Attachment and commitment, in human relationships

Acharya Prashant
6 min readOct 6, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question (Q): Acharya Ji, what’s the link between attachment and commitment, especially in terms of human relationships? Since we know that attachment to another person has to be seen as a hindrance to freedom, what about commitment?

Acharya Prashant (AP): To commit oneself to something, is to hold that thing valuable. It is to hold that thing so valuable that it is worth committing, sacrificing, laying down the self to. You always commit a smaller thing in the value of something, in service of something bigger. So, that is commitment.

To want something so intensely, to value something so greatly, that the thing becomes more important than even the one valuing the thing — that is to be committed.

Even in attachment one is committed.

To what?

In attachment, the little self is committed to its own petty wants, desires, insecurities. Therefore, attachment and the accompanying commitment are a fallacy of evaluation.

The little self, the ego is valuing security higher than its welfare and Peace.

What does one say in attachment? One says, “That is the thing that appears Peace-giving to me, that is the thing I am conditioned and habituated to, that is the thing I have become dependent upon. And so, I don’t want to leave that thing.”

What is being accorded value in the process of attachment? Habits, tendencies, dependencies, fear, and a continuous sense of incompleteness and insecurity. That is what is paramount in the process of attachment. So one is giving a high value but to the wrong thing. One is still committed — but to a false god.

And really the word ‘commitment’ has value, only if the one who is committing, commits himself/herself so deeply that there is no possibility of a retreat or withdrawal.

In case of attachment that is not possible. Sooner than later it becomes obvious that one is investing herself at the wrong place. It becomes obvious that in spite of all the habit, and emotion, and bondages, the object of attachment is actually in no position to provide the fulfillment one is looking for…

Acharya Prashant