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Sorrow – The Effect Of Attachment – Teaching From Bhagavad Gita

Sorrow – The Effect Of Attachment – Teaching From Bhagavad Gita – Is from ‘Bhagavad Gita Lessons – Gita for Joyful Living’ By Raja Subramaniyan

Mind is divided into four modes based on its function. They are intelligence, mind, ego and memory. The mode of intelligence should be more powerful than the whole mode of mind.

Mind is the term that refers to the thoughts that are oscillating between the alternatives. Thoughts that are not clear, incoherent, illogical belong to the realm of mind. It is the seat of all emotions and feelings. All the sense organs report the information collected from the external world to the mind. When the mind is flooded with information it sways between likes and dislikes.

Intelligence is the term that refers to the thoughts that are decisive in nature. It can differentiate between right and wrong very clearly. It knows what is good for us and what is bad for us. All thoughts that are clear, coherent and logical belong to the realm of intelligence.

Intelligence is not fully developed in children. That is the reason they do not know to distinguish bad from good. However as they grow up, by default everyone develops a perfect intelligence that knows the difference between right and wrong. By nature, all human beings possess a faultless intelligence. This natural quality of intelligence is absent only in mad or mentally retarded people.

Intelligence, by nature knows to differentiate the right from the wrong. Right is something that is good for us and wrong is bad for us. This power of discrimination is the equivalent of the natural instinct prevalent among animals.

Example: A giraffe calf attempts to stand up within minutes after birth. By instinct, it knows that its survival depends on its ability to start walking.

Similarly, all human beings are endowed with a natural instinct of knowing what is right and wrong for them, which is essential for their survival. However, unlike the giraffe calf, this natural quality develops in human beings only when they reach their adulthood.

In order to function in an efficient manner, both the modes of our mind, namely mind and intelligence have to work in unison. Occasionally, it happens that we do work when the mind and intelligence are not in unison. When this happens, there will be a struggle between the mind and intelligence similar to a tug-of-war.

As seen earlier, intelligence knows what is right and it is the duty of the mind to follow intelligence at all times. However, the constant input from the external world influences the mind and causes it to disobey intelligence.

Intelligence gets its strength through knowledge. Education and association with good people gives the intelligence sufficient strength to keep the mind under its control.

When there is too much entertainment and too little education, mind becomes more powerful than intelligence resulting in frequent disobedience. The more we indulge in undesirable sense pleasures, the more the mind is strengthened. The less we acquire knowledge, the less powerful intelligence becomes.

In such situations, mind will start functioning without abiding by the directions laid down by intelligence. Even if the intelligence tells that a particular action will bring about misery to us, the mind will continue to indulge in such action.

Example: A soldier knows that his illicit relationship with the queen will lead him to death. However, his mind will disobey his intelligence paving way for his misery.

In addition, since the mind cannot function alone for long duration without the support of intelligence, it will start influencing intelligence to come to its way.

Example: An intelligent person will start justifying his addiction to smoking since it is not possible for the mind to function without the support of the intelligence for an extended period.

Attachment by definition involves association with an external object. If there is an obstruction to the physical association, one gets anger or fear as detailed in the previous lesson. However, if the object of attachment suffers natural change, decay, destruction or death, one is immersed in sorrow.

It is even more painful if one has to cause the annihilation of the object of attachment through one’s own effort.

 Example: Mercy killing of a pet animal.

It is not that the attachment will lead to sorrow sometime. Attachment and sorrow are two sides of the same coin. It is impossible to have any sorrow without attachment. Attachment invariably begets sorrow. However intelligent one may be it is not possible for him to avoid sorrow without removing the attachment.

No one wants to be sorrowful at anytime during his lifetime. However, everyone is attached to some object or the other. Attachment causes a split between the mind and intelligence. Then it plagues the mind with anger, fear or sorrow and tilts our balance. When anger, fear or sorrow strikes us our calmness and composure leaves us.

We cannot think clearly and our mind will become agitated.

Mind becomes a kite caught in a cyclone. It no longer stays in the control of the thread (intelligence). Various thoughts flood the mind and it becomes inoperative.
One starts talking (lamenting) incoherent words, since the mind is not stable.

Prior to coming to the war, Arjuna’s mind was in full control of his intelligence. He clearly knew that it was his duty to fight and the war was to be fought based on Dharma. However, due to his attachment, instead of seeing enemies, he sees relatives, friends and close associates in the battlefield. The thought, that he has to cause their death, results in sorrow in his mind.