Renouncing the world Renouncing the world is popularly understood as sacrificing outer physical world and relations happened and cultivated during the course of life since our birth. But the real spiritual meaning of renouncing the world is different.
na karmanaa, na prajayaa, na dhanena; tyagonenaiva amruta masnuvanti - means it is not through actions, not through creations, not through money, only through sacrifice one attains immortality. Here world means not the physical world as many love to interpret. The Sanskrit word for world is jagat - meaning - moving, changing, - whose presence is virtual - meaning which is reflected (in medha) and not original, which is transitory in the awareness of mined i.e., the thoughts, feelings, experiences etc., psychological functions.
One must, though observing the presence of these mental happenings, and "experiencing" them, only mentally, one must realize that they are in the awareness temporarily and if you are not bonded to "I" as an individual and related ego, you can easily dismiss them as projections of the mind because of its "ignorance". One must only observe these mental happenings and not be involved or engaged in them as partner - as doer, experiencing the fruits of one's actions, and must remain as seer and mere observer. This realization occurs if one is aware of the various phases of mind one goes through the course of the day - knowingly or unknowingly.
Mental phases are four.
They are termed as wakeful sleep, wakeful, dream and deep sleep conscious states. Mind is in working condition providing awareness and functioning or taking rest in these phases simultaneously or alternatively. In both wakeful and dream phases of mind, mind gets tuned to the outside physical world and inner mental world - which is nothing but the impressions created in brain by the cognition through sense organs - eyes, ears, tongue, nose, skin - and mind - and experiences caused by these cognition-related object energies (light, sound, chemical energies as smells and tastes of food materials, mechanical energies as mechanical and heat energies, heat and cold) - and works simultaneously providing cognition, re-cognition, action, reaction, interaction, and communication abilities to the individual.
Renouncing world means to ignore these happenings as happening to the individual - which are just projections of mind and are not real; are mere virtual presences in the simultaneous dream conscious state of mind recognizing already cognized elements of the physical world in the wakeful conscious state of the mind. Thus the prapancham created in the brain by combined operation of mind and sense organs gets impressed in the brain during wakeful conscious state of mind and is stored by dream-conscious mind.
This prapancham - asti bhaati priyam naama roopam cha it amsa panchakam aadya trayam brahma roopam tato dwayam jagat roopam.
Prapancham when re-cognized by the dream-conscious mind becomes jagat - the moving, the transitory experiences, moods, feelings, thoughts, utterances, communications - through movements of legs, hands, vocal chords (ability to speak), movement of reproductive organs, and bowels. And it is this jagat, which appears and disappears second by second - precisely every one tenth of a second - and changes every one tenth of a second, must be renounced - sacrificed - ignored not getting involved in its contents (the experiences, feelings, thoughts, communications related to the individual's ego and cognition of outside physical world and re-cognition of the impressions of those physical objects of outside physical world - and remain a mere witness, seer, unaffected by these mental happenings which are mithya - unreal.
Mind and its functions are unreal projections on the mental screen, the Self being the eternal observer, the Real I. Mind and its functions are mere projections and super-impositions on the Self-screen - masking in the process - and making one involved and bonded to physical object- and physical object-created experiences - which are the super-impositions - because of false identification of I as individual and individual's ego and related bonds and thus created happiness, griefs, pains, aches, etc., moods, understanding or other wise mental abilities. And jagat is nothing but these mental projections on the Self-screen during the wakeful and dream consciousness states relating to outside physical world and ego of the individual. And this jagat the virtual mental projection must be renounced i.e., undermined in the awareness and ignored, not getting involved in these unreal mental happenings.
This is the Upanishadic understanding, exposition, meaning and insight.
Renouncing has nothing to do with not getting married, not having family, being a sanyasi etc., misinterpreted sayings and commentaries. A sanyasi is also having samsaara - the sukha dukhaanubhavam - experience of happiness and unhappiness, pain, grief etc., as most of these sanyaasis identify themselves as the yogi, sanyasi, they became and material empire so created ignoring the spiritual empire they are expected to rule. If individuals have self-consciousness same and similar as house-holders and related bonds, happenings and like them, the sanyaasis, yogis, ammas and fake religious and spiritual gurus replace the house-holder identity with the yogi, guru, amma, baba, identities.
The real identity of I is Unoccupied - by cognitions, experiences, feelings, thoughts, utterances, communications, through mind, sense and action organs - Awareness. Merely changing the name or attire will not and cannot make one the real Self. Only ignoring the mental functions - renouncing the active and dynamic mental worldly happenings during wakeful and dream conscious states and remain as unaffected seer to them - makes one the real Seer and Self.
Renouncing the world means - consciously cultivating this ability to remain an unaffected witness - during the midst of happenings in the physical world and related mental impressions created in the brain and its activity as jagat - because of falsely getting identified with these, with ego and outside physical world. It has nothing to do with one becoming a sanyasi or like changing name and attire and appearance. That is becoming an aananda, a swami, teertha, saraswati, bharati, bapu, baba, amma, or any such spiritual beings will not automatically make one renouncing the world by not merely getting married and having a family; because samsara means not getting married and having a family but having sukha dukhaanubhavam - impressions in the brain by identifying oneself as this or that - householder or sanyasi - and be happy or grieve accordingly when one's vasanas (cognition-related experiences or genetically present urges or cravings) are activated.
A householder is the Real I - the Self - the Atman or Brahman - when one ignores the mental happenings and steadfastly riveted to one's real Identity - the Unoccupied Awareness - Pure Consciousness - Content-free Contentment. This is the actual utterance of the Upanishads when they they say renunciation of the world.
Isaavasyam idam sarvam yat kim cha jatyam jagat tena tyaktena bunjeethaah maa grudha kasatviddhanam samasta mangalaani bhavantu! etat sarvam sree parameswaraarpanamasteu!