In this second part of the series ‘ऋतश्री – the True Beauty,’ the theme we explore is – Attachment.
The coming of new year brings with it a time to rekindle one’s innermost aspiration, to make renewed efforts with greater sincerity and a more complete surrender. It is also a time for a sincere aspirant to reflect upon what comes in the way of proceeding on the sunlit path, and to seek greater light on how to reject the wrong impulses, wrong movements. Attachment is one such movement that must be rejected.
But how can we really let go of the various attachments that bind us? Giving up of objects or possessions is meaningless if we can’t let go of the attachment to what those objects or possessions represent. The object or possession here is not merely a material one; we are equally, perhaps even more strongly attached to people in our lives, our human relations, our mental ideas, preferences, actions etc. Essentially, our attachment is to our ego-self and the people and objects and ideas are merely extensions of this ego-self.
Perhaps the path of letting go of all attachments becomes easier if we can find a way to ‘attach’ ourselves to something higher, something Divine – within us, in others, in everything and everyone around us. We will then be able to gradually shift from our attachment to the outer forms and begin to ‘feel’ more and be in touch with the ‘real’ thing within, the essence and the formless truth of the spirit within the form. To make this shift from an attachment with the outer to a new kind of detached-identification with the inner truth behind the external form is what is needed if we want to progress on the path of true inner renunciation while living and working in the world with all its delights.
“The rejection of the object ceases to be necessary when the object can no longer ensnare us because what the soul enjoys is no longer the object as an object but the Divine which it expresses; the inhibition of pleasure is no longer needed when the soul no longer seeks pleasure but possesses the delight of the Divine in all things equally without the need of a personal or physical possession of the thing itself; self-denial loses its ﬁeld when the soul no longer claims anything, but obeys consciously the will of the one Self in all beings. It is then that we are…released into the liberty of the Spirit.”
(Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, 23: 333)
If we must attach ourselves to something, let us attach to the Divine.
“There’s only one salvation: to cling to the Divine like this (gesture with two fists). Not clinging to what one thinks of the Divine, not even to what one feels of the Divine… to an aspiration… an aspiration as sincere as possible. And cling to that.”
(The Mother, Agenda, 12: 198)
Orchid: Attachment to the Divine
The Mother gave to the orchid flower the spiritual significance – Attachment to the Divine. Orchids are considered to be the largest family of flowering plants and also the most highly evolved.
“Perfect attachment to the Divine replaces all vital attractions and passions.”
(The Mother, CWM, 14: 128)
“Keep yourself free from all human attachment and you will be happy.”
(The Mother, CWM, 14: 284)
“Very rare and exceptional are the human beings who can understand and feel divine Love, because divine Love is free of attachment and of the need to please the object loved.”
(The Mother, Agenda, 6: 237)
Disciple: What is the most effective way of overcoming desires and attachments: to cut them off all at one stroke, even at the risk of breaking down, or to advance slowly and surely by eliminating them carefully one by one?
The Mother: Both these ways are equally ineffective. The normal result of both these methods is that you deceive yourself, you delude yourself that you have overcome your desires, whereas at best you are merely sitting on them—they remain repressed in the subconscient until they explode there and cause an upheaval in the whole being.
It is from within that you must become master of your lower nature by establishing your consciousness firmly in a domain that is free of all desire and attachment because it is under the influence of the divine Light and Force. It is a long and exacting labour which must be undertaken with an unfailing sincerity and a tireless perseverance.
In any case, you should never pretend to be more perfect than you are, and still less should you be satisfied with false appearances.
(The Mother, CWM, 16: 301-302)
“One who has put aside liking and disliking, who is indifferent, who is freed from all attachment and all fetters, who has conquered all the worlds, this hero I consider to be a Brahmin.”
(The Mother, CWM, 3: 296)
“May all escape from the ordinary consciousness and be delivered from the attachment for material things; may they awake to the knowledge of Thy divine presence, unite themselves with Thy supreme consciousness and taste the plenitude of peace that springs from it.”
(The Mother, CWM, 1:74)
“There is no sin in attachment. All human beings are full of attachments. But if one wants to do Yoga and reach the Divine, one must give up all earthly attachments. It is not easy to do so, even for a sadhak, but it must be attempted sincerely and, if it is sincerely attempted, then it can be done.”
(Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, 35: 710)
“Ananda is one thing and vital enjoyment is another. One can have the rasa of a beautiful thing, for instance a picture, without wanting or needing to possess it or turn it to one’s own purpose. Where that want comes in, there is vital desire. The sign of freedom from attachment is that one has no craving and can do without things without feeling anything for that or disappointment at their loss or absence or hankering or wish to have them. If one has, one takes the rasa in a free unattached way—if one does not get or loses them, it makes not the slightest difference. The true Ananda is the Ananda of the Divine and when one has the Yogic consciousness, it is the Divine one sees everywhere and has the Ananda of that, but there is no attachment to objects as objects.”
(Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, 31: 254)
“About the attachment to things, the physical rejection of them is not the best way to get rid of it. Accept what is given you, ask for what is needed and think no more of it—attaching no importance, using them when you have, not troubled if you have not. That is the best way of getting rid of the attachment.”
(Sri Aurobindo, CWSA, 31: 254)
“Attachment for the Divine wraps itself around the Divine and finds all its support in Him so as to be sure never to leave Him.”
(The Mother, CWM 14: 21)
“There is only one way for you. It is a total, complete and unconditional surrender. What I mean by that is the giving up not only of your actions, work, ambitions, but also of all your feelings, in the sense that all that you do, all that you are, is exclusively for the Divine. So, you feel above the surrounding human reactions—not only above them but protected from them by the wall of the Divine’s Grace. Once you have no more desires, no more attachments, once you have given up all necessity of receiving a reward from human beings, whoever they are—knowing that the only reward that is worth getting is the one that comes from the Supreme and that never fails—once you give up the attachment to all exterior beings and things, you at once feel in your heart this Presence, this Force, this Grace that is always with you.
“And there is no other remedy. It’s the only remedy, for everybody without exception. To all those who suffer, it is the same thing that has to be said: all suffering is the sign that the surrender is not total.”
(The Mother, CWM, 15: 398)
All photos were taken at Merveille, a marvellous afforestation project of Sri Aurobindo Ashram near Lake Ousterri.