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"Stay detached"

If I was to do an assignment, I may put my whole heart but I should not allow the work to control me. Or, it would kill me, says Sanjay Bhattacharyya.

india Updated: Jun 03, 2003 12:08 IST

My meetings with various sadhus during my trips around the country have resulted in a new meaning of spirituality. One lesson I got from a certain sadhu was during a trip to Rishikesh. I asked him if he was happy being a sadhu. He smiled and nodded his head. His explanation was that by being a sadhu, he could attain a stage of mental peace. This, according to the sadhu, was possible by the philosophy of detachment. This gave him immense peace. He left me with an impression that a detached approach to life is the key to happiness.

Thereafter I met many other sadhus and I have come to a conclusion that spirituality lies in what you do. And it should reflect in your life as well. Therefore, in all that I do, I have to make a conscious attempt to stay detached. This means if I was to do an assignment, I may put my whole heartbut I should not allow the work to control me. Or, it would kill me.

I have seen how people would swear they’d die if they fail to do certain things. Ultimately they don’t die even if it does not materialise. But mentally, they kill themselves. That’s the outcome of attachment with what they do. That’s what I want to avoid.

I remember in ’92, I had to give up a show in Mumbai after putting in much labour. The Babri Masjid riot took place and I had to cancel the exhibition that I was preparing for a long time. This would have been a devastating blow if I had attached all my being into it. But my approach was as if I was doing the show for others and not for myself. That detached approach helped me gain my peace of mind.

To be at peace, I don’t even meditate. All I do is keep my eyes open. I go to temples not as a devotee but as an artist. I look at the architecture and admire the texture. I do not meditate but it’s in my head. I look at their beauty and appreciate the design.

Even as a child I was always like that. I don’t remember visiting a temple. That’s why I like the cathedral, the masjid and temples with the same fervour. I treat spirituality as a weapon to fight pain.

First Published: Jun 03, 2003 11:51 IST