September 11th, 2005
“Ceiling on Desires” (Part 3)
With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This is the third in the series on the topic, “Ceiling on Desires”. In the first lecture, I brought to your attention the relevant quotations and excerpts from Bhagavan’s Divine discourses. In this first talk, we dealt with how thought management helps, and the need to exercise restraint with our thoughts; in that way, we may attain bliss. In the second talk on “Ceiling on Desires”, once again I brought your attention to what the scripture Bhagavad Gita has to say on the matter.
We will be completing this topic “Ceiling on Desires” today with a few more points brought to our attention by Bhagavan in His talks. I would like to deal with this subject as exhaustively as I can. So we will cover all aspects and obtain a comprehensive grasp of this topic. In this context we shall spend some time this morning with the remaining part of the talk on “Ceiling on Desires”.
Let me tell you three interesting stories told by Bhagavan. In those days, every one of Bhagavan’s discourses contained at least one or two stories; perhaps He thought that we would evolve. In recent years, He has been speaking more on the theory of non-dualism or Advaitha, where there is very little scope for stories and humour. Anyway, three stories are related to this topic of “Ceiling on Desires”.
STORY OF A GREEDY KING
Baba narrated this story. It seems there was a king who was very greedy and wanted more and more in life. He wanted to be the richest man and he wanted to be the topmost man in this world. So he received a mantra from his guru and then prayed fervently. He observed seriously and scrupulously all the disciplines expected during penance.
God was so happy with this man, because prayer is man’s strength and God’s weakness. Prayer is our strength because we can achieve anything. Prayer is God’s weakness because He has to sanction whatever you pray for and be prepared to face the consequences.
The king said, “God, I don’t have a long list to ask for. I don’t have many, many things. No. I have only one desire.”
“What is that?” asked God.
“Whatever I touch, let it be transformed into gold. That is all. I don’t have many desires. Whatever I touch, let it be transformed into gold.”
After all, gold is nothing to God. So He said, “OK, granted.”
This king was very happy. He went on touching a table, a chair, a dining table, chest of drawers, anything at all. All objects were instantaneously transformed into gold. This fellow was very happy and he wanted to show all the gold around, the mansions and the objects of gold to be seen to his son.
He called his son, “Son, see that building?”
The son was jumping with joy! Gold, after all! So the king was extremely happy because he could make his son very happy. So he hugged his son. The son was transformed into gold! So he wept and wept.
Then he went on moving, touching everything he possibly could. Soon it was time for him to have some water, because he was feeling very thirsty. So he ordered, “Who is there? Bring a glass of water. Don’t you hear me?”
“Yes, my lord.”
They brought him a glass of water. As he touched it, it transformed into gold, including the water. So he could not drink water. Then he felt very miserable.
After he wanted to have some food, as he was very hungry. So he went to the dining table. Everything was served. All the delicious items he saw increased his hunger moment by moment. When he was about to eat, as he touched the plate, it turned into gold, including the rice, sambar, and rasam -- all those delicious items which were there. So, he could not eat, he could not drink, and he could not hug his son.
Then he went to the queen saying, “Look here! This gold belongs to me, and this gold belongs to you. The royal couple will enjoy all of this gold, which is not available anywhere.” His wife was so happy. So she shook hands with the king. Both of them turned into gold!
Therefore my friends, this is the story narrated by Bhagavan telling us of the need to not be greedy. If you are more and more greedy, what happens? You lose what you already have. You lose the existing happiness; you lose the existing balanced state of mind and the ideal of peace. Therefore this story gives us a lesson that one should not be greedy.
Perhaps history has not recorded any better storyteller than Bhagavan Himself. He builds up curiosity, interest and suspense so that the story He narrates will be felt and seen the same as in a video or on TV. Bhagavan is the best Divine storyteller.
Bhagavan gave another story. It seems there were two friends - one was Ramu and another was Shayam or Ramshayam. They were two friends, but they vied against each other.
Both of them thought, “Why don’t we pray to God? Why don’t we ask for boons, or some rewards?” They decided, “OK.” Ram sat at one place in deep meditation. Shayam sat at a long distance in a deep meditation.
God appeared to Shayam first: “What do you want, boy?”
Shayam said, “God I don’t have many things to ask for. Whatever Ram asks tomorrow, give me double that which You are prepared to give him.”
A beautiful calculation -- mathematical indeed! If you have been born in this ‘computer age’, his request was only this: “Whatever you are going to give to Ram, let that sometime later be given to me in double.”
God said, “OK.”
Then God went to Ram. “Ram, what do you want?”
“Oh God, what did he ask for?” (Laughter)
“He only asked one thing, my boy. He wants double whatever I give you.”
Then Ram thought, ‘Oh! That fellow wants to have double portion of whatever I get!’ Then Ram said, “Oh God! Let me lose one eye.” (Laughter) So Shayam lost both eyes. Double portion!
This is a story that illustrates to what extent greed takes over a person, and how he can ruin himself because of greed!
There is a third interesting story narrated by Bhagavan. (I have collected all the relevant, pertinent portions from His discourses, sayings as well as stories.) This story is interesting.
There lived a beggar who could not have one square meal a day. He was feeling very sorry for his drastic state of poverty. One day he saw a rishi, a saint. He thought that this saint would help him, so he fell at his feet. “Oh, saint! You are a man of kindness. You are a man of compassion. Your life is spent for others. You don’t have anything of your own. You want to serve all humanity.”
Then the saint said, “OK, what do you want?”
He said, “There is only one thing I want. Give me anything that will grant me whatever I want. Give me anything that will grant me everything -- whatever I want.”
The saint said, “Granted! But with one condition: I am going to send you a demon. You may go on asking whatever you want. That demon will give you whatever you ask for. But the moment you stop asking, that demon will swallow you up!” (Laughter) It will swallow you. Just as you swallow capsules or homeopathic tablets…swallow! That is all.
This fellow thought, ‘After all, what is this? I need so many things. This saint thought he was clever. He does not know that I am more clever than him! He only knows meditation and prayer; he does not know money and life.’ So this man said, “OK, thank you.”
The demon came and he asked demon, “Are you ready?”
The demon replied, “Yes, my lord, whatever you want.”
“OK, I want a multi-storied building here.” It appeared. “Good! I want a swimming pool.” It appeared. “OK!” So whatever he asked for started appearing.
Then the demon went on and on asking, “What do you want? What do you want now?” This fellow started running. And the demon went on following him, chasing him.
This fellow said, “Demon, please give me two minutes time!”
The demon replied, “Nothing doing! I will swallow you. What was the condition of my service? The moment you stop asking, I will swallow you!”
Just then, this fellow saw the same saint passing by. He ran and fell at the feet of saint. “Oh saint, I am sorry I asked for filthy desire. This demon is going to kill me now, because my entire list is exhausted. I have so much of gold, so many of houses. Everything I could have. But now my list is over. And now, this demon is ready to swallow me. Please save me!”
The saint said, “Don’t worry, my boy. Bring an electric pole -- very long, thirty feet tall. Come on. Keep it here, install it here. Root it in the ground. Ask the demon, ‘Come here and climb up and climb down. Up, down, up, down, and so on. Repeat this until further orders. Keep doing this until otherwise informed.”
The demon was caught. It had to move up and down. Now this fellow never says, “Stop!” So the demon has gone on moving till this day!
The lesson behind this is this: So long as we run after desire, desires get themselves fulfilled in due course of time. But when we reach that point when desire is ready to kill us, when desire is ready to finish us, when desire is ready to swallow us, as in this story, what should we do?
Install a pole, an electric pole. What is that pole? It is the human body. Who is the demon here? The mind. Ask the demon-mind to go up and down, up and down – ‘So-hum, So-hum,’ ‘Ram-Ram’. That is all. So repeat God’s Name. Up and down, up and down. ‘Sai Ram! Sai Ram!’ Then we will be comfortable and peaceful.
Therefore my friends, this story of Bhagavan’s also tells us that there is every need to exercise a ceiling on desires so that we can be safe. There is every danger of being swallowed up by the very desire itself, as the story tells.
Then there is a fourth story narrated by Bhagavan. There lived a woodcutter in a jungle. He was carrying on his life with the small pittance he got out of it. It was a small amount. This fellow was feeling so badly. ‘How long should I live life like this? How long should I go to the forest every day, cut the wood and put it on sale in the market, earning a very small pittance, a very small amount of money?’ This was not sufficient for his needs, and he was feeling badly.
One day he was very tired. In the afternoon, he had his lunch and was resting under a tree. He began to pity himself. ‘This is my life -- no house, no furniture, no servants. My life is horrible, a terrible life. Let not my worst of my enemies face this situation,’ he was saying to himself.
But that fellow did not know that the tree under which he was resting was the wish-fulfilling tree. Kalpa vriksha is the wish-fulfilling tree. So this fellow was feeling so badly under this tree, but he did not know what tree it was.
Then he got up then said, “I am still hungry. Let me have something more to eat.” Immediately a plate with all the items and pots and sweets appeared -- some special sweets from the North Indian canteen also! (Laughter) So everything was there, and he ate it.
“Ah, good! Why not have some water?” Immediately Sprite, Coca-Cola, Thumbs-Up and all these cool drinks appeared. He did not understand how they were appearing! This fellow didn’t question how they materialised. He never bothered to know how all his wishes were being fulfilled. He ate neck deep, and he drank to the brim of the throat.
Then he wanted to rest. “After having this very good food and all these good drinks, should I sleep on the ground? No! Why not have a beautiful bed, with a mattress ten inches thick?” (Laughter)
The wish-fulfilling tree immediately materialised a beautiful bed, decorated with a ‘My-Foam’ mattress ten inches thick. This fellow lay down. “Aha-ha! Quite nice!”
Then he thought, “If my wife were also here…if she comes to know that I am enjoying all this comfort…a beggar one day earlier and today living in luxury and extravaganza! Any housewife would be very happy!” Immediately his wife appeared there. (Laughter)
Then he started wondering, “What is this? How could she come here from fifteen miles away? Is she my wife? It is not possible. Possibly she is a devil!” he thought. So his wife was transformed to a devil. And that devil ate this fellow up. That devil finished him!
So what happens here, my friends? Once a desire is fulfilled, it does not stop. One desire leads to the next desire. Fulfilment of the first desire does not end there. It takes you to the next, and the next, and on and on until we are finished! This story is also narrated by Bhagavan to illustrate His teachings on ceiling on desires.
In this context, I would like to draw your attention one very important stanza or a sloka from Bhagavad Gita, the second chapter, sloka 62 and 63. The name of the chapter is Sankhya Yoga. In this sloka, the root cause of desire and the final result of excessive desires are clearly mentioned in a scientific manner.
Although I read the Bhagavad Gita a long time back, and although I heard a couple of talks on Bhagavad Gita earlier, I started appreciating the Bhagavad Gita more in recent years. Why? This Gita portion has to be taught to the second year post-graduate students of our university, the Science and M.B.A final students, and Arts final year students. I have to handle this topic and I cannot teach the Bhagavad Gita in a conventional style, as done by a temple priest.
If I do it in a conventional style, naturally, to my surprise (or disappointment) I find all the students in the samadhi state or deep sleep. (Laughter) The boys are very well disciplined here. But they cannot be awake if the lesson is boring. I cannot call sleep indiscipline. If the talk is horrible, and they fall asleep, it reflects on me only. So I have to see that the talks are given in an interesting manner so that they will listen in rapt attention, rather than go to samadhi effortlessly. (Laughter) Poor saints have to take long, long years to go into samadhi state, but for our students it is easy! (Laughter)
Some can sleep while Bhagavan gives His discourse at a higher level. Some can sleep in standing posture. Some can sleep with the eyes open. (Laughter) Some can sleep on the lap of their neighbour. And some sleep snoring, as if some wild animal is restless and the entire neighbourhood is disturbed. “What? Is the railway engine passing by? Or is it the RTC bus passing?”
Therefore, I have to prepare my talks in such a way that they will not only be interesting, but they will be useful to them in their future. They are post-graduate students and will be taking up a job immediately after graduation. So what they learn here will be of some use. So I mould my talk so that it is immediately interesting and beneficial for them.
This slokas 62 and 63 from Sankhya Yoga speak of the nexus in a sort of scientific analysis, in a logical, rational, technical sequence. It is explained in the form of steps, one step after another, so that we come to know the root cause of desire and where it will take us. It is dealt with very well.
Dhyayato vishayan pumsah,
Sangaste shuupa jayate.
Two points are mentioned here. What is the first one? Dhyayato vishayan pumsah refers to those who think of worldly pleasures, those who think of sensual pleasures, those who think of the ephemeral, transitory, momentary world, and those who think of luxuries. Dhyayato vishayan: Dhyayato means ‘contemplation’; vishayan means ‘worldly pleasures and physical comforts’. That is one point.
Why does desire arise? Desire arises due to constant contemplation on worldly comforts and desires. The first blunder we commit, the first mistake that lies within us, is contemplation on worldly desires, or constant thought of worldly comforts and conveniences. Dhyayato vishayan pumsaha. You go on contemplating and you go on thinking of worldly comforts. That is first step.
The second step is: Sangaste shuupa jayate. (The Gita acharaya is far greater than a modern computer scientist where he explains point after point.)
The first thing mentioned is constant thinking of the world and its pleasures: Dhyayathe visayan pumsaha. As a result of this, what will happen? Sangaste shuupa jayate. What does it mean? It means that you develop interest towards it.
A simple example: Let us say that you want to buy one article from the store. You want to buy toothpaste only. By the time you go and find the toothpaste, you also see a cream biscuit packet by its side. Dhyayate visayan comes immediately: “Why not that?” You grab the biscuit packet and then you start moving. Further on, you see a cashew nut packet. Much better! You went to the store to purchase toothpaste, but you returned with a bag full of things. Why?
Dhyayathe visayan pumsah,
As I go on thinking of worldly things and worldly objects,
Sangaste shuupa jayate.
I develop interest towards that.
‘I see, therefore I am interested. I think, hence I am interested.’ That is the reason why every sacred text prescribes some restrictions in the movements, some restrictions in the associations of all spiritual aspirants and seekers. You cannot go on looking at every object, because once you start looking upon something, you develop interest towards it.
Ashram, ashrama means ‘hermitage’. What is the meaning of ashrama? Shrama means ‘exertion’; shrama means ‘strain’. Ashrama means ‘that which should not be strenuous’, ‘that which should not be tiresome’, ‘that which should not be burdensome’, ‘that which should not be heavy or a head-load’. That is what Baba said. A place where there is no shrama, no exertion, and no strain is ashrama. But we are wiser and of higher potential because even in ashrama, we pass through shrama, strain or tension! (Laughter)
It is a place where we are expected to relax. This is the place where we are expected to have mental equanimity and equilibrium, a state of mind that is totally free. But we can generate tension out of peace. We can generate disturbance out of happiness; we can generate agitation or turbulence in our mind out of nothing. To some people, absence of worry is a worry again! They have no reason to worry -- therefore they worry! (Laughter)
This is the mind. We don’t need any jokes to read from a book; our mind itself is a sufficient joker. Our mind itself provides enough fun and frolic, enough humour for everybody. I often tell my friends that there is no reason to be unhappy in this world. For most of us, we are unhappy because we are greedy in our nature. We are unhappy because we have competed with each other. We are unhappy because we are comparing ourselves with each other. We are unhappy because we think of the future.
Last night I got a phone call from an old lady at 11 o’clock. Being a friend to everybody means sometimes you lose your sleep. (Laughter) By obliging everybody, you can’t have your lunch also, at times.
Somebody asked, “Mr. Anil Kumar, do you have a cell phone?”
I said, “I have millions of cells in the body. Why do I need a cell phone?” (Laughter) I am bored and tired of this ordinary phone. I feel like breaking it when I am disturbed. Why do I need a cell phone?
An old lady called me on the phone at 11 o’clock and told me, “My son may go abroad in the near future. Who will take care of me?”
Then I said, “What am I to do with your son’s trip and your safety and security during the period of his absence?” After all, it is a question of seniority. I am going to step into her shoes very soon! Although it is quite easy to silence her, still what about me tomorrow?
Somehow, I got some kind of sympathy for that lady and said, “Look here. Your son will not leave you on the street, catch a flight himself and go abroad. No. You are staying with your son now. He will make some arrangement and go. Don’t worry.”
The old lady replied, “What if that arrangement is not suitable to me?” (Laughter)
Then I said, “How do you know that the arrangement is not suitable to you?”
The arrangement is not yet made; that fellow has not yet even reserved his air ticket. He has not yet got his visa; he is still planning. This lady is already worried about what will happen to her if he goes? And what will happen if the proposed arrangement is not convenient to her?
Then I lost my balance. (Laughter) “Where is the guarantee that you are going to live till then?” (Laughter) “God may solve your problem.” Finished!
Then she replied, “Oh! That should not happen.”
“Then why do you have a worry?”
So my friends, many are thinking too much of the past. “Ten years ago I had a heart attack. Do you know what happened?”
“If you go on telling me the kind of heart attack you had ten years ago, I will have a heart attack today!” (Laughter) (And you may have a repetition of the same attack.)
Why talk like this? Why can’t we talk in a pleasant way? Why can’t we encourage each other? Why can’t we say to each other that, after all this sickness or that sickness, we enjoyed life enough for 60 to 70 years? You cannot have all your 100 years pukka, in the youthful state. Really, if you continue to be youthful, even at the age of 90, it will be boring. There is a beauty in aging.
This morning I was talking to one elderly man who is over 70. He has had his hair completely dyed black. (Laughter) I know him very well.
“Good morning sir, how are you?”
He said, “Very fine.”
We make pickles with tender mango fruits in South India; they will be sour and astringent. Our mango pickles are very famous. But you better not try it because it is too hot. It will take you to the moon straightway, without any passport or ticket! Or, if you are a fellow who is used to it -- who was born with pickles like me – only then there is no problem. (Bhagavan has to bring pickles to Kodaikanal for my sake. (Laughter) He knows that I cannot manage without a pickle.)
So to make pickles, the mango fruit should be unripe. A ripe mango ripe fruit should be sweet, and an unripe fruit should be astringent or sour. This type (unripe) is for the pickle; that type (ripe) is for the fruit. If the picked fruit is sour or bitter -- if it is neither tender nor ripe -- throw it in the gutter.
When a young man, a very young man, an able-bodied man with a lot of future ahead, puts on a serious face, if he continues to sit like that, take him to a psychiatrist, because it is not natural for someone his age to be like that. There is something wrong with him. Similarly, if a man over 60-70 years wears jeans and shorts and goes about, he also needs a permanent placement in a lunatic asylum!
Let us learn to age gracefully. There is a beauty in aging. I told that man with the dyed hair, “Sir, you will be more handsome with white hair.” (Laughter)
“Handsome with white hair?”
I said, “Why not?” The face is wrinkled, but you have black hair here. They don’t go well together. (Laughter) This is not uniform.
Red colour and black colour, do they go together well? They don’t. So a wrinkled face, dangerous arthritis, spondylitis, and black hair…this is a shame. We can age gracefully, can we not? Why not? An elderly man with a wrinkled face and white hair looks like a saint. Why not?
We must have seen some paintings or pictures of saints. (Of course, many photographed saints are not available because photography was still not there in those days.) You might have seen some people acting in dramas. Every saint will have a silky beard and silky hair, nicely trimmed with powder and spray. So there is some beauty if we act, conduct ourselves and behave according to our age.
Therefore my friends, there is no reason for unhappiness at all. No, no. But how can I be happy if I have a problem? Telling your problem to the other man is not a solution because the other man has two problems! (Laughter) So it is only then an exchange of problems; thus both became problematic.
If anyone tells us, “This is my problem,” let us tell him, “The whole life is full of problems. If there is no problem in January, there will be a problem in February. If there is no problem in March, April is ready with a problem. Therefore, life is full of problems. That is why the Gita clearly says, “There is no pleasure in life.”
There is no sukam or pleasure in this world.
We make it more miserable because the mind finds happiness in unhappiness. Some people don’t share their happiness with others because they want sympathy, somebody to sympathise with them: “Oh, I am sorry, I am sorry. You are so distressed, I will pray for you”. They want sympathy all the time.
It is a psychological disorder to expect everybody have sympathy for you. This is a psychological disorder. So we should go beyond problems. How do you go beyond the problem? Not by sharing, not by caring; just by meditating, by singing His glory, by going through the leela experiences that we have had with Swami.
Therefore, Gita clearly tells us:
Constant thought, repeated contemplation on worldly objects
Sangaste shuupa jayate.
will create interest in you.
See how nice it is? If we don’t think, there is no desire. Suppose I think of my friend who has a gold pen. He has a gold pen. ‘Oh, I see. Why can’t I also have one?’ Because I thought like this, I start to develop an interest towards it. That is what Gita acharya says.
Then there is the third step:
Sangat sanjayathe kamah
Kama krodha bijayathe.
What happens? I think of it. I develop an interest towards it. Now I desire it. I desire it by watching this thing, by watching this watch. What happens next? I develop an interest.
Sangat sanjayathe kamah
Then what happens? Then I will desire to have that. That is what Sangat sanjayathe kamah is: Desire comes because of the intense interest you developed by watching it, by thinking about it.
Then, the Bhagavad Gita says:
Kama krodha bijayathe.
A gold pen is interesting; a watch is interesting. I thought about it and I am now interested in it. I have a desire to have that watch, but there is no money. (Laughter) I don’t have money. I see that beautiful pedestal fan. I have an interest to acquire it. I desire to have this fan, but there is no money.
So all that you think, all that which you are interested in, all that you desire, cannot end with the fulfilment of that desire. Desire will never come to an end with acquisition.
Now this will take you to anger. ‘Why can’t I have it? I want this watch! Is life worth living? No!’ What a sorrowful state I am in, full of anger.
Kama krodha bijayathe.
Now the desire will take you to anger. Why are you angry? Your desire was not fulfilled. Why is there desire? You were interested in having it. Why were you interested? You had thought about it. Now you are full of anger because all that you wanted could not be acquired.
Then the Bhagavad Gita tells us the next sloka:
Krodhad bhavati sammohah
Sammohat smriti vibhramah.
The Gita, the Teacher of teachers, how wonderfully it explains:
Krodhad bhavati sammohah
Sammohat smriti vibhramah.
Sammohah means you lose your discrimination. You lose your judgment. You lose you decision-making. You lose your sense of judgment. You became non-judgmental. You became non-discriminatory. Then what happens? The intellect is gone and there is no more discrimination. Avivekaha means ‘non-discrimination’ -- non-discriminatory, non-judgmental.
In our example, I desire this watch. Because I could not get it, I am angry. That anger will make me lose my discrimination. My discrimination, a part of the intellect, should tell me, “Boy, don’t desire it! Why are you angry? You cannot afford it. Deserve before you desire, my boy.”
“I want to be the President of America.” Oh ho! (Laugher) You are not even municipal ward councillor. (Laughter) How can you be the President of America? What is all this? (Laugher) Deserve before you desire. Deserve before you desire. Therefore my friends, we lose our sense of discrimination, we lose the sense of judgment. Why? Due to anger.
Anger does not stop there. That is why people who are angry shout in the home. In the office, something happened; this fellow is angry so he will shove it on his wife, who is readily available at the doorstep. Of course, she will give it back later (Laughter) with compound interest or else lawyers won’t have enough cases to settle. (Laughter) So my friends, discrimination is gone. Aviveka dam: There will be stupidity all around because of anger.
Now the Gita says again:
Here it clearly says that, once the moment has come when the discrimination is gone, you have become non-judgmental. Having lost your balance, what will happen? Buddhi nasaha: You are a fool; you are completely ignorant; you are a complete dunce; a fellow without sense. That is what happens.
What will happen? He becomes full of nonsense and a nuisance. Once that discrimination is gone, pranasyati, he ruins himself. He ruins himself.
Being a teacher, I have the habit of repeating certain important points as I would do in a classroom. I offer my apologies for repeating certain important points. Every holy scripture is a textbook, which requires repetition time and again. To sum up, these two slokas explain the root-cause of desire and the final result of excessive desire. It is explained in these two slokas:
Dhyayato vishayan pumsah
Sangaste shuupa jayate
Sangat sanjayathe kamah
Kama krodha bijayathe
Krodhad bhavati sammohah
Sammohat smriti vibhramah
The summary is: Constant contemplation on worldly objects will make you interested in them. Then you develop a desire for them and, as you cannot acquire all of them, you will become angry. Out of anger, you lose the power of discrimination, and finally become totally ruined. You totally ruin yourself.
Therefore, we start with a desire and end up with total ruin. That is what the Bhagavad Gita tells us here. I don’t think there can be a higher or better explanation for exercising a ceiling on desires than these two slokas.
In the same context, I want to give you just one or two points for your reference. Why do we develop excessive desires? Why do I have too many desires? Bhagavan explains that it is because of basic human weakness. Basic human weaknesses like avarice, lust, greed, and hatred. All these weaknesses are present and latent in man, and prompt too many desires. That is one explanation which Bhagavan gives us.
Here I want you to make a kind of clear distinction, a clear demarcation and set a borderline between a desire and a need. What is a need? What is a desire? A need is the basic requirement of life. It is the substance for life. I need a glass of water; I don’t desire a glass of water. I need a cycle. But I desire to possess a car. I need food, but I desire to have a five-star Holiday Inn hotel banquet. I need a little humour in life, but I desire the casino in Las Vegas, in the United States of America. So, desire is something beyond need. Desire is futuristic, while need is the demand of the hour, this moment, for your life.
The second aspect is the improvement in the standard of living. Let us say that I don’t have any furniture. I want to have two chairs at least. That is not a desire. Desire is something beyond your capacity, beyond your ability, something which takes you to frustration, depression and suppression; whereas, to improve your standard of living is within the purview of your stature, your position, your emoluments, your career advancement, your industrious nature, your hard work. So, by doing some more extra work, you will have some more money. Then you can slowly improve your standard of living. This is not a desire.
Therefore my friends, some people may ask, “What is it Mr. Anil Kumar is talking about? What nonsense are you talking? Don’t you know that the world is passing through globalisation today? Globalisation, international market -- Don’t you know that? What will happen to the economic growth? If all people have a ceiling on desires, what will happen to the International Monetary Fund, the IMF? What will happen to the shopping malls? What will happen to the supermarkets? What will happen to employment? What will happen to production? What will happen to the country? (Laughter) That is the problem.”
Let me answer this question in this way: With all the economic growth, with all the economic potential, with all the high rate of marketing, with all the highest rate of production, are people happy? No. If people were really happy with the economic growth, the highest rate of production, all the marketing, all the employment, then why should there be suicides? Why should there by drug addiction? Why should psychiatric illnesses increase in number, day by day? Every street has a psychiatrist. Why? It only means that happiness is not related to mere economic growth.
So what do we suggest? The student of economics may disagree with me when I suggest that there should be a ceiling on desires. “No! Let there be a ceiling on your talk!” (Laughter) they may say.
But the solution I can give them is to canalise demand. A canalised demand will naturally lead to canalised production. Canalised production will lead to canalised employment potential. And that creates enough income generation to establish prosperity in society.
With this talk, we come to the end of the three of the talks on the important subject, “Ceiling on Desires”. I wanted to share with you all the material I could gather. Why? Because having a ceiling on desires is not fully understood in its depth. People just think that to save some money out of some expenses, and deposit that money in the bank is ceiling on desires. This is what every member in the Sathya Sai Organisation thinks. It is a mechanical and meaningless process if it is not done with awareness. ‘What feeling should we have? Why should we be feeling? What do the scriptures say about it? What does Baba wants me to know on the matter?’ These are the questions I have covered.
Anil Kumar concludes his talk with the bhajan, “Chandra Kirana Kuala Mandana Ram.”
Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya
Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti