” The Blessed Lord said: Born of the activating attribute of Nature (rajo-guna), it is desire, it is anger, (that is the impelling force)—full of unappeasable craving and great evil: know this (two-sided passion) to be the foulest enemy here on earth.” —The Bhagavad Gita III:37
I had an unpleasant moment with a loved one the other day, enough to break me into an ocean of tears. A myriad of emotions occupied my mind, body and soul with the soul seeing no rest no matter what I do. As a last resort, I sat cross-legged in my silent room crying both inside and outside failing to understand why I was mourning it so much that nothing was bringing in the joy back to me. “Desires is the root cause of all suffering”; having learned this for years now, my thoughts went towards the popular presumption that I shouldn’t have desired for anything at the first place.
“Just one breath”, “Just one breath”… and “Just one breath”; sober, peaceful and bettering voices started ringing in my head. This simple phrase came from a friend whom I met in my Vipassana retreat in former part of this year. She showed me a way to come out the jungle of our mind in a second’s time by observing just one breath of ours without pushing the mind to do any greater than that in a repetitive manner till the mind takes a U-turn towards ‘silence’. Now, whenever I am not able to contain and compose myself, I always give it a shot and it works for me. So it did this time too.
I started feeling better than the last moment and with this, each moment steadfasted in melioration. At one certain breath, I felt I have won over it-my mind. I was calmer and stationed better to observe more of it. Now, that the mind had overcome sorrow, it clinged to something else-Questions: Why, Why me, Why this, Why that !
I desired for something. -> My desired went unfulfilled. -> I became sad.
The equation was simple, yet complex. My body was burning with unpleasant sensations. The breath was faster than normal and there were sensations all over as if they were struggling to have a way out of my body feeling crammed inside the limited walls of my physical structure. I reminded myself for not letting myself go with this flow that was sure to gulp me into a choking perplexing whirlpool of suffering. To stretch myself out it, I recalled a pleasant moment spent with the same friend, noticing the changes in my body happening by themselves. The sensations widened, relaxed and smothered. My breath timed off to find some repose and soon took a deep dive into dreaminess. Soon there was a hankering flow of something, some form of energy, within me making me feel in command of everything. It was as if all my cravings got their food stomach-ful nursing me now the way I wish them to.
I could make out that desires can be both friend and enemy. When they happen to get fulfilled in life, our mind, body and soul know joy and a state of happiness. When they go unfulfilled, they cause pain, sorrow and sometimes, ultimate suffering. Therefore, desire is not the root cause of all suffering. Instead,
“UN-FULFILLED DESIRE is the root cause of all suffering.”
Now, because desires are many and unending; as soon as one gets fulfilled in life, another one gets ready with its head twittering out the known realms of our existence cooing as loud as it can, conceiving a new urge within us for its fulfillment. It is obvious that some desires in life will get fulfilled and others will keep lingering on in the state of no-attainment. So, should we kill desire? Should we kill all of them or only those that can not be realized? Any effort to kill our desire results into the birth of an elephantine desire to end all our desires. Since the times I had known myself, I have seen myself growing only because I desired to. Desire is the very basis of life, it’s an energy within us much like the life itself. Now, if I wish to kill my desires, I will need to kill the life within me. It’s an derision that longing for death is also a kind of desire. Even to attain Nirvana, desire is needed at the first place. So, for sure desires find a very strong presence within us. They propel a strange sense of longing in us; a longing to become a little more than what we are now; a longing to have little more than what we have now.
We can not kill desires as they are not created by us only. Our unconciousness mind had played some tricks to make them happen and behave the way they do taking control over the essence of our life. Since we can not ignore, reject or destory desires, the only way to handle them is to welcome them and discern them. We can mindfully recognize the nature of our desire; learn our cravings towards food, things, property, love, people, praise, money and what not more. Once we know the nature, we can decide to embrace it and act towards its achievement or give it a thumbs down for this very moment allowing it to come back to us again in future. Desires must be satisfied in our hearts. If not, it is better left unattended. Give every single desire your best shot (since it may have spring up in us because of a God’s wish or will) without any particular attachment to it. If it doesn’t make its way through this life, it was not meant to be. If it does, there’s nothing more merrier than that.