“As water on the root of a tree is automatically distributed to the leaves and branches, in Krishna consciousness, one can render the highest service to everyone—namely self, family, society, country, humanity, etc. If Krishna is satisfied by one’s actions, then everyone will be satisfied.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 2.41 Purport)
1. My country of origin
As a child I did not really know about distinctions. I did not identify someone based on their skin color. It was not a homogeneous mixture of backgrounds in school, either, so there was plenty of diversity. I never once thought that someone with a funny sounding name was somehow different.
As I grow older, there are distinctions drawn. There is the tribal culture. My favorite sports team against yours. My religion as compared to what others follow. My preferred industry against what you do for a living.
It is only natural to have attachment based on the country of origin. I can proudly wave the flag. I share that association with others. As if somehow an arbitrarily drawn map can influence character and values, I am patriotic to the point of willing to risk my life for people I don’t even know.
2. My home
It doesn’t have to be under my name. I could be renting. Having lived here long enough, there is attachment through sentiment. When I shift elsewhere, I miss where I used to live. I long for a return to the old way of life, with the familiar surroundings. It wasn’t perfect, but at least it was something I could count on.
3. My office
This is the third time in three months. It’s strange because every time I have the same feeling. I hate it from day one. The new floor. The higher ceilings. The close proximity of colleagues. I wish to return to the old setting, even though there were well-acknowledged problems.
Pretty soon I get used to the new office. I don’t want to leave. It becomes something like a temporary home. I take only the positives and ignore the negatives. If a better job offer comes around, I will have to think twice before leaving.
The entire material existence is one attachment to another. I cry over failing at something that I wasn’t even interested in prior. I miss the association of someone I didn’t know for the first part of my life. I require a specific substance to continue throughout the day, though I survived just fine without it for many years before introduction.
In Vedic teachings, there is the concept of vairagya. The lack of attachment. Renunciation, particularly with the senses and sense objects. Like pulling apart two things joined by an adhesive. The process is not easy, but it is certainly necessary.
The reason being that the lack of attachments is a significant contributing factor towards purushartha, which is meeting the best interest of the living being. We are meant to enjoy in the truest sense, which is assuming the subordinate position in the relationship with the Almighty.
He is a distinct individual, a purusha like us, but also different. He has a specific home, although He is all-pervading. We can return to that home, although it seems unfamiliar to us at the moment. We do not remember having ever been there. We might not be willing to break away from the comfortable surroundings at present to make the journey.
Yet the process is the same. Once we return, it is like being home again. We won’t want to leave. The acharya passes on the secret formula of chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This gives a taste of the home cooking, so to speak. It is a window into the spiritual world.
Through advancement in the process, under expert guidance, I will automatically lose my attachments to home, body, nationality, and other temporary situations. My lone desire will be to continue to serve, and that consciousness creates the home to which I will return. In other words, I can find liberation even prior to quitting the body.
Strange patterns to see,
How quickly attached to be.
To something new,
Fondness gradually grew.
But no one permanently to stay,
Change is nature’s way.
Better to Krishna to finally come,
And with rebirth to be done.
Categories: the five