In jungles around the world animals are caught by hunters using the animal’s weakness as a trap. The monkey is caught because of his greed.

Tribals place nuts in a narrow hollow of a tree which can be reached only by inserting an open palm, slender enough to get through the opening.

Once the tree hopping monkey discovers the nuts he slips his thin hand into the crevice, picks up a fistful and then helplessly struggles to pull the fistful of nuts out, alas he is trapped till the hunter comes and captures him!

The “Vivek Choodamani” of shri Shankaracharya gives many examples of these sensual traps: Deer is caught by playing music, the Moth by its fatal attraction to the bright flame to which it flies with agonising impatience towards its doom, the fish is hooked for its weakness for taste, the elephant is trapped for his pleasure derived from sensual touch during mating season and the honey bee gets trapped in the fragrance of the lotus as it closes over the bee at sun set, imprisoning it in its suffocating embrace .

“And what of man who is a slave to  all the five senses?” asks Shankara! Five fold more are the weaknesses of man!

Attachment shackles. Stronger the attachment, stronger the shackle! Attachment is a willing slavery to any object, situation or being.

This captivating attachment is termed as “Kapi Mushti” (the monkey’s fist) in Vedanta. It is we who give the whip to the object of attachment, situation or relationship,to lash us with.

Man is born free but lifelong he forges his own chains and enslaves himself mentally and physically. The great gurus all advise that Vivek and Vairagya (wise discrimination and detachment) are the only two effective swords that can cut asunder these bondages to freedom.

Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission New Delhi.


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