Question: Can we not have a simple aspiration of becoming a better human being, rather than completely detaching ourselves from everything around us?
Speaker: Can we not have a simple aspiration of becoming a better human being, rather than completely detaching ourselves from everything around us?
What do we mean by ‘a better human being’? What is meant by ‘a better human being’?
Listener 1: Not scheming, straight. Loves others, as he loves himself.
Speaker: Right. Do you think that is anything different from ‘detachment’?
Listener 1: ‘Detachment’ sounds scary.
Speaker: If ‘detachment’ sounds scary, then your definition of ‘a better human being’ is misplaced. You are saying, “A better human being is one who loves others, as he loves himself,” but you are saying, “Detachment sounds scary.”
If you are saying, “’Better human being’ implies ‘love’, but ‘detachment’ sounds scary,” then surely your love is attachment.
Look at your own words. You are saying, “A better human being is one, who knows love.” Right? At the same moment you are saying, “’Detachment’ sounds scary,” then surely your love is…attachment.
Listener 1: Does it not imply renunciation?
Speaker: What do we mean by ‘renunciation’?
Listener 1: Just out of it. Just completely out of it.
Speaker: Out of what?
Listener 1: Out of these worldly affairs.
Speaker: What kind of worldly affairs?
Listener 1: Whatever world that we live in.
Speaker: You are holding a hot coal in your hand, and your hand is burning, you drop the coal. You call it ‘renunciation’? This is renunciation – spontaneously getting rid of, what is suffering.
Listener 1: But that coal was giving me warmth.
Speaker: Then hold it. Keep holding it.
This is the fundamental misconception that – anything outside of you, can give you warmth. And this is also, what is ‘atheism’, that you need a coal to give you warmth.
You know, what a God-loving man would say? “The source of warmth is within me. I do not require to hold a coal, and burn my hands.” But this is what a faithless mind says, “I will freeze to death, if I do not hold a burning coal in my hands.”
Listener 1: How did it come in my hands?
Speaker: It was given to you.
Listener 1: Did it come out of my own choice?
Speaker: Yes of course. It was given to you when your apparatus had no clue as to what was happening to it. It was given to you by ignorant people who themselves did not know what they were doing. Ignorance begets ignorance. It was given to you.
It is alright that it was given to you by others, but pay attention to your hands and see how they are burning. When you look at your situation, you do not hold the coal anymore. That is ‘detachment’. ‘Detachment’ does not mean that “I do not want this, I do not want that.” ‘Detachment’ is just simple common sense.
“How can I keep holding that, which is obviously a source of suffering?” That is detachment.
Listener 2: Sir, ‘detachment’ can also be called as , ‘unpredictability’?
Speaker: Do not say what it also can be. Look at what it directly is. We say, “It can be this, it can be that.” First look at what it obviously, directly is, then look at the associated meanings, and synonyms, and related stories.
First of all, go to the central point – What is ‘detachment’? To be detached, is to not to hold on to stupidity. That is the simple definition of ‘detachment’. To be detached, is to not to hold on to stupidity. That is the simple definition, nothing else. Now, if that is a scary word, then what does that tell us about our lives?
‘Detachment’ means – “I do not want to hold on to stupidity.” And I am saying that I find that scary. Then how is my life?
‘Detachment’ does not mean that you are getting rid of the precious. The precious is already and always there with you. The source of warmth is there within you. ‘Detachment’ means – “I am getting rid of the rubbish, realizing that the precious is always available. Even if I want to, I cannot get rid of it.”
To not to hold on, to all that, which anyway is a burden, which anyway is causing pain to me, to others – that is ‘detachment’. And that requires faith, because the first step of detachment is – “The precious and the valuable is always and already there, within me. So I can safely let go of the rest, the remainder.”
Why do you want to latch on to something? – Because you think it is valuable. When you realize that whatever is valuable, is not something that you get by clinging, is not something that you get from others, is not something that you get from here and there, then you get ‘detached’.
See, detachment does not mean that I have to necessarily kick this away, throw that away, or shoo him or her away. ‘Detachment’ only means that – “I am not clinging. I am not a parasite.” Detachment does not mean that – “I won’t talk to you.” Detachment does not mean that – “I cannot live with you.” Detachment only means that – “I am not fixated. My mind is not dominated by you.”
Are you getting it?
Speaker: Detachment does not mean that – “I will go one thousand kilometers away from you.” In fact, one can be thousand kilometers away, and yet very attached. Detachment only means that – “You do not form a part of my self-worth. I am with you, we have a loving relationship, wonderful, but I do not depend on you. And neither do I aspire that you depend on me.”
“I do not depend on you. We are there, side-by-side, but there is no dependency. I am complete in myself, and out of my love, I really wish that you too be complete in yourself.” That is detachment. Please do not have an image of detachment, that detachment means – “I will not look at your face.”
In fact, without detachment, love is not possible. The moment there is attachment in love, that love becomes extremely poisonous. Detachment is extremely necessary for love. Without detachment, love becomes possessiveness, love becomes dependency, love becomes violence.
Listener 1: This is a concept that can be replicated in other things also, in job, in other relationships.
Speaker: Yes, obviously, everything.
‘Detachment’ means that the mind knows its real Home, so it does not have to beg for other homes. ‘Detachment’ means that the mind knows its real Lover, so it does not have to look for love here and there. ‘Detachment’ means that the mind is dependent, only on One, so it is not dependent on the thousands. That is ‘detachment’.
And that detachment, again I am repeating, does not mean that you have to have animosity towards the thousands, that you need to be indifferent to them. No, no, no. Detachment is not about being indifferent to the world. In fact, a detached man is a loving man. In detachment, you come upon True Love, only in detachment.
~ Excerpts from a Shabd-Yoga session. Edited for clarity.
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 3: On Introversion and non-attachment
Article 4: Detachment is the Fruit of maturity
Watch the session at: Love is possible only in detachment