Question: What is the difference between love and attachment?
Answer: It depends on what meaning we assign to these words.
But let us speak in detail about attachments. To start with, there are different
kinds of attachments. Take an attachment to God, for example. This is what everyone
has to cultivate, encourage, and foster in themselves. But there are also attachments
that lead to the state of "duality". This is, for instance,
an attachment to the old workplace, to outdated methods of spiritual practice, and
But it is not always that we have to fight with our false attachments. It is
best when they die off by themselves being replaced by the growing love to God.
For if we are still not capable of falling in love with God — what sense does it
make for us to fight our attachments? We break one attachment by force, but it will
be instantly replaced by another one of the same kind.
What are the objects of our attachments? That which is of great value to us.
We should also understand that this feature of ours — to attach or fall in love
with something or someone — is of much help in our development. For example, it
teaches us to strive toward attainment of our goals, to sacrifice ourselves, it
teaches us to be vigorous, it develops the intellect, and so on. Moreover, being
passionate — it is also needed! Only a genuinely passionate person is able to advance
on the spiritual Path quickly and successfully! It is just necessary to turn the
developed passion to the needed direction.
So, let those who are still not able to fall in love with God, fall in love with
each other, etc, and thus grow through this. But it is useful for them to keep in
mind the perspective of falling in love with God.
I have been talking now about what I learned by my own experience. For example,
I had attachment to my old decrepit automobile. And the necessity to constantly repair
it myself, in the conditions of shortage of spare parts and unavailable service, taught
me so much! It taught me, in particular, how to find decisions in unusual situations,
like, for instance, an engine failure in the woods hundreds of kilometers away from
home. Or even — how to unscrew a nut that has rusted dead-tight to a bolt? This
develops the intellect remarkably! So, some of you I can recommend buying an old
automobile and devoting some period of life to it.