Attachment & Love

– Understandings from a talk of Swami Mitrananda for Youth Empowerment Programme 6th batch

There’s a lot of difference between Love & Attachment, yet we often get confused between the two. Krishna tells Arjuna ’88 times’ to Detach in the 700 verses of Bhagavad Gita. To understand what Detachment is, we need to understand the difference between Love & Attachment.

Expression of Attachment is when we demand something for our happiness. Expression of Love is when we supply something for others’ happiness.

In Attachment, selfishness dominates. In Love, selflessness dominates.

Attachment is lower. Love is higher.

Attachment is a sign of weakness. Love is a sign of strength.

In Attachment, one loves ‘because of’. In Love, one loves ‘inspite of’. We love our children mainly because they are ‘our’ children. Had they been the same children but not ‘ours’, then we wouldn’t have loved them so much. This Attachment we have for our children is ‘because of’ the my-ness feeling. It can definitely become a cause of our sorrow tomorrow.

Detachment is not ‘not loving’ someone. Detachment is de-attachment from the lower and Attachment to the higher. Our great freedom fighters Loved our motherland. They Loved their families too, but Love for the country was higher. Hence they did not get Attached to their families even though they loved them.

Detachment born out of Pure Love is Freedom because there is no expectation from anyone. Attachment is Slavery because in Attachment, we define our Happiness Quotient depending on what others give us. People who ‘fall’ in Love are probably the ones who fall due to Attachment. ‘Love-Failure’ is a wrong term. One who truly Loves cannot Fail in Love even if he doesn’t receive Love in return. But ‘Attachment-Failure’ is a certain thing.

One may ask, ‘How can we Detach from anything? Can refrainment from something be called Detachment?’ Detachment is not refrainment. Refrainment is physical. Detachment is mental. One can Love, yet remain Detached. Such is a person is indeed Liberated/De-Attached/Freed from all sorrows.

Some say, it is easy to say all these things but hard to practice Detachment. But hard does not mean Impossible. Some say Detachment is not just hard but Impossible. To them the Optimist replies, “Impossible for you does not mean it is impossible for all. You know that it is impossible for you. I know that it is possible for me, not because I’m superior to you. But only because I know I want to (get Detached) and you don’t. Our mind is always right in such cases. If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you really can’t. I may not be able to achieve it today, but I’m sure I’ll be able to…someday!”


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