The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner (Q): What is the difference between attachment and Love?
Acharya Prashant (AP): There is a Story about a woman, a rural woman, an illiterate woman, who did not know how to read. So, she was in her village and her lover was a soldier, serving in some far-off land. He would write her letters and the woman had no way of reading those letters, she was illiterate. The only way she could have read them was by using somebody else’s services.
But, because the letters were from her lover, intimate letters, she didn’t want somebody else to read them. So, when the letters would arrive, she would not even open the envelope. She would kiss the letters, keep the letters close to her heart, and carry them everywhere she would go. If she is traveling, there would be a small case containing those letters. Eating, the letters are next to her. Sleeping, the letters are by her side.
Then one day one of her close friends visited her, she knew how to read, and because she was her close friend, this woman could trust her to read those letters. One by one she read out those letters, this woman heard those letters. She cried in joy, tears were rolling down her cheeks, and having heard the contents of the letters, she came to a point where she didn’t feel the need to carry them all the time with her.
Earlier the letters used to be an unspoken promise, a promise unheard of, something waiting to happen, and she would be very very attached to them. Now the contents of the letters were revealed, and she could keep the letters in someplace safe. The urge to carry them reduced. But, still, she had stocked them, she would look at them, they meant a lot for her. Then one day, her lover returned. And together they decided to go and visit places, travel, tour, enjoy and when these two had gone out, she discovered, that she had forgotten to carry the letters and neither did she feel bad, nor guilty.
Attachment is just a promise. Attachment is a lack of fulfillment. Attachment is a substitute for Love. Because the real thing is not available so, I am holding on to an alternative, it is like those letters. And more the distant the real thing is, the more is the attachment. Till…