02.44 – Are my attachments holding me or am I holding my attachments?

by October 24, 2012

As aspiring devotees, we often find that our attachments abduct and drag our consciousness away from Krishna, as the Bhagavad-gita (2.44) outlines. Consequently, we may feel that our attachments are to blame: they are holding us in a vicious grip and we can’t do much about it. This feeling may even make us rationalize continued indulgence.

Gita wisdom cautions us against assuming that our attachments are to blame. The blame might well lie with us; instead of our attachments holding us, we might be holding our attachments.

Let’s understand the difference between the two.

When the sense objects to which we are attached unexpectedly come in our way without our desire to encounter them and thus trap us, then our feeling that the attachments are holding us is justified.

More frequently, however, we are not so innocent. Although we externally say that we want to be detached, we internally hold on to the desire to enjoy the associated pleasure. We hope to somehow still enjoy that pleasure. We even plan to encounter those tempting sense objects. If any or all of these – desires, hopes, and plans – precede our being entrapped, then it is we who are holding on to our attachments.

Significantly, this recognition doesn’t have to be guild-inducing or depressing; it can be empowering and liberating. It can make us aware that we have the power to hold on to certain thoughts internally. If we just redirect this power devotionally, we can hold on to Krishna internally by cultivating desires to love and serve him. Such devotional redirection will crowd all attachments out of our heart. Not only that, it will fill our heart with joyous Krishna-thoughts, thereby making our journey towards Krishna sweet and swift.

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