Attachment and renunciation are subjects interwoven with most spiritual paths. However, they can also be used as and excuse for bad (non-spiritual) behavior. I was asked to address the following question:

“Oftentimes I see the “spiritual” idea of detachment used as an excuse to run away from responsibilities, abandon relationships ( all types), or to emotionally disengage in negative and often disastrous ways. I’ve seen a lot of harm done in the name of “detachment”. What is real detachment as spoken of in the Bhagavad Gita and Vedic scriptures? And how is it correctly utilized in a healthy spiritual life?”

In answering the question I have made a few quotations from the Bhagavad-gita which were:

There are principles to regulate attachment and aversion pertaining to the senses and their objects. One should not come under the control of such attachment and aversion, because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization. Bhagavad-gita 3.34

While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises. From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool. Bhagavad-gita 2.62-63

The yogis, abandoning attachment, act with body, mind, intelligence and even with the senses, only for the purpose of purification. Bhagavad-gita 5.11