What It Means to ‘Renounce the World': True VS False Sannyāsa (27)


Lesson 27 answers common questions like: What is TRUE renunciation? Is aloneness and general disinterest towards world an attribute of a sannyāsī (person whose only interest is study of scriptures, God, self-enquiry)? Is sannyāsa (renunciation) a choice, OR is it a natural consequence of mature spiritual growth? What is a FALSE or immature renunciate (sannyāsī)? 3 common ways how NOT to manage desires. What do desires have to do with renunciation?

Teachings are continuation from Bhagavad Gītā, chapter 5.


  1. Why you can't say “I'm going to renounce the world”:

    In light of what you learned, what is INCORRECT in thinking “From today onwards, I am choosing to renounce the world!“?

    Please answer above, because it shows how much you've understood so far about the topic of true renunciation since session 26.

    Most carry a secret wish (which is jīva-sṛṣti; personal fantasy based on incomplete information) of “renouncing the world”.

    If you've been in the spiritual circle for some years, it's immediately obvious how much confusion and ignorance there is about “renunciation” (sannyāsa). One comes to know how ego loves to generate it's own preferences or vision about renunciation, thus the person renounces according to his-her own idea.

    But in reality, these preferences/knowledge/ideas have NOTHING to do with TRUE renunciation.

    Usually, these false notions come from reading books about other Swami's. Being inspired, then mistakenly linking solution to Liberation (mokṣa)… is to replicate the lives of these Swami's. This is INCORRECT thinking. Because everyone has their own persona svadharma.

    And if you violate your svadharma (your OWN personal duties according to your OWN traits, skills, strengths, weaknesses)… in order to pursue someone else's svadharma… THAT IS WORSE THEN DEATH! (As Kṛṣṇa in chapter 3, Bhagavad Gītā, so directly enunciated to Arjuna).

    Therefore manually choose to become a sannyāsī… is thinking originating from uneducated intellect of what a sannyāsī even is.

    True renunciation is one of most advanced, and mature stages of one's life… which is ONLY possible after having lived a FULL, HONEST, DEVOTIONAL, DHARMIC life and resolved all worldly issues.

    This includes resolving issues with money, parents, self-esteem, exhausted sufficient vāsanās (not all because ‘all' is impossible), correct inappropriate world views of dualistic thinking… and in most cases, already have a guru/teaching in your life.

    What's more, one NEVER claims “I am a sannyāsī“, unless it has very specific context. Just like truly Enlightened, never say to another “I am Enlightened”.

    The word “sannyāsa” (true renunciation) is only a pointer to reveal the natural-organic progression of one's spiritual journey… ultimately exhausting one's fascination with world – and thus becoming disinterested towards worldly life.

    Why is this a natural-organic progression?…

    Because such a person (sannyāsī) sees everything objectively (as it is, instead of “as I would have it be according to my likes/dislikes”).

    A sannyāsī also sees all worldly objects through eyes of Knowledge… that entire manifestation (samaśti: manifestation of Īśvara) is ultimately of 5 elements. And 5 elements are intelligently put together by Īśvara (All Knowledge, All Power) to create an apparent Object. (Like your brother, sister, phone, eyes, hair, food, teeth, leaves, clouds, relative knowledge, brain, sun, air, ANYTHING.)

    Meaning, there are endless variations of Objects… because Īśvara is endless Knowledge, Power. Thus one comes to recognize that it is pointless and tiring putting attention on – and being fascinated towards endless modifications (vikaras) of Objects in the world (imagined or physical).

    Therefore gradual conclusion is to turn attention towards THAT which is never-changing (Ātman)… and to support this process through constant scriptural studies and reminders, devotion to Īśvara through spirit of Karma Yoga and contemplation in form of self-inquiry.

  2. Why does a sannyāsī remain indifferent/disinterested towards the world?

    Our essential nature is divine; but having lost our identity with the divine state, we assume a limited identity and seek pleasure in the ever changing objects of the world.

    While doing so we identify with the objects so completely that we are affected by the changes that occur in them.

    However, the wise seeker (sannyāsī) understands the ephemeral nature of the sense objects and does not become attached to them, nor does he/she entertain any desire for either acquisition or enjoyment.

    Such a seeker is not victimized by the changing world and, at the same time, gets slowly attuned to the divine Essence within which is the changeless Reality.

  3. What are 2 paths mentioned in Chapter 5, verse 1?

    1) Path of Renunciation (in CH5 of Bhagavad Gītā)

    • Natural result of one who's focus is 100% into śāstra (scriptures) studies, devotion, and assimilating Knowledge learned through meditation/contemplation.

    2) Path of Action (in CH3 of Bhagavad Gītā)

    1. Recommended by Kṛṣṇa (Lord) because we live in a duty-based society. Thus one should perform his/her duty. Until…
    2. Years of Karma Yoga causes one's attitude to change. How?
      The likes/dislikes have been rendered non-binding (meaning vāsanās have reduced to a meek levels, and don't have power to modify your decisions). Meaning, vāsanās are no longer operate.
      This changes persons personality from Subjective TO Objective. Such Karma Yogi sees Liberation/Freedom as the only goal of life.
    3. At this point, a Karma Yogi (which everyone ALREADY is at some level, whether one has heard about Karma Yoga or not) – gradually arrives to a point where he/she doesn't want anything in this life or the next. One becomes disinterested/dispassionate about the world. Which ironically is the most important qualification for mokṣa.
    4. This causes person to make a choice.
      Either (1) continue Karma yoga, gladly discharging duties to the field (since field is helping you every day) – while pursuing Self-Knowledge through help of a guru, OR
      (2) The person orgnaically renounces the world through simplifying life, spending more time indoors.. entirely for sake of putting most focus into śāstra (scriptures) studies, devotion, and assimilating Knowledge learned through meditation/contemplation.
  4. Difference between partial and TOTAL sannyāsa

    nyāsa: Means renunciation (in worldly sense). Example: Man claims he renounced interest in woman. This is true, until he sees a gorgeous woman. At sight of the woman, his renunciation goes out the window! 🙂  Thus it wasn't TOTAL/TRUE renunciation to start out with.

    For a “nyāsa”, person's decision is still strongly influenced by dormant and potential likes/dislikes. Person who is a nyāsa is NOT free. And can not realize the Truth. Why?

    Because a nyāsa finds themselves constantly entertaining thoughts instigated by one's vāsanās – throughout the day. Leaving little time for mokṣa. And mokṣa requires total immersion and unstoppable addiction to the TRUTH.

    When we add “saṁ” to “nyāsa”, it enhances the meaning of “renunciation”, and becomes sannyāsa.

    sannyāsa: Means TOTAL renunciation. In this case, one has totally outgrown fascination of all objects. They have no power to steal his/her attention.

    Finally, you can't choose to be a sannyāsī. Because it's discovered through time when you gradually find yourself not dependent on any object for happiness.

    You can't order a sannyāsī position, just one can't order another to love them. One needs to wait for it to happen, while gladly discharging duties to world. Karma Yoga naturally leads to sannyāsa.

Download visual mind map of this session.

Śrī Rudram chanting audio's and text. (Practiced before class)

Recorded 6 Nov, 2018


  1. I have to watch each of these videos 2 or three times just to digest all the information. Even then i think i need to watch all of this video series again from the start to better cement the ideas. There are so many connected ideas here. Brilliant.

  2. Hi Andre,

    I understand that the causal body is the seat of the Vasanas and the Samskaras. The causal body is the subconscious mind. Where are good and bad karma sitting? In the causal body too? Or in the subtle body? Are Vasanas and Samakaras the same as good and bad karma depending on whether they are binding Vasanas (bad karma) and non-binding Vasanas (good karma)?

    In advance I thank you for your answer.

    1. When an action is done, it produces delayed consequences.

      For example, I do anonymous donation for a good cause. Since action is virtuous, it’ll have a pleasant result in the future (somehow in some way). If I cheat/lie, that’ll have unpleasant result in future.

      Where are these pleasant (punya) and unpleasant (papa) unseen results stored? In your Causal Body.

      However Causal Body also stores your habitual orientations (vasanas/samskaras).

      Unconscious & Subconscious:

      The terms unconscious/subconscious are words created by psychologists (mainly from Sigmund Fraud), who wanted to fit certain patterns of behaviour observed in patients, into specific standardized terminology.

      So it’s not entirely fair to fit subconscious/unconscious into Vedanta, as they are different models.

      But if have to:

      Subconscious: refers to auto-pilot mode of mind. Such as cooking or driving. So many steps are done simultaneously, without effort.

      Unconscious: Can be equated to habitual orientations, deep impression that formed a certain way of conduct. Thus we can equate it to Causal Body’s samskaras.

  3. Hi André, I have one more question: Vedanta prouds itself being able to prove its statements. Karma points to a previous life and rebirth. What is the technical and philosophical proof of the law of karma? In advance I thank you for your answer.

    1. =================

      When hear first time that your body is product of karma (past causes that aren’t just attributed to genes of parents), it invokes lot of emotion, resistance and doubt (such as this is fatalistic, we are doomed, etc).

      However when we hear “body is from genetics”; in which case there’s little resistance. Meaning we accept our genes are product of many generations of people we never met, yet unable to do same in reference to personality being product of many prior experiences. In otherwords, in most cases, one chooses to accept a teaching only if they feel comfortable with it.


      “Karma” means cause-effect. What happened today, has past causes (whether you know about them or not). This fact is something noone resists. For example, where did the seed come from? Tree. Where did the tree come from? Seed. Etc.

      In other words, show me one thing that isn’t connected to past causes. Can’t find it. Then it’s strange people struggle with same logic applied to their own body and qualities they come with upon birth.

      Cause-effect relationship doesn’t work within period that you feel comfortable with (such as one life). They are always operating. And if you think the causes of this life will only last 80 years, then show me anywhere else where cause stops producing effects in 80 years and goes out of existence.


      Rebirth (continuity of life according to past causes) shows cause-effect relationship which one can’t put beginning to, and is being contributed to even now.

      In fact, if one doesn’t accept continuation of life after death, then have to PROVE why it doesn’t exist. Because cause-effect relationship is conforming to what is observed anywhere in universe, which is: If something happened, what caused it?

      Imagine living in a world where you are dropped here randomly, and done nothing to deserve it? In otherwords, everything that exists (including your body-mind), is traced to past causes.

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