Vedantic Wednesday: What is desire?

The way desire is understood today is misleading. Desire – refers primarily to something that we do not have but which we would like to have. This feeling of ‘lack of’ is actually desires.  Ask most people and they will disagree that their desires are a result of the feeling mentioned above – ‘lack of’ , but this is the essential truth. What does Vedanta have to say about desires?

Vedanta does not qualify desires as good or bad. It provides a detailed explanation of what desires are, where they arise from and how they can play havoc if not utilized well. Vedanta declares that the very birth of a human being is for the fulfillment of ‘yet to be satisfied’ desires.  So desires are a subject of contemplation for every human being. The reason why only human beings are singled out here is because of the thinking faculty bestowed upon them.

Desires have very important positive benefits as well as downside.  Vedanta categorically states that every individual has to reflect on the process of desiring and understand the futility of desires and desiring for themselves. No amount of talks, books, seminars, counselling etc will help beyond a limit. The only benefit of all of these is the constant reminder to go back and reflect on desires and desiring. It is our own responsibility to find what our desires are, why are we desiring them, once we set our hearts and mind on them what happens to us and more importantly once a desire is fulfilled, what happens afterwards?

Once you start the thinking process in these lines, you will come to a conclusion on what you actually need to do with your desires.  So go ahead find them out for yourself  – for that is the only way!


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