Verse 1


1. Sannyasa is the most misunderstood concept. Everyone thinks of a sannyasi as one who has given up family, career and possessions and retired to the Himalayas. Now that you are an adult would you make a big deal of having given up toys? Similarly, renunciation is growth out of spiritual infancy into a higher plane. The value for your erstwhile preoccupations drops. Physically you may or may not retain worldly objects and relationships. Both Janaka and Buddha were men of renunciation. Janaka was a king with all the trappings of wealth and power. Buddha walked away from his kingdom, wealth and family.

Here Krsna defines a sannyasi. A sannyasi is one who performs his obligatory duties without depending on the fruit of action.

There are three types of action:

• Desire-driven selfish action

• Desire-driven unselfish action

• Obligatory action

A bhogi , worldly person, performs selfish action. A yogi who has just embarked on the spiritual path is still acting within the purview of desire but is unselfish. A sannyasi, advanced spiritual seeker, has no desire for the world. The only desire motivating him is desire for Realisation. Hence with reference to the world he is desireless and performs only obligatory action.

Even obligatory duty must be performed without seeking the fruit of action. Anxiety for fruit robs you of the result. Present action itself is future fruit. If each action is performed perfectly the fruit will be yours. While performing present action if the mind slips to the future, present action suffers. Result is failure. If the mind concentrates wholly on the present, action will be perfect. Fruit assured.

The fruit is the cumulative effect of all your actions. So keep on performing actions towards your chosen goal. You will attain the goal. Action is in your hands. Fruit is not under your control. Focus on what you can control.

Find fulfilment in the performance of action. If your happiness is dependent on a future result you will never be happy. Dependence on fruit increases desire.

Renunciation is not giving up things that are dear to you. It is taking up higher, far more meaningful things. When a child grows into a teenager, toys drop of their own accord. Renunciation is not physical, it is mental. Act in a spirit of renunciation.

Renunciation is giving up the exaggerated hype you have given to worldly objects and understanding their real worth.

Renunciation is the effect, not the cause. When you pursue the three yogas of service, love and knowledge desires drop. You become renounced.

Renunciation is giving up that which comes in the way of perfect action while continuing to perform action. Desire and anxiety for the fruit pollute action. Rise above them and perfect action ensues. Just as you discard the wrapper and eat the chocolate. Peel an orange and eat the fruit. Discard the junk and enjoy the real thing.

Then Krsna gives the disqualifications:

1. Not a niragni, one without a higher ideal. Agni fire represents a larger purpose. A rajasika person is selfish and has a narrow limited perspective. He is agitated and performs flawed action.

2. Not an akriya, inactive person. A tamasika person is inactive and finds satisfaction in sloth. He is averse to any activity, even selfish.

Verse 2


2. Yoga and sannyasa are stages in the same spiritual path. Yoga is when a bhogi, materialist, has just turned inward and is seeking the higher. He still has worldly desires but has understood the futility of chasing after them. Sannyasa is the advanced state when a spiritual aspirant has gone through yoga and has divested the personality of desires.

The first step to becoming a yogi is to renounce sankalpa. Sankalpa is an idea, fancy, wish, plan, thought flow that results in desire.

Why renounce sankalpa?

1. Desire comes in the way of object of desire. As long as you are craving for a thing you will not get it.

2. As long as your happiness rests on a future acquisition you will never be happy. The present will always be unsatisfactory.

3. The moment a desire is fulfilled many more desires spring up in its place.

The idea of renouncing desire is distasteful. But you have done this all your life. When you grew out of infancy into childhood all desires of babyhood vanished. When you experienced the thrill of teenage life childhood desires were forgotten. So renunciation is not giving up things. It is the understanding of higher joys, compared to which present preoccupations fade into insignificance.

So the first step to spiritual life is knowledge of the higher. Then automatically desires drop and you become a sannyasi. You are then left with only a few desires to gain Enlightenment, serve the guru and work for the wellbeing of society.