Is Renunciation = Joylessness?
Someone asked me yesterday, am I not supposed to have any goals because I was advised to focus on the effort and not worry on goals.
Got me thinking as we seem to have got a bit entangled with the concept of not focusing on the fruit of the labour. The only advise across many faiths is that — do not get attached to the outcome.
Freedom is not defined as running wild with the senses but about conditioning them. However, joy & renunciation are not contradictory. So we have wrong notions that someone who has renounced something, he/she is not supposed to find joy.
In this festive season for India, you may have seen a woman fasting for the longevity of her spouse. Tradition aside, such renouncing, of food in this case, even for a day brings a certain joy and peace. This is the joy evoked by the verses is the Upanishad. It is a misconception that renunciation is about tormenting the self and only some yogis residing in the Himalayas can do it.
Renunciation is essentially about rejecting the outward connections to what we perceive as joy. For example, we assume that “only” if we have money we will be happy. Yet, when we have more money than we need, we are unhappy and seeking more.
So through these pursuits, the idea is to find the meaning of joy, concept of attachment or detachment and contemplate on such issues.