Bhagavad Gita - International Gita Society
Bhagavad Gita - International Gita Society
 
Bhagavad Gita For Children


 Bhagavad Gita for Children - Chapter 5

Bhagavad Gita for Children
 
Bhagavad Gita For Children - Chapter 5

THE PATH OF RENUNCIATION

Jai: Previously, you mentioned two paths. Which path is better for most people, Grandma, the path of spiritual knowledge or the path of selfless service?

Grandma: A person who has the true knowledge of God believes that all work is done by the energy of Mother Nature and he or she is not the real doer of an action. Such a person is called a Samnyasi or renunciant and has Self-knowledge.

A KarmaYogi works without a selfish motive for the fruits of work. KarmaYoga prepares one to receive Self-knowledge. (Gita 4.38, 5.06) Self-knowledge leads to renunciation. Thus selfless service or KarmaYoga forms the basis of renunciation (Samnyasa). Both paths finally lead to God. Lord Krishna considers KarmaYoga the better of the two paths because it is faster and easier for most people to follow. (Gita 5.02)

Jai: Doesn’t the word renunciation usually mean leaving worldly possessions and living in an Ashram (monastery) or in a lonely place?

Grandma: The word Samnyasa in the strict sense means renouncing (or giving up) all personal motives, worldly possessions and objects. But it also means living in society and serving society by doing one’s duty without any personal motive. Such a person is called Karma-Samnyasi.

Some spiritual leaders, such as Adi Sankaracharya, consider the path of renouncing all worldly possessions as the highest path and the goal of life. He himself became a Samnyasi when he was a young boy.

Lord Krishna says: “An enlightened person or a Samnyasi (or hermit, one who has given up all personal motive) sees the Lord in all. Such a person looks at a learned person, an illiterate person, the rich, the poor, an outcast, even a cow, an elephant, or a dog with an equal eye.” (Gita 5.18)

I am going to tell you the story of a great spiritual leader, hero, guru, Samnyasi and thinker. His name is Adi Sankaracharya. A student of the Gita owes him great respect and honor.

5. Adi Sankaracharya

Adi Sankaracharya (or Sankara) is the author and promoter of non-dualistic philosophy of Vedanta. It states that entire universe is nothing but God. He was born in the state of Kerala in the year 788 A.D. By the age of eight, he had learned all four Vedas, and by the age of twelve, was well versed in all Hindu scriptures. He is believed to be Lord Shiva in human form.

He wrote many books, including a commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads, BrahmaSutra and many others. The holy Bhagavad-Gita was hidden in Mahabharata as a chapter before Sankara brought it out to us. Sankara took the Gita from Mahabharata, gave it chapter headings, and wrote the first commentary of the Gita in Sanskrit. The first English translation of the Gita was done by a British ruler in the 19th century.

Sankara established four main monasteries