|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Module - G
Unit - G03
Lesson G0326: Wise are immune to the effect of uncontrollable desires
By Raja Subramaniyan
It may appear that all our miseries are due to the desires, which are uncontrollable. If this is true then it will not be possible for any human being to live joyfully.
It is true that the desires cause misery. However, the uncontrollable desires do not translate into miseries directly. They just determine the environment. Converting the environment into joy or misery is in our hand.
Example: Prince Rama was asked to go the forest. Rama obeyed his father's wish. It has become an uncontrollable desire in him. Subsequent requests from others could not restrain Rama from abandoning the kingdom and going to forest. His uncontrollable desire has brought about an uncomfortable forest environment to Rama and his wife. However, Rama was very happy to go to the forest.
Thus, misery does not descend directly from the uncontrollable desire. It is how we view the effect of the uncontrollable desire. Our response to the environment, which depends on our knowledge and maturity, determines whether we suffer or not.
Example: One persons shouts at other, "You are a dog". This is obviously not true. However, it is the option of the listener to take it as true or false. If he takes the statement as false, he will not get angry. Otherwise, he will respond by saying, "You are a donkey".
We have absolutely no control over the actions of the other. In addition, we do not have control over our own actions, which are prompted by our uncontrollable desires, As result of such actions we will end up in an experience, which may or may not be to our liking. Our way of responding to such experience determines whether we suffer or enjoy the world.
Wrong expectations of the ignorant:
Normally the ignorant people suffer (from the effect of uncontrollable desires) due to wrong expectations on their part. The true nature of the world is illusion and it is ever changing. However, they expect it to be stable all the time.
Example: The beauty of a youth is temporary in nature. Nevertheless, people expect it to last forever. As a result, they suffer when they observe that the beauty is vanishing.
If the true nature is understood, there will not be any such wrong expectation. Consequently, there will not be any misery. There are many such wrong expectations and some of them are listed below:
When we are happy, we want that happiness to last forever
When good fortune smiles at us, we want more of the same.
We do not want any obstacle to our happiness.
We want all our sense organs to work perfectly until we die.
The truth is everyone's life will give experiences that oscillate between the pairs of opposites. The frequency and duration of such oscillation depends on our past actions.
Pairs of opposites:
Love Vs Hate
Prosperity Vs Poverty
Fame Vs Blame
Gain Vs Loss
Pleasure Vs Pain
Honor Vs dishonor
Victory Vs defeat
Health and Ill-health
Without having this knowledge, we expect that all our experiences are favorable all the time. This results in misery.
Moreover, we have a wrong notion that we are inadequate and we feel complete or fulfilled only when the experiences are favorable to us. Our real nature is Ever Witnessing Joy and we are the only reality that lends happiness to our objects of desire. All the objects are illusions that depend on us for existence. Without this knowledge, the ignorant expect the objects to give them happiness and fulfillment.
All our experiences are the result of our past actions.
If we are to depend on the experiences for our happiness, we will be oscillating between happiness and sorrow helplessly.
The solution is to accept all the experience without any resistance. We should know whatever experience come in our way is specifically designed by us through our own past actions.
If we have the true knowledge then we will not depend on the worldly objects/ experience for our happiness. We will live a joyful living irrespective of the nature of our experiences.