10.Desire leads to Downfall
‘How much is this umbrella ?’
‘Hundred rupees sir !’
‘Will you give it for 50 Rs.?’
‘O.K. Sir, this is the last piece, take it as you like it !’
‘Then will you give it for Rs. 25 ?’
The shopkeeper was bewildered, but all the same wanted to see how far
the things would stretch !
‘O.K. sir !’
‘Then give me for Rs. 5’
‘O.K. sir !’
‘No, give me free of cost.’
‘Fine sir, Take it !
‘Then give me two free !’
Things have stretched too far ! But that is our mentality ! We are not
happy even if our desire is fulfilled. Give me room to sit down and I
can make room to lie down is a proverb about mind. This can be extended
to desires in the mind. The man in the joke asked for half the price initially
and he was promptly given the umbrella. Then instead of being happy he
was unhappy. He desired more than that !
‘Wants are unlimited !’ This is the key word of economics.
It is the key word of our life too ! ‘Sokasya karanam Mohasya.’
The reason for our worry is our desire or want. This is explained by Krishna
in the following lines.
dhyayato visayan pumsah
sangat sanjayate kamah
kamat krodho 'bhijayate 2 - 62
dhyayatah--while contemplating; visayan--sense objects; pumsah--of a
person; sangah--attachment; tesu--in the sense objects; upajayate--develops;
sangat--from attachment; sanjayate--develops; kamah--desire; kamat--from
desire; krodhah--anger; abhijayate--becomes manifest.
While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment
for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust unfulfilled
The man dwelling on sense objects develops attachment for them. From
attachment springs up desire, and from unfulfilled desire rises anger.
Once a disciple asked his guru, ‘what is the cause of conflict ?’
The gurus of yore did not believe in spoon feeding the sishyas. So the
Guru said “you do ‘tapas’ and find out.” After
a deep meditation, the disciple answered -
‘The cause is because I have a choice. I can choose between two
things and if I don’t choose wisely, it leads to conflict.
The master explained the subtle difference! You feel sorry if you don’t
choose wisely no doubt, but do all choices lead you to conflict? Some
choices you make bring you success and you enjoy. In fact if you have
a choice, it means you have freedom. So think again.
The boy went back to meditate again. Then he came back with the answer.
‘There is something that pressurizes this choice. Behind the choice
there is a want or desire.’
Yes, he found out the cause of conflict perfectly! Let us say we have
an unexpected holiday. How to spend it is the choice we have. We plan
a picnic programme. We plan everything meticulously. There is no conflict
so far. But in the last minute, it is cancelled. You are forced to attend
to somebody, close to us, in the hospital. Even if we like that person
we are disappointed because our programme is cancelled. It means we have
a desire and if it is unfulfilled, we get disappointed. This disappointment
leads to anger. So the first step of desire is if it is unfulfilled, it
leads to disappointment, frustration.
Now, look at this story. Once a fisherman caught a golden fish. It was
a fairy. It pleaded with him, ‘If you leave me alone, I will fulfill
any desire you seek’. He felt sorry for the fish and came and told
the story to his wife. She was very angry with her husband. ‘When
she promised to fulfill a desire, couldn’t you ask for something?
Say some money perhaps?’ He said, ‘it didn’t strike
me!’ ‘Go, go at once and ask for it.’ The poor husband
meekly obeyed. But the lady was not happy. The wife’s desires were
soaring into the sky. She asked for wealth, for material gains, for jewelry
and so on. All these were meekly asked and were dully fulfilled. One fine
morning, she had a brainwave. ‘Look here! Every time I seek a desire,
you have to walk all the way, wait for the fairy to come out and ask her!
Why don’t you make her stay in our house at our beck and call?’
The husband tried to raise an objection but was shunned. Accordingly he
pleaded. But that was the height of patience for the fairy. She took away
all that she had given and she disappeared. They came back to square one
! That was the result of her greed!
The second type of desire is - we have a desire, it is fulfilled yet we
are not happy. We long for more, we get less, and we are disappointed
again and angry again. if we watch any programme of ‘Luck’
on T,V. channels, ‘ Kaun Banega Crorepathi’ or ‘Gold
Rush’. they reach up to a particular level. If they give up they
can be happy with that amount, but if they put one step forward, they
win a fabulous amount or they have a miserable downfall! 99 % of cases
face the latter stage! But this type of desire, though is harmful, is
tolerable since the loss is limited to him. His desire is unlimited and
it keeps cropping up like Ravana’s head.
The third type of desire is the most dangerous desire. It brings harm
not to the person who desires something, but it brings harm to the person
who is a hindrance to his desire. There were two partners in a business
firm. One of them was on the death bed. He called his partner to confess
something. He said, ‘Look, Mr. Raju. I am awfully sorry for whatever
I have done. I have deprived you of all your money. I cheated you. I have
made you a pauper.’ Raju smiled kindly and said, ‘Look Ravi,
don’t you worry! I knew about it only yesterday. You know why you
are dying? It is not because of accidental food poison! I poisoned your
That is the height of want! Once again the same story, We have desire,
desire leads to greed, greed cannot be fulfilled, frustration leads to
anger and anger leads to crime, crime leads to death or downfall.
The world is centering round name, fame, power and money. Ranging back
to Aurangzeb to the modern prince, we have umpteen number of stories;
they are not just stories, but real life stories which led to the death
of somebody. Aurangzeb imprisoned his own father for the sake of kingdom.
Desire and Anger are twins. They are inseparable. Desire is like a thief.
Just as a thief comes to loot us of our money, desire loots us of our
reasoning power. It brings anger with it. ‘An angry man knows no
There is a special meaning in the words ‘Dhyato Vishayaan.’
Dhyanam - meditation is not a new word for us. We meditate deeply with
all interest not to God but for attainment of sensual pleasures. If we
show the same dedication, same urge for God we will attain moksha is the
meaning of these lines.
We can add - if we show the same dedication, the same urge on our duty,
on our goal we can walk on the righteous path.
So you decide -
Seek desire and entertain anger
Or Drive out anger and seek peace of mind?