The Wisdom of Renunciation

Swami Kamalananda Speaks on
"The Wisdom of Renunciation"
Sunday, March 15, 2015 at 11:00am

Wise renunciation inspires, sustains and fulfills one’s progress on the path of spirituality. However, renunciation itself means walking the “razor’s edge,”  for inspired practice requires knowledge, self-reflection and constant discrimination!

Although there is a single standard that has guided the wise in their renunciation, there are many, many ways and stages of renunciation for us to understand.  Contemplating the sublime secrets of this sacred principle we find exactly how renunciation enhances and expands our life’s divine bounties.


From the Gurus and Swamis: AUM

"The functioning of the human body has a twofold purpose. One is the harmonization and coordination of all the faculties of our nervous system. The other is the illumination and revelation of our soul.

The hidden power of God within us is the activating and creative force of our senses as well as of our soul."

—Shyamacharan Lahiri

"I have put on the garb of renunciation,
As I travel on the path of life.
I have discarded the will of the finite self;
And all the selfish desires of my heart,
Like a flock of frightened falcon birds,
Have taken their flight to some unknown region.
I have broken the ties of personal attachment,
Spun by the twist of myriads of sensory existences.

Once again my mind has witnessed the universality of soul;
And I have discovered the joy and strength of tranquillity.
The thirst for pleasure and the lust of possession
Have abjured their claim upon my yearning spirit.
The lure of success and the fear of failure
Have lost their hold upon my awakened soul.
In freedom I walk the way to self-liberation."

—Swami Premananda, "Prayers of Self-Realization", Prayer No. LVI, page 84

"O Infinite Alchemist — spiritualize our weakness into strength, our wrong thoughts into right thoughts.
Grow Thou a flower of Thy Understanding out of every seed of activity.
With Thy magic wand of foresight, teach us, Thou, to transmute our ugly demons of selfish ambitions into fairies of all-serving, noble aspirations.
Train Thou each stallion of desire to race for Thy Abode.
Transform our dark ignorance into golden wisdom.
Transmute all base ores of disqualifications into liquid streams of spiritual gold, steadily rushing for Thy Shore."

—Swami Yogananda Paramhansa (from "Whispers from Eternity")


Noble Thoughts: ("Let Noble Thoughts come to us from all sides." —Rigveda)

"The crucial problem of perfection and interior purity is in the renunciation and uprooting of all our unconscious attachments to created things and to our own will and desires ... In getting the best of our secret attachments - ones which we cannot see because they are principles of spiritual blindness - our own initiative is almost always useless. We need to leave the initiative in the hands of God working in our souls either directly in the night of aridity and suffering, or through events and other men ... Do not look for rest in any pleasure, because you were not created for pleasure; you were created for JOY."

—Thomas Merton, "New Seeds of Contemplation"

"Calm, discrimination, detachment (but not indifference) are all very important, for their opposites impede very much the transforming action. Intensity of aspiration should be there, but it must go along with these. No hurry, no inertia, neither rajasic over-eagerness not tamasic discouragement - a steady and persistent but quiet call and working. No snatching or clutching at realisation, but allowing realisation to come from within and above."

—Sri Aurobindo, "Bases of Yoga"

"This balanced combination of effort, inner detachment, and genuine equanimity helps us to come home within ourselves, and arrive at a feeling of inner peace and oneness. We can live in the total fullness of being, just as we are, rather than striving for the illusory pot of gold at the end of some vivid yet intangible rainbow. This great letting go and letting be brings forth the soulful wisdom of allowing, of being precisely where you are, who you are, and what you are — beyond running toward or away from anything."

—Lama Surya Das, "Awakening the Buddha Within"