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Worldly Attachments: The Cause of Spiritual Failure

One of the main reasons for reincarnation is that living beings are attached to the products of material nature such as family and friends. Until one gets rid of them completely, he will not escape the vicious circle.

Attachment to worldly things or too much attachment to family is a great obstacle in the advancement of spiritual life. Srila Prabhupada says that being attached to family is natural. But when one is 50 years old, he has to accept the vanaprastha order of life. This means that there is no more intimate connection with the wife. Instead, the couple must undertake a pilgrimage to the holy places so that they can obtain purification from their sins.

The pure devotees of the Lord offer surrender prayers at His lotus feet. All they want is just pure devotional service to Him so that they can remember Him all the time. Queen Kunti offers a wonderful prayer in this regard in which she says: “O Lord of the universe, soul of the universe, O personality of the form of the universe, please therefore sever my bond of affection for my kinsmen, the Pandavas and the Vrisinis. O Lord of Madhu, as the Ganges always flows into the sea without hindrance, let my attraction be constantly drawn to You without being diverted to anyone else.”

Being a pure devotee of Lord Krishna and in order to teach the world about the fluctuating nature of attachments, Queen Kunti shows us that to gain the eternal favor of the Lord, even attachments to our own relatives must be given up. This includes our children and other loved ones.

We have seen how attachment can slowly lead us away from the path of liberation. The example is Jada Bharath. This story is found in the Srimad Bhagavatam. Jada Bharath was performing devotional service to the Supreme Lord in the forest. One way or another he became attached to a deer and neglected his duties. As a consequence, he fell from his position due to excessive attachment to that deer. Jada Bharath was on the level of ecstatic love. Therefore, when he was reborn as a deer, due to the mercy of the Lord, he was able to remember his past life. After leaving the body of the deer, he again obtained a human body and was able to perfect his life.

The Lord is known as “Achyuta”. That is to say, He never fails in his affection for his devotees. Thus, he did Jada Bharath a favor by allowing her to remember his past life even when he was in the body of a deer.

To return to Godhead, we must break all attachment to family and religion and simply surrender as Queen Kunti did. Lord Krishna says, “Give up all varieties of religion and just surrender to Me. I will rid you of all sinful reactions. Do not be afraid.”

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