Swami Sivananda: “An ignorant worldly-minded man says, ‘I have to do my duties. I have to educate my four sons and three daughters. I have to please my employer. I have heavy duties in the office. I have to remit money to my widowed sister. I have a large family. I have six brothers and five sisters. Where is the time for performing Sandhya and Japa and study of religious books? There is no time even to breathe. I have no leisure. Even during holidays I have to work. I bring office papers to my house and work at night till eleven o’clock. I do not want Sannyasa or any Yoga. The office work and the maintenance of my family is itself Yoga.’ ”
“Do you really call this duty? It is mere slavery. It is bondage. The man is afraid of his superior at every moment. Even in his dreams he meets his office mates and superior and posts figures in the ledger. This is not sense of duty. This man cannot pray even for a second. He has no time to read a single verse of the Gita. There is not a single thought of God even in a month. He takes tea, has his food, sits at the table for writing, sleeps and procreates. Thus his whole life passes away like this. This is selfish work. This is not duty. This is work done for gain and satisfaction of the lower appetites. Anything done under compulsion and expectation is not duty. You must not interpret slavery as duty. You must not take selfish works that are done through attachment, greed and passion as duty. You will be doing a great injustice. This is self-created drudgery.
“An officer or clerk earns money by taking bribes, and when his conscience pricks, he feeds some Brahmins and says, ‘I have done my duty today. I have fed fifteen Brahmins and have given each twenty-five paise.’ This is his idea of duty. He adds, ‘Why should I take Sannyasa and practise Yoga? I will earn tons of money and do charity. This is the best kind of life.’ Poor deluded soul! May God give him good understanding!”
(The above article is an excerpt from Swami Sivananda’s “Kingly Science, Kingly Secret”: pg. 48)
Mata Amirtanandamayi: “Sri Krishna was a householder. He had many responsbilities, but He was the embodiment of detachment. Sri Rama was also a householder and in addition to that a king. He was the embodiment of dharma. King Janaka (father of Sita, the holy consort of Lord Sri Rama) was a king and a householder. He, too, was a jivanmukta or liberated soul. They all found enough time to do tapas and to lead a spiritual life even in the midst of all their court duties andf other problems.
“If we say that we have no time due to our problems and family responsibilities, that is simpply an escape. That means that we have no desire to follow the path of spirituality. We are lazy and want to avoid work. So immersed in maya, so trapped in its net, we do not even realise that there is a reality hgher than the body and the external world around us. We have no eyes to see it, no ears to hear it and no heart to feel it.
“If we want to be more honest and sincere with ourselves, it would be better if we were bold enough to admit, ‘I’m not interested in spiritual matters,’ rather than twisting the truth by saying, ‘I have no time.’ When we really have the desire to do something, time and the proper conditions will be at our disposal. Time and circumstance follow desire.’
(The above article is an excerpt from Mata Amirtanandamayi’s “Awaken, Children!, Vol. 4: pg. 180)