“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.29)Download this episode (right click and save)
Friend1: There is an important rule to keep in mind when raising children.
Friend2: What is that?
Friend1: This idea of attachment.
Friend2: Are you referring to newborns specifically?
Friend1: Right, or maybe just new parents in general. It’s natural to have attachment. You want to do everything for the child. In many ways the parents turn into servants. The child is like a king for a while.
Friend2: That is certainly true. Parents make those weird faces and funny noises. So many people come to visit. The child is a star. In a decade or two, there won’t be nearly as much attention. No one will smile at you when you are on line at the post office.
Friend1: Yeah, the loss of innocence. Changes both how you behave and how others treat you.
Friend2: No doubt.
Friend1: The attachment relates to behavior and future outlook. You don’t want the child crying all the time for no reason.
Friend2: You see evidence of the negative side on airplane trips. There is the kid that just keeps crying for no reason. After a while you figure out that the crying is their way of communicating what they want. They haven’t been properly taught.
Friend1: That’s what I am getting at. Teaching. Training. Eventually, the birds have to leave the nest. You can’t stay guardians forever.
Friend2: Of course. It’s difficult to let go.
Friend1: I’m wondering if this has any applicability to spiritual life.
Friend2: As in does God eventually have to let us go, to fly on our own?
Friend1: Or if there is any negative consequence to having too much attachment. If I feel like I can’t live without the Supreme Lord, that I can’t function unless I feel He is around, is there a negative side to that?
Friend2: Are you kidding? You have reached the summit of spiritual life if you feel that way.
Friend1: Okay, I understand that you’re supposed to be conscious of God. Consciousness is key. Whatever state of mind you have at the time of death, you will get that state in the next life.
Friend2: And there will be a next life. If you’re conscious of God the person, you’ll get to be with Him. It’s as simple as that.
Friend1: Okay, but what about work? The negative for the children being too attached is that they won’t be able to cope with the difficult world.
Friend2: There is a key distinction here that you are overlooking.
Friend1: What is that?
Friend2: Parents train because from past experience it’s understood that the parents will leave this world before the children. That means the separation is guaranteed to happen at some point.
Friend1: Right. Obvious.
Friend2: So God will never leave. He has never separated from us, actually. The fall to the material world, wherein the individual spirit soul spins on the wheel of suffering that is reincarnation, is something like a dream. We think we are separated from God and that He is far away. We think that we need to go to the temple to see Him or that we must always chant His names to get the sound vibration representation. In reality, He is always with us in the heart.
Friend1: The Supersoul.
Friend1: So since God is always with us, there is nothing wrong with being too attached to Him?
Friend2: There are so many ways to dissect that one statement you just made. There is no such thing as too much devotion. Excess is only a limiting factor in a limited world, i.e. the land of birth and death. God is always expanding, and so devotion can have the same property.
Friend2: Another angle of vision comes to us from an interaction between Narada and Shri Rama.
Friend1: Narada the travelling saint and Rama the incarnation of God as a warrior prince, made famous in the Ramayana book.
Friend2: Yes and yes. So Narada one time wanted something badly and he prayed to God for it. The Supreme Lord denied the request, but in a clever way. When God incarnated as Rama later on, Narada took the opportunity to ask about what happened.
Friend1: The name Hari is important here, right? Narada prayed to Hari, which is a name for God, and the Supreme Lord responded that He would give Narada a face similar to His.
Friend2: Yes, and the word Hari can also mean “monkey.” So Narada got a monkey face and wasn’t too happy about it later on.
Friend1: Very funny stuff.
Friend2: But you can imagine how Narada felt. His whole life is devotional service, so you would think Hari would come through for him. Rama gave the explanation that the devotees are like the children that the parents always keep an eye on. Other children eventually become independent on move on. Hari still loves them. He is equal to everyone, as He says in the Bhagavad-gita.
Friend1: That verse about not envying anyone and how the devotees are friends to Him.
Friend2: Exactly. So He takes care of the devotees. They are so attached to Him that they don’t rely on anyone else. This full dependence is both beneficial and wise. Hari can create this and numerous other worlds simply by exhaling, so why can’t He grant simple favors to the people living in those worlds? There will be attachment one way or another, so might as well make it towards God.
Attachment existing one way or another,
To friend, parent, car, that or the other.
Why not towards Supreme Lord make?
Always there, never to forsake.
Too much devotion possible not,
Limitations in limiting world got.
Ananta, Krishna the unlimited one so,
The best friend, to take care wherever to go.