It is often said that the main cause of Suffering is Desire, or as Buddha said “Desire is the root cause of all evil”. However, we should first understand the types of desires before clearly understanding what Lord Buddha meant.
Desires are of two types. One, which gives pain and binds us to the world and the second that gives us joy and liberation. Three types of desires give pain, sorrow and disappointment and three types of desires give joy, happiness and salvation.
Desires which give pain and sorrow are:
- Desire to acquire more and more things — wealth, name, fame, position, status, reputation, richness, self respect etc. The nature of these desires is such that when they get fulfilled, they give birth to new desires and if they are not
- fulfilled, they cause tremendous disappointment. One is never satisfied with what one has and never reaches a contentment level hence one is always in a mode of short feeling, pain, sorrow, struggle, competition, comparison.
- Desire to get freed from pain, sorrows, adverse situations, bad luck, troubles and to get freed people who give pain and sorrows.
- It is a foregone conclusion that pain, sorrows, personal and professional losses will keep occurring in our life. So, to desire a pain-less and a sorrow-less life will never get fulfilled, and this unfulfillment will further cause dejection and sorrow.
- Desire to always get favorable result of all efforts, actions, reactions, activities, expectations, karmas etc.
Here, we forget that a situation is not just the result of our desire, but also our karma and others’ desires towards us. So, regardless of how strongly we desire for a favorable result — there is no guarantee of the same.
As there is no rule in this creation that whatever we desire, that will get fulfilled, that too within our time frame and the way we want so, there is always a component of disappointment and sorrow in these desires.
Desires which give joy, peace, happiness and salvation:
- Desire to be desire-less: One is contented with what one has and does not desire to acquire anything more. In fact, here one is grateful to the God for whatever he has given and uses the available resources in helping others, uplifting the downtrodden, serving poor and aged, promoting and protecting nature, religious sentiments etc.
- Desire for everybody’s happiness, success, health, wealth, growth, prosperity, harmony. One does not like, even enemies, to suffer in anyway and one is always in a mode of forgiving and seeking forgiveness. Prayers for everybody’s well being, is the most important aspect of life in this desire (Loka samasta, sukhino bhavantu).
- Desire for salvation, liberation and Enlightenment — the desire to get freed from the vicious clutches of karma and from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The desire to get moksha is considered to be the most ideal desire for a human being to have.
These three desires are godly desires and divine in nature hence are the givers of peace, happiness and eventually liberation. When we desire for these three desires then even god helps us fulfill these desires as they are of godly nature.
So, now, the choice is ours — what to desire and what not to desire!...