As wind is the cause for waves in the ocean, desire is the cause for disturbances in the mind. A mind free of desire is peaceful, calm and relaxed. But desires, unfulfilled desires, irritate and frustrate the mind. Fulfilled desires generate new desires giving rise to expectations, anxiety and worries. Thus, we get caught in this vicious cycle of desires, fulfilled and unfulfilled. Everyone needs some basic amenities in life: a house, money to buy food and clothing, a vehicle, some entertainment and savings to take care of future exigencies. The confusion lies in differentiating between desire and necessity and striking a balance between them. Necessity is borne out of the compulsion to live, desire is out born of competition. Desire springs from ever-active unsatisfied senses and mental comparison with what others have and we don’t. Desire is never constant, but ever increasing. Chasing desire is akin to that deer which runs after an illusory desert mirage. Upon arriving at the identified spot the deer finds nothing.
There once lived a rich man in a villa. A poor man lived opposite his villa in a hut. The rich man’s wife observed the peace in the poor man’s life. She had never felt peace, neither in herself nor in her husband. Once when her guru visited her house, she sought to know why, even though they ate rich and healthy food, they fell sick, while the poor couple hardly ate anything yet remained healthy. While their own future was secure, they lived in fear of the unknown while and the poor couple looked fearless. To answer the question, the guru asked the rich lady to put some gold coins in a bag and ordered it to be kept quietly in the poor man’s hut in the night. The next day, he left saying that she must observe the poor man for the next two months. A couple of days later she noticed that the poor man, who used to come back home early, started returning home late. Occasionally, she started hearing some quarrels between the poor man and his wife. She then observed falling health and wrinkles on the poor man’s face.
The rich man’s wife was amused at these developments as she thought that after getting the gold coins the poor couple will be happier and healthier. Upon enquiry, she came to know that the poor man desired to add to his newly found wealth, secure his future and buy a house. For this he started working double shifts, cut down on his food intake and started consuming alcohol to overcome stress. He also forced his wife to work. This changed attitude brought a lot of stress on the poor couple. They had no time for each other. They forgot what they had and started bothering for what others have. They forgot to live in the present and started living in the future, thus losing the secured zone of contentment, getting entangled in the illusory. This is why, it is often said by saints and written in scriptures that desire is the main cause of mental disturbance!
Sadguru Rameshji is a modern age spiritual guru and founder of Poorna Ananda, a centre for spiritual evolution and joyful living. Visit www.poornaananda.org
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