Chapter 12: Die To the Future
This sutra says that even if someone has renounced everything, still it is not the ultimate state in nonattachment. This too is not the ultimate form of nonattachment, because it is possible that the attachment may be there deep within. It is also possible that running away might have been just a form of attachment. What then is the ultimate definition? When everything enjoyable is present but there is no desire to indulge. Who will decide about it? Everyone has to decide it for himself. It is not a matter for others to decide; you are your own judge.
When no desire arises within, when the enjoyable objects may be present but no desire arises, neither in favor nor against, when mind simply does not run this way or that and you do not swing in any direction; you remain where you are, as if there is nothing outside - the object may be there outside but its reflection within does not create any attraction or repulsion - this then is the ultimate state in nonattachment.
This will look very difficult to us because so far we have understood detachment as the opposite of attachment. If a person renounces his wife and children, family and house and runs away, we call him a viraga, meaning a renunciate. But in his very escaping he shows that he is still in some way attached. When somebody escapes, he is not escaping out of fear of his house, he is actually escaping out of fear of his own inner desires. How can a house make one run away? And if a house can make one run away, then that inner state of nonattachment is not yet there.
One person is looking to buy a house; now the house is making him run in one direction. Another person is escaping to the jungle in fear of his house; here too it is the house that is making him run, but in another direction. He has his back to the house but he is still connected with the house. And there is yet another person.things do not cause him to run; such a person is not gripped by things any longer. But this nonattachment will mean being in the self, being settled within oneself. None of us are settled within ourselves.
There was a king whose life-force was kept in a parrot. These are old stories created for children where this kind of fantasy can still happen. Whatsoever anyone did to the king, the king would not die unless the parrot was killed. His soul was hidden in the parrot. As long as the parrot did not die, the king would not die. This is not only a story - it indicates that our souls are also imprisoned somewhere else, encased in something else. It may be that your soul is not imprisoned in a parrot but in your safe.
In 1930 - 31, when there was a sudden depression and the American dollar was devalued, many of the top millionaires of Wall Street in America committed suicide. The depression came so swiftly and acutely that most speculators and millionaires became poor overnight. Their bank balances suddenly disappeared. Many of them committed suicide instantly by jumping from the fiftieth or sixtieth floor of the buildings.