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Questioner : Is it possible to be related without attachment?
Shri Prashant : The question covers the wider issue of relationships. What are relationships? What is the place of attachment in relationships?
Relationships could come from three different, distinct sources. There could be three different basis of relationships.
The lowest basis is material basis. What kind of relationship is this material relationship? This relationship is the same as that exists between one chemical and another chemical, or let us say between an iron and a magnet. The magnet attracts the iron piece and iron piece is attracted by the magnet, but both of them do not know why.
There is a relationship, there is a clear relationship, but both of them do not understand that relationship. It is a dead, very material relationship. Such kind of relationship is possible between human beings as well, where two people are apparently related, but none of them understands why the relationship exists at all.
You put water over sodium and immediately you get sodium hydroxide. There is a relationship that has happened, but neither sodium nor water understands as to why all this is happening, and because they do not understand why and how all this is happening, so they have no control as well. Sodium can never decide that today I will not react. Sodium is conditioned to react. It is a slave, in the sense that the moment you put water over it, it is bound to react and enter into the relationship. This is the lowest kind of relationship possible.
A little higher than this is the animal basis of relationship. In the animal basis of relationship, the two parties are attached due to fear and greed. We are attached so that we may get something from the other party. The other party gives me security, money, and an identity, this is the greed factor. “I am afraid of going against patterns, traditions and conventions. It is just coming from the past, so I am related to somebody,” and there is the fear factor. This is the animal basis of relationship. That relationship exists only because of ‘greed’ and ‘fear’.
Then, there is the human basis of relationship. The human basis of relationship is love and understanding. Getting it?
Listeners : Yes !
SP: In relationship between two conscious human beings, there is place only for an intelligent understanding and for love. There is no place for dead attachments. Remember: Attachment is always material. So wherever there is attachment, the basis of relationship becomes the lowest basis. What is the lowest basis?
Listeners : The Material basis.
SP: So, if our relationships are based on attachments, we are not related like two proper human beings. Human beings are not to be related on the basis of attachments, only material is related on the basis of attachments. Human beings are related on the basis of intelligence. The spontaneous overflow of that intelligence is called, ‘love’. Do you want to understand how attachment is totally material?
If you take an iron bar and a nickel bar and put these together for a sufficiently long time. What will happen? These two will get fused with each other. The molecules of iron will get diffused into the nickel bar, and the nickel molecule will penetrate into the iron. These two will get attached to each other. Attachment is the property of all material. Attachment is directly proportional to the time you spend with any person or anything.
There have been experiments where a new born kid was continuously kept close to a wall, a wall like this (pointing at a wall). He was given food near the wall even while he was playing, but he was allowed to play only near the wall. All the activities of the child happened near the wall, the wall was in front of him, close to him. Soon the kid became so attached to the wall that if someone would hit the wall, the kid would feel as if he has been hit. If someone took him away from the wall, he would start crying, as if his own body part is being separated from him.
So, attachment is the property of material, it is dependent upon time and space. The more time any material spends with another material, the more attached they get. Attachment is not the property of intelligence. Attachment only means that we are behaving like a material. Are you getting it?
Those who have old bikes or old cars would have noticed this one phenomenon, that if the shockers, or suspension, or any other nut-bolts of the vehicle are not opened for eight to ten years, they get fused together. One has to cut them to separate them. This is attachment.
Any two people who are together for sufficiently long time will get attached. Attachment is not at all love. Anything that you remain close to for a long period of time, you will get attached to it. That is the material part of the brain.
And attachment only indicates that we are material, and that the basis of our relationship is just material. There is no love in attachment, and hence a relationship of attachment is not a human relationship at all.
What happens is, that we often confuse attachment with love. In fact, attachment kills love. Where there is attachment, there can be no love. Love is a highly intelligent action.
You see, if I am attached to something I want that thing to be always close to me. Right? If I am attached to somebody, I want that person to be close to me. That way I am taking his freedom, because as an individual that person may want to go away, but my interest would be to be always attached to him, always close, in space or mentally. Attachment is thus not at all conducive to freedom, to love. In attachment, one is bothered about one’s own narrow interests, which is not love, not at all.
Freedom from attachment does not mean that you are giving upon your relationship. I understand that we get a little afraid, we start feeling as if we are being told to give up our relationships. No! Freedom from attachment does not mean that you have to stop relating to some person.
Freedom from attachment means that the person can be the same, same friend, same relative, but the basis of relationship has changed. The friend is the same but I am not relating to that friend in a material or an animal way now. I am relating with that friend in a human way.
So, do not be scared. Nobody is asking you to run away from you friends, family or society. All that is said is to change the basis of your relationships. Move to a healthier, more human basis of relationship. Is that not good?
Won’t it be better if we relate with our friends not in a material way but in a human way. Won’t it be good?
Listeners : Yes, Sir!
Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session video: Can one be related without attachment? || Acharya Prashant (2013)
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