Total Inward Renunciation Is the Key To Complete Realisation

It is relatively straightforward for the seeker to acknowledge that certain things must be renounced in order to progress in the spiritual quest. The teachings stress that the seeker should adopt a sattwic lifestyle, and give up sloth, ignorance, torpor, desire, greed, hatred, lust etc. and most will find this prescription to have little cause for argument. The same teachings tell us to adopt practices that lead to contentment, peace, truth, harmony and virtue in dealing with others, and again, most will find little cause for argument. There is no doubt that for a long way in our journey towards the absolute spiritual heights, these prescriptions stand us in good stead.

Sri Aurobindo reminds us however that in the seeking for the Absolute, we cannot rest on our laurels, and eventually all attachment must be renounced. “We must be prepared to leave behind on the path not only that which we stigmatise as evil, but that which seems to us to be good, yet is not the one good. There are things which were beneficial, helpful, which seemed perhaps at one time the one thing desirable, and yet once their work is done, once they are attained, they become obstacles and even hostile forces when we are called to advance beyond them. There are desirable states of the soul which it is dangerous to rest in after they have been mastered, because then we do not march on to the wider kingdoms of God beyond.”

The seeker must be prepared to always move on to higher realisations: “Even divine realisations must not be clung to, if they are not the divine realization in its utter essentiality and completeness. We must rest at nothing less than the All, nothing short of the utter transcendence. And if we can thus be free in the spirit, we shall find out all the wonder of God’s workings; we shall find that in inwardly renouncing everything we have lost nothing. ‘By all this abandoned thou shalt come to enjoy the All.’ For everything is kept for us and restored to us but with a wonderful change and transfiguration into the All-Good and the All-Beautiful, the All-Light and the All-Delight of Him who is for ever pure and infinite and the mystery and the miracle that ceases not through the ages.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Two: The Yoga of Integral Knowledge, Chapter 5, Renunciation, pp. 318-319