Attachment is the action of the time and space || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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Speaker: Attachment is the action of time and space. Hence the brain has no option but to get attached. Because the brain is ‘time and space’, the only thing that the brain can do is to get attached. That is how it has developed so far, by getting ‘attached’.

Now what is an attachment? We will understand through few examples.

You bring any two materials together for a long period of time and close together in space. Do you know what happens? You bring iron and cobalt, a block of iron and a block of cobalt, together and you keep them together for long periods of time and close together in space. Now what happens? For ten years keep them together or for twenty years, what will happen?

Listeners: Fusion, about to attach.

Speaker: Yes, what will they do? They will…?

Listeners: Get attached to each other.

Speaker: That is attachment. They will get attached to each other. That is what even brain is like. Anything that it remains close to and anything that it remains close to for a long period of time and space, it gets attached to that. Nothing more than that, simple, direct.

Since the day you were born what have you been close to?

Listeners: Parents. (In unison)

Speaker: Even more than parents, you have been close to something else, what is that?

Listeners: Our body.

Speaker: Your own body. So, you are most attached to your body. And there is nothing deep or complex about it. It is just a property of material to become attached. A kid is born, and for two years you keep him very close to a wall. You feed him near the wall, you keep him near the wall, wherever he goes let there be a wall and he will get very-very attached to that wall. In fact, so attached that if the experiment is conducted properly, he will start saying, “I am this wall“.

That’s the law of the brain; that’s how brain operates, in time and space. And attachment is the action of time and space. Long time – Attachment! Close together – Attachment! You could as well express it as a mathematical formula:

A= [K*(t^n)]/ (S^m)

Do you see this? We do not know the values of K, n and m but what we know is that the attachment is directly proportional to length of time and inversely proportional to space; that much is certain, for surely certain. Getting it?

Now, how does attachment flow into time and space.

Simple! We said, the child lives too close to anything and he starts identifying himself with that. You start identifying with your body.

What is your name? (Pointing towards one of the listeners)

Listener 1: Devendra.

Speaker: Yes, Devendra, respond to my question. Devendra please respond,

(Speaks looking at the wall)

It is awkward to look there and speak to him, right? Even offensive. Don’t try it with your girlfriend! (Smilingly) There was no real problem because Devendra could easily hear me. It is just that, I was looking the other way. My voice was clear and audible. Still it sounds awkward, it looks awkward, why? Because Devendra has come to believe that he is that figure inside the skin-bag. There is the skin-bag (pointing towards body) and the thing inside that is called ‘Devendra’. So, if I do not look at the skin-bag, he feels awkward, annoyed. Are you getting it?

We have started saying that, ‘I am this’ (pointing towards body). We have gathered a deep belief that I am this body, that I am the area, the volume contained within my skin. Getting it? Why? For the simple reason of this thing called identification. This “I am this” is called identification.

I am ‘x’” is called identification. In our mind, there exist not one or two identities, but several of them, hundreds of them, right? In fact our mind is the sum total of all these identities, getting it? You are male, an Indian, an aspiring engineer, a son or a daughter, this and that, handsome, something. There are a lot of adjectives that lives associated with you and x, y, z, an infinite series of identities is what has been created in the mind. All these identities are coming from attachments. Are you getting it? So attachment leads to identities. This “I am” coming under foreign influences is called the Ego. All the foreign influences on the mind, that is what the ego is.

Ego comes from outside. You are told a place, you are told that. Society tells you something, religion tells you something, ideology tells you something, teachers, friends, peers, media, populations, books, they all have been pouring stuffs into you. This is that stuff (outside thing) and this (I am) is ego. This “I am” gets associated with all.

“Ego” – I am this. And each single one of them is called an “identity”. Together they constitute “the person”, ‘I am X’. Out of the ‘I am X’, the “I am” part is called the Ego.

Of course, ‘I am’ is never alone! Whenever we say ‘I am’, there is always an object following the ‘I am’. You never say ‘I am’. You say I am Devendra, ‘I am sick’, ‘I am a student’, and ‘I am an Indian’. You never say ‘I am’. There is always an object associated with ‘I am’. This is called the Ego. That object is always external, that you have bounded yourself to, the foreign influence. This is what is called the ego. Are we together? Are you with me on this? Yes?

Plus, I have been deeply bounded to this “That I am”. And again when I say this, that does not mean the body. This is symbolic. To a foreign thing, this process is the process of Ego. Getting it? And the sum total of all these falseness is what constitutes our person and the personality. So –

Attachment -> Identity -> Ego -> Person.

So, what is personality? – Sum total of these lies, utter lies. Getting it? Is this clear?

What is not yet clear is, the implication of this upon the way you live, upon your life, right? That is not clear to you. Because this, if understood, would mean that a lot of our beliefs are totally misplaced, that our ways of existing, living, decision making, are deeply flawed. And it is good news that we are learning that we are deeply flawed. Why is it good news? Because after you learn that something is flawed, then you can correct it. If you do not know that you have cancer then you will surely die. So the diagnosis is painful but it saves your life! Getting it? Yes.

Alright your questions now!

Listener 1: Sir, as you said, “Our personality is a lie”. Without knowing this, many of them are happy also. So how will we define happiness?

Speaker: You see, we said, “Let’s look at this”. You can be awake or you can dream that you are awake. Correct? Even when you are dreaming that you are awake, you are confident that you are awake, Are you getting it? In your position where you are and as you are, by yourself, you will never know what reality is? You say that people are still happy, let’s try to understand that. What makes a terrorist happy?

Listeners: Terrorism

Speaker: What makes a religious man happy? What makes a sex-maniac happy? What makes an ambitious man happy? So, your happiness is nothing but the conditioning of your mind. What is the worth of such happiness? There is no happiness in this. This is known as ‘pleasure’. Just Pleasure! Had it been real happiness, it would not have been dependent upon an external object.

Have you ever noticed, how all these people that you are claiming to be happy, firstly depend upon an external object or event to be happy? “If something happens then I will be happy.” Second, their happiness is always very-very temporary because if it is coming from the outside then it can be taken back by the outside. But then they will remain under the illusion that this is it, till the time reality does not give them a shock.

For example, the man who is dreaming that he is awake is bound to get a reality check sooner than later. You cannot remain asleep all your life. You may keep dreaming that I am awake but reality will punish you for that. Existence will punish you for that. You sleep for too long; and when you will wake up then you will surely repent.

And you cannot keep sleeping all your life. You have to wake up. Waking up is your nature. So better wake up right now. The more you will be late, the more painful it will be to wake up.

In fact, it becomes so painful for so many people that even after they wake up, what do they do? They keep their eyes closed. “I have slept for so long. Now waking up only reminds me that I have wasted my life. So what do I do?” But then you cannot sleep all the time. You will have to wake up.

Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session video: Attachment is the action of the time and space || Acharya Prashant (2013)

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