Severing Attachments

Sharp Words For Truth Seekers

If, through yoga, the mind can be trained, then the mind is our friend. But if the mind is left untrained, then there is no possibility of leading a successful life. For one who has no idea of spiritual life, the mind is the enemy. If one thinks that he is simply the body, his mind will not be working for his benefit; it will simply be acting to serve the gross body and to further condition the living entity and entrap him in material nature. If, however, one understands one’s position as spirit soul apart from the body, the mind can be a liberating factor. In itself, the mind has nothing to do; it is simply waiting to be trained, and it is best trained through association. Desire is the function of the mind, and one desires according to his association; so if the mind is to act as a friend, there must be good association.

The best association is a sadhu or one who is striving for spiritual realization. There are those who are striving for temporary things. Matter and the body are temporary, and if one only engages himself for bodily pleasure, he is conditioned by temporary things. But if he engages in self-realization, then he is engaged in something permanent. Obviously if one is intelligent he will associate with those who are trying to elevate themselves to the platform of self-realization through one of the various forms of yoga. The result will be that those who are sadhu, or realized, will be able to sever their attachments to material association. This is the great advantage of good association. For instance, Krishna spoke Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna just to cut off his material attachments. Because Arjuna is attracted to things that are impeding the execution of his duty, Krishna severs these things.

To cut something, a sharp instrument is required; and to cut the mind from its attachments, sharp words may be required. The sadhu or teacher will sometimes use sharp words to sever the student’s mind from material attractions. By speaking the truth uncompromisingly, he is able to sever the bondage. If we actually want detachment from this material world, we should be willing to accept cutting words from the spiritual master. Compromise and flattery have no effect where strong words are required.

1 September 1896 – 14 November 1977. The founder and the spiritual guide (the acharya) of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

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