Attachment – Detachment

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Teachings from the Bhagavatam:

The Bhagavata Purana, Ekadasha Skanda, talks about the learnings from the 24 gurus. The learnings from the gurus in relation to attachment / detachment are given below –

  • Air – moves about freely and does not get attached; similarly, the mind should remain unaffected by merits and demerits.
  • Dove – the story of a family of doves where the male dove gets excessively attached to the female dove, and later both get attached to the kid doves; and finally, when a hunter traps the kid doves, the attachment leads the parents also to fall into the trap instead of finding ways and means to save the kids. Thus, the moral is excessive fondness or attachment leads to unhappiness and comes to grief finally.
  • Sea – whether one has the desired objects or not, one should neither feel elated or depressed just as the ocean does not swell when rivers flow into it or dries up when they do not.
  • Moth – when man, who has no control over his senses, is constantly deluded and falls into the darkness of hell, it is just like a moth falling into the fire.
  • Fish – enraptured by the love of taste, a foolish person, through his uncontrollable tongue, is destroyed like the fish by the hooks.
  • Sea Eagle – the source of misery is the acquisition of whatever man loves the most; one who knows this and desires no acquisition enjoys everlasting happiness.
  • Finally, the courtesan who says – what person would find enjoyment through a body which is like a house of which the framework is bones, covered with skin, hair and nails, which is full of urine and excreta, and has nine doors, through which constantly flows foul matter.

Teachings from the Katha Upanishad:

There are two distinctly different types of experiences and urges. The two paths may be called the pleasant and the good. The first path binds, the second releases. Choosing the good leads to salvation. Choosing the pleasurable leads to incarceration. If you pursue only the path of pleasure, you leave the path of realization of the highest goal of man far behind. Choosing the path of good requires exercising the refined intellect (the power of discrimination).

The Atma is pure unwavering awareness. It is agitationless,: it is Consciousness, infinite and full. Our innermost essence is Atma. We are not the body, mind or senses. We are not the individual with name and form. The Atma is not the knower, the known, or even knowledge. Discovering this is the supremest vision. Teaching this is the supremest instruction. The instructor is Brahman; the instruction is Brahman. the instructed is also Brahman. The Atma is the eternal unchanging witness within. This mystery cannot be understood through logic. It must be experienced by diverting the mind from its natural habitat, the objective world until it becomes a placid lake, reflecting the reality of the effulgent Atma. By engaging continuously in detachment and awareness, the illusion of the object universe dissolves and the vision of Atma is glimpsed.

The image of the Sun in a lake quiver and shakes due to the quivering and shaking of the waters. The sun is but a distant witness.
It is unaffected by the media which produces the images. Likewise, the Atma is the witness of all this change in space and time.

Know this Atman, unborn, undying.
Never ceasing, never beginning.
Deathless, birthless, unchanging forever.
How can it die the death of the body?
Worn out garments are shed by the body.
Worn out bodies are shed by the Atma.
New bodies are donned like garments.
Not wounded by weapons nor burned by fire.
Not dried by the wind not wetted by water.
Such is the Atman.

He who dwells within all living bodies.
remains forever indestructible.
Therefore, never mourn for anyone.
You must be free from the pairs of opposites.
Poise you mind in tranquility.
Be established in the consciousness of the Atman always.

You must not desire for the fruits of your work.
Perform every action with your heart fixed on the Supreme Lord.
Be even tempered in success and failure.
Unite the heart with Brahman, and then act.
That is the secret of non-attachment.
He knows bliss in the Atman and wants nothing else.
Cravings torment the heart, he renounces cravings.
Not shaken by adversity, not hankering after happiness
Free from fear, free from anger, free from the things of desire.

He is lucky and does not rejoice.
He is unlucky and does not weep.
The tortoise can draw in his legs:
the seer can draw in his senses.
I call him illumined.
The abstinent run away from what they desire.
but they carry their desires with them.
When a man enters reality, he leaves his desires behind him.
The wandering winds of the senses cast men’s minds adrift.
When a man can still the senses, I call him illumined.
The recollected mind is awake in the knowledge of the Atman.
The ignorant are awake in their sense life which they think is daylight.
To the seer it is darkness.