Unidentified – In Gita Verse 3.4 Not by merely abstaining from work can one achieve freedom from reaction, nor by renunciation alone can one attain perfection.
In my blog Bhagavad Gita Verse 2.69 I have wrote Don’t Renounce. Krishna says again and reminds Arjuna that your renunciation is not renunciation until you live the life unidentified. If you unidentified, renunciation happens and in the very moment you will find yourself, which Krishna is saying perfection. There is no other perfection then finding oneself.
Through action you can find others, but not yourself. Your presence is hidden behind all your actions. Even if there is no action, you are still there. You are deeper than the action. So, if you want to find your intrinsic self, it will not be possible through action.
Then how is it to be known?
Renunciation is the only path through which those who have known the ultimate reality have entered the deathless.
This word renunciation is very complex. What comes to your mind when you hear it is not the true meaning. The common meaning of renunciation is that you renounce your wealth. Now it will be good to understand this.
When we say that a man is a renunciant… When we say that Mahavira is a renunciant, he renounced such and such an amount of wealth; when we say that Buddha is a renunciant, he renounced his palace, his kingdom, all comforts, he renounced everything – to our minds, the meaning of renunciation is to leave something, to let go of something. But the real meaning of renunciation is that you don’t hold on to something in the first place. We think that Mahavira dropped his wealth, but in fact, he only dropped his holding on.
Try to understand this as deeply as possible: we think that Mahavira left his wealth, but he only left his holding on, his clinging. The wealth was never Mahavira’s, so how could it be renounced? Only the holding on, the clinging, was his. The wealth was not Mahavira’s because it was there even before him, and it remained even after him.
The empire did not belong to Buddha, it was there even before Buddha was – it was there with Buddha’s father, it was there with Buddha’s father’s father. When Buddha renounced it, then too, it still remained with someone. Buddha did not renounce a kingdom, he renounced clinging to the kingdom. That clinging was Buddha’s own.
If I hold some money in my hands, everybody will say that I am holding money. The reality is that I am only keeping my fist closed – the money is not aware that it is in my fist. And when I let it go, when I drop it, it will not know that it has been dropped. The same money has been held in so many fists and it has never taken any note of it. It is only your fists that open or close.
Renunciation means to drop the hold, to let go of the hold; and the other meaning is, not to hold on in the first place, to know that what is not yours is not yours. But you carry the other meaning of renunciation in your mind. A man who has money says, “This is mine.” Then he renounces it – in your sense – and he says, “I have renounced my money.” But even in the act of renunciation he does not let go of his ownership; he still believes that he has renounced his wealth.
This game of “my” and “mine” is the most absurd game, but this is the whole game of life. This earth was there before you ever came here, and it will be here when you are gone. The diamonds that you possess were there before you ever came here, and when you are gone those diamonds will remain here and they will not even remember you. They are completely oblivious that you possess them. This game of possessiveness is the most foolish game there is – but this is the whole game.
Gurdjieff used to say that if you start getting unidentified from things, sooner or later you will fall upon your essential being. That is the basic meaning of renunciation. Renunciation does not mean… Sannyas does not mean renouncing the world and escaping to the Himalayas or to a monastery because if you escape from the world and go to a monastery, nothing is going to change. You carry the same mind. Here in the world, the house was yours and the wife was yours; there, the monastery will be yours, the religion will be yours. It will not make much difference. The “mine” will persist. It is a mind attitude; it has nothing to do with any outside space. It is an inner illusion, an inner dream, an inner sleep.
Renunciation means, wherever you are there is no need to renounce the things because in the first place you never possessed them. It is foolish to talk about renunciation as if you were the possessor and now you are renouncing. How can you renounce something which you never possessed? Renunciation means coming to know that you cannot possess anything. You can use, at the most, but you cannot possess. You are not going to be here forever – how can you possess? It is impossible to possess anything. You can use and you can be grateful to things that they allow themselves to be used. You should be thankful to things that they allow themselves to be used. They become means, but you cannot possess them.
Dropping the idea of ownership is renunciation. Renunciation is not dropping the possessions but possessiveness. And this is what Gurdjieff calls getting unidentified. This is what Bauls call realizing adhar manush, the essential man. This is what Zen people call the original face.
Krishna is saying Arjuna no matter how hard it is, it is not possible to get relief, and instead of leaving the war, renounce your identification for war, your holding, clinging for war. If you drop this immediately you will find yourself, your Godliness.