Amaresh Rajaratnam

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How do the Dharma Shastras guide us in managing desires - Born a Hindu

Posted by Kirubashini.K on August 29, 2013 at 12:35 AM


All desires spring from the basic desire for happiness (Sukheccha). We all want pleasures, comfort, peace, love, thrills, satisfaction etc., which are all expressions of the desire for happiness. How to be truly happy? Which desires should be fulfilled? When? Why? How? A rule of thumb is given below:

1. Give up illegitimate desires. Entertaining or fulfilling them leads to adharma and sorrow. For example, The desire for another's wealth could get us into trouble.

2. Do not fulfill legitimate desires by illegitimate means i.e. do not Indulge In prohibited actions (nishidha karma). For example, if one has a desire to own a TV. he should not fulfill it by stealing one from another's house.

3. Fulfill legitimate desires by legitimate means. For example, we work hard, earn and procure the TV we desire.

4. Also perform selfless actions (nishkama karma) prompted by Satvik desires. Initially they may be few, forced, unnatural and reluctant but later they become a habit-enjoyable, fulfilling and natural. This also puts a break to satisfying selfish desires all the time. For example, giving in charity may initially be done reluctantly and against our natural inclination but could become deeply satisfying and put a break to indulgence, as one realizes that the joy of giving is deeper than the joy of indulgence.

5. Divinize all actions. All that we do could be done as an offering to the Lord. Then the results we get become His gift (prasad) to us. Our attachment to actions and insistence on the results naturally wanes. We begin to feel that we are an instrument in the hands of the Lord and that His divine grace flows through us, in all we do and comes back to us as all we get.

6. Seek the Highest. We shall then outgrow all worldly and other worldly desires and attain Godhood or the Truth. That gives total fulfillment, as thereafter there remains nothing to be gained. "When all desires have thus disappeared and the mind and intellect are totally still, that is known as the Supreme State or goal."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                - Swami Tejomayananda - 

“The inward tremors are experienced only when any burning desire has conquered us completely.”

“Desire is at the root of all actions, good or evil.”

"Conquest of desire is Kaivalya – the highest goal of man.”

"Desire is called sinful, since, in its grosser expressions, it makes us live and work satisfying our lower nature, it thus results in our living the life of a lower level of evolution."

"Desires are never quenched by enjoyment. It rather inflames them, as clarified butter does fire.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 -Swami Chinmayananda -  

Categories: Hinduism Topics

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