Renunciation – In Gita Verse 5.6 Merely renouncing all activities yet not engaging in devotional service of the Lord cannot make one happy. But a thoughtful person engaged in devotional service can achieve the Supreme without delay.
Krishna is talking regarding the people who just renounce the world, objective world, but not turn towards himself, not become devotee, that person cannot be happy. But the person who will not renounce the world, objective world, and still who is devotee in all his action achieve the Supreme, means become whole.
What is Renunciation?
Renunciation is possible only if, in the first place, you accept that possession is possible. Non-Attachment is possible only if, in the first place, you accept that attachment is possible. A real man of understanding comes to know that attachment is not possible. Attachment is false, possession is false: it is not possible. It is impossible to possess. Then what is the point of renouncing? What is the point of becoming non-attached? Attachment simply disappears. If attachment disappears and there is nothing left behind, not even non-attachment – the idea of non-attachment – then you are pure and calm. If attachment disappears but now it is replaced with non-attachment, you have moved to the other extreme. When violence disappears, it is not that there is nonviolence in you. What is the point of nonviolence? Violence has disappeared, and nonviolence with it. The dualities go together. Now suddenly you are left alone, pure. If you get into one, you get into the other too.
“Well, young man, I understand you want to become my son-in-law,” said the father to his daughter’s boyfriend, Mulla Nasruddin.
“No sir, not exactly,” replied Nasruddin. “But if I marry your daughter, I don’t see how I can get out of it.”
The man had asked, “Well, young man, I understand you want to become my son-in-law”; and said Nasruddin, “No sir, not exactly. But if I marry your daughter I don’t see how I can get out of it.”
If you marry someone’s daughter you become a son-in-law too, at the same time. It is not possible to choose one out of the two; they go together. In fact to call them two is not right. They are one phenomenon just looked at from two sides.
When you become violent, nonviolence comes in. When you become nonviolent, violence waits behind. They go together. All dualities go together. When sex disappears, celibacy disappears too – remember it. If you start claiming that you have become a celibate then sexuality still exists, and any day it can explode. You are sitting on a volcano. When sex has gone, what is the meaning of celibacy? Then it is simply meaningless, the word is meaningless. Celibacy can carry a meaning only in reference to sex.
Buddha says when both dualities are gone, you are simply in the middle – silent, calm, pure. The way is attained. The way is the middle way.
Finally, to make you remember it always, let me condense the whole thing into one sentence: whenever you are tired, frustrated, finished with something, remain alert – the mind will tend to go to the opposite.
When the strings are too loose, the mind will tend to make them too tight – and there, again you miss. And when the mind is too tight, the strings are too tight, one day you will get tired of that too because the music will not be coming out of it. Then the mind will tend again to make them too loose.
This is how life goes: one life after another, you go on moving from one pole to another. You become a volleyball kicked from this side to that, kicked from that side to this. If you want to get out of this game, this game of samsara, this game of the world, then be in the middle. Whenever a moment comes to decide, be very alert: never go to the other extreme. Remember to remain in the middle.
If you can learn to remain in the middle you have learned all that is there to learn, and all that is worth learning. Buddha’s way is called majjhim nikai, “the middle way.” He is one of the most penetrating seekers of truth. He has made something very profound, discovered something which you can use. It is not a ritual, it is not a prayer. It is something to do with your awareness. His whole field of work is awareness.
When Krishna is saying that – Merely renouncing all activities yet not engaging in devotional service of the Lord cannot make one happy – he simply says that this kind of people follow the scriptures and rituals. Because of the rituals they say that they are renouncing the world. But in fact they carry the world within. While the person who acts from surrender, from knowing and not to follow the scriptures but out of their own understanding when they become devotee from within, they surrender themselves to the whole and act they can achieve the Supreme without delay.