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Desire Wants to Die
DK: Ma’am, do you agree with this forward?
“You all have so many desires. What do the desires say? ‘Fulfill me and you will get satisfaction.’
“Do desires say, ‘Fulfill me and I will remain’? Nope. Desires say, ‘Fulfill me and I will go.’
“Each desire wishes for its own disappearance. So there are many desires, and each desire wants itself to vanish.
“Unfortunately, we have been trained in the material world and the only method we ever know is to fulfill each desire instead of using spirituality to dissolve the desire.
“If you could be assured that without fulfilling the desire it would vanish, would you not take this route?
“The worldly man tries to beat the desire by fulfilling it, by going after kama, artha, dharma.
“The spiritual man actually dissolves the desire.
“To be desireless means to have fulfilled the climax of the desire.”
Sundari: Yes, this is well put. Desire is painful, which is why everyone rushes to fulfil it. It is the famous rat that never stops eating or it will die. The only way the “spiritual” man can manage desire is to understand its source – where the craving comes from. All craving, no matter what it is for, is craving for union with the Self. There is no “union” with the Self though, because we are never anything but the Self. However, a mind run by its likes and dislikes (desires) does not know this and endlessly seeks to end desire by fulfilling it, which only creates more desire in an endless circle. The sad story of dissatisfaction ensues…!
Desire is not really the problem, because desire is you, awareness. And fear is you too. Desirelessness and fearlessness is also you. It’s all You, so why make a fuss about it? That’s real freedom, not this whole nirvana nonsense so popular in the “spiritual” world. You are the knower “beyond” fear and desire.
There is nothing inherently “unnatural” or wrong with desiring any object, as long as it is not opposed to dharma. One never stops desiring; to be alive is to desire. Krishna says to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita: “I am the desire that is not opposed to dharma.” You need to have a strong desire for moksa, for instance, or you would not be qualified for it.
The Buddhists believe that desire is the cause of all suffering – which is true. But the solution is not the futile attempt to rid oneself of all desire. The solution is to understand what is behind desire. That is the only way to be free of desire. When it comes to gratuitous desires, one has to use dispassion and discrimination because indulging them does lead to and builds vasanas. It is always a question of motivation. Do you desire something because you feel empty, bored, greedy, dissatisfied, because you believe it will give you something? If so, desire will fail you, even if it is fulfilled. It will not give you what you are looking for, which is fullness – and an end to the suffering that desire causes. The temporary bliss we feel when a desire is satiated is the mistaken belief that the bliss of fulfillment comes from the object, whereas what has actually taken place is that the pressure of desire is no longer present in the mind, so the fullness of the Self is briefly experienced.
The question to ask is always: Who desires and why?
The problem with desire is that all actions create vasanas, which are the seed for another action. Thus one gets trapped in the chain of action-desire-action. The difference between knowledge and action is brought about by Maya, the power in awareness that makes the Self seem to be a doer. Desire for and pursuit of knowledge is the rediscovery of the actionless Self, and requires renunciation of one’s sense of doership. Pursuit of action, on the other hand, involves a sense of doership. So the two pursuits are opposite in nature.
Both powers, renunciation and action, exist in everyone. Individuals constantly act and they constantly let go of things they no longer value or desire. The only issue is the nature of that which is to be renounced. If an individual wants freedom, which Vedanta defines as freedom from dependence on objects, renunciation becomes a problem because individuals value things that conflict with the desire for freedom. And liberation requires a very subtle renunciation: renunciation of the renouncer, the one seeking freedom.
The “enlightened person” knows that as your true nature is whole and complete, you are the fullness that needs nothing. There is no need for more, better or different. You can enjoy the presence or absence of objects; it makes no difference to you. You can indulge desires that are not contrary to dharma or not. Either way, you are happy before during and after you either get or don’t get what you desire. You will not be seeking pleasure – which IS inherently dissatisfying, because if you are seeking pleasure, that means you do not know that pleasure, paramaa sukka, is your true nature. In fact, as stated, it is the seeking itself, the desire for the object, that causes the agitation in the mind, the dissatisfaction and the suffering.
Once Self-knowledge has obtained in the mind, this is the only time objects can really be enjoyed for what they are because one no longer needs them to feel full. Objects do offer a limited kind of bliss – so when you no longer need them to deliver more than they are capable of, you enjoy them without fear, for what they have to offer: temporary bliss. Therefore one is always satisfied. One sees everything as the Self and enjoys life, giving thanks for one’s many blessings, as transient as they are. Isvara’s world is truly beautiful when seen from the perspective of the Self.
~ Om and prem, Sundari