|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Unit - 02
Lesson - 0204: Effect of Attachment - II - Delusion
By Raja Subramaniyan
Attachment causes sorrow in the mind. The sorrowful mind does not function under the control of intelligence. However, such a situation cannot prevail for long. We can function normally only if both the mind and the intelligence work in unison.
Depending on the strength of the mind or intelligence, balance is gained very soon in all human beings.
Example: The news of the sudden death of the husband shattered her. She was speechless.
She will not be in the same condition for a long time. As long as the mind is disturbed by the news, she cannot function normally. However, the intelligence takes over soon and she returns to normalcy in a few days time.
It is generally expected that the intelligence will eventually take control of the mind. However, if the attachment is very strong mind starts influencing the intelligence. Normally intelligence knows what is right or wrong. However, due to strong attachment, intelligence becomes corrupted. When this happens, the mind can no longer behave normally. People start doing things that are harmful to themselves and others because their intelligence is no longer able to differentiate what is good from bad.
Unfortunately, people will not be able to see that their intelligence is corrupted. It is like wearing a colored glass and not knowing it is a colored glass. The result is devastating.
Good will appear to be bad and right will appear to be wrong to such persons. They can no longer function normally. Such a condition may last for long time since both mind and intelligence are functioning in unison, although in the wrong direction.
It is not an easy task for the mind to overpower intelligence. It will start inventing reasons and convince intelligence that wrong is right and bad is good. If the person is not educated and has very limited knowledge, it will be easier for the mind to take control of intelligence. From then on, their intelligence will be submissive to the mind.
It is not possible for anyone to convince such persons that they are on the wrong path.
Example: A police office knows that his son is guilty of a crime. However, his attachment to his son has colored his mind. Therefore, he allows his son to escape from the jail and starts looking for loopholes in the law to declare that his son is innocent. He will quote innumerable cases of guilty escaping punishment.
However, his intelligence is not completely corrupted. It will not show the right path only in the case of his son. Suppose, this officer arrests another person who has committed similar crime, he will not let him escape.
Thus, the attachment causes partial blindness to intelligence, which is called delusion. Delusion makes a person illogical. It is not possible to talk sense with him and convince him on what is right.
Example: Extra marital affair will be justified (quoting various 'valid' reasons) by the persons involved.
There is no point telling them it is wrong to have an extramarital affair. It will not appeal to their mind since it is deluded.
Fortunately, the intelligence never becomes completely corrupted. It is only deluded and such delusion will reduce, as and when attachment is reduced. Deep down, the intelligence will continue to have the power of discrimination. However, it will be under the influence of mind so long attachment continues.
Example: Both the persons involved in an extra marital affair are aware that their relationship is wrong although they try to convince themselves and others that it is right.
This is the status of Arjuna. His attachment to his friends and family first affected his mind and he become sorrowful. Then slowly his strong attachment started corrupting the intelligence too. As a result, he starts justifying that it is wrong to fight.
People talk about right and wrong only when it is convenient to them. Since it is convenient for Arjuna to quote the virtue of non-violence now, he uses it in his arguments. Somehow, he wants to avoid the situation wherein he is forced to fight and kill his own people whom he likes.
He cites various 'valid' reasons for avoiding the war.
Thus, the second effect of attachment is delusion.
Since intelligence is never corrupted with delusion completely, it does not surrender to the mind fully. If Arjuna knew with conviction that he should not fight, he would have ordered his charioteer (Lord Krishna) to take him outside the battlefield instead of talking all these words. The fact that someone is trying to justify his action shows that the mind is still oscillating between right and wrong.
When a person knows the right path, he does not have to choose between alternatives. The mere fact that Arjuna puts forth various arguments in favor of abandoning the war shows that he is not fully convinced of his own arguments. Arjuna was the master and Lord Krishna was his charioteer. There is no reason for Arjuna to get permission from Lord Krishna to convert his thoughts (of leaving the battlefield) into action.
It is universally known that war is evil. However, one might have to resort to it when it becomes impossible to ensure practice of Dharma by any other means.
Sama, Dhana, Bheda and Danda are the four ways through which Dharma should be practiced and they have to be followed in this specific order.
Sama means to achieve the goal through peaceful means. When this was not possible, Pandavas asked for atleast five houses as a gift to resolve the conflict. This is Dhana. When Duryodhana refused, Lord Krishna on behalf of Pandavas tried to weaken Kauravas through various means (like disarming Karna and Krupar, making Vidhura abandon Duryodhana). This is Bheda. When all these three methods failed, Pandavas have the option to wage a war. By blowing the conch shell in the battlefield, Bhishma commenced the aggression. Therefore, it has become the duty of the Pandavas to fight. This is in line with Dharma.
Arjuna was aware of all these and that is the reason he was leading the army to fight Duryodhana. However, due to delusion (caused by attachment) he started putting forth various arguments for abandoning the war. If Lord Krishna had countered the arguments, it would have had no effect on Arjuna. That is the reason Lord Krishna did not say anything. It is useless to say anything to one whose mind is deluded. Such is the effect of attachment.
However, in the process of putting forth various arguments, Arjuna realizes the fruitlessness of their material pursuit. It is very difficult for one to understand that the material pursuit (chasing money, power, position etc) will never give lasting contentment/ happiness. Even when a great tragedy strikes an individual, he seldom thinks on these lines. Most people blindly pursue their search for material comforts with a hope that one day they will attain their ultimate goal of being happy all the time. It is very difficult to see this truth and Arjuna began to see the truth at this hour of tragedy.
Arjuna makes the following arguments (from Verse 31 to 45) in support of his claim that he should abandon the war. However, all of them are wrong arguments because the measuring scale (his intelligence) with which he is assessing the situation is corrupted.
Similarly, everyone under the influence of delusion will proceed towards his own destruction. This is similar to the giraffe calf arguing with its mother that it has to lie down and take rest for few hours since it was born just then. Such action contradicting the natural instinct will bring misery.
Chapter 1: Cause of Suffering & Delusion [Verses: 031 - 046]
1.31 ..., nor can I, my dear Krishna, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom, or happiness.
1.32 Oh Krishna, of what avail to us are kingdoms, happiness or even life itself when all those for whom we may desire them are now in this battlefield?
1.33-34 Oh Krishna, when teachers, fathers, sons, grandfathers, maternal uncles, fathers-in-law, grandsons, brothers-in-law and all relatives are ready to give up their lives and properties and are standing before me, then why should I wish to kill them, though I may survive?
1.35 Oh Krishna, I am not prepared to fight with them even in exchange for the three worlds, let alone this earth.
1.36 Sin will overcome us if we slay such aggressors. Therefore, it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhrtarastra and our friends.
1.37 What should we gain, Oh Krishna, and how could we be happy by killing our own kinsmen?
1.38 Oh Krishna, although these men, overtaken by greed, see no fault in killing one's family or quarreling with friends, why should we, with knowledge of the sin, engage in these acts?
1.39 With the destruction of dynasty, the eternal family tradition is vanquished, and thus the rest of the family becomes involved in irreligious practice.
1.40 When irreligion is prominent in the family, Oh Krishna, the women of the family become corrupt and from the degradation of womanhood come unwanted progeny.
1.41 When there is increase of unwanted population, a hellish situation is created both for the family and for those who destroy the family tradition. In such corrupt families, there is no offering of oblations of food and water to the ancestors.
1.42 Due to the evil deeds of the destroyers of family tradition, all kinds of community projects and family welfare activities are devastated.
1.43 Oh Krishna, I have heard that those who destroy family traditions dwell always in hell.
1.44 Alas, how strange it is that we are preparing to commit greatly sinful acts, driven by the desire to enjoy royal happiness.
1.45 I would consider it better for the sons of Dhrtarastra to kill me unarmed and unresisting, rather than to fight with them.
1.46 Sanjaya said: Arjuna, having thus spoken on the battlefield, cast aside his bow and arrows and sat down on the chariot, his mind overwhelmed with grief.