THE PATH OF RENUNCIATION
you mentioned two paths. Which path
is better for most people, Grandma,
the path of spiritual knowledge or the
path of selfless service?
A person who has the true knowledge
of God believes that all work is done
by the energy of Mother Nature and he
or she is not the real doer of an action.
Such a person is called a Samnyasi or
renunciant and has Self-knowledge.
A KarmaYogi works without a selfish
motive for the fruits of work. KarmaYoga
prepares one to receive Self-knowledge.
(Gita 4.38, 5.06) Self-knowledge leads
to renunciation. Thus selfless service
or KarmaYoga forms the basis of renunciation
(Samnyasa). Both paths finally lead
to God. Lord Krishna considers KarmaYoga
the better of the two paths because
it is faster and easier for most people
to follow. (Gita 5.02)
the word renunciation usually mean leaving
worldly possessions and living in an
Ashram (monastery) or in a lonely place?
word Samnyasa in the strict sense means
renouncing (or giving up) all personal
motives, worldly possessions and objects.
But it also means living in society
and serving society by doing one’s
duty without any personal motive. Such
a person is called Karma-Samnyasi.
Some spiritual leaders, such
as Adi Sankaracharya, consider the path
of renouncing all worldly possessions
as the highest path and the goal of
life. He himself became a Samnyasi when
he was a young boy.
Lord Krishna says: “An
enlightened person or a Samnyasi (or
hermit, one who has given up all personal
motive) sees the Lord in all. Such a
person looks at a learned person, an
illiterate person, the rich, the poor,
an outcast, even a cow, an elephant,
or a dog with an equal eye.” (Gita
I am going to tell you the story of
a great spiritual leader, hero, guru,
Samnyasi and thinker. His name is Adi
Sankaracharya. A student of the Gita
owes him great respect and honor.
5. Adi Sankaracharya
Adi Sankaracharya (or Sankara)
is the author and promoter of non-dualistic
philosophy of Vedanta. It states
that entire universe is nothing but
God. He was born in the state of Kerala
in the year 788 A.D. By the age of eight,
he had learned all four Vedas, and by
the age of twelve, was well versed in
all Hindu scriptures. He is believed
to be Lord Shiva in human form.
He wrote many books, including
a commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads,
BrahmaSutra and many others.
The holy Bhagavad-Gita was hidden in
Mahabharata as a chapter before Sankara
brought it out to us. Sankara took the
Gita from Mahabharata, gave it chapter
headings, and wrote the first commentary
of the Gita in Sanskrit. The first English
translation of the Gita was done by
a British ruler in the 19th century.
Sankara established four main monasteries