Renunciation

Today I was asked – What is my take on renunciation? My first reaction was that there is a time for renunciation. A time will come when one must renounce. Renounce what is the next question. What can one renounce? Life? Wife? Family? Worldliness? Each person can think of a million different things that could be renounced. I have a great responsibility today towards my family. Can I just leave everything and walk away to find my peace. Will I ever find my peace while my conscience is being pricked about my family which needs me and for whom I am not there today.

I don’t think so. Life is as complex an organism as our body and today there is a madness a zigzag that makes you want to quit and run. But then such renunciation would be a reaction. Not an action. It would not be complete because it was entirely selfish. But aren’t we all selfish. Why is this selfishness bad? Today I am part of a body, say the human body. Me as I know me is a stomach. Can a stomach renounce? No it cannot. But we are not a stomach. We are people capable of thought process, intelligent beings who wish for life to be a harmony but it is not. Just like a musician has to be labour to create music, man has to labour for harmony. Unless you have laboured, unless you have owned your life, your wife, your home, what can you renounce? Is that renunciation real. Is it material? Is it yet another attempt to run away? Yes, it is an escape.

I can then never retire, never renounce so long as I am alive.  Because if the logic of the stomach were true and correct, I cannot retire till there is life. However, we as humans have the advantage of intelligence and application. I can create a system that will survive. I make my son an able man, capable of shouldering the responsibility of his mother and his family and then I can retire.

Renunciation is a step by step process. I cannot stop eating one fine day because my body craves food. But I can reduce intake over a period of time to ensure that I rid myself of my gluttony. Everything in our lives, touches us and becomes a part of us. It is as much difficult for us to get rid of the things around us as it is easy for us to give up responsibility.  Slowly, one curbs desire. Then desire gives up. Man works because it is required of him to do a particular thing. The first step in renunciation is then I think to give up desire.

Till you want to renounce, you never can.  You will have renounced.

The time will come when I will have renounced. But today I have – to use a cliche – miles to go before I sleep.  I am just 26. Have hardly begun life. But am tired. Nowadays the only thing I seem to feel is tiredness. But it is not my time. My time will come. At the time I will need the courage to walk with my only worldly possessions being the cloth on my back.  I have a long way to go before I am prepared for it.

1 thought on “Renunciation”

  1. The question is not ‘why renounce?’. The question is ‘renounce what?’. If there is any renunciation justified in substance, it is justified in time. That is because of the nature of life. One freedom man does not have is to foresee the time it shall have in life. In a completely disillusioned mind, future is non-existent.

    Therefore, you need to revisit your premise. If renunciation means a kind of retirement, probably it is not renunciation in its typical meaning that you are talking of. But, if renunciation means the Gita style giving up of desire, you must start now. And remember in Gita ‘desireless’ and ‘action’ go together, not separated by time.

    Also it is essential to remember that renunciation of desire is a process of control of the sensory perception we are most susceptible to. It does not mean denying desire.

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