“Moh-Maya” – Attachment, Allurements, What is this attachment? Is being attached emotionally and personally not good for a peaceful life? Lord Krishna in Gita asks us to renounce this attachment, why? These are some of the questions I was faced with while driving to office with one of my colleagues, who was quite aggrieved with some of his family problems. He was concerned with his own emotional disturbance on getting to hear from his wife that he is more attached towards his parents than his wife. His attachment with both his parents and his wife were equal for him and he had difficulty in prioritizing one relation over the other. Are we all not continuously engaged in this dilemma only?
Loving any relation or an object does not mean we eliminate other such things from our life. Love can be exclusive as well as inclusive. When we feel love towards one article living or non living we actually have developed a capacity to generate feelings of love. Once this feeling is generated why do we need to suppress it by not loving other similar articles? By suppressing we actually betray our own feelings. We need not have this feeling generated exclusively for only one such person but let our feeling of love grow to encompass all those who come near us. There can also not be degrees of love but yes we can have different forms of love. Patriarchal or maternal love with our children, affectionate love with our siblings, intimate love with our spouse, clinging love with our parents, jocular love with our friends and so on and so forth. Love cannot be less or more with different relations, it can only change its form which sometimes gives it an impression of lesser or higher degree of love.
This love gives rise to attachment and this attachment gives rise to the feeling of possessiveness. Now that is the problem. When we love someone we expect the same love from that person towards ourselves and start to have possessiveness by expecting to possess the same love from that other person. When we love our car do we expect our car also to love us the same way, no absolutely not, how can the car love us the same way as we do? Because we are not aware of the way car can also us so we don’t expect it from it then why do we expect the same from a living human, just because we are aware of his capacity to love, why can’t love be unconditional? This expectation of love in return is what gives rise to attachment. Attachment is thus our own expectation from others as well as from self.
We expect ourselves to do our best to see that the one whom we love does not get hurt in any way, physically or emotionally. We want to do the best for ones we love and in doing so we sometimes encroach on other person’s freedom. We sometimes show more concern for some with respect to others in our circle of love. This creates exclusiveness for some and exclusion for others. It is this exclusion which starts hurting others in the same circle. The concept of detachment given in Gita and other Indian philosophical tenets enunciates to exclude this exclusivity from our lives. It accepts the freedom of others from one’s own exclusive circle of affection.
It is where my colleague’s wife comes in the picture when she expects exclusivity from her husband and wants to exclude others from her husband’s circle of affection. But then again it is not that the wife wants to exclude all others from this circle but there will be some other set of people whom she would expect to find within her husband’s circle of affection like her own children, her friends, her own parents and siblings and other such persons, which occupy important places within her own circle of affection. This gives rise to another concept of congruency of two circles of affections, one wife’s own and other of the husband. Similar congruency is expected by the husband with respect to his wife’s circle of love. Wherever this congruency is perfectly established there is no clash of expectations and where this congruency is not established it gives rise to the conflict of affection.
In order to escape from this conflict we keep on establishing congruencies with other circles and thus create bondage with other persons. We start feeling it as an obligation to return love since we ourselves expect it from others and then require a place of our own circle within the circles of all the members of our circle.
Attachment is thus one’s own expectations from his own circle of affection and of all those who are within this circle of affection. A complicated situation of multiple congruencies with multiple sets of these circles gives rise to different set of conflicts. The detachment process requires not trying to build this congruency and let each such circle of function flourish on its own. Every such circle with its own individual constituent should not try to get itself included in each such constituent’s individual circle. Every person should keep themselves detached from other such circles and that is what detachment would truly mean. Not loving is not the release from Moh-Maya, but keeping yourself aloof from other person’s circles of affection is a true release from this bondage.