15 Aug Renunciation is to be practiced internally first

As a spiritual teacher people ask me time and again, “Swamiji, if spirituality is my goal, why should I not give up my work and become a Swamiji like you?  If the world is not my goal, then shouldn’t I become a renunciant?”

The goal is fine, but there is a path for reaching it.  You can’t just jump there.  If you wish to become a saint, there is a process.  If somebody wishes to become a post graduate, there is a process. You start with grade one and keep passing the grades one by one.  But if somebody says, “One day I have to leave school and go to college, why don’t I leave it right away and sit straight in college.”  What will happen to that person?

Without clearing the 12 grades if you sit in college, you will keep sitting there for the next 50 years but you will not benefit from it, for you entered college without passing the school.  Similarly, this university of the world needs to be passed through.  Before you become eligible for the renounced order, you have to learn so many things.  You have to enhance your patience, tolerance, forbearance and determination. All these things will then help you in your spiritual path.  If we first renounce the world externally and the mind is not yet detached, we will not get the benefit of spiritual practice. We may live in a holy place but our mind will contemplate the objects of the world.

This is what Shree Krishna told Arjun in the Bhagavad Gita.  He clearly showed his preference for the path of karm yog over false renunciation.  He said that a person in household life who practices karm yog is superior to the false renunciant who continues to dwell on the objects of the senses in the mind.   If external renunciation is not accompanied with an equal amount of mental and intellectual withdrawal from the sensual fields it creates a situation of hypocrisy.  Therefore, it is better to face the struggles of the world as a karm yogi, and practice renunciation internally.  Once you develop internal detachment from the world and mastery over your mind, external renunciation will be a natural process.

 

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32 Comments
  • Preeti Malhotra
    Posted at 13:27h, 15 August Reply

    Very true Swamiji. Complete mastery over the mind leads to renunciation, which is a slow and steady endeavor to be practiced with the help of true knowledge in the intellect. Thank you for such great words of wisdom.

  • Mona Leesa
    Posted at 06:00h, 16 August Reply

    Thank you Swamiji for beautifully explaining the path of renunciation. Its easy to set a goal of renouncing the world but tough to attempt without guidance from a true spiritual master, every step of the way.

  • Manjushree Rath
    Posted at 17:57h, 17 August Reply

    True renunciation is a matter of the heart and the mind, and not of the body. It is renunciation of the world of desires and aversions within, rather than of the world of “objects”. Outward renunciation has no intrinsic value, but there is no doubt that it makes true renunciation much easier.

    • Debasmita Biswal
      Posted at 17:18h, 31 January Reply

      You have aptly mentioned it – true renunciation has to be done within the mind and not necessarily at the physical level. But if the mind has practiced renunciation, it is automatically manifested externally.

  • Manjushree Rath
    Posted at 18:04h, 17 August Reply

    True renunciation is a matter of the heart and mind , and not of the body. It is renunciation of the world of desires and aversions within, rather than of the world of objects. Outward renunciation has no intrinsic value, but there is no doubt that it makes true renunciation much easier.

  • Manjushree Rath
    Posted at 18:14h, 17 August Reply

    True renunciation is a matter of the heart and the mind, and not of the body. It is renunciation of the world of desires and aversions within, and not of the world of objects. Outward renunciation has no intrinsic value, but nevertheless it makes true renunciation much easier.

  • Raj Singh
    Posted at 01:04h, 31 August Reply

    In this article, Swamiji Mukundanandji emphasizes that true renunciation is a systematic process that needs to be learned while living in the world. That is the reason Swamiji advises that the path of Karmyog is far superior over false renunciation. He suggests that we should face the challenges of the material world, and then practice renunciation internally. External renunciation is neither a necessary nor a typical condition for attaining God. Thanks Swamiji!

    • Dale Rafferty
      Posted at 18:04h, 31 January Reply

      Agreeing with you, Raj, we have an opportunity to bring a positive attitude to whatever challenges we face each day. Our circumstances include life lessons that allow us to evolve to become a better person. There is a lot of practical wisdom being related in this blog by Swami Mukundanda, Wishing that those who come here post more comments, too.

  • Saubhagya Nayak
    Posted at 16:24h, 17 October Reply

    Thanks Swamiji for this divine knowledge.

  • Saubhagya Nayak
    Posted at 16:35h, 17 October Reply

    Thanks Swamiji for this divine knowledge. The internal world within us is more powerful than the outer world. The way we perceive the outer world is a reflection of our state of the mind. So we need to practice internal renunciation first.

  • Nora bisram
    Posted at 10:20h, 23 October Reply

    Swamiji’s commentary allows us to understand that to attain God realization , the spiritual path ,is a process , serving God , and practicing devotion , tolerance , compassion in our daily lives is more important , renounciation comes naturally when we are cleanse internally as well as externally. all glories to God and Guru !!!!!!

  • Vishal Khokha
    Posted at 14:49h, 23 October Reply

    We experience happiness and sorrow in the world through the five material senses. When we renounce the world externally but continue to dwell upon the sense objects in the mind it is not considered real renunciation as our mind is still attached in the external world. A Karm sanyasi who has externally renounced the world but internally dwells upon the material objects of his senses is not a true renunciant as the source of his happiness and sorrow lies outside in the world.
    Like everything in life we can develop internal (real) renunciation step by step through daily practice by engaging in devotion of God and develop the sublime qualities of love, gratitude, humility, peace, forgiveness, tolerance and service. Until we reach that stage where the mind is completely clean and we become eligible for Karm Sanyaas (real external renunciation) we must continue to work in the world to purify the mind and develop the divine qualities. That is Karm Yog when we can perform the daily actions as our duty without being attached in the results which is the cause of happiness and sorrow. Then slowly we also become externally renunciant naturally. Thank you Swami Ji!!

  • Sarada
    Posted at 09:38h, 30 December Reply

    Yes Swamij, without detaching our mind from God and attaching to God, the external renunciation will not help us anywhere in the spiritual patch. Thank you Swamiji for letting me know how important it is to live in the world to increase patience, tolerance, forgiveness and determination in order to reach the sublime goal of life.

    The simple example of acquiring college degree explained by Swamiji made it easy for me to understand. It is very true that until we cleanse our mind while living in the world with the devotion to God we are not eligible take the path of renunciation.

    • Debasmita Biswal
      Posted at 17:25h, 31 January Reply

      Swami uses simple examples to help us understand complex philosophy. The example of college education sounds very appropriate in this case. You have correctly mentioned that we need to cleanse our mind or rather “antahkaran” while living in the world. That should definitely be our goal.

  • Ms Sandhya Das
    Posted at 06:12h, 31 December Reply

    Beautiful narration by Swami Mukundananda ji.If we desire spiritual advancement,we must control over our mind..Renunciation is the power of battling against evil forces and holding the mind in check

  • Smita Mehta
    Posted at 15:57h, 18 January Reply

    After reading the messages posted by all of you, it is clear that each of you has internalized the concept of internal renunciation and detachment. I envy the depth of your understanding and hope to get to the place where you are at this time.

  • Dale Rafferty
    Posted at 18:49h, 23 January Reply

    Good to have this direction from Swami Mukundananda to practice renunciation inside first. Otherwise one may be renouncing things on the outside but longing for them internally.

  • Lata Srivatsan
    Posted at 19:15h, 24 January Reply

    Thank you for explaining so well about renunciation. It is good to know that control of our mind is of utmost importance and is the key factor. I love the explanations pertaining to this in Swami Mukundanandaji’s commentary of the Bhagavad Gita.

  • Niraj
    Posted at 17:19h, 27 January Reply

    Thank you Swamiji, this is an excellent article to read. It gives us practical advice on how to truly practice renunciation from the world. Our true happiness lies within us, in Shree Krishna seated within us. But, if we do not practice withdrawal of senses from the world, but hastily renounce the world, then it will do us no good. We need to practice Karma Yog while living in this world, which will eventually lead to true renunciation.

    Please read this article to find out more.

  • Rohini Ramakrishnan
    Posted at 21:19h, 29 January Reply

    Internal renunciation is what is of importance.. If the mind is attached to the world, then external renunciation just creates a situation of hypocrisy. Thank you for sharing such wonderful words of wisdom, Swamiji.

    • Niraj
      Posted at 15:43h, 31 January Reply

      I agree, Rohini Ji. Internal renunciation is of prime importance. If that is in place, then the external renunciation will follow suit.

    • Debasmita Biswal
      Posted at 17:33h, 31 January Reply

      Shri Maharaj ji has mentioned about this topic many a times. He has always advised people to exercise extreme caution, and not judge others from their external attire or external show of renunciation. Swami has simply reiterated that very fact here, and using simple examples Swamiji has made it easier to understand for people in general.

  • Smita
    Posted at 20:42h, 31 January Reply

    There is so much encouraging about Swamiji’s message in that if a person starts from the bottom up, the only option is to slowly inch his/her way to the top.

  • Renjini Jyothishmathy
    Posted at 06:17h, 01 February Reply

    Thank you Swamiji for giving us this important advice and clearing our doubts about practicing spiritual sadhana while staying in household life. The example stated by Swamiji explains the process of attaining spiritual perfection through internal renunciation.

  • Ajit Behera
    Posted at 18:22h, 01 February Reply

    This is such a powerful message from Swamiji to understand the path of spirituality.In fact, we can relate and experience this in material world that without clearing the required classes, one cant go to the next higher level/class. Also without adequate knowledge in the subject, one cant pass the subject. Swamiji’s approach to deal with renunciation is absolutely logical and scietific.

  • Surbhi Joshi
    Posted at 16:40h, 02 February Reply

    Very true.. Swamiji has explained so clearly the actual meaning of renunciation from the materialistic world. Thank you Swamiji for reminding us again and again our goal of life

  • Smita
    Posted at 09:59h, 03 February Reply

    The path to renunciation is so difficult for common people like us so Swamiji shares with us the message that Shri Krishna tells Arjun (BG 5.2). To quote Swamiji, “Both the path of karm sanyās (renunciation of actions) and karm yog (working in devotion) lead to the supreme goal. But karm yog is superior to karm sanyās.” So if nothing else, dedicating all our actions and deeds to the Lord will help us on the path to renunciation. Thank you, Swamiji for such inspirational guidance.

  • Murali Waro
    Posted at 13:01h, 08 February Reply

    This is very nice article to read. It gives us practical advice on how to truly practice renunciation from the world. without detaching our mind from world the external renunciation will not help us in the spiritual path. We must first internally detach our self from world. Thank you Swamiji.

  • Murali Waro
    Posted at 16:00h, 09 February Reply

    This is very nice article to read. It gives us practical advice on how to truly practice renunciation from the world. without detaching our mind from world the external renunciation will not help us in the spiritual path. We must first internally detach ourself from world.

  • Karuna sharma
    Posted at 12:49h, 10 February Reply

    Crystal clear explanation to follow the path of karmyog.
    Thank you Swamiji for putting complex things in such a simpler form.

  • vatsala
    Posted at 13:24h, 11 February Reply

    Excellent advice. The mind is fickle, and it has to be reined in by practicing devotion to God and internal renunciation of the world. Skipping these very crucial steps and trying to jump to the advanced stages would only lead to failure in spiritual progress.

  • Yogesh Angrish
    Posted at 22:13h, 07 March Reply

    Such an important message! One cannot whimsically renounce the world. One has to be eligible for it through the practice of karmyog first.

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