For most people in this world, love masquerades as attachment. Sometimes both exist together and get mixed up. This happens in parental and filial love, among siblings, lovers, friends, spouses etc.

True friendship, chosen and not karmically imposed, can be much purer. Mother's love is so pure and divine initially, but as the child grows, attachment may gradually creep in.

You may remain attached to a living or dead person for all your life and never ever know that it wasn't love at all. Let us understand the difference :

Love is soul-to-soul belonging but attachment is ego's delusion.

Love heals ; modern neuro-scientific (neurocardiological) research confirms it. Attachment sickens.

Love gives and gives, it is selfless and unconditional - it is possible to love some people through forgiving even when you see their faults, but attachment is blind and stupefying, it cannot see faults and is possessive, and when it finally does see the faults, it cannot forgive and accept.

True love, as it deepens, expands the consciousness ; it reaches all and endures, but attachment is choosy, narrow and short-lived, often ending in aversion and hatred.

It is from the soft soil of love that forgiveness sprouts ; from attachment is born aversion, even revenge.

Attachment binds us to birth and death, love liberates. My rev. grand-master Swami Shri Yukeswar Ji used to say, 'Attachment is blinding. It lends an imaginary halo to the object of your desire.'


Every emotion has a tinge of ego in it ; emotion isn't a pure feeling. Love is a pure feeling, because love is an innate soul-expression - joy and love are in fact a soul's sole expressions.

When this feeling gets contaminated by ego - the little 'I' of body-conscious self - it becomes an emotion. We could say EMOTION is Ego in MOTION.

Some people make too much of emotion ! Emotion isn't a great thing ; masters denounce it. Even animals can have emotions ; those who have had pets or studied life in the jungles know it well. Attachment is an emotion. But animals can express great love too, and it can be just divine ! Any soul can express and emanate love,so this is not a privilege to humans. In fact, birds and animals can often outdo humans in true love. But saints and sages - the prophets in all faiths and ages - could express such supreme love, for all alike, the best !

Is there a simple test to know if a certain love is true or is emotive, has attachment ? Yes. Watch the breath. If the breath is restless - fast and shallow - then it is an emotion. Emotions always make us restless. True love always quietens the mind and soothes the heart. A gentle tear may still drop from the eye, but the breath is quiet or gentle, and the mind is in great peace in true love.

Also, in true love there is no anger, no fear of losing.

No one ever died of a broken heart because of being in love ; it was because of possessive emotive attachment ! Attachment always leaves a hurt in receding whereas true love always heals and liberates.

Real love goes out unconditionally, without preferences and reservations - like the fragrance of a rose petal : it gives perfume alike to the lips that kiss it and the hands that crush it !

EQ & SQ : Emotional intelligence is necessary but it is not all. Without spiritual intelligence, managers can manipulate their own and others' emotions and thus misuse their EQ. Dictators and fundamentalists exploit nationalistic or religious sentiment through misuse of emotional intelligence. True and selfless empathy, a necessary part of EQ, actually belongs to the domain of SQ and has roots in soul-to-soul affinity ; without spiritual awareness, emotional intelligence will be shallow and unsustainable. SQ is the highest ladder of Self-awareness, much above EQ. Please see my other posts on SQ and Leadership to know more.

Author's Bio: 

Chemical Engineer, 43 years of experience in Marketing / Corp. Training / Life Coaching / Motivational Speaking / Yoga Coaching. Linguist, writer and poet. Blends modern science and management with universal spiritual principles amenable to all faiths and proven yoga-meditation techniques. Has done thousands of programs in scores of corporates / institutes. Website