Unraveling the Concept of Detachment in the Bhagavad Gītā

In our daily life, we all go through the two phases or dualities of life. We all want to relish its one phase, but say ‘NO’ to the other phase. We all want to seek good relationships with our friends, relatives and colleagues. However, we don’t want to go through the reverses of life. Some people do not want to accept this, thus they gravely say ‘Chodo ghar dwar, chalo Haridwar’. Bhagavad Gita fails this logic of detachment as a whole. In BG (6.34), Arjuna states the nature of mind (cañcalam hi manah krsna) that is more difficult than controlling the wind. How could one detach by mind? The mind is the root cause of all problems. Avanti Brahman spends his household life in no charity. He was so miser that his family members and his earnings could not help him at the last stage of life. He then understands that his mind is bringing all the material problems.

Unraveling the Concept of Detachment in the Bhagavad Gītā

Similarly, we can consider the examples of Dhruva Maharaj, Bheeshma Deva, Prahalad Maharaj, King Yudhistir, Lord Rishabh Deva and his sons and many others.

The real detachment is the detachment from the hankerings of the mind and senses. This doesn’t mean that one should stop the functioning of the mind and senses. It is not possible to do so. We have to purify our senses in the service of The Lord.

In Bhagavad Gita (3.41-43), there are two methods suggested. One from low to high level i.e. controlling senses first and then go upward to mind, then intelligence. The other alternative is to spiritualize the intelligence to control the mind and senses, i.e. high to low level. We ought to do our prescribed duties. Moreover, we should offer the results of our duties to The Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is termed as the perfection, the Absolute Detachment.

One can confidently consider, “No, I’m not detached.” How can we understand that one is attached or detached? Let’s turn the pages of Bhagavad Gita and go through the cycle of attachment. In BG (2.62-63), The Supreme Personality of Godhead describes this cycle saying, that while contemplating the object of the senses, a person develops an attachment to them. It develops lust and anger. From anger, there grows complete delusion and then bewilderment of memory. Thus it leads to the loss of intelligence. At last, one again swims into the material pool. If we do not want to swim in this material pool, we should learn from the tortoise

(kūrmo ‘ngānīva sarvasah- BG 2.58) how to withdraw senses from sense objects.

The tortoise suitably explains how to break strongly the chain of attachment. Here in this material world, the detachment is broadly seen as per the three modes of nature (BG 18.7-9). As a whole, the concept of Detachment from material hankerings is the concept of Attachment in the service of The Supreme Lord. This category of detachment is completely beyond the three modes of material nature.

Hence, we can go smoothly through the dualities of life, and attain the highest satisfaction.

Bhagavad Gita