WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOVE, MERCY AND ATTACHMENT?
A devotee asked like this:
Hare Krishna. I have mentioned some problem related to health. I’m very fine now. I don’t have any problem of sleep paralysis as of now. I learned not to panic in any situation. And have faith in Lord. Expecting too much of out own comfort and peace is also not good.
Well I have query.
(1) If we feed animals like cat or dogs near our house. Is it right to give them food or milk because they get attached to giver of food.
(2) What to do when we see a group of insects killing or eating other which is little bigger in size . Eg: may be small ants eating a living big cockroache. If we put water on above the cockroach, it will be relieved.
Thanks. Pls keep me anonymous. Hare Krishna
This question has come to me because most of us do not know the difference between love, mercy and attachment.
Let me explain this with some examples.
We are helping pur parents, protecting and feeding them lovefully.
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. Definitely allowed for the proper maintenance of this world order.
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 lovefully served her for decades. But, I never expected that she will be with me for ever. I did as a duty of a son. When she died recently 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.
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 foam cots, etc, but, she was happy and satisfied as the mother of this sanyasi like son (me) because her son did not escape from his duty for his parents even in spite of his challenging and miserable times of his life.
When I was severly suffering financially in my past, I could only get the free and subsidized grains (rice, wheat, nuts) from the ration shop of the government and cooked with the 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 alright in finance, I continued to lead the same simplest life style. Since there was love between me and my mother, she happily accepted that also.
Thus, love is duty bound. Attachment is expectation bound.
This can be a good example of love without attachment from my side itself.
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 purpose?
It is easily countable.
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 renounced persons, it is LOVEFUL that stops rebirth.
If you offer food to him expecting your life to be more comfortable in wealth or to show your generosity tto others, then, it is ATTACHMENT that gives rebirth.
Same applies for helping the beggars also.
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 tell others about your help or to show your good standing to help others, 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 devotee who is serving the Lord, it is LOVE and you also become a silent partner in the service of that temple or devotee and hence the blessings of God poured to that temple or devotee for their service will come to you also automatically.
In case, you donate expecting first respect and honour in return, it is ATTACHMENT.
Here, I like to remind a scene in most of the temples. The names of the donors of tube lights in the temples have been printed in big size on the tubes that even hides the brightness. These things can be avoided .
However, if the temple itself prints the names on the notice boards to encourage others also to support, it can be understood positively.
(6) Now, in your case, you should feed the dog or cat with 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.
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.
(7) Your another question of saving an insect from another. It can be done mercifully.
If we allow an insect or animal to die even if we can save them, it is also equal to killing. If an insect can be saved by spraying some water on them, it can be done. However, if an insect falls on the burning stove or lamp and dies, you can’t do anything.
For example, if a dog is running fat on the road and dies by getting hit by a vehicle of someone else, you are not responsible for that.
When you save that insect, do that as a human nature, not to reduce your karma.
All you can do is that you can keep your home as clean as possible not to allow more insects inside the home as a duty of every householder.
I hope that the above explanation has helped you understand the differences between love, mercy and attachment.
Also read to quit attachments: My desires never get fulfilled in life. Why it is so?