Home Wisdom Articles Pujya Gurudevshri Pujya Gurudevshri Insights Love or Attachment?

Love or Attachment?

Have you ever experienced a shift in a close relationship, from love to possessiveness or conditions; and felt lost? Pujya Gurudevshri elucidates the difference between love and attachment and how the latter sullies our relationships. Read on to gain deeper insights into this

Love is a feeling that has been eulogised even by the Enlightened Ones. Lord Buddha calls it the supreme state of meditation. Jesus Christ has called love as God. Saints like Narada and Shandilya too have sung the glory of love in aphorisms on devotion.

Harbouring Other Inclinations

The nature of love is often misunderstood. In the name of love, you nurture other inclinations and so very soon your so-called love is reduced to hatred. The truth is, you love yourself the most and so you exploit your near and dear ones, try to own and dominate them and even become manipulative and crafty at times. You love them because you see them as a part of your egoistic identity. Your love for them lasts only so long as they feed your ego with reverence, honour and support. The moment they hurt your ego, your love fades away. Such ‘love’ is attachment, it’s not true love.

You want your family to be your image. But you forget that they have their own destiny, their own choices. If you enforce your ways on them, they will never be able to blossom into themselves, they will always remain discontent and bewildered. You beg for love and respect from them, but you do not realise that you must become worthy of their love. When you demand love from them, they are compelled to wear masks and fake love. There is no truth in their loving conduct, it is just mockery.

True Love

True love is completely free from attachment. It can never desire to own others. Instead it severs the knots of attachment. It is an exchange of independence. If you have experienced true love at any time in your life, you would certainly have experienced the joy of freedom at that moment.

Saints have called such love as dharma. It is like a smokeless flame. But when you peep into your lives, you can see only bitter experiences of love. Your love emits such dark smoke of negativities that it hides the flame of true love. It is this type of love that is to be renounced. The smoke in love is due to the dampness of attachment, ego and expectations.

When Does Love Become Bondage?

When expectations begin in love, there come conditions, insistences, disputes and power struggles. Such a love becomes the cause of bondage. But the love that flows to and for all gives liberation. Love is very precious… but not the love you are familiar with. You consider the impurities in love as love. True love lies hidden within these impurities. Search and you too shall find it.

Love means to give and not expect, to share and not demand, to distribute and not possess. Love is an extension of happiness within. Love means wishing for the welfare of all. Love is to see all blossom. Such love emerges when I-ness and my-ness get annihilated. The sense of ‘I’ and ‘my’ are not a form of love; instead, they are its enemies. Both are malignant and destroy love. They make life dry and barren like a desert.

Running Away from Love

When ego is surrendered in a relationship you experience joy and not otherwise. But because it is mostly difficult for you to let go of your ego, you experience more pain than joy in relationships. And so you choose to run away from the world and so also from love.

Even the so-called religious people have chosen the path of escapism. They fear being with people and go away into forests, mountains and ashrams.

Unfortunately, not being able to analyse correctly that their ego is the cause of sorrows in their relationships, they see love as worldliness and want to keep away from it. When you run away from love, you end up strengthening your ego. Not finding an altar to surrender your individuality, your ego becomes very strong and deep-seated.

Love – the Altar of Surrender

In love alone, you can surrender your ego. Have you not experienced that when you are in love with someone, you are able to effortlessly surrender your individuality? It may be love for the Divine, or for an ordinary person. The process remains the same. It is a unique experience, even if it lasts only a few moments.

Where there is pure love – that is, where ‘I’ and ‘my’ do not arise – everything looks rosy. In the beginning of any relationship, say in marriage, the couple is very happy because they are ready to let go of their I-ness and my-ness. But the moment their ego arises, the lovers get buried and from their tombs arise a husband and wife who want to possess and dominate. From here begins a series of tragedies.

The moment you ‘own’ a woman as wife you have put her in the cage of your ego. Now, even if you give her clothes or ornaments, just like the caged bird is not happy being in an ornamented cage, she will not experience the joy of freedom. This forces her to either break free from your ego-cage or bring you into her own cage. Expectations, insecurity, jealousy, possessiveness, etc. arise. ‘You belong to only me and no one else’, ‘You must think the way I want you to think’, ‘You must conduct yourself the way I want you to behave’… this is violence, not love.

Owning someone in love is not love; rather, it is the corpse of love. The sense of my-ness pronounces the end of love. Possessiveness suffocates and kills independence, so it is a distorted form of love. If love is nectar, attachment is poison. Unlike love, it demands more; it is never satisfied.

Love and Attachment

‘How do I differentiate between love and attachment?’ The one veiled by delusion can see no distinction between love and attachment. He cannot recognise their distinctly different characteristics.

Love is the blossoming of the heart. How can you not know when the flower of your heart opens up! Even if you want, it cannot remain hidden from yourself or others. Love is a revolution. It is the death of ego. There cannot be a greater revolution than that. Because the end of ego is the dawn of Divinity. When ego vacates the seat in your heart, the Lord occupies it. Attachment is a kind of relationship. Love is not. It is a state of being and so it flows towards all. Love is like a lit lamp that gives light to all around, with no bias whatsoever.

Love is an awakened state of the Self. In attachment, you are asleep, deluded, sad and wish for other’s company to become happy. The most amusing thing is that the one from whom you expect happiness is also searching for happiness. What happens when two beggars or two sad people meet? Naturally, their sadness increases. Both expect from each other, console each other, and become prey to each other’s bait.

You enjoy being in delusion until it begins to pain you. When reality dawns, that relationship becomes a burden for you. The deceit of delusion does not last long. A little change in circumstances and the mask comes down, the veil falls, and dreams are shattered. The more you are dependent on the other, the more expectations you will have and greater will be your unhappiness.

Towards Divinity

The Masters therefore ask us to recognise love and attachment through their distinct characteristics. If you realise that you have a strong sense of my-ness, substitute your inclination and transform it into pure love. Without love, you cannot get connected to the Divine. There is no other remedy. As you begin to know yourself more, go deeper in meditation and cultivate more awareness, love too will begin to manifest and flow in life. The pure love that flows towards all will lead you to Enlightenment.

Someone asked a saint to bless him that he could love more. The saint said, “Love is not matter that can be measured. It is related to consciousness and so the value of love is measured in purity, not in quantity.” When love becomes free from ego, expectations, ownership, it becomes pure. This pure love enables one to attain Divinity.


View All
#SadguruWhispers Sanyas is to accept the Lord's invitation to go within.