passion and attachment : a real perspective from Kavitha

Though not entirely related to the main thrust of the original post, it provoked me to write about detachment, in the context of a human spirit every one of us will or have experienced at some point in our lives…
The notion of death and mortality has engulfed my psyche this past week – triggered by a couple of tragic developments (or should I say tragic devastations) in the extended family…one around the completely unsuspected, sudden and symptom-less end of a life…another around the discovery of terminal cancer.
How does one deal with a tragedy such as death of a seemingly healthy being, particularly when it’s timing was so unpredictable? Even more mysterious that it happened immediately following “darshan” at an *auspicious* religious vortex in south india, on an *auspicious* day last week. Was he blessed that he had to endure no pain and suffering and his last breath was a breeze, after a divine encounter? Or was it a misfortune that he jumped the age line to reach life’s finish line, leaving behind many older counterparts in the family to enjoy “longer lives”? So on and so forth.
Earlier in the week it was dealing with news about terminal cancer…..

……My heart went out to my cousin having to cope with the reality of her father’s condition that she could do nothing about, except be a helpless bystander. Moments such as these serve as triggers to catalyze deeper introspection. A million questions raced through my human mind. How is it/why is it that the silent killer lurks within our mortal system, so maliciously, only to reveal itself when we no longer are in a position to control it? Is there a more benevolent reason why some mortal beings are subjected to this situation, while many others have had the benefit of revealing symptoms, for timely medical intervention and control? How is it that many others have emerged strong and resilient cancer survivors? How do you cope with having to live your day and night with a loved one, painfully experiencing him wither & degenerate in front of your eye…watching the silent killer so mercilessly torture every moment of his limited remaining life…debilitating and paralyzing in slow motion, yet in rapid succession, every sensory and motor organ so vital to everyday living, that we take for granted. How do you cope with the concept of death-in-waiting and watch your father suffer to the finish line?
From amidst the swiss alps, I skyped my mother in India…only for her to see me completely choked by my own emotional state…tears streaming down my face. As she struggled to comprehend “her baby” in visible turmoil, I felt her maternal instincts take over to touch me, and wrap me in the comfort of her digital hug…through satellites and wireless routers into the depths of my grieving heart.
I was struggling with the circumstances around the loss of one dear soul, and the soon-going-to-lose another. My mind was trying to reconcile the contradictions in the 2 tragic events – one that was so rapid, sudden and instantaneous vs. the other that is, and continues to be, drawn-out in its path to the inevitable destination of mortal beings…yet, both outside the bounds of human control. Fundamental to the reconciliation process was faith in and acceptance of the concept of ‘karma’. Amidst endless group chatter around the unfairness around each of the two circumstances, I found myself silently differing. Recognizing the tragic realities as the will of a higher order, for a higher reason, enabled grieving with grace, and coping with the loss with strength & detachment.
After a long period of silence, wrapped in my mother’s consoling words, I broke that silence…wiped away my tears of endearment and attachment, and said to her:
in the context of karmic purpose of life on earth, words like ‘jug jug jiyo’ and ‘may you live long’, popularly considered as blessings, seem like absurdities of human desire (vs. divine will). For, the divine will is quite contrary.
She was struggling again…this time not to comprehend “her baby” in turmoil, but to comprehend what happened between the time I was so choked a few minutes earlier and the time I uttered these words.
Sailing the alternating waves of attachment and detachment, desire to control and desire to let go, in the context of our everyday life/activities may be a practical challenge. Nevertheless, faith in the fact that there is immense Grace in whatever happens around you or to you (most times incomprehensible by our limited mortal minds) gives courage and strength to live & endure life boldly, fearlessly and with passion. Desire to control stems from attachment, desire to let go stems from detachment.

33 thoughts on “passion and attachment : a real perspective from Kavitha

  1. Kavitha,
    Sorry for your loss…
    it seems you got DETACHED between the time you were choked and the time you uttered those words…
    what revelation you had- ‘Desire to control stems from attachment, desire to let go stems from detachment…’
    why there is possibility of change – because you say ‘IT may be a practical challenge. Nevertheless, faith in the fact that immense Grace whatever happens around you or to you gives courage and strength to live and endure life boldly, fearlessly and with passion…’
    Meaning the experience has given you courage and strength to live and endure life boldly, fearlessly and with passion…
    and hence i said POSSIBILITY of change…because the courage and strength has now come to you…now remains rest of the unedited second by second life till the last breath…and you already know it for you say ‘It may be a practical challenge’…
    yes it is!
    may you be blessed with the same courage and strength for the rest of your life in each and every action of Body, Speech and MIND!…

  2. @Kavitha- Deeply sorry for the tragic episodes of life you are passing thru. Wish you strength.
    @Shekhar, my submission: as long as we are in this ‘life’ it will be a constant battle /struggle to give up attachment. Hence detachment may never be possible in entirety unless we leave this material world and find a spot on the himalayas, and live there till our last breath on bare essentials. Temporary detachments do take place due to grief and shock and hurt. But life woos us back into attachment and desire and love and all things good or bad (its the way one sees it)which bring in its wake hurt or joy

  3. Dear Shekhar,
    Interesting post.
    Here is an interesting question someone asked to the Mother (occassion was someone’s death and what stand the relatives/friends should take at that moment and afterwards) and The Mother’s answer to it:
    Question: What should we do to make the soul happy, so that it reincarnates in good conditions, for example in a spiritual environment?
    The Mother: Have no sorrow and remain very peaceful and quiet, while keeping an affectionate remembrance of the one who has departed.
    You may like to lot more on the subject in The Mother’s words at

  4. Timing is bad to make a request., but Shekhar : can i ask you for something. I can realise you are in a phase that is damp., but this is life. Death is THE reality. Everyone thinks he will evade it., his beloved ones will.. until one day it strikes. The loss is indeed persona. If one person has left., the space which he/she occupied., will be empty forever… yet the show must go on.
    MY REQUEST : To bring you back to the dust-and-din of life. Today i request you to extend your support (in every sense of the word) to Dr. Mallika Sarabhai… who is such a fighter… and who is fighting Lok Sabha Elections from Gandhinagar Gujarat as an independent. If it is possible., i.e. Helping Mallika is Helping the IDEA of India., because Mallika EMBODIES what the IDEA of India is all about. Its diversity, its beauty, its empathy. India at its finest… that is Mallika Sarabhai. We all have to stand up and support her in every way we can. This is the fight for truth… and she has put her life on the line.

  5. sir, its just awsum writing. well its true dat life and death is not in our hand.but its upon us how we live our life. and more importantly…it feels sorrow that we cant see ourloved once dying in front ou eyes, that too a slow death
    but cant help it, it is not in our hand.its upon him the creator.he makes life and prepare the timetable of death.
    we are just like an robot.we follow our mastars command.

  6. A women with veena in her lap,
    A women with shiv ling in her hands,
    A women with body ready to sell,
    First died old age telling about her lourels,
    Second died middle age delivering illegal child of priest,
    Third died very young under a tree after being raped, dog drag her body into ganga…
    what all dev drank was a drop,
    From chanda heart’s and paro’s lips,
    His body was found other side of Yamuna,
    Where black taj was to be constructed,

  7. ‘Recognizing the tragic realities as the will of a higher order, for a higher reason, enabled grieving with grace, and coping with the loss with strength & detachment.’
    ‘Nevertheless, faith in the fact that there is immense Grace in whatever happens around you or to you (most times incomprehensible by our limited mortal minds) gives courage and strength to live & endure life boldly, fearlessly and with passion.’
    So true! so very very true!
    this is the only attitude that can equip the mind to deal with ‘the concept of death-in-waiting’

  8. Thank you for your kind words. The intent was less to burden visitors and contributors to this blog with my specific circumstances, than it was to place the concept of detachment within a more real framework (i.e. the dramatic context of my circumstances) and provoke deeper discussion/observation/reflection around the concept.
    Kedar: it is my belief & the faith in my belief system that gives the courage to experience (vs. THIS specific experience giving courage).
    Mee: Why does espousing detachment have to be a function of physical space, compromise, abandonment to bare essentials?

  9. Kavitha
    The ref to Himalayas was an euphemism. Be it mental or physical detachment my belief is as long as we live in ‘saunsaar’ we can only push towards detachment, and may even succeed partially (but not wholly). To break away from attachment completely in material life (be it any relationship/thing/place)requires much more and perhaps this life ain’t conducive to such selfless detachment?

  10. My mind is whirling around these words–Passion, ATTACHMENT and then, “a digital hug routed through satellites and wireless routers….”.
    Very beautifully expressed.

  11. Kavitha- I’m deeply sorry.
    The return ticket is a jugaad. A rogue. A thief.
    Or as Sadarang said –kaun kisi ka aave javey/ naav nadi sanjog.
    One is only human- with all that entails, all the baggage of emotions and memories.
    In these circumstances, how can one be detached?
    Beyond me.

  12. Kavitha…
    A particular soul chooses the belief system as per its CONDITIONING…later when the person goes through different incidences, faith restores itself…and those incidences turn into EXPERIENCES.
    so i would say your belief system and faith in that system helps you to face life with courage…! isnt it so?
    now after saying this i wonder, what if you were a terrorist? or a fanatic?
    how would i converse or negotiate with a terrorist?
    or vice a versa…i will shoot you down before you utter next line if i am a terrorist…you can not reason with irrational mind…
    his(terrorist or fanatic) belief system is based on an IDEOLOGY and he has adapted that belief system either because of some bad incident in life ( another tribe killing his family or economic need) or from childhood he is trained to think like that…in any case its a choice of MIND and not SOUL…
    can u reason with a fanatic MIND?
    i have been thinking about this since last few months…
    may be the answer lies in simple age old PAURANIK stories…
    1. NARAD meeting VALYA KOLI and VALYA becomes VALMIKI… 2. BUDDHA meets ANGULIMAAL and ANGULIMAAL throws away his weapon…
    you have to be enlightened to bring change…!
    from each and every mythical story, fable, scripture all we get is the PATH to walk on…only we can EXPERIENCE on our own…hence every experience is unique…!…
    what is that thing that gave NARAD or BUDDHA chance to reason with such dangerous dacoits can never be explained through words…we can at the most say -‘ as Buddha approached ANGULIMAAL felt peace…and he got disturbed because of that and he started shouting ‘ i will kill you…dont move…’ And that gave BUDDHA chance to speak…he said ‘ i am not moving…u r moving’…
    And ANGULIMAAL stopped…
    we can not experience the strength in that line of BUDDHA unless we LIVE it…
    why i am saying all this because you say ‘ Sailing the alternating waves of attachment and detachment, desire to control and desire to let go, in the context of our everyday life/activities may be a practical challenge.’
    but if the belief system has stood the test of physical time and faith has restored itself in you…then why it is a practical challenge? more over why it is still a challenge?
    why are u not BUDDHA?
    i am identifying corruptions in my system now a days… 🙂
    because i am no more interested in SAID PHILOSOPHY…i am interested in UNSAID PHILOSOPHY…
    first i am targeting my SPEECH…since ENGLISH is not my mother tongue i use FUCK word very easily…which is a reflection of my unstable i have started writing poetry in my mother tongue i.e. marathi…because when i use my mother tongue i am DIGNIFIED…
    so share your experiences in terms of ACTION rather than THOUGH…because ACTION always talks about UNSAID PHILOSOPHY…
    ‘Soch utani hi ho jo karm karane me kaam aye…soch hi karm ban jaye to jivan narak hai…’
    more later…

  13. The state of perfect detachment is only possible with complete ego/doership annihilation. As long as there is a doer, there will be attachment. Letting go of the illusion of choices is the first step.

  14. Mee asked “perhaps this life ain’t conducive to such selfless detachment”?
    Does LIFE (as it prevails around you) change you – what you think, say and do (how you think, say, do). Or, do YOU change the life around you? Does life adapt to you, or do you adapt to life? (“you” meant more universally)
    I am tempted to juxtapose this in the context of Kedar’s perspective around “Why are you not Buddha?…..said and unsaid philosophy” — philosophy & thought vs. action. In the spirit of exploring this in a more real context, I am also tempted to consider the instance of decision-making within political & corporate boardrooms of the now failed financial institutions — while we can endlessly speculate on whether the crises would have occurred with greater supervision and regulatory checks and balances, is not the real question one around *conscious* decision-making & action? Does a more dominant/pervasive voice of greed/corruption change your individual convictions to do the right thing? Or would you be the change/an agent of change within that system?
    While this is just one instance among many other scenarios, consequential or inconsequential to our respective lives, is not the question then one of addressing the challenge of weaving our [positive, constructive & compassionate] selves into every aspect of our everyday personal, social, professional lives, interactions and engagements? Isn’t life as it exists a reflection of the choices WE consciously or sub-consciously make?
    Buddha never saw himself as ‘Buddha’ the way the world sees him today. He happened. He had what others didn’t. And the world happened around him. There is potential for every being to be a Buddha, in our contemporary context and respective spheres. Perhaps we just don’t recognize it. No?

  15. Bramha and Kavitha
    i am smoking as i type and i hear my wife shouting the words which my friend re-quoted few days ago,
    ‘ shut up and play your guitar’…Frank Zappa…
    i guess i am going to do just that…

  16. kavitha,
    In the end, beyond all the analysis and imposed logistics, this is nothing but a machine which builds ego and then destroys it in self-realization. So all tragedies are part of the process as well.
    There comes a time when absolutely everything is unlearned, and the world seems perfect. The enlightened sages do not see anything wrong with the world, but that is not to promote inaction..whatever action is needed through them comes out automatically without any judgemental filters.

  17. I dont see death as a tragedy. Death is an end of a phase to our soul so that our soul can go ahead to the next phase. It is like finishing school to go to University to do a higher level study. Death of a person is a loss to the people living, but not to the dead. It is a relief to the soul that is suffering a lot, death comes when the purpose of the soul is over for this birth. People suffer due to their karmas, according to their karmas their sufferings end or prolong. It is us who create the pattern of our life and be the reason for our sufferings. Having a detached nature can save us from the misery of the loss of a beloved. Kavitha has beautifully learned the lesson of becoming detached. We all learn lessons through our loss and sufferings.

  18. It is equally true that such difficult situation can happen in anybodys life. And I think, the important thing to remember is death is a reality and it will reach to you in any form, at any place, at any time. This is why life is said to be as bubble..imagine an ant on a football, our existence is very much similar to it.I also think there is no right or wrong on dying on an auspicious day or place unless there exists some auspiciousness in that life.
    thanks and take care..subodh

  19. If I may juxatpose Varsha’s observation with Brahmastra’s….
    In our evolutionary path as human beings, can learnings from losses (human, physical, fiscal, spatial etc.) propel one to do the right thing (in action, thought, speech & the paths we choose), in our day-to-day lives? If not…,
    would NOT evolving so, constitute “unlearning” detachment, viewing an imperfect world as “perfect”?
    Can our evolution be one of leading fuller lives — one that does not require compromise of morals ethics, integrity or abandonment to bare essentials?

  20. ideaunique,
    The links made good reading.
    In my opinion, if one can know how to live, one can know everything else, including how to die. As they say, death is a part of life. But all our conditioning makes us believe otherwise. I believe death can be beautiful and graceful as anything else in life.

  21. Kavitha, Personally I have not learned lasting lessons out of inner disquiet alone but by the accompanying process of silent contemplation on the great teachings we have been fortunate enough to be blessed with.
    I believe detachment can lead to a deeper experience of life. I mean the inner detachment that makes one step out of the way so that life and it’s love can flow unhindered by the small me. And faith continues to remain as indispensable a companion in this journey.
    Much peace to you and your loved ones.

  22. kavitha,
    There is no contradiction between evolution and unlearning. Evolution peaks when there is no mind or judgmental faculty. There is only pure non-dual awareness and blissfulness in every action (and inertia). There are no definitions of ‘fuller lives’ or ‘morality’ or anything..everything just is. This natural state is beyond words.

  23. “Evolution peaks when there is no mind or judgmental faculty. There is only pure non-dual awareness and blissfulness in every action (and inertia)…”
    Brahmastra: Your thoughts on awareness and action much appreciated. Given that the majority in the world still exist in the ‘unnatural state’ (i.e. not yet fully beyond words, detachment), I’m sure many could benefit from an elaboration of your perspective within the framework and context of a real & current global crises. You pick. Could you facilitate convergence of your thoughts with existential words in that context?

  24. kavitha,
    There is no current global crisis. The crisis is in the mind of the one who is witnessing. Everything is going perfectly and smoothly as per design. Acceptance is the key. These times are opportune for the spiritually advanced to harness. Displacement and destruction of the ego often comes at the price of extreme inconvenience, has to be to create the necessary dispassion and detachment from worldly objects. Collective egos in various parts of the world had become complacent in material superiority. It’s a rude awakening, that’s all.

  25. Sorry, I ain’t getting it, Brahmastra. I suspect a significant number just de-boarded…and we may be the lone travelers on this track 🙂
    Do you believe that in this ‘design’, those that had become complacent in material superiority, will be able (and willing) to tame their collective egos, in a way that alters and shifts the fabric of their social/cultural/intellectual psyche to a fundamentally different reality as a permanent/inherent way of life (vs. an ephemeral transition)? What’s the design to get them to the spiritually advanced mode of harnessing integral change from within, to restore universal balance/ collective progress and prosperity vs. selective advancement at the expense of another? What’s the design to converge the dichotomy between existence of spiritual advancement (in the self or the collective) and the actual harnessing of it to the times?
    In as much as it is about the design to awaken the complacency from material superiority, it is also about having the grit and courage to apply one’s own integrity, moral and ethical dispositions in our individual lives, with detachment, isn’t it? Are we designed to do that?

  26. kavitha,
    So, are you going to start unlearning your vocabulary ASAP..just kidding 😛
    Spiritual evolution cannot be stereotyped from a collective stand-point. To each his own. Do you think the world is in a worse state (read crisis) than it was during WW2 or the dark ages? I am not sure. But it does seem to be going through a major transition just as it always has. Change is the only constant, and it is so designed to not allow any sort of mental patterns to be complacent with the material world. Like i said, at the very core, and at the very simplest, it is just a machine designed to bring about self-realization for the subjects. This is an ultimate absolute goal – and not a relative one – for every individual (including animals et al). In the end, there is no morality or ethics or anything. Any such definitions presume the existence of a judgmental faculty. But when the individual ego is gone, there is nothing, no doership or judgment. Of course, this is an absolutist view point, but while still in the middle levels of relativity, people will continue as per their modes of conditioning and refinement until they reach the pinnacle.

  27. Kavitha, as Brahmastra said everything is going perfectly and smoothly as per design, as per the design of the Supreme being. Acceptance is the key and having trust in Him is another key. We maybe lone travelers of this track, the quantity is not that matters, the quality of our track matters. Did you follow any design while you were going through the pain of your loss, I dont think so, in the moments of silence it just happened in you, the sense of detachment. The same way it would happen in every individual when they are ripe enough to opt for the path of evolving. If we remain detached and non judgemental,with acceptance and without dualism we can see that everything is going perfectly and smoothly as per design. Crisis or not everything happens for a reason, for a higher purpose. To me getting detached seemed the hardest task and I am beginning to learn it at last. One more essential lesson I learned is to let others lead their life in their own way. Even God’s dont interfere in our free will. All humans are free to choose their design and path. Here I am just writing what I feel and what I experienced.

  28. I spoke to my cousin today.
    As she described how the last of the 5 sense organs failed her father a few days ago (his eyes no longer opened), I felt this amazing sense of calm and resolution that seems to have descended on her. She rewinded in time to describe how just a couple of weeks ago she was walking through the doors of one hospital after another, longing for words of hope from one of them. As I was listening to her voice at the other end of the line, I was discovering my cousin (of so many years) that’s blossomed to a woman of such immense inner strength. Given that she was single-handedly dealing with all this, (husband & sibling away working in a distant land), I asked her to take much liberties with my parents (who are in greater physical proximity to the ground reality than I am)…and to “lean on them”, if she felt the need for any kind of support at this hour. I was struck by the vastness of empathy in her response, that she did not feel right imposing on her ageing uncle & aunt (not that my parents would think so!), beyond what they were already doing. It’s amazing when people can smile in the midst of their own pain and turmoil.
    She then went on to say something that left me dumbstruck, in every sense of the syllables making up this word – he opened his eyes…tears rolling down one eye…then a momentary burst into laughter…then relapsed into his former paralyzed state of existence. He opened his eyes (which is a wonder in itself, after being paralyzed for over 5 days)…yet, could not see, the way the visual sense organ normally works. He can see, smell, hear, taste and feel nothing. Yet he awoke to have tears rolling down one eye…then a momentary burst into laughter.
    How many of us have spent time thinking about how our eyes open magically at the break of dawn? Not me, until now. That we magically put our left foot forward, and then the right, and then the left to complete our morning routines. Extend our hand to grab a cup with our fingers…and get that first sip of coffee into our taste buds and down. Never really thought about how many cells in the brain turn on tirelessly, and how many zillions of synaptic signals transmit faithfully and repeatably across the charted networks and space between our mind and body to activate our sense perceptions.
    Limitations of my own rationality, could not help me comprehend what I was hearing. All I could infer was the healthier cells were fighting relentlessly to keep the heart going, while the rest of his body & senses were gone. But, he MUST have experienced SOMETHING. Something beyond these 5 sense perceptions. I didn’t have the heart to be academically inquisitive with my cousin on the other end. Fueled by an unstoppable appetite to know more, I activated my fingers voraciously at the keyboard, seeking help from my ever-ready-to-help companion of search…googled all permutations and combinations of words I heard over the phone.
    (Momentary pause…caught in my own words, of parallel search!)
    Gosh! What I was discovering was sending chills up my spine — is what he was experiencing what’s called NDE?! I still don’t know for sure. But, what was unraveling was this expanse of information and research out there on this topic. It felt like the veil had been lifted and I just had this surreal glimpse to a whole other world…like reaching the top of a cliff and being exposed to a vast expanse of limitless, far-reaching canyons. Gosh, how naïve and ignorant I’ve been! I’d certainly heard this acronym before and had peripheral brushes with explanations of the concept –- but always thought these were eccentric thoughts expounded by eccentric people steeped in some eccentric research. Never had I EVER imagined I would have potential links to close encounters of this kind.
    Standing atop & deluged by this mammoth cliff of information, I am still not sure how much I want to know about NDE — it’s both enticing and overwhelming at once. For now, I am at peace with just the wiki description. I am at peace just standing at the top of the cliff. Without having to trek down to discover whether they are jagged edges or softly chiseled creations of providence. I am at peace just desiring to read up a book I came upon as a by-product of this search exercise ( Most of all, I am heartened to know that my cousin is so completely at peace that she is able to be by his side, with so much strength and calm.
    One thing I know for sure: in moments of my lighter side of pranks and silliness taking over, if I am asked if I have any *sense* doing what I am doing, I’ll likely not comprehend it the same way I used to. I just feel blessed to have my faculties just being there to even manifest a lighter side – for I can do so only because my senses ARE alive.
    So I am telling myself to continue doing what I do with greater vigor — to go indulge in treating myself to God’s ‘visual’ bounties around me, ‘inhale’ the fresh scents of the morning dew, the first rains, and the blossoming buds, ‘hear’ the tweets & chimes, chants & admonitions, ‘feel’ the embrace and compassion of friends & family and everything else omnipresent around me to be able to ‘say’ I care enough about all of these and more, without restraint. With passion and compassion, for every moment of life and interconnectedness as we have it. When we do this I suppose we truly can live all spheres of our daily lives listening to the whispers of the heart & soul.

  29. Looks like my previous comment was a little too heavy to make it through the editorial process.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.