Q. Is abandoning desires, the only way to the Contentment or Happiness or Spirituality? We have not yet achieved our goals, and you are preaching that we must abandon our desires, our passions. Is that the only way to happiness? Does’t it sound like “Grapes are Sour”? To what extent could we justify this dispassion as an endeavor to attain the so called Calmness, Stability, Spirituality, Contentment or Happiness?
A. Big question indeed. Indians have been long identified with this psychological disease of “Lack of Need for Achievement”. And yes, I will not regard you as wrong when you accuse this philosophy preaching Dispassion to people who have yet not grown passionate about anything. Yes, to some people, in some cases, it can be regarded as “Grapes are Sour”. Even I used to feel, what is the fun in life if not chasing our dreams. Whether one become happy after achieving it, or becomes hopeless, when fails, one cannot abandon this habit of desire.
The central idea, here, I will say, is not abandoning desires. The central idea is why this desire keeps on cropping up in our mind time and again, like weeds in a fertile land.! We complete one desire, then we pounce onto another artificially or smartly created goal. Till what and till when, we will keep on running here there, jumping up and down, trying to manage these gigantic systems. Till when.!
Our Atma is incomplete without Parmatma. There’s a dissatisfaction in our souls. Atma wants to understand Paramatma. It wants to jump in the ocean of Super-Soul. That’s the dissatisfaction. As per the modern psychological theories about emotions go, humans first feel the emotions, and then they try to rationalize it with supplying some certain reasoning behind the emotions. We have a dissatisfaction in our Souls, and hence, minds. We try to justify it, rationalize it, by giving an imagined reason which we call Desire.
Something that we want, but is yet not achieved. We want to achieve this desire, and we think to ourselves, that this may provide us with Satisfaction and Contentment. On contrary, we find that these worldly desires can only make us happy; Not Content! We jump to another desire, hoping that that desire may be able to quench our thirst. Again, only to find that we become happy, but not content.
Soon, we confuse the happiness with satisfaction. Happiness is not Satisfaction. Desires can make us happy, but not Content, Satisfied, Blissful, Giver, Compassionate, Altruistic, Sympathetic, Empathetic, Mature, Wise. Desires make us laughable, irresponsible, inconsiderate, immature, kiddish, selfish. There’s no dichotomy of Good and Bad, you see. These things happen like this. Desires make our attention and consciousness broken and disrespected.
So, fulfilling desires is like beating around the bush. As such desires are capable of making us happy. But they do not have much meaning in long term. So, understand the futility of this exercise.
In reality, what is that we want?
Spirituality; Conscious Deep Thought; GOD; Unity; That makes us Content and Decisive and Stable; Complete. Rich life, resourceful, and experiential; Wisdom.
It is not desire, it is awareness that we want. It is Consciousness that we want. It is Compassion that we want. It is LOVE that we need to give. It is the Value, the Time, the Importance that I give you, that matters.
Desires for me, will not benefit me, nor you.
My Self-Awareness will benefit me as well as you.!
There is one more facet of the phenomenon of Desires. So, does it mean that the desires are futile and should be abandoned completely? The question is yet not answered.
The wisdom is to understand the “Limitation of Desires”. See, Hinduism does not explicitly states that Desires should be abandoned. It’s Buddhism, that exclusively emphasizes on this postulate “Abandon Desires” or “Desires is the cause of all Pain” or “Free yourself from Pain” etc. Hinduism never taught anything like that. Desires are crucial for life. It is an integral part of Hinduism. It is the third Purushartha; only after Dharma and Artha; the fourth being Moksha! We must understand the “Limitations of Desires”, and then, desires cease to have power to give pain to us.!
Desires become Good
How to work with desires?
See, one may have completely, irrational desires: Unachievable, impractical: Leave them out-rightly. Other desires are as good as sweets lying in a sweet shop. Having a beer with your loved one in your arms, in the balcony, watching stars, in Himalayas. Cheers.
Desires are Good