People always identify attachment as love. In real, attachment is the cause of bondage and both attachment and aversion binds the soul in the mundane world (Samsar). Because of attachment a soul transmigrates through infinite cycle of birth and death. According to Jain cosmology, time has no beginning or end. Hence, the soul is taking births since infinite time and it will remain in the bondage of karma for infinite time unless it gains right vision. To get release from this tie, one has to identify what is love and what is attachment.
We often see the person shows love to his beloved ones. He says to his wife that he can die for you. And we people call this “love”. Actually, this is attachment. Those who are eager to face truth reflect on the difference between attachment and love. In reflection, they see that attachment always comes with demands or conditions. Imagine, one man is going through a street. He sees a beautiful girl is also going through the street. He doesn’t know her. Now it is natural that he develops attachment toward her. He mentally accepts the girl. Now in the next moment, he sees the same girl talking with her boyfriend. By seeing his heart fills with jealousy and sorrow enters from the next door. Now we can see he himself is the cause of his sorrow. He himself expected a lot and that is the cause of sorrow. He expected for happiness and as a result he got sorrow. The girl even doesn’t know him. In this case she is neutral. There is a beautiful story that tells how attachment can be the cause for one’s spiritual collapse.
It was the time when Lord Mahavir, the last and the 24th Tirthankar of the present era was giving his last sermon. His last sermon lasted for 48 hours. All the listeners forgot their hunger and thirst and they all were dwelt deep and enjoying the Lord’s magnetic words. In that moment, suddenly the Lord said to Indrabhuti Gautam, his chief disciple, “Gautam! You have to go to Brahmin Dev Sharma to initiate him”. And Indrabhuti Gautam proceeded toward Dev Sharma’s house.
Indrabhuti Gautam was Lord Mahavir’s chief disciple and he was possessing four types of knowledge. After approaching Dev Sharma’s home he asked,
“What do you work?”
Dev Sharma: “Farming!”
Gautam: “Is your life endures by farming?”
Dev Sharma: “Yes! We have no problem”
Gautam: “Have you ever thought about your soul?”
Dev Sharma: “No! Not yet.”
Gautam: “See! Lord Mahavir has sent me here to initiate you. Human birth is hard and so rare to achieve. You can purify your soul and attain liberation only in the human form of body. Kindly accept asceticism and come with me, join us. I am sure you will ultimately attain liberation and everlasting happiness.”
Dev Sharma: “Lord! You are right, but I love my wife so much that I can’t live without her even for a moment!”
By saying this, Dev Sharma left Gautam unanswered but when he was coming out of his home, his head crashed with the frame of a door and he died on the spot! Indrabhuti Gautam was shocked by seeing Dev Sharma’s immediate death! When he used his knowledge to see his destiny then whatever he saw was this…
Brahmin Dev Sharma had taken birth in his beloved wife’s hairs as a louse.
This was the result of attachment. And this is the law of Nature. The nature gives you whatever you want or wish. This law is as natural as gravity, as an apple falls or earth affects on the space-time of geometry. You wish for mundane pleasures, the nature binds you with mundane world. You want mundane pleasure, the nature gives you sorrow. Because sorrow is real face of illusory happiness. You expect Liberation, you will attain liberation. But you are still here because you have never expected liberation. You are attached toward your beloved ones and that is why the nature will keep you closer to them but it is not clear that in which form you will remain close to them, just like Brahmin Dev Sharma remained close to his beloved wife but in a form of a louse!
Now let’s see what real love is…
There is a beautiful example of a young monk named Upagupta. It was nighttime during the rainy season, and the path in the forest was covered with a blanket of darkness. Upagupta found his way to a certain tree and sat down to meditate.
It happened at that time that a famous dancer was going through the same forest to meet her beloved. The darkness was so thick that she could not see where she was going. She was still trying to feel the track underfoot when she bumped into Upagupta.
Oh!" she exclaimed. "Who is this human being?"
Just then there was a flash of lightning. In that flash she saw the person she had accidentally come up against.
"Such a beautiful person is sitting there," she thought. "So calm and serene he is. His lovely face and body look as though they were carved out of pure marble. Oh, if I get this man, this will be heaven on earth!"
She was proud of her beauty. She was the most famous dancer of her time and men would flock to her feet. She said, "You are so calm. You have such radiance. Please come with me."
When he did not respond, she shook him and said, "You are meditating on what? See who I am!" Upagupta recognized the dancer. "I know who you are. But this is not the time, though I know that you love me. You go on your way. I will see you one day."
The dancer thought, "He knows I love him, he says. Then why delay?"
So she spoke to him again. "What is the reason for postponing? It will be too late. This is the right time."
He answered, "I know it, but the right time has not come in the right way. I promise you I will meet you. And remember, as you love, I too love. When it is the right time, I will come."
The dancer thought he was not in his right mind. And she went on.
Youth is like lightning, like a shadow, like the flow of water, ever-moving, so swift. Ten years passed. The dancer had overused her energy of youth and was now exhausted. She had not taken care of her body and was now suffering from a skin disease. She was trembling with fever and there were blisters on her skin. Nobody would even look at her, and the king drove her from the town. She was compelled to go out to a deserted village and live in a tiny hovel. There she was wasting away, crying and alone.
The time was right and a man came to see her there. He took her head in his lap. She was shivering with fever as he applied medicine to her sores, mouth, and head.
"Who are you?" she mumbled.
"I am Upagupta. Do you remember? I promised you. I love you. I have come to take care of you."
"Now I don't have anything to offer you," she moaned.
"No," he told her, "at that time you had something to offer which was transient, something which you yourself could not keep. Now you have something real to offer. I love that which is not going to go. Our relation is for that. It is the relation of soul.
"In the glamour and ego of the past years, you did not realize the changing nature of all that--of your body, beauty, wealth, and your circle of partying friends. They were all there because there was that need. They were feeding it and now that need is over. My need is not that. Mine is the need of the soul." (Story courtesy: 12 reflections by Chitrabhanu Maharaj).
The true love is universal. But to understand the true love you have to remain in tune with your soul. The true love is connected by the level of soul. The soul is permanent. It is not connected by the level of bodies, because the body, our relatives etc are transient. Every living being has soul and if you will remain in tune with your soul, you will love every living being of the universe. You will respect every form of life and thus you will never harm any living being. Those who can distinguish what is transient and permanent, he never reacts on hate and love that he receives from the people. He remains neutral in every condition. Like Lord Parshva who remained equal to both Indra and Kamath. Indra praised him and Kamath tortured him. The soul’s upliftment toward emancipation starts from this level of equanimity.