“From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one falls down again into the material pool.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.63)
Friend1: Talk to me about this idea of attachment.
Friend2: What about it? You mean like is it good or bad?
Friend1: Apparently that is what keeps us in this world.
Friend2: Technically, kama is the culprit. Defined most often as ordinary desire, but it can quickly turn into lust. When that lust is not satisfied, which is entirely likely, then there is anger.
Friend1: From anger comes bewilderment of memory, delusion and finally a return to the same place in the next life.
Friend2: You forgot loss of intelligence. The simple example I like to give relates to sports. Imagine you are playing golf. You’re having a good day. The drives are landing in the fairway. The second shots are hitting the green. At most you are two-putting, but sometimes there are birdies.
Friend1: Wow. So like a day even a professional would dream of.
Friend2: Then on the last hole everything goes wrong. The drive ends up in the woods. The second shot hits a tree and travels backwards. When you get near the green, every chip is either flying over or landing short.
Friend1: That is torture. Certainly happened to me many times.
Friend2: After finishing the hole, you toss your entire set of clubs into the water.
Friend1: Haha. I have definitely wanted to do that.
Friend2: The culprit is lust. There was attachment to the successful play from the past. When the lust went unsatisfied just a few times, there was so much anger. Obviously, it is a loss of intelligence to blame anything on the clubs. They are inanimate objects.
Friend1: They did nothing wrong.
Friend2: That is one way attachment works.
Friend1: Okay, but here’s the thing. Aren’t we building such attachments throughout the journey of life?
Friend2: For sure. Think about interest in soap operas and television shows. You’re watching a scripted performance. Formerly, you didn’t even know the story. From watching a few times the interest grows to the point that you can’t miss what happens next.
Friend1: All in a false reality; in a place that doesn’t even exist.
Friend2: Exactly. What we don’t see is that our experience in this world is not much different. That is the meaning to maya. We create these attachments but the people and objects to which we are attached don’t follow us into the afterlife. Knowing this, we usually bury our head in the sand and pretend that death won’t happen.
Friend1: From that we become further entrapped.
Friend2: It’s like the law of holes.
Friend1: I’ve never heard of that.
Friend2: It’s pretty simple. When you find yourself in one, stop digging.
Friend1: That’s pretty good.
Friend2: So these new attachments we form every day are like digging further. The result is falling deeper, getting further away from liberation.
Friend1: Alright, but people are everywhere. How do we stay renounced? Do we have to leave our family and go live in a cave?
Friend2: Attachments can form just about anywhere. The easier way is to become attached to the Supreme Lord. Develop an urgent need to see Him, remember Him, and serve Him. That is the aim of bhakti-yoga, which at first is a distinct spiritual discipline and in the end turns into a way of life. It becomes as involuntary as breathing, and one of the many benefits is guaranteed liberation.
First as spiritual life to live,
But with many benefits to give.
Guaranteed liberation in end,
On attachments not to depend.
Otherwise like stuck in hole in ground,
And digging further down.
Difficult by itself to free,
Better when Divine to see.