Spirit of renunciation

The Gita explains the ways and means to bring one’s body, senses, mind and intellect under control and this sadana is called “atma samyama yoga.” The term ‘karyam karma’ clearly spells out the subtle values of spirit and attitude behind every act of an individual. It means ‘doing what is accepted as work that has to be done and also not with expectation of any reward.’ It also implies that only deeds aligned to dharma, sanctioned by the sastras, and good deeds have to be done.

Practice of living this committed way of life and giving up the fruits of one’s actions is the ideal way of life for any individual for in this way one learns to renounce all worldly gains, pointed out Srimati Rukmini Ramamurthy in a discourse. It is also explained that the state of renunciation has no relation to one’s status or birth, learning or faith; it is purely a state of mind where all attachments are given up. One should not confuse between outward signs of renunciation and true renunciation. There is a popular understanding that a sanyasi is one who has given up agni hotra and wears ochre robes; and that a yogi is one who has given up worldly commitments and retires into solitude to engage in meditation. These acts cannot be called renunciation if one has not given up desires or karma phala. The deep seated vasanas have to be destroyed and all kinds of attachment to worldly attractions, objects and beings have to cut off relentlessly.

It is thus clear that whatever life one chooses to lead, renunciation is the execution of one’s ordained duties without an inward striving for reward. That is why Nishkama Yoga inculcates the spirit of renunciation in one regardless of whether he is a householder, or a sanyasi or yogi.

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