Renunciation.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: To give up the results of all activities is called renunciation by the wise. And that state is called the renounced order of life by great learned men. Sacrifice, charity and penance are never to be given up; they must be performed by all intelligent men. They are purifying even for the great souls. All activities should be performed without any expectation of result. They should be performed as a matter of duty, O son of Prtha. That is my final opinion. Gita 18:2,5-6

When the ancient Masters said, "If you want to be given everything, give everything up," they weren't using empty phrases. Only in being lived by the Tao can you be truly yourself. Tao Te Ching 22, quoted after: Novak Philip, The World Wisdom, P.153.

If you want God, be ready give up everything for God. Attributed to Heirakhan Babaji.

Where will you find a man willing to serve God without hope of reward? Thomas A Kempis, Imitation of Christ, II.11.3

The Son of Spirit! There is no peace for thee save by renouncing thyself and turning unto Me; for it behoveth thee to glory in MY name, not thine own; to put thy trust in Me and not in thyself, since I desire to be loved alone and above all that is. Baha'u'llah, The Hidden Words, 8.

One can obtain the results of renunciation simply by self-control and by becoming unattached to material things and disregarding material enjoyments. That is the highest perfectional stage of renunciation. Gita 18:49

Being purified by his intelligence and controlling the mind with determination, giving up the objects of sense gratification, being freed from attachment and hatred, one who lives in a secluded place, who eats a small quantity of food, who controls the body and the speaking power, who is always in trance, detached and free from false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, and acceptance of material things - such a person is certainly elevated to the position of self-realization. Gita 18:51-53

One who neither hates nor desires the fruits of activities is known to be always renounced. Such a person, liberated from all dualities, easily overcomes material bondage and is completely liberated, O mighty-armed Arjuna. Gita 5:3

It is not possible for an embodied soul to give up all activities. But he who renounces the results of activity is actually renounced. Gita 18:11

Those who can avoid the bondage of (sinful) acts attain liberation; and those who have obtained liberation are free from bondage. O Man! Control yourself and you will be free from misery. Renouncing anger, pride, deceit, and greed one is able to free himself from bondage of all acts. Acharanga Sutra

A person who yearns for the Lord and yet does not renounce worldly attachments, is simply deceiving himself. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 102.

If we are devoid of the true spiritual bliss, fault is entirely ours. So long as we do not renounce the desires for wordily pleasures, aimless gossip and extrovert tendency and do not find time to sit quietly in solitude and shed tears of repentance for those misdeeds and do not beg for forgiveness and His grace, how will the Lord bestow on us the eternal spiritual bliss? Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 535.

Sitting in a cave and mentally brooding over sensual pleasures is no renunciation. On the other hand, if lust and greed have ended, you are a 'Sanyasi' even if you reside in the centre of a city. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1388.

Indulgence in worldly pleasures is in fact a disease. This makes the soul sick. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1505.

One who breaks his relation with the world to establish pure links with the Creator of the world, is most lovable to the Lord. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1681.

The more one renounces wealth, pride and power, the more wealthy, respectable and strong one becomes. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1837.

Prescribed duties should never be renounced. If, by illusion, one gives up his prescribed duties, such renunciation is said to be in the mode of ignorance. Anyone who gives up prescribed duties as troublesome, or out of fear, is said to be in the mode of passion. Such action never leads to the elevation of renunciation. O Arjuna, if one does everything as a matter of duty and gives up attachment to the results of his work, his renunciation is said to be in the mode of goodness. Gita 18:7-9

Only through renunciation can you attain nectar of immortality. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1891.

So long as you live, practice renunciation and never crave for its reward. Shanti Vachan Bhandar, 1981.

Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head. Matthew 8:20

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then, will a man gain if he wins the whole world and ruins his life? (...) Matthew 16:24-26

Jesus said, "If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." But when the young man heard these words he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth. Matthew 19:21-22

(...) after having given myself wholly to God, that He might take away my sin, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He, and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world. Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, P.33.

Renunciation is the renunciation of hopes and aspirations. When one feels the presence of the Lord in all appearances and modifications and when one abandons all delusion of duality, that is regarded as surrender to the Lord, or offering of self and all to the Lord. Vasishta's Yoga, P.399. Found in: Mysticism in World Religions

(Non-attachment) should never be thought of as an austerity, a kind of self-torture, something grim and painful (...). And as we progress and gain increasing self-mastery, we shall see that we are renouncing nothing that we really need or want, we are only freeing ourselves from imaginary needs and desires. How to know God: the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, P.21. Found in: Mysticism in World Religions

What is the simplest way to acquire non-attachment to the desires, objects and ambitions of this
world? We must begin by cultivating attachment to the highest object we can conceive of, to God himself (...). Through this service and this love, non-attachment to other, lesser loves and objectives comes naturally. It is not that we become indifferent to other people or to our own work or duties. But our love for others is included in our love for our Ideal; it ceases to be exclusive and possessive. How to know God: the Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali, P.62.  Found in: Mysticism in World Religions

And the lesson of the Gita is: "O man, renounce everything and seek God alone." Whether a man is a monk or a householder, he has to shake off all attachment from his mind. The Gospel of Ramakrishna, P.157. Found as above.

I ask people to renounce mentally. I do not ask them to give up the world. If one lives unattached and seeks God with sincerity, then one is able to attain Him. The Gospel of Ramakrishna, P.338-9. Found as above.

One truly realizes God if one performs one's worldly duties in detached spirit, if one lives in the world after realizing that everything is illusory (....). The Gospel of Ramakrishna, P.493. Found as above.

Be careful to empty your mind and heart of everything except God during the time of this work. (...) you must learn to forget not only every creature and its deeds but yourself as well, along with whatever you may have accomplished in God's service. For a true lover not only cherishes his beloved more than himself but in a certain sense he becomes oblivious of himself on account of the one he loves. The Cloud of Unknowing, P.102.

"I would, then, that I could convince spiritual persons that this road to God consists *not* in a multiplicity of meditations nor in ways or methods of such, nor in consolations, although these things may in their own way be necessary to beginners; but that it consists only in the one thing that is needful, which is the ability to deny oneself truly, according to that which is without and to that which is within, giving oneself up to suffering for Christ's sake, and to total annihilation.  For the soul that practises this suffering and annihilation will achieve all that those other exercises can achieve, and that can be found in them, and even more.
And if a soul be found wanting in this exercise, which is the sum and root of the virtues, all its other methods are so much beating about the bush, and profiting not at all, although its meditations and communications maybe as lofty as those of the angels."  St. John of the Cross.  Ascent of Mount Carmel. P.192

The secret of pure intention is not to be sought in the renunciation of all advantage for ourselves.  Our intentions are pure when we identify our advantage with God's glory, and see that our happiness consists in doing His will because His will is right and good.  In order to make our intentions pure, we do not give up all idea of seeking our own good, we simply seek it where it can really be found: in a good that is beyond and above ourselves. Merton, Thomas. No Man Is An Island. P. 54. Submitted to L-Center Discussion Group by Gary Horn mailto:ghorn@uswest.com

This may no doubt be explained as a passing trial (the 'night of the senses') but we must face the fact that it is often more serious than that.  It may be the result of a wrong start, in which (due to the familiar jargon of books on prayer and the ascetic life) a cleavage has appeared, dividing the 'inner life' from the rest of one's existence.  In this case, the supposed 'inner life' may actually be nothing but a brave and absurd attempt to evade reality altogether.  Under the pretext that what is 'within' is in fact real, spiritual, supernatural, etc., one cultivates neglect and contempt for the 'external' as worldly, sensual, material and opposed to grace.  This is bad theology and bad asceticism. In fact it is bad in every respect, because instead of accepting reality as it is, we reject it in order to explore some perfect realm of abstract ideas which in fact has no reality at all.." Merton, Thomas.  Contemplative Prayer. P. 38.

Dear children, I invite you to surrender to God. In this season I especially want you to renounce all the things to which you are attached but are hurting your spiritual life. (...) God is offering Himself to you in fullness, and you can discover and recognize Him only in prayer. Therefore, make a decision for prayer! (...) Our Lady of Medjugorie, February 25, 1990. Words from Heaven, P.257.

Thank you for the things you have renounced during Lent. Most of all, renounce sin. Be light, to shine for others. Encourage others to prayer, fasting, and penance. Give love to others. Our Lady of Medjugorie, February 22, 1988. Words from Heaven, P.286.

() Those who give themselves to God will be the object of attacks. Our Lady of Medjugorie, July 26, 1983. Words from Heaven, P.346.

Jesus said, "Let someone who has found the world and has become wealthy renounce the world." Gospel of Thomas, 110.

The addressing the aspirants for the monastic life Vivekananda said: "You must renounce everything. You must not seek comfort or pleasure for yourself. You must look upon gold and objects of lust as poison, name and fame as the vilest filth, wordly glory as a terrible hell, pride of birth or of social position as 'sinful as drinking spirituous liquor.' In order to be teachers of your fellow men, and for the good of the world, you will have to attain freedom through the knowledge of the Self." Vivekananda, quoted in: Nikhilananda, Vivekananda, A Biography, P.124.

The sannyasin stands on the head of the Vedas! declare the Vedas, for he is free from churches and sects and religions and prophets and scritpures. He is the visible God on earth. Remember this, and go thou thy way, sannyasin bold, carrying the banner of renunciation - the banner of peace, of freedom, of blessedness! Vivekananda, quoted in: Nikhilananda, Vivekananda, A Biography, P.149.

When my conscience was urging me to leave the world many secular cares began to press upon me, as if I were to be detained in the world, not by love of its beauty, but by that which was more serious viz, anxiety of mind. St. Gregory, Morals. Quoted in: Merton, Thomas, Run to the Mountain.

If you'd live among men on earth forever,
    if your soul's afraid of the steel fires of hell,
despise what the world rushes to honor
    and don't be swayed by fame, family, or wealth.
Let neither shame nor poverty distract you.
    Die childless, like Seled, Judah's kin.
And know your soul within you as well as you can:
    it alone will last of your sinew and skin.

If You'd Lived Among Men by Gabirol (11th Century). Quoted after: Cole, Peter (Trans.) (2001). Selected Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol. Princeton, Oxford: Princeton University Press. P.104.

Without cause God gave us Being;
without cause, give it back again.
Gambling yourself away is beyond any religion.

Religion seeks grace and favor,
but those who gamble these away are God's favorites,
for they neither put God to the test
not knock at the door of gain and loss.

Rumi, Mathnawi, 1972-1974, quoted in: Helminski, Kabir (2000). The Rumi Collection. P.163.

The things we really need come to us only as gifts, and in order to receive them as gifts we have to be open. In order to be open we have to renounce ourselves, in a sense to die to our image of ourselves, our autonomy, our fixation upon our self-willed identity. We have to be able to relax the psychic and spiritual cramp which knots us in the painful vulnerable, helpless "I" that is all we know as ourselves. Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, P.224.

Do you have a longing for prayer? Then leave the things of this world and live your life in heaven, not just theoretically but in angelic action and godlike knowledge. St. Evagrios the Solitary (345-399 C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.70.

A self-indulgent monk has achieved nothing through his renunciation. For what he once did through possessions he still does though possessing nothing. St. Mark the Ascetic (4th Century C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.117.

You will lose nothing of what you have renounced for the Lord's sake. For in its own time it will return to you greatly multiplied. St. Mark the Ascetic (4th Century C.E.), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.129.

Those who renounce the world should in the first place make sure that they keep back nothing. (...) They should renounce not only themselves but everything they have, knowing that whatever they retain will form an object of continuing attraction to their minds, and so will draw them away from higher things (...). St. Neilos the Ascetic (died around the year 430 CE), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.228-9.

Let us cure the passion of avarice through voluntary poverty. By embracing solitude let us avoid meeting those who do us no good, for the company of frivolous people is harmful and undermines our state of peace. St. Neilos the Ascetic (died around the year 430 CE), quoted in: The Philokalia, Vol. I., P.247.

When tempted, I always did this: I put all my hope in God, for it was to Him that I made my vows of renunciation. And He at once delivered me from all my distress. Because of this, brother, I no longer take thought for myself. I know that He takes thought for me, and so I bear more lightly the trials that come upon me. Abba Philimon (VI-VII Century C.E.), quoted in: (1981). The Philokalia. Vol. II., P.351.

Withdrawal from the world consists in not occupying your mind with the world. Isaac the Syrian. Quoted in: Pennington, Basil. (1978). O Holy Mountain! Journal of a Retreat on Mount Athos. P.196.


See the related subjects: Detachment, Saints

Last updated: 2008/03/25

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