Renunciation, whose Sanskrit equivalent is Tyaga or to give up, forms an inseparable part of Vedanta or Hindu Philosophy. Renunciation is commonly used for Tyaga of fruit of actions which you perform in life. This is to ensure that your complete focus is on work in hand and not on the results of your work so that your focus on work is not disturbed by thinking about fruit of action. Thus we see that Renunciation is an inner attitude and has nothing to do with renunciation of works while living in the world.
The title of this write up says that when you live in the world, you should first renounce and then enjoy life. For a worldly person enjoyment means when his desires are fulfilled, when he enjoys when in contact with sense objects, when he is emotionally attached to a person of his choice, when he keeps his ego and take credit for all the works he does and when he has a selfish attitude in whatever he plans and does. A worldly man's thought process is always focussed on his personal needs. Such thoughts process ends up in formation of desires. In Mahabharata it is quoted "Desires thou are born of thoughts (called sankalpa in Sanskrit). I will not entertain selfish thoughts to eliminate desires from their root."
For spiritual evolution, one's motto in life should be Renounce and enjoy. This looks a paradox because when you renounce or let go things or give up your aptitude which gives you enjoyment, then how can a person still enjoys without possessing something he desires or without being attached to someone. In spiritual way of life, there is greater enjoyment when we catch higher values of life than the enjoyment at the sensual level. In spiritual sense Renunciation also means taking up higher values of life and cultivating them so that they become a part and parcel of you - be it human, social, moral and spiritual values. When it happens the lower instincts loosen their grip on you. But our aim should be to eradicate our lower instincts and then only we can advance on the spiritual path. We shall see what are the lower instincts which we should renounce.
All desires are born out of selfishness. Selfishness is the cause of all evil that we do in life. Desires are always deep rooted and cannot be renounced by force. We have to examine our desires, reduce our desires, upgrade our desires so that we concentrate on noble desires and not on sensual desires. Desires to do good to others, desires to evolve your own self to a higher level of consciousness, desires to teach higher values of life to others in order to benefit them are all noble desires. When you upgrade your desires then your sensual desires become weak. Our Puranas say "Sum total of sense pleasures of this world and great pleasure of Heaven are not worth a sixteenth part of the Bliss which proceeds from eradication of desire".
Attachment leads to bondage, the opposite of attachment is detachment. In attachment you have love for a particular person while for others you have no concern. Attachment is love plus selfishness whereas detachment is unselfish love. Detachment is living in the world but remaining unaffected and undisturbed by the happenings of the world. Detachment is like being a lotus in water which retains its original charm without being affected by the surroundings. To get detached to the world, you have to get attached to God. By constant practice one can bring mind to concentrate on God. One way to obtain a detached outlook in life is to love all unconditionally in the same way as God loves all irrespective of caste or creed. Detachment also means performing you duties in life whole heartedly without bothering about the results. Mahabharata underscores that a true renouncer or Tyagi is one who works in a spirit of detachment. When you are detached you care for all. Detachment does not mean that you live the life of a recluse cut off from worldly affairs.
Ego means Me and Mine. Ego also means inflated self-worth, a sense of pride, selfishness or a sense of separateness which is to imagine that you are superior to others. Ego also means taking credit of all works you do by proclaiming that I am the doer. Ego means false identification of ourself with body ignoring that the soul or Atma is the essence of a living being. Ego hinders knowledge. More ego less wisdom is the correct equation. Ego can be erased by offering to God all what you do which includes the results of your doings. When you do that you get a feeling that you are working as per God's will.
FULLER ASPECT OF RENOUNCE AND ENJOY
Our Upanishad (Isha Upanishad) says that everything in the world is covered by God or belongs to God. Therefore you should have no sense of possession of what you have. You should rejoice in God alone with a feeling of Renunciation. The Upanishad further says that Renunciation is not of life but is of selfishness and ego.
The other thing one must remember is that when you are at a higher state of consciousness you do not exclude yourself from worldly enjoyments. When you participate in worldly enjoyments with you mind established in higher self, the worldly enjoyments would not leave any impressions on your mind. In this state you like every one or enjoy their company but you would have no bondage with any particular person. And if you feel unduly attracted or disturbed by any sense object, you will have the ability to withdraw your senses from the object of your attraction like a tortoise withdraws his limbs inside itself when it feels some danger. This, according to Bhagavad Gita, is one of the signs of a perfect person.
' Renounce and enjoy' is a beautiful aspect of life which can only be experienced and not forced upon anyone. We must remember that life in world and life in spirit are not incompatible. If the concept of Renounce and enjoy is correctly understood, your life becomes a celebration. Life becomes a joyful event with each day brings newness in life besides inner development.