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Two Paths of Renunciation

It is true, without renunciation immortality cannot be attained. But the sages have prescribed two paths for arriving at the goal of renunciation.

Those who have known the transiency of the world and are free from all physical cravings give up everything and embrace the life of monasticism. This is the path of negation. In this path the spiritual aspirant is aware of his goal from the very beginning and consequently renounces the popular view of the world and life that makes one forget the reality.

But there is the other path that is equally true and equally helpful in leading aspirants to the highest goal. This is known as the path of affirmation.

Those who follow this path do not have to renounce everything from the very start. The mind is attached to various objects of the senses. It refuses to come under control. What will mere restraint do? These spiritual aspirants may enjoy a few things of the world, slowly learn to become detached, and gradually rise up to the height of complete renunciation. This is the religion of the householders

Swami Saradananda (a direct-disciple of Sri Ramakrishna)