Question: While striving for detachment, how can we safeguard against indifference?

Sri Chinmoy: There is a great difference between detachment and indifference. When you are indifferent to something or someone, at that time you are almost, almost hostile to his progress. There is a kind of inner malicious hope that he will not pass his examination, not do the right thing, not be admired or adored by anyone. You may say you are indifferent to convince your own mind. But you will observe whether he is succeeding, and if he is, it will pinch you. And if he fails, you will get tremendous malicious pleasure. Indifference is like that. It observes in a secret way and gets tremendous joy when it observes failure and suffers tremendous jealousy when it observes success. We say we are indifferent, but if the other person becomes great, our jealousy will kill us, and if he falls down, we dance with joy.

But detachment is a spiritual quality. When we are detached, our physical is detached, our mind is detached, our vital is detached and so on. The thing in me that wants to bind you and the thing in you that wants to bind me from inside are warning each other, "I am not the right person to bind you and you are not the right person to bind me. There is someone else, the Divine, the Supreme, who is the only one. It is He who has infinite Light, Peace and Bliss, so run towards Him as I am running towards Him. I shall help you with my inner capacity, which is my prayer, meditation and concentration. But if I grab you and claim you with my vital, physical and mental longing, this is no help at all. Instead let me offer to you my prayer, meditation and concentration, and these things you have to offer to me. In this way we strengthen each other."

In detachment two persons grow together through their souls' light. Their souls' qualities make a bridge on which they can go to their common goal. The bridge is not the goal, but both use the bridge. They say, "Let us walk together along the path that leads to our common destination." So when we are detached, all the time we make ourselves feel that the human in somebody else or the human in ourselves is not the goal, but that we both have a common goal which we have to reach together with our hearts' aspiration and our souls' light. Detachment we have when we use our inner light and inner reality, rather than our physical reality.