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Vedic Wisdom on Desires

Living without desire doesn’t mean living in a despicable condition. It doesn’t even imply relinquishing everything you have and becoming hermits or mendicants; quite the contrary. Living without desire is to live in the moment. Knowing that you are neither the body nor the mind and therefore every desire, which stem from these two, too, aren’t yours. It is about relinquishing the root of desires, namely: lust, anger, greed, infatuation ego, and envy. Also known as Arishadvargas – Six Detrimental Qualities. Living detached comes with a confirmed promise of Ananda - bliss. 

Every Vedic texts from Vedas, Aranyakas, Upanishads to Vyasa’s Mahabharat, Valmiki’s Ramayana until Kautilya’s Arthashastra heralds the importance of understanding our true self – Atman – first and foremost, before anything.

The idea that Atman as “Soul” is incorrect. That is because “Soul,” virtually a semantic concept, is a part of the human body. Atman, on the other hand, is our real self. The Vedic Rishis and Rishikas repeatedly suggest that we are neither the body nor the mind.

The idea that Atman as “Soul” is incorrect. That is because “Soul,” virtually a semantic concept, is a part of the human body. Atman, on the other hand, is our real self. The Vedic Rishis and Rishikas repeatedly suggest that we are neither the body nor the mind.

For people obsessed with ideas like “me” and “mine,” the idea of Atman is barely comprehensible. Most believe that ideas such me, mine, my spouse, my children, my career, my wealth, etc. are inherently the reason for them to live and endure. So, questions like “If I am neither this body nor the mind, what reason do I have to live for?” are natural to rise in their mind.

To answer this question, ask as to “Where do these Desires come from?” The Mind, of course. So, when you aren’t the Mind in the first place, how can the desire be yours? Besides, why do we have the desires? For Desires are fundamentally false ideas. Desires hold the false premise that once we have somebody or something, we will be happy.

On the contrary, whenever desires are satisfied, that “happiness” turns out to be a momentary pleasure. If desires were the reason for our happiness, then the richest and the mightiest must have been the happiest. On the contrary, they are as happy or unhappy as anyone else.

One desire leads to next and that to another and so forth. Desire is in itself a delusion – Maya. A false promise of the mind which people follow unquestionably. Therefore, Bhartrihari in Vairagya Shataka says “…one who has become bereft of desire is verily the mightiest of all.”

One desire leads to next and that to another and so forth. Desire is in itself a delusion – Maya. A false promise of the mind which people follow unquestionably. Therefore, Bhartrihari in Vairagya Shataka says “…one who has become bereft of desire is verily the mightiest of all.”

So, how are we to live without desire? For most, the idea of a life without desires is worse than hell.

Living without desire doesn’t mean living in a despicable condition. It doesn’t even imply relinquishing everything you have and becoming hermits or mendicants; quite the contrary. Living without desire is to live in the moment. Knowing that you are neither the body nor the mind and therefore every desire, which stem from these two, too, aren’t yours. It is about relinquishing the root of desires, namely: lust, anger, greed, infatuation ego, and envy. Also known as Arishadvargas – Six Detrimental Qualities. Living detached comes with a confirmed promise of Ananda – bliss

Living without desire doesn’t mean living in a despicable condition. It doesn’t even imply relinquishing everything you have and becoming hermits or mendicants; quite the contrary. Living without desire is to live in the moment. Knowing that you are neither the body nor the mind and therefore every desire, which stem from these two, too, aren’t yours. It is about relinquishing the root of desires, namely: lust, anger, greed, infatuation ego, and envy. Also known as Arishadvargas – Six Detrimental Qualities. Living detached comes with a confirmed promise of Ananda – bliss

Everyone experiences pain and pleasure. On the contrary, not many can explain bliss. So, what is bliss or Ananda? Remember that time when you were in a state of deep sleep — the time when you are asleep without any dreams?

Take a while, to recollect that moment. You had no desires. You don’t even know your name, and yet, you seldom unhappy. Unaware of the ideas of profit or loss, love or hate, obsession or aversion. What would you not do that to live with that feeling for the rest of your lives? That state is undoubtedly the Ananda or Bliss which is beyond Sukha or Happiness.

If you keep recollecting in your mind that you are not the mind, then you will realize, in due time, that the ideas of the mind aren’t yours. And when that happens, you will be in a state of Ananda. You will neither be wooed nor swayed, neither be puffed with pride nor suffer any complex of inferiority. You will act with wisdom – never react unwisely.

If you recollect every decision you’ve taken only to regret them later; you’d know that you regret only that decision you made under the influence of impulses of the mind. Discretion is absent when you consider yourself as a mind. When the mind is wooed or swayed that is because you are confusing yourself for that mind. When you think you are that mind, you are defeated by it. But when you know you are not the mind, you will seldom feel any negative emotions. You will live the life of bliss.

If you recollect every decision you’ve taken only to regret them later; you’d know that you regret only that decision you made under the influence of impulses of the mind. Discretion is absent when you consider yourself as a mind. When the mind is wooed or swayed that is because you are confusing yourself for that mind. When you think you are that mind, you are defeated by it. But when you know you are not the mind, you will seldom feel any negative emotions. You will live the life of bliss.

There are two ways to achieve this state of bliss, one through regular meditation and retrospection on the truth. Or by seeking the counsel of someone who at least understands this truth.

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