Absence of Ownership & Obsession, Beloved Relationships (138)


Lesson 138 is Value 13, 14. Absence of ownership. Neutralizing obsession over things dear to us. Compassion vs. Empathy.

Source: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 9.


  • Value 10: vairāgya: Dispassion Through Objectivity.
    • It’s taking time to discern the intrinsic value of objects/experiences, thereafter engaging with them accordingly.
      • EG: One doesn’t get too involved.
    • Upon discernment, we notice:
      • No gain in world is absolute. When gain X, lose out on Y (time, money, reputation). There is a cost for every gain.
      • 4 factors challenge capacity to enjoy anything:
        1. Your value for objects change the more in touch with reality.
        2. Desired object changes.
        3. Right timing/place.
        4. Mood changes. EG: Go to holiday island, but hear mishap in home town.
      • Failure to notice 4 factors, we loses perspective and are easily tempted into sales pitches. Meaning easily unsettled mind.
    • SUMMARY:
      • Vairāgyam is taking colouring out of your relationship to objects. Nothing to do with physical/emotional distancing.
      • ACIM 365 Day Workbook equivalent: I have given everything I see in this room/place, all the meaning it has for me.
  • Value 11: anahaṅkāra: Healthy I-sense.
  • Value 12: anudarśanam: Reflecting on 5-fold Limitations.
    • Understanding rarity of: Human birth > Teacher of scriptures >   Knowing this, we attempt to live each day mindfully/deliberately.
    • How?
      1. Upon waking, “In what ways can I make BEST of today? What will I commit to today?”.
      2. Ask, “If were to die tomorrow, would I die complete? Or wish did something more/less of?”.
      3. Ask, “What personal needs are not being fully met?”. Resolve to incorporate it.
      4. Adopt a Karma-Yoga Meaning all actions are for sake of living a devotional, focused and God-centred life. No new action needed. It’s an attitude change.
      5. Incorporate a Vedic prayer to help increase our focus. EG:
        • Mahā-mṛtyuñ-jaya-mantra:
          oṃ tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sughandhiṃ puṣṭivardhanam
          urvārukam iva bandhanān ’mṛtyor mukṣīya mā’mṛtāt   

          • tryambakaṃ yajāmahe: You are the three eyed one who has knowledge, and to YOU, we propitiate.
          • sughandhiṃ: You (destroyer of universe), are the one who brings about fragrance in life. Because destruction is necessary for new fresh moment to come. Thus you're the one who brings opportunity.
          • puṣṭivardhanam: If I make use of the opportunities which Shiva brings, then it nourishes me.
          • What do I (this limited individual) want from you? urvārukam iva bandhanāt :
            • urvārukam :
              • Like a big heavy pumpkin, when it's ripe, you can pluck it off effortlessly. Like that, when my mind is ripe, I can effortlessly release myself from bandhanāt (bondage).
              • Meaning you can only be released from heavy bondage, when ripe. And how to become ripe? By gaining mastery over the many little bondages holding you down. EG:
                • Emotional.
                  • Attitude: Emotional disbalance give insight into unconscious mind which are obstructions.
                • Relative/situational.
                  • Attitude:  Each is a learning opportunity.
                • Old age.
                  • Attitude:  Old age makes you wiser.
              • Why is such a big burden (pumpkin) “EFFORTLESSLY” released?
                • 2 kinds of self-growth:
                  • Forced:
                    • Impatient, trying to be like a wise person. While putting issues under the carpet. Living in own bubble.
                  • Real:
                    • Acknowledging and reflecting on the smallest things that come up. Honesty.
                    • Being ok that at times you'll yield to old ways. At other times, you’ll bring in the teaching.
                    • Being patient and kind towards your journey. Rushing is self-defeating.
          • mṛtyoḥ mukṣīya mā amṛtāt:
            • The more REAL and HONEST you are about your evolution, the more capable of holding the final reality, which releases one from “becoming”, thus attaining immortality.

Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 13, Verse 9:

asaktiḥ anabhiṣvaṅgaḥ putra-dāra-gṛha-ādiṣu ।
nityam ca sama-cittatvam iṣṭa aniṣṭa-upapattiṣu ॥
…absence of sense of ownership, absence of obsession towards son, wife, house and the like, and constant evenness of  mind regarding the gain of the desired and not desired…

Value 13: asaktiḥ: Absence of Ownership

  • What is asaktiḥ? Knowing difference between Ownership and Trusteeship.
    • Possessing an object is a FACT. Meaning, “In reference to myself, this OBJECT/PERSON is somehow related to me”.  EG:I possess a house, business, title, family”.
      • When the possessed object converts into “I own this”. Implying, “I am it’s creator/sustainer!”.
      • Meaning, self-image becomes tied up with the owned-object. Then whoever has more/less of THAT, it enacts emotional response in us.
        • EG:
          • Donald T. (USA president) was reluctant of relinquishing presidency.
          • Family member reluctant to relinquish his role in business. Unwilling to outsource. Unlike Bill Gates, who was able to let go of Microsoft.
    • Know difference between Ownership & Trusteeship.
      • Ownership:I own this!”.
      • Trusteeship:
        • I DO have connection to this object, but it’s temporary. Meaning, you’re endowed with object for a finite time, thus use it wisely and responsibly.
        • Hence unnecessary to say, “Everything is Īśvara / Nothing belongs to Me”. Pseudo. You don’t really mean it in reference to your house (wouldn’t want anyone living inside it).
    • Recognizing you are entrusted by Īśvara’s orders, with a body/family/house, for a short time. All the materials already supplied. EG:
      • Who owns your body?
        • Is it mother, father, society, sun, trees, grains, fruits, air, water, space, virus? Noone specific, yet also everyone (due to interconnectedness).
        • At same time, pretend not, “Body is not mine”. EG: Krishna was wearing ornaments and enjoying it through his body.
          • Hence it’s incorrect to assume that lifestyle is reliable gauge of spirituality. Not a Vedic Having or not having is fine, long as you don’t lose perspective.
            • EG: In Mahābhārata, 3 wise people different lifestyle:
              • Krishna: Colorful, active, joyful.
              • Vyāsa: Renounciate.
              • Vidur: Prince.
      • If forget trusteeship of body, then abuse happens.
        • EG:
          • Over-eating, excessive body-building. PSYCHOLOGICAL REASON: I can’t change anything “out there”. But can change my body. Hence anger towards society directed towards own body.
          • Self-criticism.


Value 14: anabhiṣvangaḥ: Absence of Obsession over Wife, Son, House (anything beloved)

* Starts at: 43:09

  • Whole: Anabhiṣvangaḥ putra-dāra-gṛhādiṣu: Absence of Obsession towards son, wife, house.
  • What is anabhiṣvangaḥ? Absence of excessive attachment for people/things, considered dear.
  • 3 Unhealthy state-of-affairs can happen within a relationship:
    1. Nurturing turns into controlling:
      • What does it mean to be nurturing towards beloved?
        • Feeling free to share your thoughts, because you care for their wellbeing. But not secretly insisting they change.
        • Initiating a friendly dialogue, for sake of bringing to light, and issue they’re unaware of.
      • Controlling version:
        • Insisting they must change! Hence dispassionate-care/nurturing has crossed into controlling.
        • Usually bypasses our radar, because we have so much love for them.
        • Son example:
          • Parent tries to LECTURE the son/daughter.
          • Unfair to child, as not allowing them to face challenges, and figure it out themselves. It’s reasonable when they’re young, but as they grow, need to selectively give them EXPOSURE to life.
          • How to know child is ready for exposure? Will start asking questions.
          • To want son to change can mean 2 things:
            1. Parent wants to change, thus superimposes on offspring, because has sense of Ownership.
            2. Parent doesn’t want to change, thus denies son their independent growth, by telling them, “Don’t __”.
    2. Over-dependency:
      • So dependent on few people in life, that forgot what’s it like to stand on OWN two feet. Partially functional without them.
        • Meaning, you are (as though), one with the spouse. Own individuality blended with theirs.
      • EG:
        • If other gets physically injured, it’s as if, happening to you.
        • If one dies or parts ways, suddenly life has no meaning.
    3. Artificial dispassion:
      • One interprets dispassion/objectivity, by turning into an emotionless stone.
  • Attitude in Beloved-Relationship:
    1. Not mixing up Submissiveness and Forgiveness:
      • If one is submissive (letting go), then resentment builds. Because natural program is, “I am is the center of life”.
      • Extreme of “centerhood” manifests as insensitivity. Comes off as rude, unfriendly, insulting.
      • Comparison:
        • Submissiveness: Passive. Letting go. Not addressing the issue.
        • Forgiveness: Active. Confronting the issue to understand it so one doesn’t hold it in mind unresolved.
    2. Understand PURPOSE of Relationship:
      • Relationship with beloved is not an end. But means to an end. Hence it’s neither useless, nor the highest aim to be concerned with throughout life.
      • Beloved can teach us 3 things (despite unable to satisfy all needs):
        1. Show our limitations. Because one caught in the net, can’t see the net.
          • Impossible to hide weaknesses from beloved, since watched 24/7. Either (a) dismiss their feedback or (b)
        2. Teaches us accommodation/compassion.
          • EG: Despite X-topic being easy for you, other finds it uninteresting. Thus we give them space to change according to their trajectory.
          • Compassion vs Empathy:
            • Empathy:
              • This is a natural state of all human beings.
              • It’s expression of unspoiled-dharma. Thus needs not be learned as we’re born with it.
                • EG: It’s seen in behaviour of toddlers towards each other. However it’s evident in varying degrees due to carry-over saṃskāras.
              • The purer the mind, the more effortless empathy is experienced towards world/people/animals/self.
            • Compassion:
              • This is empathy in action. Responding intelligently on bases of having empathy for the troubled entity.
                • EG: Empathy is feeling your friend’s loss. Compassion is taking time-out to plan a mini-picnic with them to help them cope.
              • Compassion in essence is karma-yoga. Recognizing your interconnectedness with the world. Thus you have a duty to do your part (svadharma) wherever possible.
        3. Teach us to gently assert our boundaries.
          • If don’t, then open self to unnecessary influence.
          • Why stand-up for oneself? For sake of healthy-relationship. May cause initial disturbance.
  • Attitude towards colleague:
    • What if don’t like someone, but find yourself around them. How to deal?
      • Firstly, how is this related to “Absence of Obsession”? If don’t know how to manage, then mind becomes obsessed about the disliked person.
        1. Check if holding resentment about them. How to know? You’ll want to talk about them even when they’re not around.
          • If resentment, be factual. Ask, “What specifically do I disagree about them?”.
        2. Don’t engage at all.
          • But without attitude, “…because he is like THIS/THAT”. Rather say “I don’t feel comfortable to engage”.
        3. Engage, but WITHIN boundaries.
          • EG: Suppose neglected by mother/father. In old age, must care for them.
            • Two possible emotions come: (a) Resentment towards him/her (b) Guilt if don’t take care.
            • How to handle?
              • If decide to care, must do happily. Else resentment shows in our behaviour, despite doing duty properly.
              • If do duty with resentment, other won’t feel cared for.




    • Value 1: amānitva: Absence of demanding validation/respect.
    • Value 2: adambhitva: Absence of pretense (making up stories).
    • Value 3: ahiṃsā: Deliberation of thought/word/action.
    • Value 4: kṣānti: Accommodation / Glad Acceptance of WHAT-IS.
    • Value 5: ārjava: Straightforwardness (Alignment of thought/word/action).
    • Value 6: ācāryopāsana: Service to teacher.
    • Value 7: śauca: Inner & outer cleanliness.
    • Value 8: sthairya: Steadfastness (Persistence).
    • Value 9: ātmavinigraha: Mastery/Management of the Mind.
    • Value 10: indriyārtheṣu vairāgya: Dispassion Through Objectivity.
    • Value 11: anahaṅkāra: Healthy “I-Sense”.
    • Value 12: anudarśana: Reflecting on 5-fold limitations.
    • Value 13: asaktiḥ: Absence of Sense of Ownership.
    • Value 14: anabhiṣvangaḥ: Absence of Obsession.


Keywords: anabhishvanga, asakti


Credit for help in Bhagavad Gita teaching given to Swami Dayananda (Arsha Vidya), Paramarthananda & Chinmaya Mission.

Recorded 10 Aug, 2021


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