THE PATH TO PEACE AND JOY -
SHEDDING EGO AND ATTACHMENT
Ego of the rich lies in riches; of the king in his empire; of the learned in his knowledge and of the powerful in his power. The feeling of my riches, my empire, my learning, my power, display a sense of attachment. Desires, ego and attachment are causes of sorrow. Desires lead to mental turmoil, which persists, till the desired object is achieved. Thereafter, a sense of ego binds us to that possession. However, nature thrives upon a constant change, implying that the desired object is also subject to decay and destruction. This, in turn, causes sorrow. It is thus desirable to shed the ego and the attachment for good. One could argue that the feeling of ‘my’ and ‘mine’ are crucial for life. What shall we own in life, if we shed them? However, the stream of life is perennial. Viewing thus, the body, the riches, home and hearth are all transitory and subject to decay. Thus they cannot be equated with life.
It is the soul that does not die. That therefore is the essence of life. Treating life as dependent on body, riches, home and hearth and the like, is parigraha (acquisition). That leads to dependence. More dependence causes more sorrow, while a curb on it alleviates sorrow. Absence of dependence is freedom. When even one’s physical frame counts little, does one attain emancipation.
Dependence on objects can be curtailed or vanquished, if attachment to them is eliminated. As it is, little do we succeed in shedding the attachment. This bondage, ego and attachment lead to sorrow. Cultivating a sense of attachment with objects or with people is our perennial pursuit. We thus stultify our sense of independence. This cannot lead to freedom and joy. Unless we get rid of this attachment to objects and individuals, joy is but a mirage.
Man is essentially free and capable of practising renunciation, because, in this venture, no outside agency or labour is required. We are only renouncing that which will itself someday shrink away, lock, stock barrel, and perish altogether.
When objects quit us, still our cohesion with them persists. This is bondage, which ruins our peace and renders us sorrowful. Contrarily, by shedding attachment, we will not be tied down to objects, despite their existence. Being free from bondage is freedom, which rewards us with peace and joy. Lord Mahavira advocated relieving oneself of attachment. It is surprising that while we want peace, joy and freedom, we subscribe to parigraha (acquisition).
What do we do with the objects that are available to us? We can either use them or serve others through them. Renunciation is not putting them to selfish end. This noble feeling leads to freedom as we are then not dependent on anything extraneous. If we make ourselves dependent on this or that object, we rob ourselves of this freedom. The more we renounce, higher is the degree of freedom and peace that bless us.
Pandering to our senses also makes us dependent and this situation invariably leads to sorrow. Renunciation, on the contrary, leads to freedom. The Sadhus who fully renounce sensory pleasures are truly joyous. The people who conquer their desires, are the ones who crave for nothing. They are the ones, who are truly accomplished.