Beyond Mundane Attachment and Detachment

You might have been preached to that you should not be attached to women; but now you are thinking to share your life with a woman. Material attachment means accepting things for one’s own sense gratification. Eagerness for selfish enjoyment in married life can cause disappointment, spiritual difficulties, mental disturbances and, in some cases, divorce. Having lower expectations, entering marriage as a duty, as a process for purification, will help you be satisfied with what you get.

If you see you are getting married as a failure to avoid “attachment” – as you were told – you might turn angry and resentful towards your wife, as if your need for a woman companion in life were her fault. You might even condemn her as the cause of your problems but, since your heart won’t be purified just by mundane loathing, you will start looking for another woman. And so your “detachment” would be revealed as just frustrated attachment.

In life there are proper times for different phases; in getting married you focus on establishing a relation and on building a family, with all the pertinent duties and responsibilities – like working, finding a place to live, etc. – if you perform positively in this phase, as householder, detachment will come more naturally later; when children grow up and move away; when you gain balance, maturity and wisdom through observation and direct experience; when your body grows older and the appetites of youth become less and less.

Srila Prabhupada writes:

“As long as either is attached to the other for such material enjoyment, the woman is dangerous for the man, and the man is also dangerous for the woman. But if the attachment is transferred to Krishna, both of them become Krishna conscious, and then marriage is very nice.” (SB 3.31.42, Purport)

There is no material solution: The attachment has to be transferred to Krishna.

This is an excerpt from the Bhakti Marriages Course “Get Ready for Married Life for Men” from ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry, prepared by Sri Radha Govinda Dasi.