From the strict spiritual point of view, the so-called earthly renunciation is not necessary for an aspirant. If renunciation means leaving aside one's family, if renunciation means not caring for society or humanity, then I wish to say that no matter what we renounce today, there will be something else tomorrow to stand in our way. Today our family is the obstacle; tomorrow it will be our friends; the day after tomorrow it will be our country, and the day after, the world. There is no end to this kind of renunciation.
Certainly we have to renounce in the spiritual life. What are we going to renounce? We are going to renounce fear, doubt, imperfection, ignorance and death. We are not going to renounce individuals; we are going to renounce qualities which stand in the way of our union with the Divine. When we enter into the spiritual life, we get the opportunity to renounce, or rather, to transform these qualities.
If somebody says he is going to renounce the world in order to realize God, then I wish to say that he is mistaken. Today he will renounce the world and tomorrow he will find that the God he is seeking is nowhere else; He is in the world itself. What is preventing him from seeing God in the world? It is his attitude. In order to see God in humanity, he has to remove the veil of ignorance that lies between him and the rest of the world. When the veil is removed, there is nothing to be renounced. One sees God, one feels God, one is in God, here and beyond.