Its said that, man is a bundle of desires and it is these unlimited desires which keep him constantly agitated and mobile. The number of desires of a single person can be many as compared to the number of stars in the universe.
On this earth there is no anyone who has ever been able to satisfy all his desires.Also its said that even if a man be handed over all the possessions of the world and all the objects of pleasures, still he will not be satisfied and will desire more of them. And due to that an individual with desires in his or her mind has never died peacefully.Important thing to know is unfulfilled desires keep the mind agitated and restless even after death and become the cause of his next birth.
However, it should be clear that by the word ‘desires’ there are lower desires and higher desires or ‘ego based desires’.Examples of higher desires are, , desire to know about soul, God and universe; desire to know the meaning and purpose of life,desire for your spiritual growth and attainment of everlasting joy, peace, bliss, freedom; desire to do something creative and constructive for the society etc.
There is nothing wrong in pursuing these higher desires. Similarly, pursuing your basic needs for survival and comfort within a reasonable amount like . food, shelter, clothes, sex, self-protection etc..
I can also say that lower desire belong to ego compared to the higher desires that belong to our soul or spirit and basic survival needs belong to our lower or instinctive .As I deal with our reality our desires are classified as follows.
- Desire for sensual pleasures, Desire for acquisition and storage of more and more wealth, property, money.
- Desire for more and more physical and material comforts and luxuries.
- Desire for attainment of name, fame, status, power, appreciation etc.
- Desire based on insecurities and fears e.g. taking excessive physical safety measures, collecting more and more friends, relatives, children, making many social and political connections to make up the feeling of insecurity, inadequacy, loneliness and boredom.
Characteristics of human desires.
Desires multiply faster than you can satisfy them: According to Swami Vivekananda “if your power to satisfy desires increases in Arithmetic progression, the power of desires increases in geometric progression. If you satisfy one desire, it gives rise to ten more desires”, why? Because the root cause of desires is your illusion that happiness can be achieved by outer material things of the world.
In reality no outer object or condition can give you that eternal happiness which you are seeking at the core of your heart. This is because that no object or condition of the world is perfect. Everything has some shortcoming or the other and has a scope for further improvement. So when you don’t get this happiness by one thing, you think you may get it by another thing.In this way you go on pursuing one thing after another in a vain attempt to get this happiness and that’s how your desires are fanned.
Everything is relative and dual. But, in ignorance, we assume that by getting more of the same thing or by getting a better thing compared to the present thing, we may be satisfied. This is where the trap lies. And in this world whatever you may get, there are always better things available than the things you possess. If they don’t exist today they will appear tomorrow. So as soon as you come across these better things you again become restless to get these better things.
For example suppose you fulfill your desire for purchasing a car somehow and you become the owner of a car. Now after sometime you see a car with more facilities and better looks, so you develop a desire to buy that car.Now you see some other person at a higher post than you, enjoying higher privileges and power. Again a desire is born in you to achieve that post and so on.By yielding to one desire, we increase the power of other desires to attack us easily. It is as if we have let loose the string by submitting to one desire.
Needs can be fulfilled but not desires: As far as a man’s basic needs are concerned they are limited and can be fulfilled. Needs are related to a man’s effective survival in the world and these are necessary to be met. But the desires of even a single person can’t be fulfilled because the basis of desires is greed which can never be satisfied. It always wants more and more, better and can be fulfilled.
Needs are related to a man’s effective survival in the world and these are necessary to be met. But the desires of even a single person can’t be fulfilled because the basis of desires is greed which can never be satisfied. It always wants more and more, better and better no matter how much you feed to it and since this world can constantly produce better and better things in material sphere, the stage is set for constant running after objects of desire.
Desires re Endless. No matter how hard you try, you can never satisfy all your desires. Nobody can satisfy all his or her desires.This is because desires of every person are unlimited. Everybody wants everything. Hence by sheer logic it is impossible for anyone to fulfil all his desires.
Desires are preceded and succeeded by anxieties .Here the important thing to know is,whenever man has a desire, he becomes anxious as to how he can get the object of his desire. He goes through all stress and strains to grab the object of his desire. The great anxiety preceding the acquisition of the desired object can’t be regarded as a state of happiness or satisfaction. So you can see that one’s desire is like a disturbance in the calm lake of mind.
Happiness obtained by fulfillment of desires is momentary and illusory: There is a momentary happiness along with satisfaction after the object of desire has been obtained. But if you reflect deeply, you will find that even the source of this momentary satisfaction is not the object but something else. After the possession of the desired object, mind which was earlier moving towards the object, becomes still and returns to its original calm state. The cessation of desire tentatively brought about by the acquisition of the object, is the cause of happiness and not the object.
Happiness is Neither Fulfilment nor Repression of Desires. It is Cessation of Desires: Desire is like a disturbance in the calm mental state. Considering this there are some people who don’t fulfil their desires but repress them. So root of the desires still remains in the mind although they are not outwardly expressed.
This repression of desires may lead to various psychological and physical disorders in the person. You may ask if both, expression as well as repression of desires, lead to disturbances, then what is the solution? Disturbance created by desires can neither be eliminated by fulfilling the desires nor by repression of desires but only by cessation and giving up of desires. This gives you the key to happiness.
Our lower mind or lower nature is very turbulent and it doesn’t easily give up its tendency of desiring one thing after another. It desires one thing and gets momentarily satisfied by fulfilling it, then desires another thing and again gets momentarily satisfied only to be dissatisfied again for pursuing further desires. Your lower mind can’t stick to one thing for a long time. It always wants varieties. It gets bored with one thing after sometime and then seeks another thing for its satisfaction.
Consequently it remains in preponderance of restlessness amidst momentary satisfaction.To prevent this aimless wandering of mind in countless desires and temptations, one should always channel his mind towards some constructive activities. An undirected mind without a goal always turns towards destructive activities.