In our daily life we get attached to so many things that sometimes, it becomes a bondage. Examples range from small electronic gadgets to cars, houses, personal artifacts, jewelry, pets, family members etc. We also get attached with our social successes and positions so much that the mere thought of losing those makes us worried, nervous, and miserable. It seems that if those things were not around us, then we would become physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically diminished or at least handicapped. We feel as if all hell may break loose and the sky may fall on our heads. For the desire of achieving them or in the fear of losing them, we develop all sorts of psycho-neurological, cardiovascular problems and other diseases. Besides the ill effects on our health, excessive attachment makes us paranoid, which in turn breeds anger, frustration, jealousy, selfishness, possessiveness, covetousness etc.
Therefore, in this mental plight, which is common and seems to be natural, we are forced to analyze whether it is worth worrying so much about the things which we have earned, inherited or obtained in this life. Now, in order to understand this philosophy, we will have to put ourselves in two categories- those who believe in past lives and the theory of karma, and those who do not.
Those who do not believe in past lives or the theory of karma may have the belief that whatever they possess is due to their hard work, intelligence, education etc. and as such, their actions have been instrumental in achieving the pleasures of life. To my mind, if they are the doers and makers of their own destiny, then they should also have the power to make it stable, permanent, or ever lasting. One cannot boast personal achievements as his or her effort and then have no control over its stability without hindrances in daily life. History is the testimonial of this fact that whosoever had this misnomer ultimately went from this world helpless, bare handed, and with repentance. Examples are Alexander the Great, Adolf Hitler, Mussolini, Joseph Stalin etc.
Those who believe in past lives and the theory of karma understand that whatever we are getting in this life is due to the result of our own actions in our past lives. Therefore, if we have done good karmas in the past, then as a reward we get all sorts of pleasures in this life, or vice versa for bad karma.
In fact, the influence of karma is so strong that it forces our mind to think in a particular direction and thus we act or react accordingly. This is the reason that two people are different in their thinking and their actions. One will seldom find two brothers thinking or acting alike. Even identical twins think differently. If the impact of karma is so strong and pervasive that it can result in rewards or punishments, success or failure, affluence or poverty, then why to get attached with materialistic, social or personal relationships? If the soul is traveling from body to body and goes through the process of evolution until it is merged into its source of origin, then why to get attached with the things which never belonged to us in the first place? Why do we not become a spectator of our own efforts or achievements and enjoy the things as they come into our lives but without getting attached? If we understand this truth, then why do we not become a custodian of all our successes or failures and manage them bravely, happily and honestly?
Lord Krishna and later on, Gautam Buddha, Adi Shankaracharya, Goswamy Tulsidas, Acharya Ramanuj, Sant Kabirdas, and Ramakrishna Paramhans, all have deliberated on this issue and they have given us the answers to what we should or should not do to overcome attachment. In order to conquer the pangs of desire and the resulting attachments, we should not expect the outcome of an action, as the result is not in our control. But at the same time it is our duty to act wisely, honestly and ethically with complete faith and trust in the divine power. I will not like to quote the verses of our scriptures to make the answers of my own questions easy. I will leave this on the readers of this blog.
Contrary to my belief, in the modern context, is it possible to stop making the mind yearn when life is so competitive allowing only for survival of the fittest? Without attachment, how can a person be kind, affectionate or loving? If we follow our scriptures and do our karma without expecting any fruitful results, then, it may halt the cycle of life, the path of progress, new inventions and materialistic happiness. Non-attachment will stop our process of thinking progressively. It may make us passive towards events around us, and withdrawn into our mental cage, as the desire and expectations are the driving factors for moving forward in life.
Therefore, even after reading and understanding this theory, I would like to discuss this as a layman with all of you and would like to analyze what factors are involved in making us attached to this world and what happens when we are not attached? And if we are not attached, then what is the ultimate benefit of non-attachment? Also, if the ultimate benefit is not rewarding, then why bother about non-attachment? Unless we address these questions, we will never understand what our scriptures actually mean about attachment and how to remain in bliss without being affected from success or failure.
Are you ready for a debate with your comments or will you remain a passive reader?