Sunday, March 21, 2010

Extricating the Diamond

“He who thinks constantly of a thing, Develops attachment to such a thing, And from such an attachment desire develops, And from desire is born the anger.
From anger is born the great illusion, The great illusion leads to bewilderment, Which leads to destruction of wisdom, Which in turn leads to the total destruction”…..
Bhagavad-Gita Ch 2: 62-63

Attachment is a derivative of the mental process of thinking. Since thinking is predominantly based on mental images or maps that are already stored in our memory field, the thought process is nourished by sensory inputs throughout our lives and subtle information that culture feeds into our individual system. Culture has a strong influence this is the reason that conquerors whether from a political or religious perspective always suppressed or destroyed local cultures of the vanquished. This is usually done in the name civilization or the one true God. Anyway, not detracting from an individual perspective, attachment becomes rooted to one’s ego through constant preoccupation of the mind and when such attachment reaches a critical level, the desire to possess takes over. This is a process of your ego identifying with what it desires. This is a saturation response. Just like, if you add salt to water the resulting salt solution increases in concentration but when fully saturated no further salt can dissolve and the water looses its identity and becomes totally identified with the salt. Any threat to this identification through the desire to possess is posed; the resulting response is frustration and anger at the failure.

This whole process creates a world centred on a plenitude of desires seeking fulfilment in the ego through the mind. This world of desires becomes the living reality for the self. This is the grand illusion that Bhagavad-Gita speaks of.

This world of illusion in which one lives is hollow as innately the soul seeks self fulfilment through a state of permanency. But all the objects of causation of desire are created entities and have no permanency. There is a constant anxiety created in the mind when in the mode of attachment and desire due to the need for identifying the object of desire as one’s own and the constant fear of loosing it one’s desire is fulfilled. This is the bewildering situation that the great sage Vedvyasa, author of this great spiritual text, so logically illustrates.

When one is in a constant state of illusion and bewilderment, one can not reach out to wisdom. The mind, which is instrument of seeking, is totally preoccupied in an illusionary exercise and losses its capacity to transcend to the level that is needed to comprehend higher reality and thus true wisdom.
Imagine a situation in a forest where there is a beautiful tree capable of yielding a fruit of exquisite taste and capable of nourishment of the highest order. The fruit matures and drops to the ground. It has to be carried to a new location and embedded for a rebirth to grow and yield this nourishing fruit. If this fruit falls into a thicket of decaying leaves and is buried, no animal will eat it and carry its seed to a new location for its intended purpose of existence. A person caught up in illusionary covering undergoes the same fate. The transporting wisdom can not get hold of him or her from the ground of
maya and elevate him or her to the plane of bearing richer fruit in this cycle of existence. This is termed as ‘total destruction’, a destruction of the intended purpose of creation.

Love to you all


  1. Attachment ultimately leads to loss of wisdom.The attachment to material things and attachments to persons for material benefits would surely result in possesiveness and manipulative relationships and in the ultimate loss or distraction of wisdom.
    Being born in a family of ten children,specially with six sisters ,I also have experienced the enriching and empowering dimension of attachment. The type of warmth I have felt at home has lead me to be desirous of universal brotherhood &sisterhood.

  2. Thanks, Subathra, for your enlightening comment. Permit me to point out that there is a subtle difference between 'relationship' and 'attachment'. In relationship there is no possessing but in attachment there is the character of possessing which makes the object of attachment loose its self identity. This is also the difference between true unconditional love and lust. So what you have for your siblings that empowers you is, unconditional and empowering love, not attachment.

    In the language of the spirit, the relation I enjoy with you is that of an empowering wisdom companion.

  3. Thanks for this article.

    The subject of 'attachment' brings about interesting thoughts. While most spiritual scriptures prescribe staying away from attachments/desires, we as humans are programmed (right from childhood) to seek, have goals, excel, achieve. The more 'success' you want, the harder you work (and desire) for it. Yet, this seems to be the exact opposite of what most religious/spiritual texts prescribe. So, my Q is - why is there such a disconnect??? It is not like parents and grandparents of our generation or otherwise are 'ignorant' of this notion that attachments and desires are 'maya' and non-permanent. So, why do you think we 'stray'?

    Another aspect that I would like to bring out and would love to hear your opinion is the following.... Many spiritual texts prescribe that the one desire that is OK to have is, to have union with God or the Love of God. Others are not so desirable (pun intended!) as it leads to indulgence in and of the self and/or leads to boosting or feeding one's ego. So does it mean that Love of (or desire for) God (or the self, if you believe in non-duality) is not considered attachment?? How do we explain this.

    As always, I appreciate your comments.

  4. Dear JP,

    Your questions are very valid and requires a detail answer so I will post them as a blog post.