Reconciliation of Scriptural Injuctions
Sage Vashishtha says that it is better to be far from a worldly atmosphere to get detachment from it. You may think that this is contradictory to the above statement regarding human psychology. But on sharp analysis, the seeming contradiction is cleared. The statement of Sage Vashishtha does not apply to the stage of leaving the family permanently. His statement should be applied to a temporary period of meditation on God in the case of a householder. The householder gets real detachment from the family, being close to the family. Now he wants to concentrate on God for some time. For this purpose, he should leave the house and go to a lonely place and meditate upon God for some time. He cannot meditate upon God in the atmosphere of the house. Therefore, one should leave the house for a short period to concentrate on God in a lonely atmosphere as said in the Gita (Vivikta Desha Sevi...). But if one leaves the house permanently and goes to a forest for meditation upon God, every thing fails. The concept of leaving the family forever brings tremendous attraction to the family in the mind, leading to the failure of the meditation upon God. Therefore, the statement of Vashishtha in Yoga Vashishtha should be taken in the sense of a short exit from the house and not a permanent exit. The statement in the Veda (Yadahareva Virajet Tadahareva Pravrajet), which says that you should leave the house whenever you are detached from the family, can be similarly be applied to leaving the house for a short period. The spiritual aspirant can control the mind and attain detachment from the family only gradually by such constant practice (Abhyasenatu...—Gita). Once the attachment to God becomes complete, the detachment from the family becomes natural and spontaneous and there need not be any effort for such detachment. After such detachment, one may stay in the house but he is still is not attached to the family internally, like King Janaka. For such a fully detached soul, even leaving the house for a divine program of propagating the spiritual knowledge will not pose any difficulty as in the case of Buddha and Shankara. Once the internal detachment is complete, the external detachment is not at all a problem and even if one does not get externally detached (does not leave the home), he is still a completely detached soul.
There is no difference between King Janaka and Shankara or Buddha because in all these cases the internal detachment is complete. However, certain people, who only claim to have internal detachment like Janaka and do not get externally detached, can misinterpret this concept. Such cheating of the public is of no use because it is deceiving one’s own soul. One can never fool God. When the person is totally absorbed in God, even the surrounding atmosphere of the family cannot disturb him in anyway as in the case of Janaka. Such a person, on the order of God, may even leave the family like Shankara and Buddha for the sake of the propagation of spiritual knowledge and devotion in the world. Such an exit from family life is designed in the divine program and cannot be taken as a step in the spiritual effort (sadhana) of a human being. Shankara and Buddha were human incarnations of God (Siddhas) and they are not to be compared with ordinary spiritual aspirants (sadhakas). If the spiritual aspirant becomes Janaka by gradual practice as said above, such a state is equal to the state of Buddha or Shankara, provided the attainment of that state is real with reference to his inner consciousness. Leaving the house for the propagation of knowledge and devotion should be done only on the command of God as stated by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.