Attachment- The Root Of Material Life

This subject is a deeper aspect of our day-to-day life. This topic becomes one of prime importance if one is to take up “spirituality” as an essential or pivotal component of one’s life. “Normal” material life, the life of a common man, revolves around matter, which means it moves around family, relatives, goals, ambitions, success, failure, likes, dislikes and a host of such entities related to matter. When one applies one’s mind in the matters mentioned above, essentially it means that one does not have a permanent central goal. For example when someone says “I want to become a pilot.” He works towards it and becomes a pilot, he will need to set another goal after that. Even if one does not become a pilot, he shall feel sad, nevertheless he has to set a new goal. Life in this case is a set of fast moving goals. In all these circumstances there is nothing to pivot the mind. The mind becomes a dump-yard of matter and materialistic emotions.

 

One is attached to one’s father and mother and serves them well. But life changes and when he is of marriageable age, the son gets married. But his center has shifted. His spouse becomes the center of his life. When they have a son, the son becomes the center. When the man does well in office, his promotions become more important. Here too in relations, the goal is moving without a certain harmony. This tendency to stick to material relatives, matter or any aspect of this world is called “Attachment”. Attachment shifts from time to time but the “nature of attachment” is consistent right from our birth to our grave. It is only due to this tendency or “instinct” of attachment that makes us go in the cycles of 8.4 million life species. The instinct of attachment is universal and one of the most essential properties of the mind. It is attachment alone that makes the world go round. Since one is attached to individual, events, place and other material entities, one is able to move in time. If the mind were not to possess this property of attachment, one’s memory as an extension of the mind would have become fickle. It is a different thing that amnesia or other diseases also represent “lapses in someone’s memory”. But this is due to the problem in the instrument, the brain. The mind in these patients would be intact and their minds would exhibit the same tendencies as any normal individual, if there were some mechanical means to detect it. Only thing is that modern science has not developed far enough to capture the mind, although there are a few researches in the area of the brain, which is not at all our area of interest.

 

Attachment of any kind indicates “stickiness”, which makes things work in the material world. But we often hear enlightened masters talk about getting rid of attachment. They say that with “attachment to the world” in the heart, one can never cross over the ocean of nescience. That property of the mind that is in charge of handling our survival, is to be relinquished, they say. This may appear overwhelming and preposterous to many. When the mind’s intrinsic quality is that of “attachment”, how can one, who is a user of the mind, which functions through attachment be rid of attachment? To this, seers and sages go a bit deeper and try to explain the mechanics of attachment with some clarity. When one uses the mind in connection with all that is material, the attachment attains a hue of “matter” and that hue is responsible for our eternal bondage to “Nature”. Unless this bondage is ripped apart, liberation cannot be dreamt of. Then how is it that we hear of sages and seers who are alive and in a perfectly “liberated” condition?

 

The answer to this is that one need not worry about the “aspect” of attachment but one has to work on the “object” of attachment which has the answers. The scriptures say clearly that, the mind has a certain blessing. If the intellect is used wisely and the direction of the mind is diverted to the “subject” which is beyond matter and by some means, somebody takes up the practice of putting a check on the mind and diverting it to the eternal component of “Atman”, “Brahman” or “Bhagawan”, that should set the mind on to a eternal goal. Now how can this goal be attained? The answer to this is, if the mind is trained enough with the guidance of other enlightened beings and the Vedic scriptures, with consistent practice, Grace can be drawn. It is this Grace which is “non-material” in Nature that shall ultimately rivet the mind on the eternal “subject”. When a stage is attained, where the mind does not shift from the subject of meditation which is “Atman” or “Bhagawan”, liberation is attained. This realization dawns upon that individual, on attainment. There is no way for a common can to tell if another is liberated. It is realized within. This is not a mechanical process, but depends on the commitment of the student, the strength of the practice and the Grace of the spiritual master. Once mind is riveted on the eternal subject, automatically the objects of the world drop off from the screen of the mind and mind loses its stickiness forever. The objects of the world drop off the mind, the way dry leaves fall off the tree, at the onset of autumn.

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