The Consequences of Attachment

The Consequences of Attachment

Truth or Consequences by Einalem
Truth or Consequences by Einalem

In the Bhagavad Gita, dharma has dropped and 2 opposing sides have drawn up for battle on the Kurukshetra plains of India. Many of the warriors are siddhas, able to hit their targets without fail. Prince Arjuna, leader of the Pandavas, is offered either Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, or his army to assist him. He chooses Krishna. They ride a chariot out between the 2 battle lines and a deep discussion ensues.

Arjuna sees the situation as impossible as it will only end in destruction. Krishna teaches him the value of right action, of restoring dharma, and of Yoga, withdrawing from the senses through transcending the mind and thus discovering the deeper reality within. Established in Yoga, the intellect is unwavering, the mind is clear, and action effective. Arjuna’s enlightenment unfolds.

Krishna says:

The turbulent senses, O son of Kunti,
forcibly carry away the mind even of
a discerning man who endeavours
(to control them)…

Pondering on objects of the senses,
a man develops attachment for them;
from attachment springs up desire,
and desire gives rise to anger.

From anger arises delusion;
from delusion unsteadiness of memory;
from unsteadiness of memory destruction of intellect;
through the destruction of the intellect he perishes.

But he who is self-disciplined,
who moves among the objects of the senses
with the senses freed from attachment
and aversion and under his own control,
he attains to ‘grace’.

– Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2, verse 60, 62-4
Translation by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

In the first verse, Krishna describes how attachment to the objects of our senses leads the mind here and there.

Attachment leads to a desire for more. The frustration of that desire leads to anger. This leads to stress and action against life. Yet the cause is attachment, not life.

Railing against our life leads to mistaken ideas, like that we’re not good enough or expecting life owes us something. This is delusion. Delusion leads to mistakes of memory as we’re out of touch with the reality of our life.

Without a stable perspective of life and with faulty memory, the intellect cannot distinguish the truth and makes bad choices. That can lead to our demise.

We’re seeing this being acted out in the world now. Delusion and “fake news” are widespread, with many confused about what is true.

Most of us don’t fall quite as far as death, but we can certainly get ourselves twisted in delusion. Without the anchor of the Self within, we are adrift on the ocean of change, samsara.

Notice how he says in the first verse this happens even for the person trying to control the senses. This is a key point that is often missed – especially with verses like the last. “Under his own control” suggests this is the means. However, the first verse has said otherwise.

The key is “freed from attachment.” Otherwise, the senses are still in charge. How do we free attachments? By transcending the mind and intellect and experiencing our true nature within.

This also develops a stable platform for the intellect (which becomes resolute with Self Realization) and we progress back up the chain, resolving memory, delusion, anger, and attachment.

He whose intellect is united (with the Self)
casts off both good and evil [duality] even here.
Therefore, devote yourself to Yoga.
Yoga is skill in action.
– Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2, verse 50

What is Yoga?

Yoga is the complete settling of the activity of the mind
Then the observer is established in the Self [in his own nature].
– Yoga Sutra of Patanjali Chapter 1, verse 2-3

This brings the ability to be self-disciplined naturally, without trying. Free of attachment, we achieve grace.

Another important part from this chapter:

You have control [choice] over action alone,
never over its fruits [results].
Live not for the fruits of action,
nor attach yourself to inaction.

Established in Yoga, O winner of wealth,
perform actions having abandoned attachment
and having become balanced in success and failure,
for balance of mind is called Yoga.
– Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2, verse 47-8

In this case, the Yoga is established. Established in Yoga is established in the Self or Self Realized. The mind is balanced because the drivers described earlier are resolved, the intellect is resolute, and the Self is established.

The Bhagavad Gita is a brilliant discourse on living a practical and fulfilled life.

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  1. Lightening up is much needed and yet it does seem society and the collective subconscious needed to give expression and bring to the light the pain and injustice that has long been overlooked. Not its easy to look and feel all the difficult feelings and layers of painful personal and social trauma. It is interesting that Krishna and his army took opposite sides. How did his soldiers feel about fighting against their own leader? Of course when figuring out the “order of battle” who would not want the Absolute on your side versus the relative? So it was a wise choice by Arjuna which may be the point of any difficult decision when you are forced to choose sides where loyalty is owed to both. We are seeing this play out right now in Washington DC.

    1. Hi Harrison
      Yes, another challenging wave of what has been in shadow coming to the surface to be seen. Do we look or turn away, obliging it to come up again?
      There is a real intensity of agitation in the collective at the moment. I hope that eases soonest.
      They don’t speak to how his army felt but it was a pretty devastating battle, after the teaching completed. A clearing the slate, so to speak. Too many had adopted the dark side.

      1. Lynette

        The Bhagavad-Gita speaks true to my situation right now. About going to fight against your loved ones when you have tried every avenue nothing worked and therefore need to seek legal advice. I feel like I am the Arjuna in this battle. However after reading Krishna’s response it is still difficult. However I get it by doing nothing there is still consequences, the question is can I live with those consequence,? So difficult. Hoping there is another way.

        1. Hi Lynette
          There are seers who suggest the battle of Kurukshetra, between light and dark, is taking place right now. World events are side effect of that.
          Yes, not acting is still a choice with consequences. The key is going beyond the field of action and syncing with source. That brings us in harmony with nature and then our actions flow smoothly and completely. No residual karma.
          Of course, there are degrees of that as we move in that direction.
          In the current time, there is a lot of fear in the collective. This makes seeing truth, the last leg of dharma, more challenging. But again, connecting to source brings peace and clarity, in increments.
          Overall, remember this is a process. We’re in a short darker cycle. It’s a chance to do some deeper healing so when the light rises it will rise much higher.

  2. David, that was another excellent post. For many Hindus the Bhagavad Gita is the only text they have read completely. Few of them have read all of the Vedas or the Upanishads. Few yet have read the entirety of the epic Mahabharata, of which the Gita is a part, or the Ramayana.

  3. I am struck by your statement that too many had adopted the dark side. Hmmmm….bible waving tear gassing despot or a unifier who respects human rights? You can’t help but wonder how this particular drama will resolve itself.

    1. Hi Harrison
      If you consider the article, when the intellect gets faulty we make bad choices. They can seem very right and supported by many. And yet they promote division and discrimination.
      We can approach it 2 ways:
      – does this move toward uniting or dividing?
      – does this feel connecting or dividing?
      The details of how it will resolve will depend on the choices of many. But the end result is clear.
      Consider we’re in a rising age and the impurities are coming up to be cleared. We can work through our stuff and come out the other side lighter and refreshed. Or we can resist the changes until they’re forced. That leads to a much more difficult process but the end result it the same.
      It’s also worth noting that the leader of a country is a reflection of the population as a whole. They would change if the population changes. Blaming them for acting out the countries junk is confusing the source of it. Changing the party or the government won’t change much unless the people change.

  4. So true David – and it is interesting how for 8 years we had someone like Obama leading the country and then end up with his polar opposite; two steps forward and then a step back? the good news is the extent people are coming out denial and feeling into the collective pain and hurt of the “isms” like racism that have been so damaging for such a long time — we had a shift in acceptance of gay rights and inclusion not a long ago and maybe we are ready for another shift if we can own our part of this collective trauma

    1. Hi Harrison
      It’s more an embodiment of the time. The US (also UK and EU) has moved into a Rahu dasha (North node). The current president embodies Rahu and was born on an eclipse. From what I understand, the country has been learning and the need for that exemplar is falling away.
      So yes, a lot of long-suppressed issues have been coming to the surface in that process. MeToo, BLM, 1%, LGBTQ+, decriminalizing, etc.

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