What Shankaracharya is saying is a different thing entirely. He is saying, “Watch the attachment carefully, with discretion.” In that state of knowing the actual reality, the clouds of attachment will disperse – not that detachment will take their place.
Detachment is the absence of attachment; it is not the opposite of attachment. It is not that attachment will disappear from your heart and detachment will take its place – attachment will disappear and nothing will take its place. This is the ultimate detachment.
So don’t make a mistake in understanding these sutras, be-cause this mistake is very easy to make.
Who is your wife? Who is your son? This world is very strange. Whose are you? Who are you? From where have you come? Do think over these basic questions.
Shankara is asking you to think over, to contemplate, to wake up and to watch, with awareness. Don’t be in a hurry to borrow detachment. The borrowing of detachment will be of no use.
If right thinking creates the light of understanding in your heart, then attachment will disappear. So don’t try to throw out the darkness – just light the lamp.
So Shankara says, Who is your wife? Yes, who is your wife? Who is your son? They are just like strangers who meet on the roadside. Did you know your son before he was born? Did you call this son to be born out of you? You didn’t even know him, how could you call him? You didn’t know his address. You didn’t even recognize his face.
This is just a chance meeting of strangers. But the human mind creates illusions – “This is my son, this is my wife, this is my sister, this is my brother.” How do you create these relationships? How? This is a very strange occurrence. It is like two unacquainted persons walking on the same path. They will walk together for a short time and then each one will go in his own direction after saying goodbye, but all sorts of relationships will be made in that short time. There must be some other deep reason for this. These relationships are not true, because all of us are strangers. In spite of living together for years we don’t know each other.
Do you know your wife? You have lived with her for thirty or forty years, but do you think you know her well? Can you make a prophecy of what she will do tomorrow? Even after living with your wife for forty years you cannot make a prophecy about what she will do the next moment. Just a minute before she was smiling, she was happy, and now she is annoyed! It is difficult for you to say what her mood will be the next moment!