As we evolve and grow in our life's journey, our spiritual quest as a seeker also grows. It is natural for us to take recourse to spiritual and self-help books, Gurus and other Masters to help sharpen our insights into the spiritual realm and clarify many doubts that arise within us.
One of the subject matters which has been much debated, discussed and written about has to do with DESIRES. In fact the Bhagvad Gita has devoted many verses to throwing light on this matter. One is led to believe that Desires are the root cause of our misery and unhappiness and as a consequence, desires need to be abdicated and relinquished if we were to lead happy lives. When I reflected on this subject matter, I asked myself the question - Can desires really be given up? Is it even practical and appropriate to do so? Let us examine these questions very dispassionately.
Are desires not essential and most necessary for our growth? No matter on which rung of Life's ladder we may be, is there not a lurking ambition and determination in most of us to want to grow whether in our academic pursuits, professions, businesses or any field of activity we are engaged in?
If we had no desires, we would stop growing. With no growth comes stagnation and with stagnation we deny ourselves the vital energy of "Life" itself. In a sense then we "die" whilst still being alive!
Moreover, if we think about it - Isn't "not to have any desires", itself a desire?
So it would be clear that desires cannot be wished away but are here to stay. How then do we reconcile this submission with the enlightening words of wisdom the Bhagvad Gita and many of our scriptures propound? I feel it has to do with the correct interpretation and understanding of the subject matter.
The problem is NOT desire per se. The problem is about becoming a slave to our desires. The problem is about letting our desires rule us rather than we being in control of our desires. The problem is in our misguided belief that equates fulfillment of desires with happiness. The problem is not being content and grateful for whatever we have. About having selfish desires that only confine themselves narrowly to self – gratification needs, specially fulfilling the need of our baser instincts. The problem is becoming bound with ruthless attachment to desires. All of these only end up manifesting in the form of turbulent, agitated and restless minds that drive one to commit derogatory acts which are self-destructive and also harmful for others in society.
The question thus we need to ask ourselves is not - "Whether I need to give up on my desires", but "How can I use my desires in a balanced, responsible, constructive and value-creating manner for my growth and then look beyond the self to see how desires could be channelised in a way that can contribute meaningfully towards enhancing value for fellow beings."
In this manner we would have used desires to enrich our lives and paved the way for realising an inner contentment.
Author: Ajay Sachdeva