What is Attachment? What is Desire?
In every circumstance, we have an option to follow preya, which is unproductive to our evolution, or shreya, which is productive to our evolution (independent joy). The purpose of this course is to guide us to choose shreya.
Philosophical Question: Why should I act?
Answer: To help the world. Doing and knowing are not mutually exclusive. The more you do, the more you come to know about your nature. Seva is the means to enlightenment, and the expression of enlightenment. The more intentional we are, the more integration there is between our intellect, mind and body.
In Kathopanishad, Nachiketa prays for his family, his community, and then divinity of self. Learn to grow your strengths and expand your love.
Practical Question: What is responsibility?
Answer: Living. Living never ends. Work never ends. We will brood less. When we are working, we are immersed in what we are doing and won’t have anxiety about tomorrow.
Prince Arjuna’s Question: Chapter 3, Verse 2
“With this apparently perplexing speech you confuse, as it were, my understanding; therefore, tell me that ONE way by which, I, for certain, may attain the Highest.”
Prince Arjuna asks definitively what path he must follow. How should one act? This indicates that Prince Arjuna’s mind is still not quiet enough, but he has immense perseverance.
Bhagavan Krishna’s Answer: Chapter 3, Verse 19
“Therefore, always perform actions which should be done, without attachment; for, by performing action without attachment, man attains the Supreme.”
As you act, act in a detached way. We often confuse attachment as love. In our relationships with others, we tend to have objective and subjective expectations. We need to let go of the subjective expectations. If unattached, then unaffected by likes and dislikes.
Don’t just work, but do the right work. Work hard and work smart, by always keeping in mind: “What would the Wise do?”.
How do you know when you reach the highest gain? When you no longer seek gain.
Philosophical Question: What path should I follow
Philosophical Answer: Karma Yoga (Intention Path)
Practical Question: What is attachment?
Practical Answer: Dependency. Dependent on others completing us (being insecure). We can drop this attachment by remembering that all of us are limited. If all are limited, we will stop using others as reference.
Reflection: Why is it important to take a systematic approach towards self-development in your own life?
Self-development is an immense investment, that it’s important to make sure that you are doing it the right way.
Prince Arjuna’s Question, Chapter 3 Verse 36:
“But, impelled by what does man commit sin, though against his wishes, O Varshneya, constrained, as it were, by force?”
Prince Arjuna is frustrated that he is not following what is right, even when he knows what the right path is.
Bhagavan Krishna’s Answer, Chapter 3 Verse 37:
“It is desire, it is anger born of the ‘active’, all-devouring, all-sinful;know this as the foe here (in this world).”
Bhagavan explains that Prince Arjuna is faltering because he is feeling incomplete and seeking completeness in an extroverted way. Desire (kama) and Anger (krodha) are expressions of rajas, or preya– the unproductive and impulsive path. Desire and anger come in like a tornado and cause destruction (agitation). For Prince Arjuna, his enemies are not the Kauravas, but rather, his desire and anger. For one who has no internal enemies, they have no external enemies either.
Philosophical Question: Why am I faltering?
Philosophical Answer: Your nature is stronger than you are trying.
Practical Question: What is desire?
Practical Answer: Extroversion.
How to put an end to extroversion? Have high quality friends, and engage in high quality input.
Reflection: Why do you use finite articles, beings, and circumstances to try and complete yourself in an infinite way?
Because we don’t know the nature of the finite, nor the nature of the infinite.
Group Reflection: In everything we do, we need the patience to engage in a step-by-step approach in order to gain something. If we don’t have that patience, we can end up feeling dejected and confused when we don’t understand what is going on. Planning is crucial for self-development. It’s more important to start small and apply what we’ve learned rather than acquiring all the knowledge without pausing to understand the material.
We suffer from a vasana known as the shastra vasana, where we want to know more without actually feeling more. If we don’t practice, we are not acting in a systematic way.
Individual Reflection: Attachment is I + I want. It is formed by the manifestation of vasanas into desire, which then manifest into actions and thoughts. When no other thought can be entertained in the mind, that attachment has evolved into an obsession. How do we act in the world without forming attachments? Through karma yoga: perform actions in the world as offering to God (isvara arpana buddhi) while accepting the results as they come (prasada buddhi). When we remove the ego, or the I, there is no I want, hence no attachment.
- How to prevent emotional burnout during seva?
Know your strengths, and slowly build them to expand to serving more people. Also, recognize that it is not you who is serving, but that you are an ambassador or instrument of Bhagavan, which will give you more strength. The quieter your mind, the more you have to give- the more sadhana you do, the more seva you can do.
2. Are emotions considered to be bad in Vedanta?
We tend to make emotions more real than what they are- thoughts. Challenge yourself to recognize what type of thoughts your emotions are.
3. If everything (food, body, thoughts) is Brahman, where is free will?
In infinity, there is no becoming, which is associated with free will. In being, there is no choosing, no free will. At the end of Bhagavad Gita, Prince Arjuna declares that he is going to do what Bhagavan wants him to do. Bhagavan’s leela is God’s will.