
A gentleman came to me and said, “Guruji, my mother wants to see you. She wants to ask a question.” When she met with me, she said, “See, I am going to die in a few months or maybe a few years, but I am not used to new places. How is it there in the heavens? I think you know how it is there. Can you tell me what I should do to prepare myself? You see, I don’t get any sleep when I change places. When I go to New York from Connecticut, I cannot sleep. So I am a little anxious to know how it is there, on the other side.” I told her; “Don’t worry mother, all will be very comfortable. You will sleep well there also. You better sleep here. Thinking about sleeping there, don’t lose your sleep here.” She kept saying, “I’m not used to new places you know...” (laughter)
Relax from both worldly and religious activities. Retire from all activities. Sometimes people retire easily from worldly activities but they go on doing other things non-stop - using rosaries non-stop, chanting non-stop, doing something. And this non-stop doing wears you out.
You feel worn out and tired and all that you do is fall asleep. Loka veda vyapar nyasah - retiring from both spiritual and secular activities, religious and social activities. In any activity maintaining that calm.
Another meaning for nyasah is not acting out of feverishness.
How can you retire? Does that mean not doing anything at all? Just sit? Do neither worldly activity nor spiritual activity? No. When can you really retire? When you are really into the activity. Only then does retirement really mean anything. If you never got a job, there is no question of retirement. An unemployed person cannot retire. Only one who is in some employment can retire. So when can you retire? When you are engaged in an activity, then you can retire. So moderate activity is essential.
This word nyasah also means being centred. Being centred in any activity you do - spiritual, social or religious. Be centred, maintain that calm, maintain that balance. Being centred in all activities and in your work - not to act out of feverishness.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Foundation