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Question: Acharya Ji Pranaam! Once we are attached to anything, there is so much of suffering.
Please help me understand this.
Acharya Prashant Ji: End of suffering is just an idea for us. Let’s rather talk about suffering – that is a fact, that is our daily experience. The questioner is quoting me from somewhere. The quote runs this way, “Once you are attached to nothing, that is the end of suffering.”
I am saying that the end of suffering is a mere concept. Do you know the end of suffering? Do you have any closeness or any familiarity with it? So don’t talk about the ‘end of suffering’, talk only about ‘suffering’.
You know suffering. Where does it come from? Where does it come from? It comes from pursuing paths that lead to nowhere, rather they just turn around at some point and bring you back where you started from.
That is what is called in India as – a cycle of birth and death.
You thought that the path you are taking is leading you somewhere, but it’s kind of circular. It took you this way, this way, this way, this way and it brought you back. And at no point was there a clear U-turn. There was no way for you to clearly be warned at some time that you are just going to return to the beginning point.
The roundabout was huge, you never got a clear indication that you are being made a fool of. You continued on the wrong path not seeing it’s futility and the suffering contained in it.
Continuing on the wrong path for a stretch of time is called ‘attachment’.
If you are with the Right One, it is called ‘Immersion’.
If you are with the wrong one, and not even prepared to see that you are with the wrong one, it is called ‘attachment’.
It is called ‘attachment’ because the two of you would anyway never be able to fully unite.
You can atmost be attached to each other.
You will never mix properly, you never merge into each other, you will never disappear into each other. You will never lose your respective personalities, that you will retain. But in some way you will find a cord to connect you two – like two persons walking hand-in-hand.
Have they renounced their respective individualities? Have they? Both of them have retained what they are.
He has his personality, she has her personality. He has his likes, she has her likes. He has his own thoughts, she has her own thoughts. But the two are nevertheless holding hands. This is the kind of union that we know of.
This is called ‘attachment’.
‘Attachment’ is superficial union.
‘Immersion’ is when there is Yoga, when there is dissolution, when the two are lost.
When the two are lost into the One that is neither of the two.
We atmost get attached, and attachment is always-always with the wrong one.
You can never be attached to the Right One.
You are losing out in so many ways.
First of all, it was not your desire to be attached. Your desire was to be lost, your desire was to be dissolved, instead you got a bad deal. All you got is ‘attachment’. You know it is called a ‘Faustian bargain’ – when you give up something very precious, for something very small. Attachment is a ‘Faustian bargain’. The possibility of dissolution was available to you and you forsake that possibility just to get some attachment.
Do you know what ‘dissolution’ is?
Dissolution is – A meets B, and what remains is neither A nor B. Gone both of them. Into what? Into nothing.
‘Attachment’ is – A meets B, A remains and B remains, and both remain chained to each other.
A meets B, A remains and B remains, and both remain chained to each other. That is ‘attachment’. Neither A sees that he is going down the wrong track, nor does B, and both are travelling the huge roundabout of life. None of them is realising that it is not taking them anywhere, it is only consuming away their precious life.
Not only are they being deceived by the track, they are also hell to each other.
First of all they are not getting what they ought to get, what is their birthright in the real-sense. Additionally, both of them are eating away at each other’s brains.
Consider a car that is first of all going down the wrong road, secondly it has a husband and wife that are bickering, and shouting, and hitting at each other. First of all the track that the car has taken is wrong, secondly the occupants of the car are busy eating each other out.
That is ‘attachment’. That is ‘suffering’.
The cultural problem is that we have turned attachment into a virtue.
Do you easily confess before someone that you are assaulting somebody, or that you are stealing from somebody? Do you easily confess it? And if you confess it, do you expect sympathy in return? Do you? Do you just go and confess to someone that you are a murderer? You don’t easily, right?
But I get so many cases.
A girl would come and say, “Acharya Ji, there is somebody. I met him in my college days, and you know I have become so attached to him.” The lady really expects me to empathise with her condition. She is looking me in the eye and saying, “Acharya Ji, I have really become attached to him. Please do something. You know him.” What I hear is thousand watt fire alarm. Ping, Pong! Ping, pong!
“Acharya Ji, I met him a few years back. I have become really attached to him.” How dare you say this? No, I am not in favour of concealment, but I am just wondering. Would you be equally forthcoming and tell me, “Acharya Ji, I have murdered my neighbour, please sympathise with me.” Would you do that? Would you do that? You won’t do that, right?
“Acharya Ji, you know I am a Kleptomaniac. Just when I was coming to meet you, I stole from the taxi driver.” Would you tell that to me? You would be ashamed. Right? Why aren’t you equally ashamed when you talk of attachment? Why do you come over and talk of attachment as if it is something precious and delicate, something worth mentioning?
“Acharya Ji, I am so attached to him.”
You say, “Acharya Ji, I am so attached to him,” what I hear is, “Acharya Ji, I want to drink his blood.”
Our culture has turned attachment into value. We don’t feel ashamed admitting that we are attached, and because we don’t feel ashamed we keep encouraging our attachments, we keep empowering them. No alarm goes on in our minds when we feel attachment. We feel there is something beautiful happening in us.
“You know, attachment. It is very proximate to love. They are very much synonymous you know – attachment and Love.” That’s what we feel, that’s what our culture has fed into us.
Attachment is poison, what does it have to do with Love?
And often these things are uttered in whispers, and this too I don’t understand. How is evil so closely related to whispering? (Speaking in a whispering voice) “You know Acharya Ji, I am attached.” The lady is almost moaning – “I am attached.” I feel like looking for cover. Security.
It is a dirty thing, it stinks. If you raise it in this hall, it smells like putrefied flesh.
“Acharya Ji, please help me.”
“What exactly do you mean by that?”
“Acharya Ji, give him to me.”
This is the help that the attached person wants – “Give me the object I crave for.”
“What will you do with it?”
“I will eat him out.”
Dissolution, or Surrender, or disappearance are anyway not your objective.
Your objective is consumption.
You want to consume the other fellow – that is ‘attachment’.
Watch the session video: Want to know what attachment is? || Acharya Prashant (2019) The transcription has been edited for clarity.
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