"Sweep out the sphere of your mind:
Make a place for Loved One to sit.
Dust out all thoughts of this world
So that His throne may be fit.
A million desires engulf you,
A million ambitions and aims:
How can you make room for His Presence
Unless they vacate His domain?"
What Is Desire?
Desire is a mode of the emotive mind. It has got a power of externalising the mind. Desire is the fuel; thought is the fire. The thought-fire is kept up by the desire-fuel. If you withdraw the supply of fuel, the fire will be withdrawn into its womb. If you stop thinking by cutting off desires, the mind will be withdrawn into Brahman.
It is only when the mind, being divested of all its desires, is indifferent to pleasures and pains and is not attracted by any object that it will be rendered pure, free from the grip of the great delusion like a bird freed from its cage and roaming freely in the Akasa.
Desire, thought and Ahankara form one vicious circle. If you can destroy any one of them, the other two will die by themselves. These are the three pillars or corner-stones of the edifice of mind. They are the three links of the mind-chain. Destroy any one of the links; the whole chain will be broken.
Why Do Desires Arise?
Why do desires arise in the mind? On account of Ananda-Abhava (absence of Ananda or spiritual bliss). The cause for desire is the existence of objects outside. Curiosity becomes a desire in the mind. Interest and feeling precede a desire. Hope and expectation fatten the desire.
Vikshepa-the Very Nature Of Mind
Just as heat is inseparable from fire, Vikshepa or the tossing of the mind is inseparable from the mind. It troubles the Sadhakas a lot. It destroys all of a sudden the determinations of strong-willed persons also. The mind ceases to exist if it is destitute of this oscillation. This fluctuating mind alone creates the universe. Even Mala (impurity) can be removed easily. It demands strenuous efforts for a protracted time on the part of the Sadhaka to remove this Vikshepa. The undaunted Uddalaka suffered a lot from this distracting Vikshepa when he tried to enter into Nirvikalpa state. Raja Bhartrihari underwent the same difficulty when he tried to overcome this troublesome fluctuating Sakti of the mind. Vikshepa is Maya. Vikshepa is impure Vasana (Asuddha Vasana). You will have to destroy this Vikshepasakti by constant Upasana or Yoga or ceaseless Atmic enquiry (Brahmavichara). Then, peace (Santi) will come by itself.
Types Of Desire
Desire in the mind is the real impurity. Sexual desire, vulgar attraction for the opposite sex, is the greatest impurity. This causes the real bondage. You can even give up wife, children and wealth. But, it is extremely difficult to give up ambition, name and fame. Ambition is a serious obstacle in the path of Yoga. This is the most powerful weapon of Maya with which she slaughters worldly-minded persons. Even if there is a tinge of desire for name and fame, Truth will not manifest. Truth will shine by Itself. It does not need any pompous advertisement. It is the very Self of all beings and objects.
Anirbuddha Or Subtle, Hidden Desires
Even after you have renounced all the desires, there may remain in the mind some subtle, hidden desires (Sukshma, Anirbuddha) that cannot be comprehended. These are very dangerous ones. Therefore, you will have to be very, very careful. The lurking under-currents of desires will throw you down at any moment if you are not very vigilant and cautious, will destroy your Vairagya (dispassion) and will bring about your downfall eventually. I have witnessed many Yogabhrashtas who had fallen from Yoga owing to the overpowering influence of these subtle, hidden desires. So long as you have these subtle, hidden, Anirbuddha (unnoticeable) desires in your mind, you can never dream of entering into the Nirvikalpa state without any modification of the mind. You can never develop real Paravairagya (supreme non-attachment and dispassion) also.
Craving Or Trishna
You may become old, your hairs may turn grey, but your mind is ever young. The capacity may vanish, but the craving remains even when you have reached advanced senility. Cravings (Trishna) are the real seeds of birth. These craving-seeds give rise to Sankalpa and action. The wheel of Samsara is kept revolving by these cravings. Nip them in the bud. Then only will you be safe. You will get Moksha. Brahma-Bhavana, Brahma-Chintana, meditation on OM and devotion will root out these craving-seeds which are laid deep. You will have to dig them out properly in various corners and burn them beyond resurrection. Then only will your efforts bear the fruit of Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
"Love and kill," "Marry and observe Brahmacharya," "Enjoyment without desire," "Action without fruits" are paradoxical terms. A man with gross Vyavaharic Buddhi can hardly understand these terms. A subtle, pure intellect is needed. Suppose you were a terrible smoker for the last fifteen years. Then you gave up smoking for five years. The craving for smoking also died. Suppose one of your friends offers you a cigar in the sixth year. You have no craving for smoking now. If you take it now and enjoy it just to please your friend, it will be called a Suddha Bhoga only. You have enjoyed it without a craving or a desire. Isvara enjoys Suddha Bhoga.
Satisfaction Of Desire Yields Illusory Happiness Only
Desire excites the mind and senses. When desire is gratified by enjoyment of the objects of desire, satisfaction (Tripti) comes in temporarily. Rapture is delight in the attainment of the desired object. Bliss is the enjoyment of the taste of what is attained. Where rapture is there is bliss; but where bliss is there is not, quite of necessity, rapture. Rapture is like a weary traveller who hears or sees water or a shady wood. Bliss is the enjoying of the water or entering the forest shade.
When there is desire, then alone is there pleasure. The cause for pleasure is desire. When there is no desire, there cannot be any pleasure. When there is no hunger, delicious food can give you no pleasure. When there is no thirst, any refreshing beverage will have no effect. So, hunger is the best sauce. The first cup of hot milk gives pleasure. The second cup induces disgust. After the enjoyment is over, Tripti comes. Hence, disgust arises when the second cup is taken. There is no real pleasure in milk. The happiness is in Atman only. It is reflected in the object (milk) owing to ignorance, owing to Bhranti (illusion). It is Bhranti-Sukha. If there were real happiness in milk, it should induce pleasure always and in every person. It is not the case.
A desire arises in the mind. There is a Vritti now. This Vritti agitates your mind till you get satisfaction through enjoyment of the desired object. There is Santi or peace or happiness after the enjoyment is over. Another desire arises in the mind. Now, in the interval between the gratification of one desire and the manifestation of another, there is pure bliss, because there is no mind then. It is at rest. You are in union with Brahman. That state of pure bliss between two desires is Brahman. If you can prolong that period of bliss through Sadhana by keeping up the idea of Brahman and by not allowing another Vritti or desire to crop up, you will be in Samadhi. The period between one Vritti and another Vritti is the real Sandhi (juncture).
Desires Are Insatiable
Mind plays havoc through desires. As soon as a desire arises, you think you will get all happiness by its realisation. You exert yourself to achieve the desired object. As soon as you get it, a little satisfaction (false Tushti or gratification) is experienced for a short time. Again, mind becomes restless. It wants new sensations. Disgust and dissatisfaction come in. Again, it wants some new objects for its enjoyment. That is the reason why this world is termed as mere Kalpana (imagination) by Vedantins.
Desires are innumerable, insatiable and unconquerable. Enjoyment cannot bring in satisfaction. It is a mistake to think so. Enjoyment fans the desire. It is like pouring ghee in fire. Enjoyment strengthens, increases and aggravates a desire. See the case of Raja Yayati of yore. He borrowed the youthful state from his son to have sexual enjoyment for thousands of years. At last, he cries out in his old age with bitterness, "Alas! What a fool I am! Still my sexual desires are waxing. There is no end of desires. I have wasted my life. O God! Have mercy on me. Lift me up from this mire of Samsara." This comes in Mahabharata. In the Gita, Chapter III-39, you will find "Kama-rupena Kaunteya Dushpurena-analena cha-desire which is insatiable as a flame."
Freedom From Desires Necessary For Jnana
You can attain Jnana only if you are free from sensuous desires and immortal mental states. Aloofness of body from sensuous objects and aloofness of mind from immoral states of mind are needed for the attainment of Jnana. Then only will Divine Light descend. Just as a bungalow is cleaned of cobwebs and all kinds of dirts and the garden of all its weeds for the reception of the Viceroy, the mental palace should be cleansed of all vices, desires and immoral states for the reception of the Holy Brahman, the Viceroy of viceroys.
When a desire arises in the mind, a worldling welcomes it and tries to fulfil it; but, an aspirant renounces it immediately through Viveka. Wise people consider even a spark of desire as a very great evil. Therefore, they will not entertain any kind of desire. They will be ever delightful in Atman only.
How To Control Desires
In this ocean of Samsara, desires are the crocodiles. Kill them as soon as they arise on the surface of the mind. Do not yield to them. Do not become despondent under your trials. Make friendship with the pure, Sattvic mind and destroy the impure mind with the help of the pure mind. Make your mind rest in the blissful Atman. Desires should be crushed the very moment they arise in the mind, by discrimination and dauntless, indefatigable efforts.
Whenever a desire arises in the mind, consult always your Viveka (power of discrimination). Viveka will at once tell you that the desire is attended with pain, that it is only a vain temptation set up by the mind and that Vairagya and Tyaga alone can bring about satisfaction and peace of mind. It will advise you to renounce the desire immediately and take to the study of Upanishads, repetition of OM and to have Samadhi-Nishtha in a solitary place on the bank of the sacred Ganga. Think deeply again and again whether the new desire will give you more happiness or more spiritual gain. Viveka will guide you to take up the help of will and drive the desire immediately. Viveka and will are two potent weapons for an aspirant on the Jnana Yogic path to destroy evil Mara (temptation) and remove all major and minor impediments.
Never accept gifts from anybody, even from your closest friends. It will produce slavish mentality, weak will and attachment. Asking is begging. Recommending is begging. A beggar is absolutely unfit for freedom and spiritual pursuits.
Just as you starve a plant by depriving it of water, so you may starve out obnoxious desires by allowing the mind not to dwell upon such desires. You have no desire for a thing till you know what it is like. It is only after you have seen it or heard of it or touched it that you get a longing for it. Therefore, the best principle for a man is not to take, touch or see anything that is likely to taint the imagination. You will have to turn aside the attention resolutely and particularly the imagination from the subject. In course of time, all objectionable desires will die out.
It is desire in the mind that has created this body. The nature of the desire depends upon the quality of Samskaras. If these are good, virtuous Samskaras, good desires will crop up and, if they are bad, they will give rise to evil desires. Buddhi also is Karmanusarini (according to the nature of Karmas). It has to be specially trained by repeated efforts to think and act according to the holy injunctions of sacred scriptures. Desire becomes the thought and thought becomes the action. An evil desire sets up an evil thought which leads to evil action. Do always virtuous action-charity, Tapas, Japa, Dama, Dhyana and study of scriptures. Give up Nishiddha Karma (actions prohibited by Sastras). Have constant Satsanga. This is very important. It is the only means of changing the evil Samskaras of the mind.
The mind with half-developed Jnana feels severe pain when it relinquishes all desires. It demands aid, through prayer, from higher souls.
A counter-desire, a desire for God, one strong desire to attain Brahman will destroy all other worldly desires. Put down vicious desires through virtuous desires. Then give up virtuous desires through one strong desire-Mumukshutva (desire for liberation). Abandon this desire for God also in the long run. Give up Asubha Vasana through Subha Vasana. Give up Subha Vasana through Svarupa Vasana. Give up Svarupa Vasana by Nididhyasana. Desires will become extinct with the rise of discrimination. When desires cease, Jivahood becomes extinct.
Brahma-Chintana will destroy all desires. There are no desires in Brahman. Brahman is All-Purity. Repeat OM. Repeat the Mantra, "All purity I am." All the desires will vanish.
Kill the thoughts. Practise thoughtlessness. You can destroy desires. Mind associated with thoughts of gratifying the passionate desires, blindly goads a man to seek for sensual pleasures. Uncontrolled thoughts are the roots of all evils. Sublime thoughts will easily destroy lower, base thoughts. Do not entertain any base thought.
Destruction Of Desires Leads To Atmic Bliss
Vasanasahita mind (mind associated with desires) is Bandha (bondage). Mind free from desires is Mukta (free). Desires are themselves pain. Non-desire is itself pure Atmic Bliss. Mere annihilation of Maya is Moksha. With the extinction of the base Sankalpas, there is also the extinction of Avidya. Should all longings for the visibles cease, then such an abnegation of mind is itself the destruction of Ajnana or the mind. Such a bliss is generated through one's efforts only. There is nothing like Purushartha (right exertion). Purushartha changed the destiny of Markandeya. He became a Chiranjivi.
Desire is the enemy of peace. You have become the beggar of beggars through desires. A desireless man is the richest man in the world. It is the mind that makes a man rich.
Free yourself from the firm grip of crocodiles of desires. Do not get disheartened under trials. Cheer yourself up. Stand up like a lion. Destroy the impure mind with the help of the pure mind. Make friendship with the Sattvic mind and rest yourself peacefully in Atman.