Actually, I do not deeply understand this quote given below.

“Attachment is the strongest block to realization.” Neem Karoli Baba

What is the exact meaning of this quote by Neem Karoli Baba?

  • 2
    Could you also add a source for the quote? It might help to know the context behind the words in order to understand the meaning. – user9440 Jul 18 '20 at 1:20
  • Basically everyone is Aatma, but despite having intellect, they identify themselves with ephemeral body and senses and get attached to it, of which they have no idea how and why they got it in the first place.'A fabled musk deer searches the world over for the source of the scent which comes from itself.' – user21300 Jul 18 '20 at 21:32

Have a look at the following verse:

Dve pade vandhamokshAya mameti nirmameti cha |
Mameti vAdyate janturna nirmameti vimuchyate ||

Mama (Mine) and Nir-Mama (Not Mine) - These two words are respectively the indicators of Bandhana (bondage due to illusion) and Moksha (liberation from bondage). The thought "Mine" binds the Jiva, but the thought "Not-Mine" liberates it.

KulArnava Tantram 1.112

So, what Lord Shiva says is that the thoughts like "my car", "my house", "my wife", "my son" etc. (which all imply attachment or Bandhana) are the thoughts that bind the Jiva and prevent him from getting Moksha (self-realization).

On the other hand, the thoughts of "not mine" which are devoid of attachments of any sorts, are the giver of realization or Moksha.

And, exactly the same thing is being said by Neem Karoli Baba.

People who think they genuinely owns something are still in the clutches of Maya and hence the road to realization for them is still blocked. This is what has been stated in various scriptures. And, this is what Neem Karoli Baba has said.

  • I have come across KulArnava Tantram in several posts. Is it available online ? – Carmen sandiego Jul 18 '20 at 13:53
  • Not sure. I have a hard copy with me @Carmensandiego – Rickross Jul 18 '20 at 14:27
  • Also, probably I am the only user who quotes from the text in answers. Besides me may be Rakesh also used it on few occasions. @Carmensandiego – Rickross Jul 18 '20 at 15:25

In Gita Chapter 2, attachment refers to desires of the mind, from love for, fondness for, of material or worldly objects or objectives. Krishna says in Chapter 2 (Swami Gambhirananda translator):

  1. In the case of a person who dwells on objects, there arises attachment for them. From attachment grows hankering, from hankering springs anger.

  2. From anger follows delusion; from delusion, failure of memory, the loss of understanding; from the loss of understanding, he perishes.

Thinking of objects has been said to he the root cause of all evils. After that, this which is the cause of Liberation is being now stated;

  1. But by perceiving objects with the organs that are free from attraction and repulsion, and are under his own control, the self-controlled man attains serenity.

What happens when there is serenity? This is being answered:

  1. When there is serenity, there follows eradication of all his sorrows, because the wisdom of one who has a serene mind soon becomes firmly established.

The serene mind which is free of worldly attachments realizes God. The only thing that separates man from God, is the veil of Maya - withdraw the veil and God is realized. The soul realizes He was there all the time, it was only the constant distractions of the senses on the mind that separates the soul from God. Hence, Neem Karoli Baba's statement that attachment is the strongest block to realization.


It is the mind that leads to either bondage or liberation. The verses below of Amritabindu Upanishad clearly explains the whole idea and explains Neem Karoli Baba's statement.

  1. The mind is chiefly spoken of as of two kinds, pure and impure. The impure mind is that which is possessed of desire, and the pure is that which is devoid of desire.

  2. It is indeed the mind that is the cause of men’s bondage and liberation. The mind that is attached to sense-objects leads to bondage,while dissociated from sense-objects it tends to lead to liberation. So they think.

  3. Since liberation is predicated of the mind devoid of desire for sense objects, therefore, the mind should always be made free of such desire, by the seeker after liberation.

  4. When the mind, with its attachment for sense-objects annihilated, is fully controlled within the heart and thus realises its own essence, then that Supreme State (is gained).

  5. The mind should be controlled to that extent in which it gets merged in the heart. This is Jnana (realisation) and this is Dhyana (meditation) also, all else is argumentation and verbiage.

Amritabindu Upanishad translated by Swami Madhavananda

There is a wonderful passage in Mahabharata that explains how desire or attachment to sense objects work.

Vyasa’s view of Desire

Vyasa said, ‘There is a wonderful tree, called Desire, in the heart of a man. It is born of the seed called Error. Wrath and pride constitute its large trunk. The wish for action is the basin around its foot (for holding the water that is to nourish it). Ignorance is the root of that tree, and heedlessness is the water that gives it sustenance. Envy constitutes its leaves. The evil acts of past lives supply it with vigour. Loss of judgment and anxiety are its twigs; grief forms its large branches; and fear is its sprout.Thirst (after diverse objects) that is (apparently) agreeable forms the creepers that twine round it on every side. Excessively greedy men, bound in chains of iron, sitting around that fruit-yielding tree, pay their adorations to it, in expectation of obtaining its fruit. He who, subduing those chains, cutteth down that tree and seeks to cast off both sorrow and joy, succeeds in attaining to the end of both. That foolish man who nourishes this tree by indulgence in the objects of the senses is destroyed by those very objects in which he indulges after the manner of a poisonous pill destroying the patient to whom it is administered. A dexterous person, however, by the aid of Yoga, forcibly teareth up and cutteth with the sword of Samadhi, the far-reaching root of this tree. One who knows that the end of all acts undertaken from only the desire of fruit is rebirth or chains that bind, succeeds in transcending all sorrow.’

Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Section CCLIV

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