Our entanglement is caused not by our attachment, but by our detachment

As spiritual beginners, we may think that our attachments cause our entanglement. Such thinking doesn’t probe deep enough – it fails to ask: Why are we attached? What inner needs are our attachments fulfilling or promising to fulfill?

Frequently, our attachments promise relief, security, comfort, love, joy – promises that they fulfill at best only temporarily and partially. We are eternal souls, parts of Krishna; he alone can satisfy our needs perfectly and perennially. But unfortunately, we are detached from him. That is, we are emotionally uninvolved with him. Needing emotional fulfillment somewhere, we seek it in mundane objects and become attached to them.

Even if we become detached from worldly objects by raw willpower, we will feel emotionally barren. And that barrenness will, sooner or later, cause our relapse to worldly attachments. To prevent such relapses, we need to learn to fulfill our emotional needs spiritually, by cultivating attachment to Krishna.

The Bhagavad-gita’s flow from chapter six to chapter seven reflects this progression from detachment-centeredness to attachment-centeredness. After outlining the detachment-centered path of yoga in its sixth chapter, the Gita (06.47) declares that this path culminates in attachment to Krishna (06.47). And in its next chapter (07.01), it outlines an alternative path to that summit: bhakti-yoga, which focuses not on detachment but on attachment to Krishna.

Because Krishna is the source and shelter of everything, attachment to him requires not the rejection of all other attachments, but the rejection of only our anti-spiritual attachments – our other attachments can be incorporated within the inclusive scope of bhakti-yoga.

At our seeker stage, attachment to Krishna manifests authentically not in imagination, but in dedication – not in imagining intimate emotions for Krishna, but in dedicating ourselves to his service. By such steady dedication, our emotions will get increasingly purified and devotionally engaged, thereby fostering liberating attachment to him.

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