Original Article by K S Rajagopalan
English Rendering by M R Bhashyam
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There is a belief that man can experience God only if he is non-attached. Even Lord ShriKrishna in Bhgavad Geetha says practice and non-attachment are the only means to subdue the mind. All of us have many wants as long as we live. How do we get rid of all these? There is a saying that "only if we realize God, can we be non-attached towards worldly things but again unless we are non- attached we cannot see God"; this is akin to the riddle "One can get married only if he is rid of madness, and madness can be gotten rid of only when one is married". Therefore it is necessary to ponder a little about non- attachment.
Attachment means excessive love, a sort of passion. Non-attachment means not being glued. An elderly gentleman used to give an example for the excessive attachment. Sitting on a chair is not wrong; but when we get up, if the chair also gets stuck and rises along with us, how do we manage the situation?! This example gives clarity about the necessity for non- attachment.
One may wonder whether there was anyone with non- attachment. Shri Ramakrishna Parama-Hamsa was an archaka (priest) in a temple. One day the temple administrators came and told him "the authorities have ordered you to relinquish the post". Shri Ramakrishna, who till then was performing the duties with sincerity and devotion, immediately collected the uttareeya (cloth used to cover the upper part of the body), said "Is that so?" and left. When the authorities wanted to bring him back later, it took much effort.
When Lord Shree Ramachandra was asked to go to the forest when about to be crowned, there was not the slightest flutter in his mind, so describes sage Vaalmiki. When we are into something, we should be singularly focused on the subject. We should be totally nonattached to other things during that time. Only then, can we achieve the goal. When we sit for meditating upon God, we should push all worldly things away. We need practice to do this. If we are attached to all things that we are dealing with, those things will engulf our mind. How then is it possible to meditate?
A smart student, with the objective of landing a good job in future, is non- attached towards all his attractions and concentrates on studies. Similarly, during the period of saadhana(penance), if one has the conviction that attaining God would give ultimate joy, then the non-attachment towards other things follows automatically. However, in general, it is not possible to do saadhana, suppressing all-natural desires. Therefore, one must understand how to enjoy the worldly pleasures without getting attached. One should have the mindset not to completely deny the pleasures of the senses nor be a slave to them.
One can summarize, as below,the various sayings of the great Shri SriRanga Mahaguru during the course of his teaching and lectures to his disciples about enjoying the sensual pleasures:
- If we do not enjoy the bodily pleasures, then we would be committing sin against the wishes of God, because the body is the wealth given by the Almighty. We should utilize this treasure as per His wish.
- Enjoying carnal pleasures must not be against the yoga - merger of the soul.
- Enjoying sensual pleasures is not the ultimate goal. Sensual pleasures must culminate in the love of the One who is the Lord of the senses.
True non- attachment is attained only when we enjoy sensual pleasures in the right way and simultaneously train the mind to be detached. One cannot say we will not get into water till we learn swimming! Just the way we get in and out of water and struggle to learn swimming, if we try to attain non-attachment without being overwhelmed by the ups and downs of day to day life, it might, by the grace of the almighty, fructify someday. Just the way the one who peels the jack fruit smears some oil to his palms for preventing the sap from sticking, we should smear ourselves with the glue called devotion to God, and perform the activities of our daily lives. That alone is true non-attachment.
As per the idea of commoners, non-attachment is dry without pleasure, but for the truly non- attached it is all-pervading joy.
Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs.
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