AUDIENCE: What does it mean to you to be a monk and to renounce everything material?
JAYADVAITA SWAMI: What does it mean to be a monk and to renounce everything material? What does it mean to renounce it? You probably saw that I sat down and put this thing which must cost at least 50 or 80 pounds over here, and it looks very material. It’s made of material stuff, it costs material money, so how am I renounced everything material? Our understanding is that first of all nothing actually belongs to us. This is not my property. The elements of which it’s fashioned were here before I came. When I leave the scene they’ll still be here. For some time I say this is mine, this is my recorder, this is my house, this is my money, this is my family, this is my this, this is my that, my country. But it’s here before I come, it’s here after I go, so in what sense is it mine? It’s not mine actually, there’s a higher proprietor to whom it belongs, and I’m borrowing this stuff.
Even my body is on loan. The stuff of which the body is made is not actually my property. I can’t command it actually, and be thoroughly in charge of it. It’s on loan. Just as your apartment is on loan. So renunciation means not that I give something up because it’s not mine to begin with. But it means that I recognise the actual proprietor, and I use it for that Supreme Proprietor of everything.
(Jayadvaita Swami 10/2007)