Desire !

Why are we tortured by desire? Why have we made desire into a tortious thing ? There is a constant desire for power , desire for position , desire for recognition, fame, sexual desire, desire to have money, to have a car and so on…what do we mean by the word desire? And why is it wrong ? And why do we constantly say that we must suppress of sublimate desire, to eliminate desire? And why do we constantly fail in this singular mission? We shall find out in this essay but just don’t blindly listen to me ….

What is wrong with desire ? You have suppressed it have you not ? Most of you have suppressed desire , for various reasons , because it is not convenient ,not satisfactory, because you think it’s not moral, or because the religious books say that to find God you must be without desire , and so on. Is it not true ? Tradition says you must suppress , control, dominate desire, so you spend your time and energy in disciplining yourself.

Now, let us first see what happens to a mind that is always controlling itself, suppressing , sublimating desire. Such a mind being occupied with itself ,becomes insensitive. Though it may talk of sensitivity, goodness , though it may say that we must be brotherly, we must produce a marvellous world and all the rest of the nonsense that people talk who suppress desire , such a mind is insensitive because it does not understand that which it has suppressed.

Whether you suppress or yield to desire , to me it’s essentially the same, because desire is still there. You may suppress your desire for a man or a woman, for a car , for a position, but the very urge not to have these materialistic things, which makes you suppress the desire for them, is itself a form of desire. So being caught in desire you have to understand it , and not be judgemental and say whether it is right or wrong. Please note I am not intellectualising this concept of desire but merely deconstructing it’s true meaning.

Now what is desire ? When I see a tree swaying in the breeze, it is a lovely thing to watch , and what is wrong with that ? What is wrong in watching the beautiful motion of a bird soaring high in the sky? What is wrong in looking at a new car brilliantly polished ? What is wrong in seeing a beautiful person with a symmetrical face , that allows good sense , intelligence and quality ?

But desire does not stop there. Your perception is not just perception, but with it comes sensation. With the arising is sensation , you want to touch , to contact , and then comes the urge to possess. You say ” that is beautiful and I need to possess it” and so begins the turmoil of desire !

Now, it is possible to see, to observe, and to be aware of the beautiful, and the ugly things of life, and not say ‘ I must have ‘ or ‘I must not have.’ Have you ever just observed anything ? Have you ever observed your wife , your lover , your child , your friends , just looked at them ? Effortlessly , simply looked ? Have you ever looked at a flower without calling it a rose ? Or wanting to take it home for display ? Or to gift someone in free flow of love ? If you are capable of so observing , without all the values attributed by your mind , then you will find that desire is not such a monstrous thing.

You can look at a car, see the beauty of it, and not be caught in the turmoil or contradiction of desire. But that requires an immense intensity of observation, not just a casual glance. It is not that you have no desire, but simply the mind is capable of looking without describing. It can look at the moon and not immediately say ‘ that is the moon how beautiful it is .’ so there is no chattering of the mind coming in between.if you can do this, you will find that in the intensity of observation, of feeling , of real affection , love has its own action , which is not the contradictory action of desire.

Experiment with this my friends and you will see how difficult it is for the mind to observe without chattering about what it observes. But surely love is of that nature , is it not ? How can you love if your mind is not silent, if you are always thinking about yourself ? To love a person with your whole being , with your mind , heart and body, requires great intensity, and when love is intense, desire soon disappears. But most of us have not had this intensity about anything , except about our own profit, conscious or sub conscious , we never feel for anything without seeking something else out of it. But only a mind which has this intense energy is capable of following the swift movement of truth. Truth is not static, it is swifter than thought, and the mind cannot conceive of it. To understand truth, there must be immense energy, which cannot be conserved or cultivated. This energy does not come through suppression or self denial. On the contrary , it demands complete abandonment . And you cannot abandon yourself , or abandon everything you have, if you merely want a result.


  1. Grindelia


    Desire is innate.It’s a part of human existence. If you consider the various mythologies, you will find most of them speak about a God of desire. So desire and human existence are intertwined. We suppress desire or consider it an evil because we are taught to do so right from birth. It’s nothing but societal control.
    Desire changes with age and situation.
    From a scientific point of view, desire is nothing but chemical changes in the brain. So, as long as we live,desire will remain a part of our life!
    Other than the Buddha,how many have we heard of who has given up on desire?

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