Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Ramana and Renunciation

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Most texts I read declare that once one has renounced the ego and dwells within the Self, that all worldly attachments are gone and you are no longer associated with your body. I then came across this passage about Ramana which slightly confused me:



He said that each life takes its own course and one cannot and must not compare one life with the other; just because he renounced the world does not mean that every spiritual aspirant must do so. He used the technical word prārabdham – pra+ārabdham (that which is started) to describe the difference. Each one of us will have a different prārabdham and hence different kinds of lives and living. All Upanishadic seers are householders. Some have two wives too, such as Yajñavalkya. Brahmacharyam means moving or residing in the (or as) Brahman – and not abstaining from sex or practicing celibacy as is generally believed. This aspect was often stressed by Sri Ramana Maharshi.


Does this mean you have the option to renounce everything? Would one still be able to have a wife and kids while renouncing the Ego? I'm guessing a spiritual seeker has the option to continue to identify with his body, but it is hard for me to understand how this works, any clarification would be wonderful.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


Most texts I read declare that once one has renounced the ego and dwells within the Self, that all worldly attachments are gone and you are no longer associated with your body. I then came across this passage about Ramana which slightly confused me:


Does this mean you have the option to renounce everything? Would one still be able to have a wife and kids while renouncing the Ego? I'm guessing a spiritual seeker has the option to continue to identify with his body, but it is hard for me to understand how this works, any clarification would be wonderful.


In the Advaita tradition, there is the concept of Jivanmukti or Liberation when the body is still alive.

Ramana is considered by some as such a Jivanmukta. Though the soul had been liberated, the body continued to function due to some Prarabda Karma, etc. Another such example is UG Krishnamurti where he calls the process of Liberation (as it happened to him) as a calamity and some people believe he was a Jivanmukta.

The bottomline is it is impossible to know if an individual is liberated or not. There are no exact rules to be used for such an identification and therefore it all comes down to personal sentiments.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Friend,

I have no idea about the spiritual speaker you have referred to or his words. But taking the holy Bhagavat Gita as reference please find the real meaning of the term renunciation here

Before continuing further, lets understand some background information

Every living being is under the influence of three gunas[or the characteristics/modes]




"Saatvika guna", being purer than the others, is illuminating, and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that mode become conditioned by a sense of happiness and knowledge.""Saatvika guna" which is purest needs to be nourished in us...its this guna which we must make sure stays always in us....as a person with complete saatvika guna surely obtains the ultimate truth...[sri Krishna says in the 14 chapter, 6th verse]

"The rajo guna is born of unlimited desires and longings and because of this the embodied living entity is bound to material fruitive actions."The rajo guna is nourished and developed by us as long as we have desire and attachment. Once we have desire and attachment, it is pretty obvious that we will fall for the results.Materialistic fruitive actions are always a result of rajo guna...[sri Krishna says in the 14 chapter, 7th verse]

"The tamo guna, born of ignorance, is the delusion of all embodied living entities. The results of this mode are madness, indolence and sleep, which bind the conditioned soul."Having this tamo guna within is, it would be impossible for us to obtain Him, for this causes a thick fog filled with darkness in our minds, thus not allowing the light(knowledge) to enter in. A person filled with tamo guna neither listens to others nor ever thinks he is wrong, for such a person can never wake up to true knowledge, hence always sleeps in deep ignorance. A person under tamo guna always feels that whatever he thinks is correct and whatever he believes in, is the truth, whatever he does, is always perfect, thus binding himself in the swayam moha (loving the self blindly) which is the root cause for the term ahankara[Ego]...

Now coming to the term "tyaga" or renunciation....

"Prescribed duties should never be renounced. If one gives up his prescribed duties because of illusion, such renunciation is said to be in tamo guna."[sri Krishna says in the 18 chapter, 7th verse]

Sri Krishna says very clearly that prescribed duties should never be renounced. Many a times we try to escape or avoid performing many of our prescribed duties just because either we are too lazy or out of foolishness which is due to our ignorance.Many people filled in ignorance think by renouncing their prescribed duties they can attain Him easily. What people seldom understand is that its not the duty that needs to be renounced, but its the result of the duty which should be given up.


Everyone must perform their prescribed duties as this is dharma. Lets take a simple example of a bus driver who drives the bus to the airport early in the morning. Lets imagine a Doctor who needs to catch an early morning flight, in order to go to another city very urgently, where he needs to treat a patient[this patient is a very kind person who does numerous charity works and provides food for hundreds of people every day]. This doctor is waiting for the bus early in the morning. Now if the bus drives out of ignorance or laziness does not do his prescribed duty(driving the bus to the airport), thinking that no one will get affected,if he doesn't do his duty, all he is doing is affecting the duty of the doctor who needs to treat the patient who in turn, needs to look after hundreds of needy people. Just because the driver is unaware of the importance of his prescribed duty, if he does not do his duty, he actually incurs sin. Similarly, each and everyone of us(irrespective of our profession) we need to do our prescribed duty, as every duty is interconnected with many things we are not aware of.


"One who is self-controlled and unattached to the results and who disregards all material enjoyments can obtain, by practice of sannyasa(not renunciation of everything, but as explained earlier, renunciation of result), the highest perfect stage of freedom from reaction."[sri Krishna says in the 18 chapter, 49th verse]

Sri Krishna again mentions that we in order to attain Him, need to work according to our prescribed duty and without any attachment offer it to Him. The result renunciation is such an important term. Now comes another question....what is the way one must lead a life in order to obtain Him...people find it very difficult to give up the results...and this is mainly because of the terms desire and success....even though every man can be content upon getting three healthy tasty meals per day, a comfortable place to stay, we make sure that this contentment is over-ridden by desire....people have desire for so many things in life that in fact most of them are alive and actually do some work because they are driven by the power of desire....and at some point of time if one achieves success, people forget that it was due to His grace that we are even experiencing this term success and ego and pride take over the mind...success powered by desire based mind is the bridge between rajo and tamo guna...as one falls over to the tamo guna very easily.....and either we can have bhakthi in Him or tamo guna in us...both cannot exist together...hence one should never be result oriented.

Now the question is "Why should we give up the results"

The term life which is materialistic is always made up of materialistic joy and sorrow. One is ever bound by the results of the duty and instead of giving up the results, we on the contrary are more attracted towards it. The result oriented approach is such a faulty one, because when we perform any action or duty, we start "hoping" for the "best". The term best already means we expect a fair amount of "success" from anything we do. The term hope leads to "anxiety" and "curiosity" regarding the result. Once we get to know about the result we fall into two categories

- if the result is success, then we feel "joy", and slowly this "joy" gives birth to the term "desire" and "lust" ...and this taste of success "motivates" one to desire for more "success"...and when "desire" sets in, it automatically gives birth to "pride"...and pride always comes along with "ego"...and with "ego" ruling the mind, one is sure to fall down as "ego" is the root cause for the term "competition"..and once "competition" exists, the terms "rank" and "status" begin to flourish and man, forgets everything, becomes selfish and starts hurting people, committing sins and falls down....

- if the result is failure, "frustration" starts to emerge as "hope" was persistent earlier... and this leads to "anger"...and when mind is slave of "anger", there is no control over anything..and due on "anger", the term "revenge" begins to creep in and with "revenge", all negative things flow in automatically and again man commits mistakes and falls down....


"When one performs his prescribed duty only because it ought to be done, and renounces all material association and all attachment to the fruit, his renunciation is said to be in the mode of goodness."[sri Krishna says in the 18 chapter, 9th verse]


This is the tyaga[renouncing] that we must do...Tyaga is such an important term associated with karthavya[duty] that without giving up the attachment to the result of the duty, one can never ever come out of this dreadful cycle of life and death...One must give up the desire to enjoy the result of ones duty...one must on completion of ones duty, offer it to Him and proceed towards the next...what we instead do is anxiously wait for the result hoping for the best....that is how we live in darkness...the only way out is to gain real knowledge..only this will help us reach Him....also please note the term "tyagi" is referred to those who renounce or give up the results of the duty...not to a person who out of illusion pretends that he has given up everything as even by breathing, eating, sleeping, walking we are still performing our duties....


(very rough translation)..."The intelligent tyagi[renouncer] situated in saatvika guna, neither hateful of works that are not favourable to him nor attached to works that are favourable to him, has no doubts about work."[sri Krishna says in the 18 chapter, 10th verse]

The prescribed duties of everyone according to "Manu shashtras" are

- Everyone must perform only those duties where no innocent living being is ever hurt or cheated

- Every duty must be performed without the desire to enjoy result, and as an offering to Him

- Everyone needs to gain knowledge during the childhood about both the materialistic profession as well as about Him and dharma

- During the stage where one gains knowledge one must lead the life of a "bhramhachari" [here bhramhachari means anyone who is gaining knowledge about Him, by keeping his senses and mind under control and focuses his intellect to gain materialistic knowledge only needed for doing karthavya[duty] and real knowledge about Him, to reach Him. At this stage of life, one must not be inclined to enjoy any materialistic pleasures]

- Once everyone has gained the required amount of materialistic knowledge, one needs to amass "only" required amount of wealth, according to dharma(not in a illegal way), and then lawfully marry and continue the generation of the race and mainly pass on the knowledge of dharma to the next generations(thus not allowing to to become extinct, due to adharmis). The wealth amassed must be used "only" to support the dependent ones(spouse and children) and to serve the parents. Even during this period, everyone must continue gaining real knowledge about Him.

- Any extra wealth or possession must be given to the needy people and this must be performed as a karthavya offered to Him, thus avoiding greed and desire of becoming rich and famous.

- Everyone must always protect and help anyone who is a dependent, without any expectations

- Other than the above mentioned general duties, anything else(which includes all unwanted things like gossiping, hurting others, wasting time on futile knowledge, etc) is simply useless and acts as a brake or resistance to the process of reaching Him...


Marrying a person legally and having kids is part of the prescribed duty as continuing the generation here refers to passing on the knowledge to the children so that they pass it on to their children and thus making sure the dharma continues to exist always.


Please do let me know if you have any questions

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...