Desires cause all sufferings, Buddha told me. I consulted Bhagvad Gita. It also advised me to win over four things: Kama, Krodha, Raga and Dwesha. Raga is attachment. Ramcharitmanas told me the same.
It gave example of the Sandal tree. Snakes come all over it as it is cool. But that does not make the Sandal tree poisonous. So, it keeps on performing its role but its functions do not bind it. It is free from the consequences of its actions.
I seemed perplexed. It gave me one more example. It asked me to observe the lotus flower. Its petals are in water but water does not stay over it. It also is not bound by its actions. It is free.
That’s all literature, I reminded myself. But then! Life has its ways to teach the timeless messages and wisdom. While I started to observe the things around, especially while being in love, I arrived at the similar conclusion. It is the attachments which cause suffering as it annihilates freedom!
We can see this while we try to analyse all the worldly problems around. Attachment is at the core of all this. It breeds desires, jealousy, hatred, possessiveness and fundamentally limits the choices, freedom and our identity. Even while being free physically, attachments create mental bondage and slavery.
Attachments make us enslaved to our ‘free desires’.-TARUN GOYAL
Let us look at the households first. Family is the institution which is at the core of the rise or the downfall of the humanity.
Here, we see that most families are ‘gendered institutions’. Attachment of men to their feudal privileges and power asymmetry does not allow families to cultivate a role of ‘equal human’ to the women at home. Shameful figures of domestic violence and time use surveys manifesting the disproportionate load of care on women substantiate this point.
Attachments makes the men blind to the unsettling reality unfolding at home. Were they not attached to their fake glory of manhood, family and caste; heinous crimes of honour killing and acid attacks won’t have taken place. They would have been okay with rejection. Women won’t find themselves in a prison in the name of their protection.
Selfish tendencies created by attachment to our comfort, divides our hearts. How the divided hearts at home can build a united humanity, I wonder!
Some leaders got intoxicated with the taste of power and got attached to it. They assumed dictatorial powers and forgot to treat fellow humans as humans. History is replete with such leaders. They committed massive crimes against humanity like genocides and ethnic cleansing just to stay in power.
In present times as well, some leaders round the world are breeding hysteria, xenophobia and pessimism. Polarisation in societies and brainwashing the entire citizenry with propaganda machines of mass media are the tools they are using. Distinguishing fact from fiction has become a herculean task.
I had read that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Well! It is the attachment to power which corrupts. Because once you are attached to something, you have fear to lose it. And fear is an emotion which makes you do the stuff which you otherwise won’t do. It hijacks your good senses.
Attachment creates desire to possess and fear to lose. Both are a death to your mental freedom.-TARUN GOYAL
Similar thing we see in this new capitalist world. Yes! Capitalist world is neither old nor inevitable. Attachment to wealth is making people go crazy behind mindless pursuit of wealth even at the cost of all the relationships; ripping apart the bonds of trust and care, making them super lonely at the top.
We the humans thought that more machines would mean more leisure. As efficiency and productivity will increase and our existing work will be finished in a much shorter time.
So, when they got washing machine, they thought they will have more time in the day. When we got refrigerators, we thought that we will save on cost as now our ration and food won’t be spoiled. But, what we did? We ended up cooking more than we need leading to more food wastage. Rather, we started to buy microwave ovens as well to make the food warm again. And then we needed a nice furniture also to place all that. And then you needed a bigger house to place all furniture. Haha! You see! It was all marketing. Even today, when you call someone, they still say that they are short on time. Funny really!
We got so much lonely in our crowded furnished homes!-TARUN GOYAL
We tore the planet for minerals, killed biodiversity and made earth warm. All thanks to our attachment to our wealthy status. Race of status made humans colonise humans. Attachment to glory in gold made humans buy humans for slavery. it made guardians so cruel making little kids work in inhuman mining conditions.
We can’t even breathe today without tasting toxins. We can’t drink water from rivers today without a machine filtering it in our houses. We can’t even peacefully die today without spending thousands on last rites.
Do we realise the design we have created intoxicated in our attachments. Earlier, land belonged to everyone. Now, you save your lifetime just to have a roof over head. Earlier water was not to be sold. Now, if you want minerals in your water, you need a dollar in your pocket. Earlier, air was not to be sold. Now, you need to spend thousands to first buy an air filter to breathe clean air at home.
So it is set now. Either work in this inhuman economic ecosystem or forget to even have a healthy air and water. How much shameless we will be to satisfy our attachments, I ask!
But that was not the end. We have now lost even the right to feel physically free in our personal physical spaces. Can you dance naked today in your bedroom with lights on? Not that comfortably. May be you would ensure that your gazettes are away from you. You are worried that their camera would be looking at you.
It is because that present tech giants and cyber experts need your data continuously to enrich themselves. As in present world, wealth is power. So, we are not bothered to violate people’s freedom. We want profit and that is honourable.
We can go endless about it.
A fraction of money spent on defence was good enough to educate every human kindling a revolution of reason!-TARUN GOYAL
But sorry! That won’t happen. People know how everyone is so attached to their possessions. And that desire to be the bigger than the rest would keep compelling the states and nations to commit transgressions against each other.
This mutual fear of aggression and fear to lose our possessions would keep compelling us to spend our resources to protect ourselves from ourselves.
“We don’t realise that humans are protecting themselves from humans. Our identity became so narrow due to our attachment to narrow nationalism, that we cannot put our heads together to uplift everyone in an all encompassing human identity. We are forced to live in suspicion of each other.”-TARUN GOYAL
But, I am most concerned about the humans as an individual. If we analyse our individual self, we often realise that it is our attachments which are running our day, without we mostly thinking about it.
It is like our lives have got programmed. We have got attached to some ideas and conceptions of a good life which is leading us subconsciously in almost everything we are doing.
Neural networks in brain get wired in a particular way due to attachments. It reduces our ability to be flexible, agile and to think in a discomforting unconventional way. It makes us fall in habits.-TARUN GOYAL
I am in no way suggesting that we should kill all our wants and actions. actions are fundamental for initiative. Drive and energy is critical for the force of life.
All I am saying is not to get too much stuck to our imaginations of consequences of our actions and be fearful about it. It means to be open for life and be ready to face it unedited, as it comes.
For instance, if you love someone, you love someone. You be authentic and true to yourself and you express everything gracefully. That is your action. But the moment you cultivate certain expectations out of it and hope it to result in a particular way, you are attached to the consequences. This would make you fearful of the consequences of losing someone you love. Your happiness then will no longer be in your hands. As it would now be determined by the actions of the other person which is not in your control. This makes us suffer the consequences of someone else’s actions. But if you were doing it as a sense of duty and just to be true to your deeds, you won’t be attached. You won’t suffer.
This is just one instance. The same goes for our choices of career, relationships and work life. It would also save you from corrupting the integrity of your character.
A worker may feel that they are doing a thankless job while the other may say that they are doing a selfless job. That’s a world of difference.-TARUN GOYAL
No attachments means no worries. No lust for having something and no fear to lose. It means to live life. It will give humans the courage to create choices for themselves and the power to choose their own life.
So, how to be free? How not to fall in the trap of the worldly attachments while staying and engaging with the world?
Well! We the humans are imperfect beings. Recognising this reality and the depth of our ignorance is the first step. Not giving too much importance to our selfhood is important. Burning ego is a gradual process.
It is where you realise the infiniteness of life, you get aware of the depth of your ignorance. That is the beginning of Freedom!-TARUN GOYAL
The more you explore, the more you seek with humility; you realise that what all you possess and would ever possess, is just a fraction of the creation. All is just a construct of some atoms aligning themselves in a unique fashion. That realisation is the beginning of detachment from attachments.
But the most important is not to place too much burden on yourself. Don’t expect too much from your own self. Realise that we often will be imperfect, we will often fail, we will often suffer and all that drama is; LIFE!
So, I wish you well!
I greet you with love!
[P.S. I am given the feedback and I have realised that here, not having attachment is misunderstood as not having any wishes, drive, dreams, love and compassion for the loved ones. Right word for attachment in here is not ‘लगाव’ but ‘आसक्ति’. It is where the consequences bind your actions. This article in no way advocates for inaction and some asceticism on the Himalayas. It inspires for more engagement with life. Please read the comments on the article for clarity.]