A devotee asked like this:

“If we grow feed animals like cat or dogs near our house, is it attachment? Is it right to give them food or milk because they get attached to giver of food? Thanks. Please, keep me anonymous.  Hare Krishna.”


This question has come to me because most of us are not aware of the difference between love, mercy and attachment.

The difference between love, mercy and attachment is very narrow. Let me explain this with some examples.

(How to come out of home sickness? What is the difference between fate and Karma? READ HERE!)


We are helping our parents, protecting and feeding them with love.

This is our duty.  It is the basic nature of humans.  If we do these duties without expecting any honour, benefits, etc, it is love or affection.

It is allowed for everyone for the proper maintenance of this society.

If we think that they are OURS,  OUR ETERNAL RELATIVES and cry in their separation or feel proud on their presence, it is ATTACHMENT.

As a close example, I never allowed my mother to suffer and I served her sincerely for decades.  But, I never expected that she will be with me for ever.  I did as a duty as a son.  When she died three years ago on an ekadasi day like my father who also died on ekadasi, I did not get even a single drop of tears from my eyes and I was absolutely normal accepting the reality of this material life.  Today, my moher;  Tomorrow, may be Me. Everyone has to leave one day.


I had no guilt since I had done my duty as a son to her as fairly as possible in my simple life environment.  She had no air conditioning, no car, no foam beds, etc, but, she was happy and satisfied as the mother of this son (me) who is living like a sanyasi, because her son did not escape from his duty for his parents in spite of his challenging and miserable times of his life and in spite of his  interest in full time service to the Lord at that time.

Now, after she died, I have come to full time service for Krishna.  This is the perfect example of how a devotee should evolve in his devotional career without skipping his duties.

Satisfy your parents and simultaneously satisfy your soulmate Krishna.

(How to deal with the Material Attachment, Detachment & Devotee Association? READ HERE!)

When I was suffering financially in my past, I could only get the free and/ or subsidized grains (rice, wheat, nuts) from the ration shop (Fair Price shop) run by the government  and cooked with that big sized rice.

Even in those challenging times, I did not allow her to suffer in starvation.  She happily accepted that poor quality boiled rice/ wheat, etc and remained happy since I offered them with love.

When I became little relieved financially, I continued to lead the same simplest life style to avoid attachment with the materials.  Since there was love between me and my mother, she happily accepted that also.

Thus, love is duty bound. We should love everyone as the creation of Krishna, and not with expectations.  Attachment is based on expectations.

This can be a good example of love without attachment from my side itself.

(Should Krishna devotees perform Puja for new house or vehicle? READ HERE!)


A boy loves a girl seeing her qualities.

If he chooses her considering that he may run his grahastha (householder life) as a duty without the need to commit sins and with God at the center, it is LOVE.

If he chooses her just because she is beautiful, attractive, sweet talking and he can have more pleasures after marriage for ever, it is called ATTACHMENT.

How many boys and girls choose a spouse with this great purpose?

It is less in percentage.

(My desires never get fulfilled in life. Why it is so? READ HERE!)


A sadhu (renounced person) comes to your home.  You offer food to him.  He blesses you.

If you had offered food to him as a duty of a householder to feed the renounced persons, it is LOVE and reverence that stops rebirth.

If you offer food to him expecting your life to be more comfortable financially or to show your generosity to others, then, it is ATTACHMENT that gives rebirth.

Same applies for helping the beggars also.

(Demigods help faster than Krishna and my friends got promoted while I am not yet. Why? READ HERE!)


One of your friend or neighbour requests a help from you.

If you help him as a duty of a human to help the needy ones, it is LOVE and MERCY.

If you help him expecting some benefits in return or to show to others your helping nature or to show your good financial standing, it is ATTACHMENT.


You make regular donation to a temple or a devotee.  If you do this as your duty to support the temple or forum who is serving the Lord, it is LOVE and you also become a silent partner in the service of that temple or forum and hence the blessings of God poured to that temple or devotee for their service will come to you also automatically.

 (Is wearing a rich work uniform the violation of simplicity for a devotee? READ HERE!)

In case, you help any temple or forum expecting first respect and honour in return, it is ATTACHMENT.

For example, the names of the donors of ‘florescent tube lights’ in the temples have been printed in big size on the tubes that even hides the brightness.  These things can be avoided .

(6) You should feed a dog or cat with the mercy, thinking that the animals should be protected by the humans, it is LOVE.

If you feed them to make it addicted to you and protect your house from thieves, it is ATTACHMENT.

(How One falls due to attachments as said by Krishna? READ HERE!)

I have seen some Obituary advertisements in daily newspapers for the death of dogs.  I have also seen the reports from popular persons about how they cried when their dogs did.

Therefore, feed the dogs and leave them free.  Do not wish to keep them in your custody.

Same mindset should be followed when you have your pet in home.

Actually, we need not keep the dogs in our bed rooms or kitchens because, they will be more happy if they are let free in the streets.  Please don’t think that they are happy with you.

I hope that the above explanation has helped you understand the differences between love, mercy and attachment.

(The right process of sanyasa and devotion in kaliyuga in the absence of varnashrama dharma! READ HERE!)

Author: RAJAN

RAJAN from Tamil Nadu, India, a Life Patron and an Initiated Devotee being in ISKCON for nearly three decades, serves anonymously to avoid Prominence and crowd as an insignificant, Humble and Neutral Servant for all the devotees of Krishna! He promotes Social media forums and this blog-website as e-satsangha (e-forums) blessed with Lakhs of followers, to give Spiritual Solutions for all the Material Problems of the devotees since 2011! He writes friendly and practical tips to practice devotion (i) without hurting the followers of other paths, (ii) without affecting the personal and career life, and (iii) without the blind, superstitious and ritualistic approach! He dedicates all the glories and credits to his Guru and Krishna.

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