Bhagavagd Gita - Session 9- Track 903

Renunciation has been so much misunderstood in our country over years that whenever we speak of renunciation, it is like throwing the baby with the bath. Instead of renouncing the right thing, we renounced wrongly. And even that which is not to be renounced is renounced. And that is why there is a big problem. In fact one of the main problems of the Bhagavad Gita is centred upon this concept of renunciation. And it starts right from the beginning, when Arjuna raises the question in the very first chapter, he starts by saying, “I want to renounce. It is better that I go on begging rather than killing my grand-father and my teacher.” He also says, “I do not desire any kingdom, I do not desire any happiness: na kāṅṣke rājyaṁ na kāṅṣke sukhāṁ. It is a bold statement of renunciation: “I renounce kingdom, I renounce sukham.” So much of the discussion in the whole of the Bhagavad Gita is on the subject of renunciation.

And two words prominently come are: sannyāsa, and tyāga. And distinctions are made between sannyāsa, and tyāga. And ultimately it is said that both the words basically should mean the same, but they have come to mean different things. Actually there should be no difference between the two words; but lot of discussion has taken place in India, and a Sannyasin is one who renounces everything; tyāga , is supposed to be a very…it is like a swan, which distinguishes between milk and water when both are mixed together, and therefore renounces the water, but drinks the milk. That is why Sri Krishna ultimately says that, “You should have tyāga, but not sannyāsa in the sense in which it has come to be used. But the real sannyāsa is “tyāga”: sannyāsa, actually means ‘set aside’, that is the literal meaning: ‘set aside’. That is sannyāsa; tyāga also means ‘giving up’.

In the Gita, Sri Krishna says: “You have to do renunciation, but the right type of renunciation.” This Karmayoga demands renunciation but right type of renunciation. If you study therefore the first four chapters of the Gita from this point of view, all the four chapters will become crystal clear. There is an emphasis upon purification, concentration, and renunciation. By the triple powers of these three, you will ascend the path of Karmayoga, but these are three first steps of the method.

As a result of these three processes, in the middle steps of the Karma yoga, are involved two very important elements: one is the knowledge by which the whole Karma is understood. What is Karma? As Sri Krishna will say in the Bhagavad Gita, what is Karma, what is non-Karma, (Akarma), and what is vikarma, what is wrong action? Even the wisest find it difficult to answer. Therefore in the second portion of the Bhagavad Gita, in the Karmayoga, you will find a lot of light on this subject. What is Karma? What is the origin of Karma? What is the middle of Karma? What is the end of Karma? This is one part.

Second part of this is the state of equality, and annihilation of the ego. These are the two aspects on which a great emphasis falls in these first four chapters, actually three chapters: 2nd, 3rd and 4th chapters, they deal with these problems. What is equality? Just as with regard to renunciation, there is a lot of confusion; similarly in regard to equality there is a lot of confusion. What is equality? And if you read the Bhagavad Gita quite closely, you will find that there are great subtleties, although all the time we say māna-apamāna, you take them as equal, success-failure you take them as equal. What does it really mean? And what are the states through which you pass?