While being in family life how can we be detached?
Transcribed by: Sudeep Naik
Question: While being in family life how can we be detached?
Answer: The word detached sometimes have a negative connotation. Sometimes people think that if I become detached I will become uncaring, irresponsible but detachment does not mean becoming uncaring or unfeeling. It simply means that we do not let anything control our feelings.
Dhritarashtra was attached to Duryodhana, and because of his attachment he just went along with whatever Duryodhana wanted. Duryodhana acted viciously and Dhritarashtra consented to that. In Mahabharata when Yudhishthira becomes a king, Narada Muni comes to meet him. Normally when we meet someone we generally say – “how are you”. However, Narada muni asks similar question but in a more informed way. He says, “O King, are you pursuing dharma, artha and kama in balance? Do not pursue dharma at the expense of artha and kama, do no pursue artha at the expense of dharma and kama and do no pursue kama at the expense of dharma and artha.” Dharma refers to our religion or spirituality, artha refers to our profession, kama refers broadly to our family. Mahabharata is telling us to pursue all these three in balance.
By detachment, if we think that I will only be pursuing dharma and neglecting artha and kama then that is a misunderstanding. We have to pursue all three. However, some people are workaholics. They pursue artha so much that they neglect their family, their spirituality. They just become super achievers in their profession but they become utter failures in their life. Their families break apart, children go on a wrong track and they are unhappy. Success in one area of life cannot compensate for failure in another. Professional success cannot compensate for family failure. Similarly, family success cannot compensate for spiritual failure. All these three are separate tracks and we need to progress on all these three tracks in a harmonious way and see that Krishna as God is not just limited to dharma.
It is not that we worship Krishna only when we go to temple, Bhagavad-gita offers us an inclusive vision of God. Krishna says “sva-karmana tam abhyarcya siddhim vindati manavah” (by your work worship the divine). It means that we do not see our family members as just family members but seen them that they are entrusted to us by God. They are also God’s part. Our children are not our children alone, but they are God’s children. We can serve God by taking care of them also. We have certain talent, ability, which we use in our profession. Those talents are gifts given by God to us. Arjuna had archery skill, he excelled in that skill and used it in Krishna’s service. God is not just limited to dharma. If we have proper attitude of service, then artha and kama can be permeated with bhakti bhava. Bhakti integrates dharma, artha and kama, in a spiritual trajectory of our life.
End of transcription.