True Renunciation is internal

October 7, 2020 | Global Gita | Blog


In this clip, Swami Nirvisheshananda ji induces one to introspect on where the real focus of Bhagavad Gita is! “Bhagavad Gita does not speak about anything objective or external. Whether it is the concept of Samatva (even-mindedness), Phala-tyaaga (relinquishing results) or Sannyasa(renunciation), Bhagavad Gita speaks only about the internal results (responses produced in the mind)”.

Discussing Phala-tyaaga, Swamiji asks, “How can you relinquish the external results? Suppose a factory produces cars, the end result (the finished cars) cannot be abandoned. Bhagavadgita speaks only about abandoning the clinging of the mind to the result of happiness or sorrow”.

We are born with an insufficiency (abhaava-bodha) in our mind that makes us seek happiness in the outside world. We also have a delusion that we will find happiness by gaining something from the world. 

The truth is that, the moment we stop looking for happiness outside we become happy. Swamiji gives the example of the sleep state in which we are happy forgetting the whole world as well as our own body. In meditation too, we become blissful when we reach the state of thoughtlessness. So, we become happy when we stop looking for happiness.

Swamiji further explains about the redundance of desires. “By the fulfilment of a desire, we may become happy for a little while, but till other desires or anxieties occupy the mind. But when the mind is free of desires, mind is in a happy state. So, we reach the inevitable conclusion that elimination of desires is what gives us happiness”.

Delving further into the subject Swamiji says, “We look to enjoy something different from ourselves (our Self) both in our interactions and in meditation”. We always look for love from others. We have to understand that it is love that makes us happy and not the other person. If we understand that love is what makes us really happy, we would start loving everybody.

Swamiji discusses the popular and often misinterpreted verse from Bhagavadgita:

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन।

मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि॥ (2.47)

Your fitness is only to pursue an active life (Karma-nishthaa) and not for pursuing exclusive wisdom and contemplation (Jnaana-nishthaa). But while doing activity, do not foster any delusional clinging to the objective gain it may result in. The thought of the ultimate result (happiness) should not be the motivation for work. At the same time, be not given to inactivity or idleness.

Sri Krishna tells Arjuna not to get engrossed in the thought that the result will make him happy. He is talking about the internal result (phala) and not the objective result of any action, which in any case will follow causality .

In a company that produces cars, the real focus should be to produce good cars that will meet the market demands. So, their focus has to be on the objective result. But to think – “The car will be very popular and I would make a huge profit. With the profit I would acquire many things and then I would be happy.” – is the delusional clinging to the result that Krishna cautions us against.

“Desire is the culprit here. Being free of desires, you should do whatever needs to be done naturally”.

Swamiji speaks about Yajna (offering), another revolutionary concept presented in Bhagavad Gita. In the Vedic times, Yajnas were done with a specific desire for progeny, kingship or other-worldly gains. Desire was the driving force behind the rituals. But Bhagavad Gita completely reversed the process by presenting Yajna as an internal attitude – “Anything you do without desires becomes a Yajna”.

Swamiji concludes with a universal panacea for all problems in life. “Take work as an opportunity to purify your mind, expand your mind, and get rid of mental constrictions and intellectual dross”.