Faith

Renunciation explained

The primary focus of the Bhagavad Gita is on highlighting the fact that no one can give up action; all of us are compelled to act while we live. But the value of renunciation — giving up the fruits of action is hailed as the sure path to salvation. The ultimate preceptor Lord Krishna is ready with unambiguous answers to those innumerable pertinent doubts and questions that His omniscience easily anticipates, not only from Arjuna who hesitates to take up arms right at the time when open war is about to commence but from future generations who would also face such stringent dilemmas in life.

The Lord establishes beyond doubt the finer shades of differences between the apparently synonymous terms Sanyasa and Tyaga in this context, pointed out Swami Parthasarathi in a lecture. It is shown that Tyaga is the renunciation of the fruit of action, while Sanyasa is the renunciation of the desire in action. If the former is the cause, the latter is the effect. By practising Tyaga you become a Sanyasi.

Differing views on action, renunciation, relinquishment, non-attachment, etc., have always influenced individuals who are forced to act and live in this material world with all its attractions, joy and sorrow, and the Lord analyses them.

Some sages advise giving up of actions driven by desire and are for wish-fulfilment. Some others advise giving up the fruits of all actions. Another viewpoint stresses that all actions are binding and hence have to be given up; while yet another opinion encourages acts of sacrifice, penance and charity as these are useful in bringing about a spiritual betterment in us.

Finally, the Lord states that these ordained duties are of two kinds — daily routine ones (nithya) and occasional special duties (naimittika). These have to be done by all but it is the attitude behind the acts that matters. One does not long for the fruit of action and does the act with no habitual likes or dislikes. Also the feeling that it is he who is doing it should be absent. This is the most difficult idea to understand. This attitude demands giving up the ownership or the ego sense.


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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 2:40:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/renunciation-explained/article2939152.ece

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