Carry on Daily Activities without Desire

July 16, 2012 Comments Off on Carry on Daily Activities without Desire


A question was put forward:

Any kind of desire causes impurity. How do we carry on the daily activities without desire and the accompanying impurity?

Swami Bhoomananda Thirtha speaks:

Any kind of desire causes disturbance and it is also impure. Think on the basis: “I am the Self and the Self is blissful. Blissful as I am, I don’t have to seek any further blissfulness. So, any kind of desire to add anything, is intrinsically wrong and it is contradictory to the concept of the blissful Self that I am.” Can you not think in these lines? The entire idea of desire should be replaced by another factor – that of yajna. In Bhagavadgeeta (3rd Chapter) you will find Krishna’s statements to this effect.

We are all living in this world. Our birth is not a result of our desire. It has taken place. We are not going to die either, because of our desire. As we grow, small desires start cropping up in our mind and these become bigger and deeper as the age advances. Life itself is the duration between an undesired birth and undesired death. In between these two, why should desire intervene at all?

Other than desire, there are sufficient motivational and compulsive factors, which keep us active. You get up early in the morning. Is it because of a desire? Once you have gone to sleep, your egoism, will and wish – all are wiped off. Then how is it that you get up? It is not because of desire.

Nature makes you get up. Nature has provided three mental states for us – wakefulness, sleep and dream. We don’t know when we get into a dream or when exactly we fall asleep. We automatically wake up. Then only we know that we had slept.

On waking up, we become active. An activity is primarily mental, oral or physical. If the mind does not think at all, can anybody be active? What is the power that makes the mind think? It is Nature. It is the same power, that manifests in the oral and physical activities.

The mind thinks. It remembers the past, plans for the future, and is equally concerned about the present. Linking up the past, present and future, is an automatic job of the mind, like blood circulation. In this also there is no question of desire. Why don’t you recognise that it is so and allow the activity as a part of your life process, not thinking that it is an outcome of any particular desire?

When a child is born, parents start bringing him or her up. The child’s body grows and he or she is admitted to the school. A period of education is completed and the individual gains certain merit. This merit is required by the society. Depending upon the society’s requirements, people of different merits are sought and employed. Is it not thus the society and nature that carry us through? Where is desire coming in this natural sequence?


Suppose a person with no merit, desires to be employed and get a fat salary. Will it ever take place? On the other hand, if there is a person who has certain merit, the world will look for him – even hunt for him – for doing a particular job or mission, which one like him alone can fulfil, whether he desires or not.

So, it is not desire that makes us work. It is merit. It is potential, capacity. To desire is foolish; it is mere ignorance; it is a sheer delusion. Without any desire, you can still work. Is activity a result of desire or desire a result of activity? Whatever potential or capacity we have, let us display it, without desire.

Look, it is not human beings alone that live in this world. Animals and birds far outnumber the humans. We have trees, plants and creepers. They have also lived in this world as long as we have lived. Do they desire? Are they not perpetuating their races? Is not each species continuing to live? Without desire, all the nonhumans are living comfortably. We alone with desire make our life uncomfortable, miserable!

There is a great lesson for us. I would like all of you to take up the subject of desire and go to the very root of it until you understand the whole process fundamentally. Is desire the motivation in the human or it is one’s own potential that displays from time to time? – Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha

[This is an extract from a question-answer session published in Mar 2007 issue of Vicharasetu]

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