Talks with Babaji

What causes Arjuna to slump down in the chariot and refuse to fight?

His attachment came up. Attachment is so strong that it veils the mind and a person cannot decide what is right and what is wrong.

Arjuna as a trained warrior. How does something overwhelm somebody so much?

In the battlefield, right in front of him, all their teachers were standing, as well as his friends and relatives. His mind at once said, "they all will get killed." His attachment came out all at once. On the one hand, Arjuna was seeking liberation from desires, attachments and ego which are the cause of bondage, and which create a cycle of birth and death. On the other hand, he was afraid to remove them. His family members, preceptors, and his race were all projections of his desires, attachments and ego. By removal of these three great enemies, one is automatically separated from the outer world.

If the Kauravas represent the negative qualities and the Pandavas represent positive qualities, does part of his despondency come from a sense of the loss of his identification with the qualities? In the battle of sadhana, are we attached to our negative qualities and reluctant to lose them because of our attachment?

We are attached to our negative qualities because they strengthen our ego. We feel our existence more in our negative aspect of life.

When something pleasurable happens and we feel excitement, is it saying that we shouldn't feel the excitement or that we shouldn't be attached to the feeling of excitement?

Excitement, pleasure, happiness: they are in the mind and senses. Their reality is in attachment. Without attachment, you still feel happiness, pleasure, etc., but that doesn't create any print in the mind.

It's painful in our physical body when we break that attachment or when we are separated from the things we are attached to.

Our mind-body complex are tightly together. If we hear any bad news of our loved ones, we feel like a blow on the chest. Because the ego has established a relation: "my such and such." A couple newly married are very attached and feel the pain of each other. When the relationship gets bad, that feeling changes. When they separate, they don't feel anything. It proves that all those feelings are mental creations. Yes, it is very painful to break the attachment because attachment is an expression of our own egocentric existence.

If one has a fatal disease, how does one deal with that, living with the knowledge and suffering that goes with that?

Attachment to life is one of the five afflictions. Its root is in egoism. When we see our body (which holds the ego within) is not completely capable to function, then the fear of losing one's existence haunts the mind. The only cure for it is to surrender to God because it is beyond human mind's capability.

How to let go of attachment because desiring not to desire doesn't seem to be quite enough.

Letting go of attachments is the hardest thing because we feel their reality in every action, thought, and object. As long as the mind is not purified, ego, attachment and desire will rule our lives. How to purify the mind? By living a disciplined life, by virtuous actions and thoughts. It's a life-long practice.

Is the letting go of attachment in some sense the beginning of the end of experience?

Experience is based on the knowledge of objects. If we understand the object in the wrong way, then our attachment colors the understanding that is right. That is our problem. If attachment is removed for good or bad objects, then the ego has nothing left to express its power. The mind at that point develops pure knowledge.

As we go deeper in meditation, the identification and relationship to the world seems weaker as a result of the experience of meditation. There is a struggle as the mind tries to reassert its identification and relationship with the world after meditation. Is that where the anger comes from?

In meditation, one achieves peace. After meditation, the mind associates with worldly restlessness. The peaceful mind gets a shock at first but then the pull of the world colors the mind again. Anger develops when one is forcibly pulled toward the world.

There is a need to recreate the relationship with the world but there is less desire to do so, so that creates anger.

Peace and restlessness: two states. They are opposite. But in relating to the world, restlessness, rajas guna, is necessary. The Gita says when the mind is well controlled, then one can relate with no attachment. There is a need to create the relationship with the world but that need creates attachment. If the needed relationship with the world is free from attachment, then there will be no anger.

After some time of practicing, the mind starts seeing things more clearly and then becomes more aware of its attachments. When one realizes that the attachment is causing pain, there is a battle between the attachment and the mind that believes one needs to let go. I think that's where some of the anger comes from.

This battle doesn't end so soon. It's the ego which is our life in the world. That ego always fights with any elements which weaken it. In the Hindu Puranas there are stories of gods and anti-gods. Those are symbolic stories of this state. The ego and the anti-ego battle. In meditation, we are removing our ego of individuality and identifying with universal peace. But the ego has very strong weapons: desire and attachment. They pull the mind back to the ego.

Does that mean that the ego is identifying certain thoughts in the mind as true?

The ego only supports its self-interest. Any thoughts, desires which support the ego are true but the mind can discriminate what is right and what is wrong. If the mind is overpowered by the ego, then the mind follows the ego.

So we have the mind that is identifying things and the ego with its self-interest.

The intellect creates the ego. They are always together.

What is the self-interest of the ego?

"I may live forever." "Everything should be for me."

What can we use to counter the idea that "I may live forever and everything should be for me?" What is the real truth behind that?

Non-attachment to objects is the first step. Reflect on your attachment to objects and find out its reality. It is self-created by desires. A person goes for gambling with $5 in his pocket and wins $1000. Then slowly he loses everything. He cries for the loss of the $1000 and not for the loss of the $5. Nonattachment is developed by living a virtuous life. The ego of individuality takes the form of ego of universality by living a virtuous life.