Spiritual progress is said to go along with renunciation, but what reward can we expect from that? What is renunciation and what are the things we should renounce? What does it mean to “renounce the world”? What is so bad about the “world,” which is, after all, God’s own creation?
In everyday life, we can observe that all success requires renunciation: We have to give up pleasurable things we could enjoy now so that we can get something even more pleasurable later. For example, investing money instead of spending it is a form of renunciation. Some people push this principle to an extreme and never come to enjoy their wealth, simply because they had been reinvesting their profit again and again throughout their entire life.
“Spiritual renunciation” is the logical conclusion drawn from this observation. Instead of looking at what feels good now, we try to widen our horizon and ask what will be good later, when I am no more. In other words, what will be good for others? What is good from God’s perspective of eternity? In contrast to a greedy miser, however, we try to get a higher form of happiness, we do not want to get just more money, but a pleasure greater than the one money can give: Instead of reinvesting his first billion into some new enterprise, the successful business man might support a charitable organisation.