The first question:
What is renunciation? What is its place in your religion?
The idea of renunciation is one of the fundamentals of all pseudo-religions. Its phenomenology has to be understood very deeply.
All the religions have been preaching a division between this world and that world which is beyond death – between the soul and the body. The body belongs to this world, the soul belongs to that world; hence if you want to achieve the world beyond death, which is eternal, and the happiness there is unending, then the happiness here is not worth calling happiness; it is momentary, it is dream stuff. It comes, and even before you have been able to grasp it, it is gone. It is illusory; it is a kind of mirage in the desert.
When you are far away you see a lake of water. You are thirsty and great hope arises in you. And the lake is absolutely real as far as you can see, because the proof of its reality, that water is there, is that the trees are being reflected in the water. If there is a mountain by the side, the mountain is reflected in the lake, the sun is reflected in the lake. What more proof do you need? Without water these reflections cannot happen. You rush with great hope, but as you come nearer, you find the lake is receding; the distance between you and the lake remains the same.
It was just an illusion created by sunrays reflected back from the hot desert sand. When sunrays are reflected back, they move like waves, and their movement from far away creates the illusion of water. And in their wave-like movement they attain the quality of reflecting things; they become just like a mirror. That is one half of the mirage.
The other half is in your thirst. If you were not thirsty, perhaps you would have been able to detect, to find out that it was a mirage. You have seen mirages before; you know that mirages can appear almost as if they are real – but your thirst is there. The physical phenomenon of the returning rays of the sun gives half the reality to the mirage. The other, and the far more important half, is contributed by you and your thirst. You want to believe that it is true. Even if somebody was there trying to prove that it was not real, you would feel angry with this man: you are thirsty and the water is there and he is trying to prove that the water is illusory. He does not know what thirst means – perhaps he is not thirsty. There is no way to convince a thirsty man that what he is seeing is not the real thing. All that you see is not necessarily real. Appearance does not mean reality.