The real meaning of renunciation in devotion || Acharya Prashant (2015)

तस्मिन्ननन्यता तद्विरोधिषूदासीनता च

~ नारद भक्ति सूत्र: ९

In the Lord whole-hearted, single-minded devotion and all else that are contrary to it, complete indifference.

This is the nature of renunciation.

~ Narad Bhakti Sutra: 9

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Question: How is this sutra relevant in daily life?

Speaker: The man whose mind is centered and devoted, walks, moves, and eats being with the One, to whom he is devoted.

He might be walking on the earth, he might be living amongst men, but it is obvious that his Heart is somewhere else. The mind will never really know in terms of particulars and specifics where his Heart is, but one thing that the mind will surely know is, that he does not belong here.

He may not know his real address, but for sure he will know that he does not belong to the market place. He does not even know whether his real Home has any address or not. It doesn’t really matter to him whether or not his home is there, its address, its location. But a constant feeling that a Home is there and it calls, this feeling is there.

The call is accompanied by a sureness, by faith, that you cannot be kept apart and away for long. That you will reach Home, that you are agonizingly close to the Home already.

Now ‘this and that’ do not disturb this man. You will not find him swayed and moved by the trivia of daily life. What people usually find as important will not be important to him. A piece of news that would evoke excitement in everybody would hardly have any effect on this man. It is not that he won’t act, not that he has moved into dead inaction. It is just that he cannot give importance to anything else, at least relatively.

Sadness cannot sadden him beyond a point; happiness cannot make him happy beyond a point. Promises of future cannot make him hopeful; opportunities of gain do not tempt him. Working and walking in middle of the world, and experiencing all that the world has to offer, and responding to his experiences, yet he is distinctly in remembrance of his real Home.

He does whatever needs to be done, and does it beautifully. Not with apathy or indifference, not as a compulsion. He does whatever needs to be done and does no more than that. That’s his great contribution to the earth and the world.

Because he has no stakes in doing, because he has no vested interest in doing, because he is not hopeful of gaining anything from this world, so he does not do much. He only does as much as is necessary. That’s his great contribution to the world. He is not fond of doing excessively and unnecessarily. He only does a little, the little that is needed to be done.


You look at him, you look at his eyes, and simultaneously you feel a couple of things. First of all you realize that he is not one of you. He feels like a child who has been accidentally separated from the mother. He feels like a man who is constantly remembering his beloved, even though he might be living in middle of you. And at the same time you also feel as if he has risen straight out of the earth.

You also feel that he has nothing artificial about him, that he has his roots here, that he is arising from existence itself. You see that he is not a product of man’s mind. And these two contrasting feelings come at once, together.

On one hand, looking at him makes you feel that he doesn’t belong here, that he isn’t one of you, that his real Home is somewhere else. That he is like a dear kid who has strayed out of the jungle into civilization, that he doesn’t belong here. His real Home is in the jungle. And on the other hand you also get the feeling that only he belongs here. He belongs here like the Sun and the stars, like the trees and the rivers.

He is rooted. Only he really belongs.


Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi on Bhakti Sutra: The real meaning of renunciation in devotion The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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