Where Our Treasure Is
Maharaj Charan Singh discusses attachment and desire
Q: It has been said that detachment can come only through attachment. My question is: should desires of the physical world be satisfied or fulfilled to get to the state of detachment?
A: No. By fulfilling your worldly desires, you will not be able to get detached from the world. The more fuel you put on the fire, the more it blazes. The more you desire these worldly things, the more hungry and thirsty you become for them. By trying to satisfy these worldly desires, you will never be able to detach yourself.
Unless you are attached to something better, it will be impossible to detach yourself from the world because the mind is fond of pleasure. Unless it gets something more pleasurable, it will remain attached to worldly pleasures. It always wants more, more and more variety. But when you are able to attach yourself to the spirit and get the pleasure of the nectar within yourself, you will find that pleasure so fulfilling and satisfying that you will automatically become detached from the senses, and that attachment will be able to detach you from the world. Not otherwise.
Q: Is it even possible to fulfil our desires here?
A: Desires can never be fulfilled…. You try to fulfil one or two desires, and the mind creates another twenty. We make a list of twenty, and the mind creates another thirty…. The mind has to rise above these desires and learn to live in the will of the Father. Whatever he gives, we should accept with gratitude. He knows best what to give us. We must have faith in him. Whatever he gives, that is for our advantage, and we should accept it. We shouldn’t desire anything at all.
Q: Maharaj Ji, could you please explain about desires and duty? I tend to get the two slightly confused – not just my desires, but my wife’s desires and my friends’ desires. For example, if you need a car for your occupation, do you get a Volkswagen, a Buick or a Mercedes-Benz? Where to draw the line between desire and duty?
A: You want to know the difference between necessity and desire? Well, you have to make up your own mind whether you can afford a Volkswagen or a Buick or a Lincoln. You have to make up your own mind, even whether you can do without all of them. It depends upon you. If you are becoming so obsessed to possess one, and it is bothering you, so have it. If you can afford it, buy one. If you can get rid of your desire and you can’t afford the car, get rid of the desire…. It depends upon one’s circumstances. If you have a desire to possess a Lincoln but you have no money in the bank, you shouldn’t commit a robbery to buy one. One has to look at one’s economic circumstances. Otherwise, you have to withdraw your mind from such desires.
Q: Master, if before death a disciple had reached a stage where he has no strong attachments to this world … and yet has not been able to still his wandering mind, would that disciple have to be given another birth?
A: It is our attachments that pull us back to the world. As Christ said: If you build your treasure in the world, you come back to the world. If you build your treasure in heaven, you go back to heaven, because where your treasure is, there your heart will be. So our attachments always pull us back to this world. But you will not be able to detach yourself from this creation unless you are attached to something better. And that is the sound within, that light within, that holy ghost within. That melody automatically will detach you from this creation and from the senses.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I