From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
By Swami Harshananda
Tyāga literally means ‘giving up’.
Concept of Tyāga
Tyāga or giving up is an important concept found in the scriptures. It has two aspects:
- Giving away something to someone who needs it more. It is known as dāna. It has been prescribed as a duty for the householders.
- Giving up an object feeling that it is not a necessity or even an obstacle to the way of life one has chosen. It is known as vairāgya. It is an essential qualification for one who aspires after sanyāsa or monastic life.
Different Perceptions by Scriptures
- The Manusmṛti forbids a householder from giving up his parents, wife and sons who depend upon him.
- The Bhagavadgītā gives a general definition of tyāga as giving up the fruits of all actions. It then categorizes the tyāga of actions into three types:
- Sāttvika - It consists in performing one’s prescribed duties but giving up attachment towards them as also the fruits thereof.
- Rājasika - Giving up one’s prescribed duties because they entail a lot of physical exertion is rājasika-tyāga.
- Tāmasika - If the same is done out of delusion or confused understanding, it is tāmasika-tyāga.
Avowal by Bhagavadgitā
The Bhagavadgitā, however, unequivocally declares that works like yajña, dāna and tapas should not be given up. On the contrary it must be performed. They always have a purifying effect.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore