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Chapter 18: Non-attachment Is Not Aversion

If I am left exclusively with my consciousness, will I be attached or detached in that moment? I will be neither. Attachment and aversion invariably happen in relationship with others. If I say Mr. X is attached, you will immediately ask, “To whom?” or “To what?” How can one be attached without the other? In the same way, if I say that Mr. Y is averse, you will soon ask, “To what?” or “From what?” Because aversion too, is possible only in relation to someone or something. Both clinging and rejection reflect our relationships; they belong to our behavioral side. In ourselves we are neither.

It is very important to understand the behavioral side of self-nature. And since it is a question of behavior, I can be attached to a person today and can reject him tomorrow. Because it is behavioral, if I am averse to someone today I can be attached to him tomorrow. And the irony is that I can be both attached and averse to someone or something at the same time. It is quite possible I can be simultaneously attached to one aspect of his personality and averse to another. We are often in conflicting relationships with the same persons or things - attached and averse together. But one thing is certain: attachment and aversion belong to our behavior, not our self-nature. Behavior means that one enters into some relationship - with another person or thing or thought - but the other is essential. Behavior is not possible without the other. It is impossible when you are alone.

Self-nature means that which is all alone. Aloneness is the intrinsic quality of self-nature. Self-nature is aloneness. If I am left utterly alone, away from men and things, from ideas and images; if I am in total aloneness, will I be attached or averse in that state? No, both attachment and aversion are utterly irrelevant to aloneness, because they are reflections of relationship. Once I am out of all relationships I am all alone - unattached and untouched.

I am explaining it at length so that you rightly understand the meaning and significance of non attachment, its context and associated words. And once you understand them rightly you will not have much difficulty in coming to non attachment.

Both attachment and aversion are relation ships in which the other is needed, the other is essential. Without the other these words are meaningless. And because of this “other”, both attachment and aversion turn into bondages, slavery. In both cases we are dependent on others. So a person of attachment is a slave, and a person of aversion is a slave of the opposite kind. Take away the vault of one who clings to wealth and he will die. Put a vault in the room of one who is averse to wealth and he will not be able to sleep.

Someone who is addicted to sex cannot live without a woman or a man. But put one who is an avowed celibate with a beautiful woman or a man, and he will be in a mess. Both types of people are in bondage, they are dependent on the other. It does not matter whether the other exists or not; he may be imaginary, but the other has become an inseparable part of their being. They cannot think of themselves without the other. The greedy cannot think of himself without money, and the renunciate cannot think of himself in association with money. But the other is present at the center of both.

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