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Listener: What is an attraction?
Acharya Prashant: At least this much should be very clear. We see instances of attraction, every moment, all the time around us. There is the game of attraction going on. So somebody bangs the door, and your mind gets attracted towards that. It is as if the banging of the door and the movement of the mind towards the door are one and the same thing. If one happens the other has to happen, they are inseparable. This is the attraction.
If you put some iron pieces near a magnet, the iron pieces will move towards the magnet. This is the attraction. If two reacting chemicals are brought together, there is a reaction and the subsequent release of energy and everything else and that is the attraction. So attraction is obvious, it is happening all the time around us.
It is just a mechanical movement. The iron does not know why it is getting attracted to the magnet. The magnet does not know why it is attracting the iron piece. And yet attraction is happening. It is a dead thing. Sodium does not know why its atom wants to react with water. And water does not know why a particular configuration of the atom must be reacted to. Yet there is a reaction. This is the attraction.
You take two metals let’s say, iron and nickel; and keep them in close contact for long periods of time. And after that, you cannot separate them. Diffusion of molecules of one metal will happen to the other and some kind of a bond will get established between the metals.
If some of you drive an old bike or old car, you will know that old nuts and bolt cannot be opened. They have to be cut, the nut fuses with the bolt. The nut fuses with the bolt. So, close together and close together for a long period of time, space and time; that is the attraction.
Space and time are attraction.
Space and time are also this world. What is this world? This world is all this that appears all spread around, so space. And this world is the past and future, so time.
Attraction and the world are inseparable.
Attraction is the fundamental quality of this world.
And remember this world by itself has no life, it is a mechanical system. An apple gets attracted towards the earth; the earth gets attracted towards the apple, fundamental quality. And where there is an attraction, there is repulsion as well. So attraction and repulsion, that is what this universe is all about, and this universe is time and space. We just said that in closeness there is an attraction. If you keep iron and magnet very far away from each other, attraction will become almost zero.
You very well know even the gravitational pull is inversely proportional to the square of the separation distance between the two interacting objects. So you increase the distance and the pull will become almost zero. You require time and you require closeness in space. So, if you are with a person for a long period of time, you will get attached.
Attachment is the fruit of attraction in time. Attraction happens right now and when attraction continues in time then what you get is the attachment. Attraction is a dead thing and attachment is an equally dead thing.
So iron and magnet, they will attract each other and if they stay in touch for a long period of time, they will also get attached. And that is the fact of our relationships. There is an attraction and after that there is an attachment. And sometimes we give the name Love to either of these. But this universe only knows attraction and attachment, it knows no Love.
Love is a totally different quality; Love is understanding. And Love does not relate to being attracted. To get attracted you require the mind to be dull, to be stupid. Only a stupid mind gets attracted and attached, an unhealthy mind, a diseased mind. A mind that feels incomplete and so it wants to go and cling to something and somebody, and feel complete. You very well know why chemicals react. One chemical has some shortage of electron so it wants the other atom to provide those electrons. Right? Either by transfer or by sharing. So attraction happens when there is a feeling of incompleteness. And whenever you feel incomplete, that is dis-ease, you are uncomfortable, restless.
Love, on the other hand, is the quality of a healthy mind that feels complete in itself. Because it feels complete in itself, because it is a healthy mind; all its relationships are also healthy. A healthy relationship is also called a loving relationship, it is so simple.
Love has no excitement or titillation about it. It is a simple being in health.
When you relate to other, not because of greed or fear, it is Love. But unfortunately if we look at our relationships, there is greed, fear and expectation always, always present. And where there is greed, fear, expectation, insecurity – there can be no Love. There would be jealousy and possessiveness and there could be discord and strife, but no Love. So there is nothing sensational about Love, it is so simple.
The relationships of a healthy mind are loving relationships.
When you do not relate to the other in order to get something from him, it is Love. Where you are feeling so full in yourself, that you feel no violence towards the world, it is Love. Love is not about creating boundaries, my family, my people, my love, my house.
Love is like the sun, full in itself; so its brightness falls on everybody, its warmth is available to all.
Wherever it goes, it brings light.
That is Love.
But love, in spite of being such a simple thing cannot really be an object of discussion. Because love comes from a healthy mind; and health simply means freedom from disease.
We do not need to work towards health; we only need freedom from the disease.
As long as the mind is diseased, it will be experiencing attraction and attachment. Attractions and attachments are the symptoms of an unhealthy and sick mind.
They arise from conditioning. They arise from the latent tendencies of the mind, vritti (Sanskrit word for mental tendencies).
So these must be the object of consideration:
Why is the mind unhealthy? Can I look at it?
Can I understand how deeply conditioned I am? Can I catch my ways?
Can I observe my daily life and look at the play of conditioning, attraction, attachment?
If you can do that, then just that realisation gives me freedom from disease. Freedom from disease is health. And the relationships of a healthy mind are loving relationships, simple.
So when you talk of Love, kindly do not get excited, there is nothing exciting about Love, just as there is nothing exciting about pure water. But pure water is life, life giving. There is a lot that is exciting about fizzy drinks, about liquor. But about water, there is nothing exciting; it is simple, pure, and transparent. Love is like pure water, it is not sensational, it is not sentimental, it is not titillating. Love is the quality of a healthy mind, a mind that is not afraid and a mind that is not carrying the burden of the past or expectations. That is love.
Never think that a man who is carrying ideologies, a man who is ambitious, a man who belongs to a particular line of thought, can ever be capable of Love. He will carry his sense of violence, into everything that he does.
The man, who is dull and bored and careless and violent in the office, cannot be a loving father or a loving husband. After all, it is the same mind; he will carry the same mind into the house as well. A healthy mind will be healthy in all walks of life, throughout the day. A lady, who does not care for small kids in the slum opposite her house, cannot be a loving mother. It is impossible. How is it possible to love your kids, when you only have the indifference for the other kids, who are shivering in the cold? A man, who kill animals, cannot have a love for anybody. After all, it is the same mind. When you do not have sensitivity and you can use the knife on one being, then how will your mind suddenly become sensitive towards rest of the world? It is the same mind.
I know that as young people, love is a very hot topic for you all. But kindly do not think that you can ever know Love, without cleaning up your mind.
Love is possible only to a very clean and very pure mind.
Others will know attraction and attachment but they will never know Love. And that is their punishment.
The punishment of remaining conditioned is that you will never know Love.
You will live sixty years or hundred years, without even knowing a moment of Love. You can name other things as Love; you can fool yourself by saying that, “I have a very loving family”. But the fact will be that there will be no Love.
So forget Love, look at the purity of mind. That is what you can do.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: The difference between Love and attraction
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