Understanding Attachment – Rag & Dvesh


Continuing from the previous article “Worldly Unhappiness”,  just as the mind creates a positive attachment to a person or thing through repeated positive thinking about them, in the very same way, the mind creates a negative attachment to a person or thing through repeated negative thinking about them.  The positive attachment is called ‘rag’ and the negative attachment is called ‘dvesh’.  Both are two sides of the same coin.  If you have dvesh for a person or thing, then when you are exposed to or associate with them, you suffer according to the degree of your negative attachment for them.

For example, let’s say a man dies of a sudden heart attack.  His wife is so distraught that she faints due to the emotional pain.  His son is also in pain, but not enough to lose consciousness – he merely sheds tears.  His friend also feels sad, but not enough to cry. His neighbor, who only knew him as a casual acquaintance, doesn’t feel anything.  And a rival from work feels happy that he will now be getting a promotion to fill his position.  Now let’s say the man wasn’t truly dead, and he miraculously starts breathing again and awakens.  The wife, who had just regained consciousness, faints again, but this time from joy.  The son also feels joy, but not enough to faint – he merely sheds tears of joy. The friend is also happy, but not enough to cry.  When the neighbor hears the news, he again doesn’t feel anything.  And when his rival from work finds out, he is disappointed, because now he is still going to have to take orders from this man.

If we were to ask these people whether this man is a source of happiness or pain, they would all give different answers, depending on their attachment to him.  When he was presumed dead, the wife got the most pain from him, because she had the greatest ‘rag‘. When you lose something to which you are positively attached, you will feel pain according to the degree of your attachment.  The son’s attachment was less, so he felt less pain, and the friend less than that. The neighbor had no attachment (neither rag nor dvesh), so he felt no pain.  The rival from work had been humiliated on several occasions by this man who was his manager.  Thus, he had developed a strong negative attachment to the man through repeated negative thinking causing him to feel happy upon his death.

So we see that the very same thing that gives you happiness, also gives you pain when you lose it.  This is due to your attachment.  There is actually no happiness or unhappiness in the person or object.  For the same reason, even the amount of happiness and unhappiness experienced from a thing varies from person to person, depending on their attachments.

Due to all of this, Arjun was not attracted by the incentive of gaining worldly pleasures through fighting the war.  However, Shree Krishna also tried to lure Arjun by indicating he could earn entrance to swarg if he performed his dharm by fighting the war.  Was this incentive effective in motivating Arjun? We will find out if Shree Krishna is able to lure Arjun and the temporary & unsatisfying nature of Swarg in our forthcoming articles.

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