Renunciation – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 12


Many people are confused about renunciation, and take it to mean that one must not act at all. Some take it to mean that they must not move a single muscle during their meditation. Others believe that renunciation requires poverty, having nothing and begging your food. Some even become couch potatoes in the name of spirituality. But our world is a place where change and movement are endless. Action is the nature of Nature — it will take place without any help from us, and without the ego attempting to cast itself as the cause of it.

“It is indeed impossible for embodied beings to abandon actions entirely.” — Verse 11

Surrender to Absolute God in meditation (Surrender Meditation) produces active meditation, as opposed to the usual static meditation that is taught in modern times. Active meditation is superior, for it is not possible for human beings not to act; those who try to master inaction are ultimately defeated.

During the practice of Surrender Meditation, one is a renunciate, and truly free. Because this is so, continued practice automatically leads one to the realization of non-doership and Liberation. Surrender to Absolute God in meditation is the highest and most efficient practice for attaining this joyous state. This is the God-practice that is being taught by Lord Krishna in this Gita.

The realization of non-doership is the highest form of enlightenment. Surrender to Absolute God in meditation is the highest form of practice.


The results of the actions of non-abandoners when they die is of three kinds: desirable, undesirable and mixed. But for renouncers, there are none.

Renouncing the World
A seeker renouncing the seductions of a worldly existence.

“The results of actions of non-abandoners when they die” is a crapshoot. You cannot know what is going to happen at death or in the next life.

“But for renouncers there are none,” because the enjoined action for the renouncer is the surrender of himself to Absolute God, all actions are natural (not created by him) and therefore lead to Liberation (non-return).

The three fruits of action, “desirable, undesirable and mixed,” do not apply to one who is a renunciate, for the renunciate is situated in the knowledge that he is not the actor, the doer of actions. Indifferent to actions and their results, he is headed for Liberation and higher realms upon leaving the body at death.

How to Become a Renouncer

‘Abandonment’ is the abandonment of the results of actions. ‘Renunciation’ is the abandonment of oneself as the doer of actions. 

First, Practice Abandonment in Life

Abandon the Fruits of Action 

A renunciate's house may be a cave
This renunciate’s house is a cave.

The practice of Abandonment is to let go of attachments to desired resultsFor some, it is easier to begin with the practice of Abandonment by abandoning the fruits of action in everyday life. This is easy to practice and doesn’t demand any extra time.

Start by simply noticing those times when a certain result or outcome is important to you, and allow yourself to let go of your attachment to the results being any certain way.

One of the things you may notice as a result of this practice, is that outcomes — ‘fruits’, results — often turn out to be better than originally hoped for or expected. New vistas open up, and you will be inspired to continue this practice.

Another outcome of this practice is that you may make your own discovery that it is when you let go of an attachment to getting something you want, the desired object or objective that you were previously attached to, appears without any effort on your part.

When you give it up, you’ll get it. 

Step 1 — Notice when you are doing something for the purpose of getting a certain result.

Step 2 — Decide to let go of your attachment to the results of what you are doing.

Step 3 — Let go of your attachment to getting this result.

Then Practice Renunciation in Life

Abandon Desire-motivated Actions

Whereas Abandonment has to do with abandoning the results of actions, Renunciation has to do with action itself. 

The practice of Renunciation is to abandon self-motivated actions — acting for the purpose of getting desires fulfilled. Desire drives all actions for anyone who does not take up this simple practice, and can only lead to uncertainty in death and rebirth.

In Surrender Meditation, when actions occur without desire for certain outcomes, they are not considered to be actions. Because you have surrendered yourself to Absolute God, all actions that occur are not yours (even if it seems to you that you have acted) and therefore called ‘inaction’. Such actions are spontaneously carried out by Goddess Shakti during your meditation.

  • Shakti – female God who instigates all actions.

To experiment with this concept, follow these five steps: 

Step 1:  Notice when you are doing something for the purpose of getting a certain result.

Step 2:  Notice what this hoped-for result is, and have a good look at it.

Step 3:  Now let go of your attachment to getting this result. 

Step 4:  “Go on faith” that it is true that WHAT you really are does nothing.

Step 5:  No matter what result the action produces, or whether you like it or not, give it as an offering to Absolute God/Truth (what ever your name is for That). 

Some prefer to begin their journey to Renunciation by first practicing Abandonment, and then practicing Renunciation. Others prefer to do both by practicing Abandonment in daily life, and practicing Renunciation in the meditation room with Surrender Meditation.

Surrender Meditation is the fast track that covers both Abandonment and Renunciation. In this context, Surrender is synonymous with Renunciation and is easy to practice. The only thing that may be difficult at first is getting yourself to do it. You will need to carve out some time every day for it, even if you are profoundly busy. But if you are truly interested in advancing yourself, you will find a way.

Even without specifically practicing Abandonment in life, Surrender Meditation will bring it on anyway, spontaneously, and advance you quickly. It is known as the ‘spiritual jet’ for a reason. 

In either case — Abandonment or Renunciation — through the practice of one, one ultimately comes to both. So it doesn’t really matter where you start, for in either case, you will ultimately be lead to the realization of non-doership, Self realization and Liberation. 

Knowledge is useless if you don’t understand what you know.
Knowledge can only be understood by putting it into action and keeping watch.

Be willing to be right.
Be willing to be wrong.
Be willing to take different points of view about anything.

Make Surrender Meditation your lab and personally experience what you think you know and understand, and then it will be proved to you … one way or another.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma


Perform Prescribed Actions with Abandon – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 3-11

Abandon self-interest

2  According to the wise, the abandonment of desire-motivated actions is called renunciation, and the abandonment of the results of actions is called abandonment.

3 – 4
Some men of wisdom say that action itself is to be abandoned and bodes evil, and others say that acts of sacrifice, giving and austerities are not to be abandoned. Now hear My conclusion concerning abandonment, Best of Bharatas. There are three kinds.

  • Austerities (tapas) – melting away impurities.
  • Evil – sinful, faulty, erroneous, dangerous.
  • Sinful – acts that are contrary to the Truth of what You really are.
  • Best of the Bharatas – best seeker of Knowledge of Truth.

“Some men of wisdom say that action itself is to be abandoned”
Example: Some ‘men of wisdom’
teach static meditation — to meditate, you must not move a muscle or have a thought in your mind. 

Acts of sacrifice, austerity (tapas) and giving should not be abandoned but practiced. They are the purifiers of those who are wise. However, these actions are to be performed with abandonment of attachment to their results. This is my definite conclusion.

Abandonment is understood to mean non-attachment to the outcomes of actions. Abandonment can be practiced in life in general, but it is required for entering into Surrender Meditation. Attachments are automatically abandoned the minute you turn everything over to Absolute God in meditation, even though they may resurface afterward. This is self evident, for one is not truly surrendered if there are strings attached. By practicing this meditation, attachments naturally fade away easily and painlessly.

Three Forms of Abandonment

Acts of sacrifice, austerity and giving however, are not to be abandoned, but are meant to be done. They are forms of Abandonment because one abandons consideration of personal gain with their performance. When this is observed in meditation it is called ‘sacrifice’.


Sacrifice – yajña. The wise know that sacrifice, austerity (tapas) and giving are not only practices for successful living, but are part and parcel of surrender yoga sadhana as well, for they are present in the surrender of oneself to Absolute God/Truth. Also, for one who understands their meaning, they purify the body, feelings and mind.

Sacrifice also means worship, devotion and offering — offering the surrender of oneself to Absolute God in meditation. The Sanskrit syllables of ‘sacrifice’ give us clues: ya, (who) + jña, (knows). “One who knows,” suggests that there is more to be known than what is apparent.

PurityAusterity – tapas. Tapas means ‘to burn, warm or melt’, and refers to a higher form of purification that is carried out by shakti, prana and kundalini. The instigating force of nature (shakti) kicks off the activities of the Life Force in the body (prana), with the evolutionary force (kundalini) calling the shots.

GivingGiving – dana, means ‘the act of giving’, and also, ‘communion, imparting, and teaching’. When you surrender something to the Divine, you are giving. For this reason, giving is also practiced in the world by selflessly giving to the guru and the poor.

The key to these three practices bringing about purification is found in the “abandonment of attachment to their results.” Once understood, this is easier than it may seem, and a joy to practice.

Action occurs. Results happen.
‘Abandonment’ means that you are not attached to these results of action.

Sacrifice, giving and austerities (tapas) refer to something you have that you give, or sacrifice, to God — you part with what you possess in favor of Absolute God. This generates tapas, the fire (energy) of purification, which is not abandoned, but welcomed.

Desires are inevitable. They are not the culprit.
The culprit is your attachment to them.

Another way to see this is to perform these prescribed actions with abandon. In these, you can act with abandon. If you do this, you won’t give a hoot about what you’re going to get out of it, and your sacrifices, austerities and gifts will be the very best: sattvic (smooth, easy-going and pleasant).

Renunciation of enjoined actions is improper. Abandoning such actions through delusion is said to be tamasic.

  • Tamasic – dark, unenlightened, unintelligent, and contrary to the Truth of You.
  • Enjoined action – required actions, i.e., spiritual practices such as sacrifice, giving and austerities in everyday life, and surrender of oneself (body, mind and feelings) in meditation

One who abandons action merely because it is difficult, or because of fear of pain or discomfort, performs rajasic abandonment. One will not obtain results from this kind of abandonment.

  • Rajasic is passionate, intense, fast.

Prescribed action properly performed while relinquishing attachment to its fruits, is considered to be sattvic.

  • Sattvaic actions are easy, smooth, pleasant, mild, and in alignment with Absolute God/Truth and the Real You. 

The wise abandoner endowed with sattva, his doubts concerning action having been cut away, neither dislikes disagreeable action nor seeks agreeable action.

It is indeed impossible for embodied beings to abandon actions entirely. So one who abandons the fruits of action, is called an abandoner.

Once you grasp the message, you will practice surrender to Absolute God with abandon, and be done with acting out of self-interest.

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma

Abandonment & Renunciation and the Difference Between Them – Bhagavad Gita, Ch 18, Vs 1-2

Abandonment & Renunciation

I am treating this chapter of the Bhagavad Gita based on the ancient, original God-practice, which I call Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga, or Surrender Meditation (I doubt it originally had a name that long ago — over 40 thousand years!). This does not mean that I see other translations as invalid or wrong, but we already have many editions from this perspective, and we have none that represent this branch of original Yoga.

There are two original branches of Yoga: One that was understood by means of seeing it practiced, and one that was understood by means of the oral teachings of the one who was seen practicing it.

From the branch relying on observation, techniques were born. From the branch relying on the experience of the one who was seen, the surrender of oneself to God/Truth was employed exclusively. It is this surrender to Absolute God/Truth in meditation that has been virtually unknown and kept hidden from the masses for millennia. This Surrender Yoga is my own path, so I will be addressing these verses from this perspective. 

Arjuna spoke:
I wish to know the truth about renunciation, O Mighty Armed One, and of abandonment, Master of the Senses, and the difference between the two, Vanquisher of Demons.

Abandonment - Give it to God
Give Yourself to God

Here we have three epitaphs for Lord Krishna: Master of the Senses, which is associated with abandonment, Mighty Armed One, which is associated with renunciation, and Vanquisher of Demons, which is associated with victory over that-which-is-other-than-Divine, by means of abandonment and renunciation.

We learned about good and evil in chapter sixteen, and followed it up with Faith in chapter seventeen. Now we are in a chapter about renunciation, and Arjuna want’s to know how this is different from abandonment — he wants to get it right so that his knowledge is true and divine knowledge.

Interestingly, Arjuna’s use of these epitaphs reminds us of his innate ability to see the Truth (chapter one) without even realizing what he is seeing. Through his Guru’s grace however, his inner Knowing is brought forth. Like you, Arjuna already knows the Truth and only has to awaken to it. 

You already know everything. You have but to learn what you know.

The Blessed Lord spoke:
According to the wise, the abandonment of desire-motivated actions is renunciation, and the abandonment of the fruits of actions, is abandonment.

Leave everything to God in meditation.
  • According to the wise (vichakṣhaṇa) – clear-sighted and wise through learning and experience.
  • Abandonment (tyaga) – the abandonment of the results of action.
  • Renunciation (sanyasa) – the abandonment of desire-motivated action.

Everything we do is motivated by desire. Renunciation then, boils down to non-doing. But how can we actually accomplish this? 

Spontaneous Action in Surrender Meditation
Spontaneous Action

We can start with Abandonment — we surrender all the things our actions produce to God/Truth. This is the abandonment of the fruits of action, which is something we can easily practice anytime, anywhere. Then, through meditation practiced correctly, we can let God take over and not take the credit or blame for anything that happens in our meditation. Now our meditation is a period of Renunciation.

The only reason this is not easy to do is because the mind, with the ego at its core, will always try to take the lead role and convince you that you were the one doing all those actions. Then, even though you know better, because you feel like you were the doer of these actions, you may believe there must be something wrong with you. These tricks of the ego are best ignored.

Everything we do is motivated by desire.

Spontaneous Action in Surrender Meditation
Spontaneous Action

But we learned in previous chapters that this is the ‘demon’ ego tricking you into thinking that you are the one doing the action. But the real doer of action is always Nature. So this is the thing to remember.

We start all this simply by surrendering the ‘fruits’, or results, of our desire-motivated actions to God/Truth in meditation. 

Now we have two practices: One that can be practiced outside of meditation (abandonment) in our daily lives, and one that takes place in meditation (renunciation).

If we are willing to take a chance on God and surrender ourselves to God in meditation, we can easily accept whatever God brings. We have let go of desires and expectations for certain results (abandonment) and now we are truly free for the duration of our meditation. Thus begins the God-practice we have been taught over and over, again and again, in this Gita. Through your experience with it, you will come to see that the Real You is never the doer of action. 

All action occurs in Nature, and you are not Nature. You are You. Period. 

Having gained experience through this meditation, you will ultimately reach this realization on your own. You are a renunciate now, already established in abandonment, and you are headed for Divine Union and Liberation. 

Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
Durga Ma