Attachment vs Love




When your baby was born or at the first sight of your partner – you tasted the feeling of pure love.

Our mind liked this love and felt happy.

So, it again and again wanted this company (either the child or the partner).

When we are in more and more contact with it – the mind loved it.

When the mind is thinking about something again and again – the thoughts become stronger. The desire is more and more.

If the desire is more and more and the intellect is not strong to control – then,we like that – we want to be in company of that – at the same time, we dislike everything else. If the intellect is strong we will like that but we will not hate the other things.

When two people are in love and attached. They want to be in company of each other and they don’t like the rest of the world. They are ready to leave everything for this nice feeling.

If the parents are attached to their children – they will like their child and will start disliking all other children (all other children become competitors ).

When we develop this desire of the company more and more. It leads to addiction. We will start developing the fear of losing it and will feel unhappy when they are not attending to us.

The parents are happy – if the child is in their company and listening to them all the time. Once, the child gets older – they want to do somethings on their own. The parents because of attachment – will be a hindrance to these. They will unnecessarily give excuses why the child cannot do this and that.

Once, the child is growing and becoming independent. The parents  will start demanding things – so that the child spends time with them.

The human tendency is to rebel with demands. Let the demands be very reasonable and logical. Still it is not accepted by the other person. Demand and expectations annoy others.

In pure love, we like the other person – without demand and expectation.

In child hood, friendship was easy because neither of them had any demand or expectations.

As we grow older, even friendship becomes difficult because of the constant demand and expectations.

Because of attachment – the parents or the partner will expect certain behaviour from the other person. If that person does not behave in the fashion as expected – there will be unhappiness.

In a relationship with attachment – they have developed more and more desires. How much ever the other person does ; they are not satisfied and they want more and more.

Swami Parthasarathy defines attachment as,

Attachment = Love + selfishness

Attachment – selfishness = Love

This attachment can also be with objects and not necessarily ( only) with people.

A person attached to the carpet of the house – will feel so annoyed – if some one walks on it with a wet shoe.

Suppose, we have gone to a hotel and staying in a room. Would you mind if someone walks with a wet shoe on the carpet. You will just call the room service to clean it. Can’t we do the same thing for our own carpet. This attitude is possible even though we own the carpet but not attached to it.

There are some people attached to wealth, success, habits and emotions.

People attached to wealth  – will develop strong desires – if the intellect is not strong enough to control the mind – they will do anything to acquire these. Example is corruption. Normally, people get annoyed with corruption – but if we understand that the person is looting because he is attached to it and his intellect is low. As per scriptures, he is a bala (child) who is unaware and doing it. If we understand this we will not be agitated.

If someone cannot go in the wrong direction and acquire it (but is attached to wealth and has a strong desire) –  will start to spend less or all the time look for saving options.

People attached to success – will try all ways out – if they cannot achieve – they will pinpoint mistakes on people who are succeeding. They will get agitated with others success.

Parents attached to their kids – will get agitated if some other kids get an award or prize and will start giving excuses as to why their kid could not do that.

If we are not attached to our kids – then, may be we may not feel happy about some other kid getting a prize but will not get agitated.

People attached to habits – Alcohol or any other habit. The attachment will give more desire and they will be addicted. There are people who are attached to habits like pooja. They have to do it – irrespective of the situation and condition. They will fear that something wrong will happen if they don’t perform it for a day.

People attached to emotions – best example is depression – the mind will all the time ask for the emotion to which it is attached to. Depression people will create sad situations on their own and will be in sadness all the time. A person gossiping will all the time create situations to gossip.

In short, the test for attachment is – if we feel unhappy losing it or we have the fear of losing it or we get agitated when someone else has it. If these things are happening in our mind – then we have attachment. If we don’t have attachment – we will not feel unhappy if we lose something – we will not expect loss but will be prepared for it – we will not get agitated when others get it.

This non – attachment is different from detachment. People misunderstand these things and will stop acquiring and enjoying. This will only lead to frustration. We are born in this world to acquire and enjoy. Please acquire and enjoy but without attachment.

William Shakespeare

All the world’s  a  stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exists and their entrances;

All the world is a stage – just play your role like an actor without getting involved in the character. A person may act as a king but actually he may be a very poor person just acted for a scene like a king. Can he pretend to be a king after the play. He has to just play his role and get out. We should try and adopt this attitude. This is non – attachment.

In my vedanta class, my teacher gave an example : A senior citizen who was my teachers student came to him and asked ” Can I sue my Son? “. When enquired further he said – ” I brought up  my son by giving everything to him and we sacrificed so much. He was studying very well so – we took a loan and sent him abroad. He finished his studies and married a girl there. He found a job and never came back. He didn’t even pay the educational loan. I had to sell my house and repay it. He is our only son. Now, tell me sir, can I sue him ? What does vedanta say about this ? ”

Just think your own answer before reading it. It will help.

My teacher said – ” you can sue your son – incase, you have great difficulty to lead a daily life “.

As per vedanta, this situation happened because of the attachment of the parents. They did their duty with lots of  expectation. i.e. I am doing this so that he will repay it to us much more or take care of us.

Many parents will think this is a reasonable expectation. But any expectation is going to disturb the relationship. This is the law.

As per Rama Tirtha – In attachment we lose and in non attachment we gain.

The parents lost the son because of the attachment. The son hated the parents because of his attachment to something else. The attached parents constantly expect and demand something or some action.

Suppose, the son died in an accident. Then what the parents would have done. They will collapse.

The point is – The parents have to do the duty without expectations. Like an animal takes care of their cubs as a duty without any expectation.

We human beings are attached to the children and we do the duty with lots of expectation. This attachment and the expectation is the reason for suffering. It is neither the parents nor the kid is bad. It is this attachment virus which created all the problems.

What happens if the attachment and expectations are not there and the parents are doing their duty.

A Tamil Poet named Thiruvalluvar has written some poems named kural (means voice).

In that – he had mentioned about the relationship of a son and father in kural no 67 and 70.

தந்தை மகற்கு ஆற்றும் நன்றி (Udhavi) அவையத்து
முந்தி இருப்பச் செயல்

Parents should bring up their children in such a way
that they sit in the front row in any assembly of wise ( kural 67 )

மகன் தந்தைக்கு ஆற்றும் உதவி இவன் தந்தை
என் நோற்றான்கொல் எனும் சொல்

The help of the son ( children ) to father ( parents ) is to make others to wonder
” What penance the father ( parents ) had done to beget them” (kural 70)

In these videos and the article – they have used the word duty. Ignore that and just understand the meaning. This video and the article is given to understand the meaning of the poem.

Now, we have understood the meaning – we will see what it actually implies. In poetic way, the meaning will say something but the implication will be different.

In short, the duty ( the poet has not used the word duty – he has used the word help – udhavi) of the father is to make the son reach the first position in life. This has to be done without expectation. Then, the son will behave in such a way that some people will go and tell his father that you have got the best son. These words which the father hears is the best help a son can do.

If the parents do their duty with attachment and expectation  Then, they will pass on this virus to their kids unconsciously and they will also be attached to something else.

There are cases where the kids are not attached but the parents because of the unlimited expectation and desire will not get satisfied with the actions of the son.

What will satisfy them is someone coming and telling them that there son is the best person and what penance the father must have done to get such a son. Only if the father hears these words from someone – he will be satisfied.

If you are a parent who want to hear these words – just help your children without expectation. This expectation of hearing the words should  not be the motive (no expectation). This is automatic – like – if we do puniya we will be happy. If we help without expectation the consequence is that we will hear from someone that what penance we have done to get such a son. This is the automatic effect of the action.

Husband attached to the wife.

He married a lady. The husband started to expect a child in some years. If the child is not born – he will hate the wife. Suppose, the child is born and it is deaf and dumb. Then, he will hate his wife. The husband marries the women with certain attachment and expectation i.e  She will deliver kids and they will be healthy etc. Is this pure love?

Pure love is without expectation.

Because of the attachment and expectation and constant demand – the kids leave the house in the western countries by 18 years of age or they get out once they get married. Stop demanding / expect and just help them.

I have cut and pasted from my Bhaja govindam article verse 8.

8: Who is your wife ? Who is your son ? Strange is this samsara. Of whom are you ? From where have you come ? Brother, ponder over these truths here.

kaate kaantaa kaste putraH
saMsaaro.ayamatiiva vichitraH .
kasya tvaM kaH kuta aayaataH
tattvaM chintaya tadiha bhraataH

Swami Parthasarathy explanation :

What does this mean?

Who is your wife?

Don’t say – Mrs. X is my wife. He is not asking you to introduce your wife.

Think – who is she?

You met her one day and from the very next day; you cannot live without her.

What is this attachment ? Who is she?

Swamiji  : Is this your  child?

The couples : yes, swamiji – legitimate.

Swamiji : Is he the real father?

The couples : Yes, natural child.

Swamiji : Does the sperm belong to the father?

The couples : yes yes….we are blessed.

Swamiji : How did the sperm come into his body?

The couples : We heard that the food is converted into sperms.

Swamiji : Was the food yours?

The couples : Yes, our own agricultural land.

Swamiji : Did you sit and brought every seed up with your hands to grow? Who gave you this hunger? without which how can you eat?

Hunger is not yours. Food is not yours. Sperm is not yours. How can you say that this is your child?

He is asking us to ponder on these.

The kids are not ours. All kids are natures children. Because of attachment – we think it is ours.

If we develop this thought – we will be able love all kids.

(A plant produces a fruit and it does not think ; it belongs to the plant. It is for serving the world. Similarly, the child might have come out to the world through us – but it does not belong to us – it is natures children).

We experience love because of the partner and the child. Let us not confine it to the family unit. Let this pure love radiate all over. Your love pervade the flora and fauna, hills and valleys and fill up the entire universe.

This universal love is an essential quality for self development.

Lets leave the expectation and help the kids and the spouse. The life will change………

Note : 

  • These might sound very nice and appreciable – but many will think that it is difficult to practice / follow.
  • The only one thing we have to do is to read the scriptures regularly with an open mind. This will bring the necessary change in the attitude without any great effort.
  • Don’t think that you have made the mistakes in life (because of attachment) and lost many relationships.
  • The aim of this article is to make everyone understand the problem ( not to feel guilty ). There is no need for any worry. If we are worrying – we are wasting our precious time.
  • Just read the scriptures and see the difference in your life.
  • All the very best. Start today………………

Also see this  – kahlil gibran on children – Give your love to the kids and not your thoughts……………………….


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