Attachment and love are close companions in their origin and yet different in their working and result. Both spring from the heart, – attachment from the surface heart whereas love from the deeper heart, the heart behind the heart so to say. It is like a seed that has an inner core, from where the tree or the plant emerges and drawn by the light reaches its true fulfilment. Attachment, on the other hand, is the outer crust, the capsule protecting the seed and providing it with all the experience needed while it waits to emerge. Meanwhile, the seed casts its roots down in the soil tying it to the earth nature.
Attachment, therefore, comes first and in the absence of the experience of love, it is mistaken for love. Yet it binds people only to the surfaces. Its sticky threads cannot go deeper into the soul. Besides it remains susceptible to all the forces that move on the surfaces of life tying all creatures in a see-saw criss-cross pattern of the dualities of happiness and sorrow, joy and grief, ‘love’ and hate. These experiences eventually burn the outer crust as one begins to feel the inadequacy of it all and turns inwards and upwards. Then the true journey begins and love is ready to be born.
Attachment has its roots in physical nature and hence it easily tends to gravitate downwards towards lust, greed for more, various kinds of emotional and vital hungers, will to dominate. It develops easily with physical proximity and tends to slowly die down with distance. Nature uses this for its inferior purposes of keeping us tied to the forces of lower nature and the surfaces of life. The strings of attachment can start casting their web through any of the surface movements such as physical appearance, affinities, play of surface emotions, charm etc. But these things cannot endure for long when one has arrived at a certain inner development. Our being tires of the surfaces and seeks the Permanent, the True, the authentic, the Real and not replicas and imitations. When thus we begin to seek for the true, the beautiful, the lasting good, then love begins to emerge.
Unlike attachment, Love has its roots above into a higher spiritual nature. Therefore it always pulls us upwards at first through an idealised emotion uplifting human love towards some reflection of beauty and truth. But then finding this too inadequate it turns still higher or deeper towards its Source in the Divine through bhakti devotion. It is then that excessive attachments become an obstacle since they keep us tied to the sweet little longings and the small little pleasures that one derives through the bonds of ignorant earthly attachments. Since our emotions are locked into the objects and people we are too attached to, little is available to turn upwards and inwards. Detachment from the surfaces of life, from the rich relationships that satisfy the ego-self, is therefore advocated by almost all who have walked the spiritual path. This detachment however is not indifference, though it may seem so at one stage. It is a preparation clearing the ground for a deeper, truer, higher love to emerge.
When that happens then new bonds begin to emerge, no more directed by the needs and demands of the ego but by the cry of the soul reaching out to answering souls, the drawing together of kindred souls, of God-lovers and God-knowers and God-servants who meet in the ground. of the spiritual self that continues beyond the pyre and the grave.
Finally love always ascends upwards even when it ties itself to the earth. It binds earth to the heavens making our earthly life taste some harmony and bliss that is native to the higher worlds of Light and Truth Immortality. Its sign is a spontaneous giving flowing naturally from the inmost depths of the soul rather than demands and expectations to which our ordinary life is so prone.
To be attached is to remain tied to the ordinary earth nature. To love is to soar upwards, ever upwards beyond the highest heavens, beyond even the gods.