Renunciation centers not on running away from the world but running towards Krishna
Some people say, “Those who can’t face the world’s problems run away from them by becoming renunciates.”
Sadly, it’s true that some people do take to renunciation for escaping from the world’s problems. However, the Bhagavad-gita doesn’t commend or even condone this kind of renunciation. It (18.08) mentions those who find work too troublesome for their body and try to evade that trouble by joining the renounced order. Declaring that such renunciation is in the mode of passion, it warns that these renunciates won’t get the fruits of renunciation.
The fruit of renunciation is the same as the ultimate fruit of life: everlasting spiritual happiness. We are at our core souls and are meant to relish a life of eternal love with the all-attractive supreme soul Krishna. The various orders of life – be they engaged or renounced – are meant to help us move towards Krishna.
Devotional service helps us realize that Krishna is more important than everything else in the world and that the happiness of loving and serving him is life’s only true happiness.
The best way to progress towards Krishna is bhakti-yoga. Devotional service helps us realize that Krishna is more important than everything else in the world and that the happiness of loving and serving him is life’s only true happiness. Bhakti being inclusive can be practiced in all orders of life (ashrams), but the focus on practicing bhakti can be much greater in the renounced order. Therein, most worldly entanglements get minimized, so seekers can run as fast as possible towards Krishna. However, if renunciates focus not on attaining Krishna, but on escaping from the world, they defeat the purpose of the renounced order.
Significantly, the renounced order serves a purpose greater than just facilitating the rapid progress of renunciates. Genuine renunciates who wholeheartedly live for seeking Krishna, savoring Krishna and sharing Krishna become living examples for everyone in society, reminding them that Krishna is for real and is life’s ultimate goal.
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