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Detachment and renunciation

Detachment does not mean to become indifferent to things around us. It does mean to remain unaffected by any situation.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2006 18:59 IST

Detachmentdoesnot mean to become indifferent to things around us. It does mean to remain unaffected by any situation, be it criticism or praise, pain or pleasure, success or failure. When one is attached, one becomes dependent on the object or subject of one's attachment. If one owns it, then one fears losing it.

Renunciation and/or detachment means to let go and let God take over. Let go of the fruit of the action. Swami Satyasangananda says: "With detachment comes a greater feeling of love and unity with those around you. Earlier, you loved only because you were attached to or dependent on the objects of your love for your happiness. So, in fact, you ceased to love. However, with detachment, you experience love which is not bound or restricted by personal likes and dislikes, greed or ambition. The love is devoid of personal motives."

Since attachment means "to be bound", what has it got to do with love? Love is not bound by personal likes and dislikes. You love because you love. But attachment dictates that the one we love act in a certain way to please us. There is a sense of ownership, but strangely, instead of becoming a master, one becomes the slave of "my house, my wife, my car, my jewels, my children..."

If one looks closely, one will notice that we are actually attached to what people provide. We are not attached to the air-conditioner but to the cool air that it provides. In fact, one who is detached loves "better". When one is detached, one is free to enjoy every pleasure of life but "in control", not "controlled". Most people are confused about what detachment means. Most think that it means "indifference". So people throw out the baby with the bath water. Which means that they stop loving because they think that "loving" will lead to attachment.

But as Swami Satyasangananda states: "It is only after you have developed a universal attachment to everything around you that you will begin to experience inner detachment."

First Published: Jan 27, 2006 18:59 IST