Love, Serve, Remember

What Sannyasa Means to Me

Salutations at the lotus feet of beloved Gurudeva,

naked and unadorned, free from tainted awareness;

through His compassionate love – 

taming the perverse and faithless,

guiding them to spiritual freedom through all seasons.


In the booklet titled SWAMI - A LIFE BEYOND KNOWLEDGE, A Garland of Memories by Shri Swamiji, the second chapter starts with the words - “Renunciation is the final forgetting of 'I' and 'mine'."


Merely looking at these words stirred the natural urge within, compelling the mind to dive deeper and long more intensely for “sannyasa-diksha”.


What does renunciation mean to me? Giving one’s self up to the Guru, without regret is renunciation. In true renunciation, the shishya “dies” so that only the Guru remains. This is called “diksha”.  Unwavering faith in the Guru is the first pre-requisite.


When you remember to serve selflessly because you are in love, then it is an act of renunciation. Whatever actions you perform, when you do them with the bhava (sentiment) of guru-prityartham nishkamam (surrendering the fruits of those actions for the love of the guru, to appease the guru), then it is renunciation.


When the family of the individual gives their consent and willingness for the aspirant to receive initiation into sannyasa, then it is an act of renunciation on their part. Because theirs is the greater renunciation for they are offering their family member to serve the Universal Family.


Non-attachment and giving up of the fruits of one’s actions delightfully is renunciation. Renunciation is expansion of the mind in such a manner that there remains no space for you and i; just as when you mix sugar and water the water and sugar cease to exist individually, yet they exist together as sugar-water.  


In the words of the great child-saint Ashthavakra, “for the wise-one, there is nothing to renounce, accept or destroy.”   Learn only to avoid seeking for and attach to nothing. Where nothing is sought, this implies mind unborn; where no attachment exists, this implies mind not destroyed; and that which is neither born nor destroyed is the Self, is Truth, atman, brahman, God.  The child-saint goes further and asserts “your bondage is that you practice Samadhi”.


In truth, nobody has ever renounced anything. Nobody has anything to really renounce. That which is yours today was somebody else’s yesterday and will again be someone else’s tomorrow.


The term renunciation has been frequently used in various contexts in the scriptures. A renunciate is a-bhayam, not a threat to anybody. In this context a-himsa can be renunciation.  A-himsa is renunciation in the sense that because you see the Self in all and all in the Self, you are incapable to cause harm, hurt to another. Here again, you are renouncing your individual limited “i-ness” and merging with the “Universal consciousness”.


Renunciation means that one’s love has expanded to encompass all beings as one’s own. Though the term renunciation has a negative connotation, it has a profound positive philosophy as its basis. When one takes the vows of sannyasa, it is for the benefit of the many (bahu-jana-hitaya); for the happiness of the many (bahu-jana-sukhaya).


Non-duality is renunciation, non-discrimination is renunciation, and not seeking for anything is renunciation. Not to seek is to rest tranquil. That is the state of yoga, samadhi. In several discourses of Swamiji, he says that we must perform actions skilfully and without attachment for the fruits of actions, in a state of union, in the state of yoga. This is renunciation.

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