Renunciation is the Essence and the Simplicity of the Supreme Teaching. However Renunciation is very easily misunderstood, especially in India and other places where an outer lifestyle or show of renunciation is a common part of the culture. This article should clarify what the Yogi's Really meant by and Knew as the experience of Renunciation...
The Great world famous "Hugging Saint" Amma has a quote from the "Upanishads" in the front or back of many if not all of the Books in Her Name. This quote is frequently translated as "Through Renunciation alone, Immortality is achieved..." What does this mean?*
The implication of Renunciation and full Understanding is Synonymous with Freedom (Moksha) and Self-Realization. This True Renunciation has nothing to do with wearing robes or living a Monastic Lifestyle at all, nor is this Renunciation negated by such a lifestyle - as it cannot be negated by what is referred to as a "Householder" Lifestyle. The Simplicity of True Renunciation - is an inner experience in which one can let go of what is perceived to be True about Reality to simply let Ultimate Truth and Reality to Be.
Consider this with logic and Reason. If you can just let go in any given situation (and still act) without trying to control, project, or wrestle with the outcome of the given situation - well then you are just free right? If it needs to be like this, or this one is good and that one's not right - well then if those conditions are not met things did not work out?
We came naked into this world. Spontaneously Consciousness arises with so many Possibilities of Experience, but actually there is nothing here that you can really call your own. Every little bit of it is a Gift of the Wonders in the Infinite Experience of the Self(Pure Consciousness). Renunciation is just the simplicity of this Understanding; I Am Infinity, everything else is arising within That Totality of One Supreme Self (Param Atman / Siva) with Infinite Power (Sakti) to Experience the Self.
What can take away from That Infinite Wholeness then? Then if one is always established in this Ultimate Truth of Self, they can act in this world or not, practice austerities or not; but what could possibly add or take away from the Ultimate Immortal and Immutable Being who is the Very Infinity in which all Worlds and Possibilities arise?
Through Renunciation alone immortality is achieved..."
There are many stories in the Scriptures and Teachings of Ancient India that tell of beings practicing Great Tapasya (austerities) such as meditating on the Powerful Maya Bija Mantra for hundreds or thousands of years. After being pleased with such Extreme Practice the Deity of veneration appears to grant the aspirant a boon.
"I want to be Immortal" Says the completer of Extremes in self effort to attain their goal. The God/dess then proclaims a common statement which "protects" the Truth from those who are incapable of Surrendering the ego to Reality. "Anything that is born must die, that is a fundamental truth of creation..."
The Ultimate Truth of the One Supreme Self is Immortal, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent Being. There is nothing separate from That One Infinity, the Power of the Absolute is indeed Ultimate. Surrendering all relative reality to That Ultimate Truth is Renunciation. It says throughout the Yogic Teachings who Realizes this State Becomes God, or Goddess, the Creator and Destroyer of the Entire Universe.
The Great Ego (Mahishasura) lusting for this Great power and deluded with the meaning of these Teachings practices Yogic Techniques with great zeal, but can never become That Infinity for it (ego) is only a piece. Surrender, Renounce, Yagya(Sacrifice) just let go and be Free. The Power of the Self can Certainly continue to Shine. The Infinite Possibilities of Supreme Undivided and All-Comprehending Consciousnesses can certainly be your guide in all aspects of Life.
Dattatreya the Great Siddha Sage, and embodiment of Renunciation said:
Renounce the World in every way, Renounce Renunciation in every way. Renounce the poisons of renunciation and non-renunciation; the Self is pure, Natural, and Immutable." -Avadhuta Gita of Dattatreya, Translation Swami Ashokananda
As long as we are thinking about reality, this is an experience from a limited dimension of knowing. If we can just let go of what ever we may believe, think or expect reality and our "selves" to be then perhaps we can have Clarity of Awareness to See, otherwise we can only see through the contents of mind. This should make it clear why what is meant by the Yogi's as Renunciation is indeed a preliminary to Self-Realization, for how can we know the reality of the self if we habitually invest in thinking and believing the self is something else?
Established (Always Identified) with the Immortal, Unchanging, and Ever Perfect Truth of the Supreme Self, it should be clear that it would matter very little if one is living in a House or Under a Tree. Everything is Perfectly Liberated and Taken care of as it stands within the Supreme Being, which is actually the Only Unchanging Reality which can not be negated - the Super Conscious Mind (Turiya).
In the Conscious and Subconscious Mind, the relative truths there are constantly changing, never of consistent values. One's own idea of self and the world can be completely different and inconsistent even from moment to moment in the experience of the Sub Conscious and Conscious Mind. The Super Conscious Mind Remains the Same Regardless as the various experiences arise and fall because It is the Very Infinite Medium of Consciousness in which all the Infinite Possibilities occur.
Renunciation then is Synonymous with the Supreme Teaching of the Simple Surrender of all relative reality to the Realization of the Absolute Reality. It is not implying a dualistic concept of life "in the world" or "outside of worldly life"(monastic). The True Realization of Renunciation is a Unification of the Experience of Consciousness through relaxing and releasing the need to divide and "pit" aspects of mind against each other; this as opposed to that.
True Understanding of Renunciation is Ultimate Freedom, Liberation, known as Moksha. Its as Simple as just letting go to let Consciousness Be.
Does this Article Help You Understand What the Yogi's Mean By Renunciation? Comments are Greatly Appreciated!
*These short statements from the Illumined Experiential understanding of our Enlightened Preceptors have many levels of meaning and Wisdom which the aspirant of Self-Knowledge gains through deep introspective (beyond rational thought) and experiential relationship to the teaching. Even if these things are "thought" to be understood rationally at first glance, There are Infinite Levels of Wisdom to the Sages Realizations, and these short statements are packed with several Dimensions (or levels) of meaning.