July 16, 2017
By Swami Tejomayananda
The dictionary describes renunciation as sacrifice or giving up. Sant Eknath Maharaj’s daughter was married to a learned pandit who fell into undesirable company and started going out late at night. When the worried daughter approached her father, Eknath Maharaj called his son-in-law and said, “You are learned, but your wife is not. So, before going out everyday, please teach her one or two verses of the Gita. Then go wherever you want.” The pandit agreed. The teaching made him reflect on his life and he was reformed. That is tyagah.
Tyagah is renunciation of undesirable, obstructive thoughts and actions, which stand in the way of higher evolution. It is not renunciation of worldly objects, but relinquishing ignorance, wrong notions and wrong relationships with objects and beings of the world. Once a person visited a swami and prostrated before him. In return, the swami prostrated before him.
The surprised man asked, “Swamiji, I prostrated because you are a great sanyasi. But why did you prostrate before me?” Swamiji responded, “I prostrated because you are a greater sanyasi. I renounced the world for God, but you have renounced God for the world.” Renouncing higher values for lower pleasures is a compromise to appease our lower nature; to relinquish the lower for a higher goal is evolution. The Gita describes it as giving up of attachment to the fruits of action and the egoistic sense of doership.
Imperative for growth, renunciation is painful when it is forced upon us, but not if it is born of a deep conviction.