Lesson 12: Meaning of the words ‘desiring what’
In the second part of the key statement the object (the world), subject (enjoyer) and the experience (that results due to the interaction of the subject and the object) are negated as illusion, based on the knowledge gained as described in the first part of the sentence.
The meaning of the words ‘desiring what’ in the key statement ‘If a person knows himself to be this ONE, desiring what and for whose benefit will he struggle?’ is discussed here for negating the object.
‘Desiring what’ means there is no object (in the world) to desire (by the wise).
The word ‘what’ refers to any object. (Including name, fame, money and such)
The word ‘desire’ refers to the thought “I want this object”.
All human beings will have desires. Desire is the cause of all the problems in the life. Most people do not live joyfully all the time because of their desires. However, wise men could lead a joyful living in spite of their desires. To gain mastery over desire we need to analyze the following:
Definition of the object
Nature of the object
Deficiencies in the object
Definition of desire
Origin of desire
Effect of desire
Cause of desire
With the support of the mind
Without the support of the mind
Binding Desires & Non-binding desires
Knowledge (Gained through the analysis of the first part of the sentence)
Impact of knowledge on the object
Impact of knowledge on the desire
Role of knowledge in avoiding the desire
Difference between the wise and the ignorant in dealing with desire
Wise live joyfully with desires
Wise are immune to the ill effect of uncontrollable desires
Wrong expectations by the ignorant
Suggested practice to live joyfully
Lesson 13: Definition and classification of ‘Object’
Definition of the object
What is observed is an object. It includes everything in the world without any exception. It also includes name, fame, award, reward, power, position, people, wealth, family, friends and all forms of entertainment.
Statement 19: Object includes everything in the universe.
Classification of the object
There are many objects in the world. We come to know about them by seeing them, hearing about them, watching the television or by reading books/ magazines/ newspaper. In short what we perceive using our five sense organs make up ‘our world’ that consists of the objects known. We classify all the known objects into three distinct groups. (We do this without our conscious knowledge)
Objects, which we like
Objects, which we dislike
Objects to which we are indifferent
We do these based on the preferences in our mind. Therefore, the grouping is done differently by different people.
Dog can be a pet animal for one. Another may not tolerate the presence of the same dog. The third may be indifferent to it.
There is nothing inherent in the object to make it likeable or otherwise. It has no potential to influence anyone’s life in anyway.
All objects (including human beings) are innocent by themselves. However, we make them desirable or intolerable due to our ignorance.
Our perception of the objects is very different from the true nature of the objects. After an in-depth research, we can find that our expectations from the objects of the world do not correlate with the potential or capabilities of the object.
Example: Air-conditioner will make us feel comfortable. It cannot make us happy.
Due to ignorance, we assume an air conditioner will give us peace and happiness. There are many such ‘deficiencies’ in the objects. In reality, objects do not have any deficiencies. Nevertheless, our wrong expectations make the objects appear to be deficient.
Statement 20: Objects are classified as what we like, dislike and neutral.
Lesson 14: Deficiencies of the objects
Session: G35 – G36
While the objects of the world (Name, fame, etc) seem to bring apparent happiness it comes with absolute sorrow.
Statement 21: Happiness that comes from objects is mixed with pain.
It is difficult to earn money. It is even more difficult to safeguard it. There is a constant fear that what is earned might be lost. Losing the money is painful. Even spending the money will bring misery.
Example: One makes a custom-made cot. When the cot is delivered, he could not sleep on it since the cost of the cot was very high.
When one is accustomed to living in comforts, he becomes dependent on the comforts. He will feel miserable if such comforts are denied even for a brief period.
Statement 22: Objects that gives us happiness will make us slaves.
From the unknown status, the object becomes known. Due to our internal preferences, it becomes desirable object. It has very high value so long we do not possess it. Once we posses it, the value comes down drastically. Very soon, we are ignorant of its existence.
Example: Can you list down all the things that you posses? Invariably you would have forgotten about many items that were thought to be ‘highly desirable’ objects.
Thus, the objects in the world do not give lasting benefit. The moment one desire is fulfilled it will give rise to another desire which will appear to be an ultimate object to be possessed. It will also be forgotten in the near future.
Statement 23: Objects do not give lasting satisfaction
The objects in the world are continuously changing. All the cells in our bodies are regularly replaced with new. The world could be compared to the flame on a lamp. Although we refer to the flame as one object, it is continuously being renewed. The whole universe is exactly like that.
Example: The guest politely requests the host to reduce the quantity of the coffee that was offered to her in a big cup. The host responds, “Never mind. As you drink, it will get reduced”.
Statement 24: The objects keep changing all the time.
Similarly, the objects in the world keep changing as we observe them. Nevertheless, we do not notice the change and assume that everything around us is changeless and permanent. They seem to bring us happiness when we see them, use them and possess them. This creates a dependence on the external objects. It started with our requirements of survival. Although we are surviving, we still have many objects to be acquired for ‘survival’.
The basic requirement for money (and possessions) to meet the food/ clothing/ shelter is very less. Everyone tries to earn and spend more than what is necessary. It is perfectly all right to earn more so long on has the true knowledge about the limitation of material wealth. People work very hard for five to six days a week and they are under the impression that they need to unwind during the weekend by spending lavishly. This brings in misery.
Example: If one eats more than the requirement, he becomes unhealthy and end up spending more money to regain health.
Similarly doing anything in excess will have associated negative aspects.
Finally, the most important deficiency of the material wealth is it never gives complete satisfaction. Man will always feel inadequate with respect to his name, fame, wealth, power, position, status etc. More one earns, the desire to earn more will grow.
Statement 25: Objects do not give complete satisfaction
Thus, happiness that we seem to derive from the objects arrives when the object comes into our life. It starts diminishing soon after arrival. It lasts for a while and then it departs. Soon the pleasure will turn into pain by making us a slave to the object and force us to suffer to safeguard the object. Man wants everlasting happiness. What arrives at a particular point in time cannot be everlasting. What comes will go. There is no inherent happiness in the objects. Until the search for everlasting happiness is fulfilled man will not rest.
Lesson 15: Definition and Origin of ‘Desire’
Session: G37 – G38
Definition of desire:
Since objects are innocent, whatever be the objects one does not have access to, should not be causing any desire. Ideally, everyone should be able to enjoy the life using the various objects available to him. However, due to ignorance, most people think of a specific object, which they do not yet possess and say, “I want this object”. This is desire.
The objects in the world are converted by the ignorant as desirable objects. As a result, they expect to possess more objects that are desirable, avoid objects which they hate. The focus is on the external environment to make it favorable. However, it is necessary one should focus internally and not externally to solve this issue,
It is not possible to change the world. However, it is quite possible to change one’s attitude towards the world. Here lies the key to joyful living.
Statement 26: Desire is a thought of an object with an add on “I want”
Origin of desire:
It is wrongly assumed that the origin of desire is external. It is not so. Objects in the world are incidental to the desire of the mind. Our own mind is the only origin for desire. Role of objects in creation of desire is very limited.
The objects to which we are indifferent and the unknown objects do not have any impact on our life. However, they are continuously competing to enter our life.
Example: When we go for window-shopping, we get to know of many objects that are previously unknown. We might start liking those objects to which we were indifferent earlier.
Advertisements are focused on making our world larger by converting the unknown/ indifferent objects into desirable objects.
Thus, our world is continuously growing with more and more objects that we desire. The origin of the desire is not inherent in the object.
The object does not force anyone to desire it. Due to Delusion, most people assume that once their desire is fulfilled they will live happily ever after.
Example: A person gets a job in a foreign country, which is not very conducive for living. He decides to take up a job since the compensation is very good. He plans to leave his family behind and go through the hardships of the new place alone. The reason for such a decision is instead of not getting enough money in the current job, one can earn substantial money albeit with some additional difficulty. When he comes back after five years, they can live happily ever after.
This will never happen. After five years situation would not be very different from what it is now. Money will be as insufficient as it is now. The ever-lasting happiness would have moved away to another couple of years, like a mirage.
Thus, our ignorance converts the object as a desirable object.
Statement 27: Our mind is the origin of desire
Cause of the desire.
The only cause of our desire is our preferences. Our preferences are imprints in our mind made by our past actions.
All our desires stem from our preferences.
Desire is a thought. When we see an object, we form a thought about the object. We group them as a ‘desirable object’, ‘undesirable object’ or ‘neutral object’. This grouping is done based on our preferences. Those thoughts, which are grouped as ‘desirable object’, are converted as desire by our ego due to ignorance. The expression “There is an object” is converted by the ego as “I want this object”, which is called desire.
Statement 28: The cause of the desire is our preferences.
Lesson 16: Effect of ‘Desire’
Desire is the main motive power of all our actions. Firstly, the desire itself is a thought. It multiplies and grows into many more thoughts depending on the intensity of the desire. Then we are talking about our objects of desire more. This process makes our desire stronger. Finally, all our actions are focused to fulfill our desires.
The process of being caught in the cycle of desire – action – desire enslaves humanity and prevents them from reaching their own goal of joyful living.
For example, we like comfort and dislike poverty. Therefore, we get involved in continuous action to earn more money.
Whether we gain the object of desire or not we end up in misery.
Example: A man wants to change is car since it has become very old.
Until this is done, he works hard with anxiety and stress. He feels jealous about his junior in the workplace who managed to buy a new car. He is constantly worried whether he will be able to buy a new car.
If someone or something (price rise for example) comes between him and his goal, he becomes angry and get irritated.
If it cannot be done, he ends up with frustration and low self-esteem.
If the new car is bought, the happiness does not last for long because now he has a new desire, to buy a house. Thus, the whole cycle starts again.
Thus the desire whether fulfilled or not results in misery. One never gets complete fulfillment on obtaining any object. There is always a feeling of inadequacy.
We need to understand the objects in the world do not have any capability of giving us any happiness. In the absence of the knowledge, we continuously develop desires for the objects resulting in world dependent life.
Thus, the effect of desire is to make the life miserable.
Miserable life means any life in which the possibility of getting negative emotions (Anger, jealousy, hatred and such), is very high. Most people are helplessly depends on the objects of the world for their happiness and sanity. As opposed to the miserable life, Joyful living means that there will only be positive emotions (Love, affection, kindness and such) without any possibility of ever having negative emotions.
Statement 29: Desire prevents us to live joyfully.
Lesson 17: Controllable and Uncontrollable ‘Desire’
Desires can be controlled in many ways. Most of the conventional ways like trying to avoid thoughts relating to unwanted objects or keep repeating to ourselves that “We do not want it” etc are mostly effective.
Using our will power and intelligence, we can effectively control the desire.
Example: One person is a habitual smoker. If he sees the cigarette, he will have desire to smoke. Therefore, he avoids going to those places where people smoke. By always being in the company of non-smokers, he could greatly reduce the desire to smoke.
Thus, it is possible to control such desires.
There are some desires that cannot be controlled at all. They arise out of our stronger imprints. If we had spent sufficiently long time in pursuing a desire, we would have developed a very strong preference in our mind. This will create a desire that cannot be controlled.
To continue the previous example: If the person is already addicted to cigarette, even if he remains in the company of non-smokers he will have the urge to smoke.
Example: A diabetic person may violate his doctor’s advice and drink coffee with sugar. While drinking the coffee he may even say, “My doctor has told me not to drink this”. Even if people around him suggest that he should not take it, he will not heed to their requests.
It is very important that we need to distinguish between the controllable and uncontrollable desires since all such desires cause misery. If we do not know the distinction, we might classify a controllable desire as uncontrollable and make stronger imprints. This will convert the controllable desire as uncontrollable desire.
One should his level best to control the bad/ wrong desires. If at the end if the desire still survives, it will bring in misery. As a consolation, one can say that the desire was not controlled because it was impossible.
Lesson 18: Types of Uncontrollable ‘Desire’
There are three types of uncontrollable desire.
Desire with the support of mind
Desire without the support of the mind
Our past preferences, which are very strong, determine the number and intensity of our desires by influencing our intelligence, mind and others. Such desires are uncontrollable and it is impossible for us not to act according to such desires.
Normally desire comes when the sense organs report the existence of an object. However, there are some desires, which will push us towards the object of desire without our knowledge. Our past desires are so strong that they have made deep imprints in the mind resulting in such uncontrollable desires.
People tend to like something without any obvious/ apparent reasons. Even without seeing an object, without any external influence, in spite of advices against acquiring the object one might develop a strong desire to possess the object. Such desires are called uncontrollable desires and cannot be nipped in the bud.
The reason for creation of such desire is to continue and complete our past action so that the desired results could come.
Example: One is at the end of completing certain job. Normally he may not leave the job without completing the job. If for some reason there is a distraction, at the very first opportunity he will get back to the job, continue the work and complete the job.
This applies to all sorts/ types of action. Whether one is playing cards or involved in writing a report the rule is same. If there is a break in the initial period of action, the action may not continue. It is possible to curtail or stop an undesirable activity in the initial stages. However if enough progress is made and the task is about to get completed it is near to impossible to leave it unfinished.
If a child is building a castle on the beach and it was time to leave, the castle building will be abandoned if it is in the initial stages of construction. If the work is nearing completion, the child will not leave until it is completed.
Similarly, our past actions (including those done in the previous births) would have been nearer to the stage of completion when we died last time. Therefore, these actions are completed through our actions in our current birth.
Lesson 19: Uncontrollable Desires (With the support of the mind)
The unfulfilled past actions seek to be completed with the support of our mind as a fresh desire. When we get the very first opportunity to continue the unfinished work we will develop a deep desire to start, continue and complete the work now.
Such desires cannot be removed without considerable hardship/ mental torture. Even if it is stopped, it will be a temporary block. On the very first occasion in this birth or in the next, the person will develop deep desire to do the work.
Thus, these desires arise for yielding the desired results. Since the past actions are not enough to yield the result, the preferences create such desires and force the person to complete the remaining part of the actions.
This applies to both good and bad results.
Example: Ravana’s desire forced him to bring Sita to his kingdom. Although he was very intelligent and highly capable, he was forced into such an act. If he had not done this act he would not have been killed by Rama. Thus for giving him the punishment, he was forced into the bad action by this desire.
Example: Adi Shankara took to sanyasa at a very young age. It was not possible for anyone including his beloved mother to convince him otherwise. He had a deep desire to renounce the world, which could not be stopped.
Such desires are so deep rooted in the mind that it is not possible to convince the person otherwise. His intelligence would find out some excuse or other to justify the desire.
It is common sense to predict the effect of having illicit relationship with a powerful man’s wife. However, the desire will function through the intelligence and justify such action.
A thief is aware of the nature of his profession, associated sin, risk and the effect of stealing. However, it is not possible to overcome his desire to steal. (A thief will not like his son to become a thief. This shows that he is aware that it is wrong to be a thief. He will evolve many theories and reasons to justify his desire.)
Such persons want their desire fulfilled at any cost since there past actions are driving them towards the predestined goal.
Their intelligence is fully convinced that their desire is a just/ correct desire.
Their mind is also fully in support of their desire. They love to do the action that is originated from such uncontrollable desire.
Objects in the world do not have inherent power to create desire in anyone’s mind. They are just there. They are innocent.
Example: Well-decorated Potato curry on the buffet table is innocent. It does not force entry into anyone’s stomach.
The sole responsibility of desiring rests on human beings. In the past if they often had potato curry and developed a taste for it, they will have more desire than those who hardly eat potato curry.
Thus, the responsibility of desiring shifts from human beings to their preset preferences.
When the sense organs report the environment, spontaneously the desire arise (based on the preset preference) without the intentional involvement of the intelligence.
Human beings do not have any control to stop getting such desires. Desires will come involuntarily for both the ignorant and wise depending on the past preferences.
Lesson 20: Uncontrollable Desires (Without the support of the mind)
Some of the uncontrollable desires will force us to do things, which we really do not want to do. However, we have no choice. The past actions were nearer to the stage of completion and we will have to take the task to its logical conclusion.
Even our own mind may be convinced against the desire. Nevertheless, we will be forced to entertain such desire. Such is the power of these uncontrollable desires.
Example: Siddhartha’s desire to leave the kingdom is an example of uncontrollable desire operating without the support of his mind. His wife, newborn baby, the king and the kingdom could not convince him to stay back in the palace. His love for his family lost the battle to the desire, which took him to the forest.
Such uncontrollable desires are so powerful our own will power cannot overcome them. If it is a bad desire, even if we want to correct ourselves, it will not be possible. If it is a good desire, even if there were many hurdles/ obstacles including our own will power, we will find a way to fulfill such desire.
Example: Bhishma’s desire to win the mahabaratha war is without the support of his mind. Although his heart is with pandavas he had to fight for Kauravas.
There will be generally no way out to abandon such desire. Actually, it cannot even be called as a desire since we do not desire it. However, our actions are prompted by such desires and therefore, we need to call it as desire.
Example: A pure vegetarian is forced to eat non-vegetarian food in a foreign country where nothing else is available. He does not have any desire to eat meat but he ends up eating due to the compelling circumstances.
There is another dimension to such desires. May be at present we do not like to do certain actions but if it is our basic nature, we cannot avoid it.
Example: Arjuna’s basic nature is to be a warrior. However, on the battlefield he has developed a desire to abandon the war and renounce the world. Such desires are temporary. He must disregard his desire and stick to his nature, which is to fight. Even if he abandons the battle and walk away, he will not be satisfied for long outside. He will soon return to the battlefield since it is his basic nature to fight.
In such situations, it is wise to go against our own wish and act in line with the uncontrollable desires.
In general, no one likes to commit a sin. However, many do commit sins. This happens due to the uncontrollable desire. The intelligence is very clear that a particular action is wrong. Nevertheless, the mind feels just the opposite. As a result, there is an internal struggle between the intelligence and the mind. If one has not trained the mind adequately, the mind revolts and most of the time mind wins over intelligence. Thus, sins are committed without any desire to do so.
This can be verified in our day-to-day experience. Our intelligence is convinced that it is good to get up from bed at 5 am. However, when we wake up, our mind struggles against the earlier decision and forces us to go back to sleep. This happens only when the mind is not trained to obey the commands of the intelligence.
Lesson 21: Neutral Uncontrollable Desires (Originated for the sake of others)
Some of our actions are not prompted by our own desire. We are neutral about the action. Neither we want to do nor that do we have anything against doing. Normally such thoughts do not precipitate into action. All actions are prompted by strong desire. In the case of neutral desires, we act for the sake of others.
Generally, someone known to us, want something to be done and we do it for his sake. The cause of such desire is our love, affection, kindness towards others.
Example: A host cooks a feast for the guests. The host also eats the same food although his normal diet is a simple one.
While performing the actions prompted by neutral desires, one may undergo suffering or pleasure. If he is a wise person, he will be indifferent to such result. However, an ignorant person will convert the neutral desire into ‘wanted desire’ if the process is pleasure or ‘unwanted desire’ if the process is painful.
Lesson 22: Bonding & Non-bonding desire
All the desires of the ignorant are binding desires. Each desire will direct the thought, words and actions of the ignorant towards fulfillment of the desire. This will make stronger imprints on the mind, which will stimulate further desires. The mere process of fulfilling a desire will lead to more desires and the man will be bound to eternal action in search of worldly objects.
All the desires of the wise are non-bonding desires. There is no selfish motive in the desires of the wise for they do not need anything from the world. They are quite happy with what comes in their way. Even those desires that are directed towards the welfare of others are not egoistic in nature. The wise do not have the feeling ‘I am the doer’ when they perform action (thoughts, words and action). As a result, there will not be any imprints created in the mind.
Binding desires are those that will cause anger and frustration if not fulfilled.
Non-binding desires, if not fulfilled, may not even cause disappointment.
Binding desires are born out of ignorance of the true nature of self.
Non-binding desires are born out of the results of our past action.
Binding desires are selfish in nature. The EGO assumes the doer ship and involves in action to fulfill the desire for the sake of the self (body/mind complex) and family.
Non-binding desires are generally neutral desires prompted by the welfare of others. There is no EGO, which assumes the doer ship. The person performs the action without any attachment.
Lesson 23: Knowledge and Desire for objects
Session: G46 – G47
Impact of knowledge on the object
A wise person knows that he is the only reality and everything else in the world is illusion. Therefore, the object does not exist in absolute terms.
Statement 30: For a wise person the object does not exist as absolute reality.
Impact of knowledge on the desire
A wise person knows himself to be the pure, eternal, complete. He does not need anything from the world to make him fulfilled. Therefore, in general the desire for the objects of the world does not exist for a wise man.
Even if a person does not have this absolute knowledge, experience will teach him the deficiencies of the object. With such knowledge, one person can be free from desires. He may continue to assume that the objects are real. However, he will have dispassion due to the limitations of the objects. Such a person is fully qualified to seek the absolute knowledge since the world no longer distracts him.
Role of knowledge in avoidance of desire:
It is impossible to get over the desire by enjoying the objects of the world.
Example: It is not possible to put off the fire by pouring ghee.
Similarly, if someone desires to earn more money, such desire can never be fulfilled by earning ‘enough’ money. More money he earns, the desire will become stronger. In the same way, one who is accustomed to enjoy the sense pleasures will never reach a stage when he feels that he had enough. Even if one is fed with good food and allowed to eat as much as he wants, he will complain that he is not able to eat anymore and he may not get similar food for the next meal. There will be no end to their desire.
Statement 31: A desire for an object will never leave us even if we continue to see, possess and enjoy the object in unlimited quantity for any length of time.
A time will come when we become old and no longer be in a position to enjoy the sense pleasures. Even if one had a lifetime of enjoyment, when this inability arises he will feel disappointed that he is not able to enjoy as before.
Statement 32: The desire for objects will leave us only when we understand the deficiencies of the objects and not by enjoying.
If one has absolute knowledge about the true nature of the objects, he will not desire them.
Example: In a magic show, the magician creates a beautiful city on the sky. We will appreciate the beauty of the city and skill of the magician. However, we will not develop a desire to own a house in the sky city for we know it is an illusion.
Similarly, if we know it is a mirage we will not run towards it to quench the thirst. Infact the opposite is true. Whatever desire we had prior to getting knowledge will go after gaining the knowledge. While the ignorant people want to be attached to more and more objects, the wise people would like to give away everything.
Example: After getting hold of a bag full of cash, if one finds out them to be fake he would like to get rid of them as soon as possible and not feel happy possessing the bag any longer.
The ignorant people attach lots of value to the objects. However, the fact as described earlier, points out that the objects in fact enslave a person. If this fact is understood, one will want to renounce everything rather than desiring anything.
To continue the previous example: If that person gets an opportunity to dispose the fake money, he will be very happy to do so.
Similarly, a wise person will be happy to give away the possessions if there is an opportunity comes to him. In addition, he will not have any more desire. As a result, the wise one does not suffer in life.
Example: So long the oil is available the thread in the oil lamp will burn.
Similarly, so long there is desire in the mind the living being will suffer. Since the one who knows that he is the only reality, there is nothing for him to desire in the illusory world and consequently he is freed from the problems of the world.
One who carefully reviews the process of earning/ enjoying the worldly possessions will learn the deficiencies of the objects. Such a person will not develop a desire even if there is an opportunity for him to get the object.
Example: When hungry person is served with lots of food. Before he starts eating he is informed that there is poison in the food. Obviously, he will not eat the food even if it is very tempting.
This being the case, why do we have to talk about the person who has just had a feast? He will have no temptation to eat the poisoned food.
Similarly, even those who understand the deficiencies of the worldly possessions will not desire them. This being the case, why do have to talk about the wise people who know that the world is an illusion. They will have absolutely no desire.
Statement 33: After understanding the deficiencies of the objects, one can enjoy them without developing any desire or attachment.
However even the wise will continue to enjoy the worldly possessions. The only difference between the wise and the ignorant is that they will not have any desire or attachment to the objects of the world.
They will not run (or even walk) after the objects of the world. Nevertheless, if they come in their way they will enjoy them. This gives them lots of freedom to them. They do not fear losing the objects. They do not have to work for earning them. They will not miss them if they are not available. Even difficulties will be endured with total indifference.
Example: If one of the palanquin bearers of the king falls sick on the way, any passerby will be asked to replace him. The passerby may not get any remuneration for his ‘voluntary’ service. He does the work without cribbing.
Thus, both the pleasure and pain that come across in the life of a wise will be endured with total indifference.
However even though one is aware of the true nature of the world, he needs to deal with the situation appropriately. For this purpose, it is not enough to know that all the objects in the world are illusory. In addition, one should know the true nature of the illusory objects and their deficiency.
Statement 34: Desire results in from a combination of not knowing the true nature of all objects in the world and their deficiencies.
Lesson 24: Difference between ignorant and wise in dealing with desire
The ignorant will get apparent happiness when they get to possess their object of desire. The wise get real happiness by not desiring that object. This is so because they are aware that they are no longer slaves to the worldly possessions.
Statement 35: The ignorant get happiness by possession of their object of desire and the wise will get happiness by not desiring the object.
Example: The wise does window-shopping and feels happy that there are so many objects in the world that he does not need.
While no amount of worldly possessions can satisfy the desire of an ignorant, the wise people will derive lots of happiness from whatever little is available. This is because the wise people are aware of the miseries of the bondage.
Statement 36: The ignorant will never be satisfied with whatever they have and the wise will be happy with whatever little they have.
Example: After a war between two big kingdoms, the winner arrests the loser and kept him in the jail for a long period. Then one day he released him from the prison and gave him a small village to rule.
The king who once ruled a big country will be more than willing to rule a small village. Even mere freedom would have been enough to make him happy since he knows the sufferings in the prison. Now that he has a village to rule, he will be very happy.
If he had won the war, in the first place his kingdom would have been doubled. Even then, he would not have been as happy as he is now with the small village.
The difference in the attitude came only because of his bondage. If he has not suffered the bondage for a long time, he would not have learnt the pleasure of being free.
Similarly, the wise men are aware of the miseries of the bondage unlike the ignorant. As a result, the ignorant will not be happy even if they had much more possessions than those who have understood the importance of the freedom. The wise are happier with less and the ignorant are less happy with more.
Statement 37: The wise people are free. The ignorant are slaves to the worldly objects.
The pity is that they are not aware of their bondage.
Example: Before fighting for the freedom, the uneducated people in India were to be taught that they are living in a British colony. Only after understanding the evils of the bondage, they could join the fight for the freedom.
Similarly, the ignorant are to be taught the evils of the bondage caused by their desire so that they could attempt to gain the knowledge and become free.
Statement 38: Unlike the wise, the ignorant give powers to the objects to control their life.
The wise perceive the world correctly in their true perspective of illusion. However, the ignorant give the objects of the world the power to control their life.
Example: A servant who is caught stealing by the master pleads for forgiveness. The master forgives him and retains him in the job. In future, the servant might steal from others but never from his master since the master knows his real nature. He will have the gratitude to the master for not terminating him and in spite of knowing his real nature.
Similarly, the objects of the world are caught red handed by the wise. Therefore, there is no threat from them to the wise anymore. No amount of indulgence in the worldly objects will make the wise to be enslaved by them.
Statement 39: Even if the wise indulge in an object, he will not develop desire for it since he is aware of its real nature.
In general, once we get knowledge, the desire will go away. The desire might go away even without gaining the true knowledge. It is enough that one sees the deficiencies in the objects to become free of desire. However if one stop desiring the worldly possessions without getting the true knowledge, he might be ending up in a vacuum. The life will be very frustrating for him since one hand there is nothing to expect from any objects in the world and on the other hand, there is nothing for him to live joyfully. It should be remembered that it is essential to know ‘I am this ONE’ in order to live joyfully. In the absence of this knowledge, most people run after worldly pleasures for living happily. If one stops desiring worldly objects, he should cultivate the desire to find the essence of the scriptures. He should spend all his time in reading/ listening/ understanding the scriptures with a deep desire to gain the ultimate knowledge.
Lesson 25: Wise live joyfully with desires
Desire causes misery. Nevertheless, the wise people also have desires, which do not cause any misery for them.
Example: The essential quality of a seed is to germinate into a new plant. If the seed is roasted, it will lose the essential quality of a seed. It may continue to look like a seed and we may refer it by the word ‘seed’, but it is not a ‘seed’ any more. Fire has brought about this change in the seed.
Similarly, the essential quality of the desire is to cause misery. The knowledge about the illusory nature of the objects, destroy this essential quality. Therefore, the desire does not cause misery to the wise.
The wise people will continue to entertain desire since it cannot be totally avoided. However, such desires are harmless. Moreover, they benefit the society. Many good actions result from the wise due to such desires.
Example: Roasted seed is useful as food.
The wise do not have any desire prompted by the sense organs. All their desires are neutral desires that originate from the request of others. If such desires are not fulfilled it brings disappointment in others but does not affect the wise in any way.
If we have any such desire that does not develop into anger, disappointment or frustration etc, it can be encouraged.
Example: A man plays a game with a child. He is not affected in any way in winning or losing the game with the child.
However, if the same game is played with another man, one starts giving reality to the game.
We need to test our desires in the light of the above.
Statement 40: The desires of the wise are the will of the God.
Lesson 26: Wise are immune to the effect of uncontrollable desires
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.
Lesson 27: Suggested practice to ensure joyful living
Our life is just like a dream.
During the dream, we experience joy or sorrow depending on the dream objects, which really do not exist. Even in real life, we experience joy or sorrow depending on the objects of the world, which really do not exist.
In the dream, the objects keep changing. Even in real life, the objects keep changing. In both dream and in real life, objects are not permanent.
We do not always know why we went through a specific dream experience. It is true for our experience in real life. We will not be able to find the ultimate cause for any effect.
We have no control over the experience of the dream. It is true with the real life too.
We do not remember the dream for long. This is true with the real life too. We have no clue what we were doing at this time ten years back.
Dream experience is not permanent. It does not leave a mark on our real life. It is true for the real life too. Experiences in the real life do not leave a mark on our real self.
We need to understand these similarities and meditate up on them,
Frequently (atleast five times a day)
Continuously (atleast for two minutes every time)
For a long period of time (Till we get liberation)
This will make our knowledge steady and ensure joyful life for us.
Lesson 28: Joyful Living through wisdom
We need to have correct perception in order to live joyfully.
Example: While walking we may trip on a stone and fall down. The fault does not lie on the stone. It is our responsibility to assess the path correctly and walk without falling.
Similarly, the objects of the world do not cause any misery. We need to assess the truth correctly and hence suffer. Once we know that the world is an illusion, it will be a source of entertainment.
Example: A movie is a good source of entertainment. The movie is a mixture of joy-sorrow, songs-fight, love-separation etc. Nevertheless, we enjoy the full movie.
Similarly, when we correctly perceive the world to be a source of entertainment, the life will continue to oscillate between prosperity and poverty, fame and blame, love/hate etc. Nevertheless, we will have joyful life just like watching a good movie.
In a movie, we are a passive observer. We do not have any control over the events in the movie. Even in real life, we do not have any control over the experiences that we go through. We are under the wrong assumption that our current action alone determines our experiences. The apparent cause and effect between our actions and the experiences that we go through is a myth. Since we think that, we have some control over our immediate future we get frustrated and stray into negative feelings when events do not happen in the way we expect them to happen in spite of our best efforts.
If we are to accept all our experiences as they come and keep performing our duties without getting affected by our experiences we can move towards gaining the absolute knowledge. When we gain the absolute knowledge, our experiences will no longer affect our joyful living.
Example: Light will show the presence or absence of objects. Light cannot create or destroy objects.
Similarly, knowledge cannot create or destroy the experiences. Partial knowledge will not illumine the experiences in their true nature. As a result, we will be affected by our experiences and oscillate between joy and sorrow. Complete knowledge will illumine the experiences in their right perspective resulting in Joyful Living.
Thus, the world will not change. We will continue to get good and bad experiences due to our past actions. Nevertheless, the wise will have a joyful life.
“For Whose Benefit”
Number of Sessions: 7
(54 – 60)
Number of Lessons: 6
(29 – 34)
On completion of this unit, the student will be able to
(a) Perceive the need for self-enquiry
(b) Understand the method of conducting the enquiry.
Notes to the teacher: (Ref 7.192 and 7.222 of the original text)
The concept of experiencer and the experience relating to ONE and Illusion should be explained. The experiencer is ONE and the experiencing medium is the body/mind complex. ONE using its power of illusion has manifested into this universe. In the universe, there are seemingly different objects but the consciousness, which is aware of the universe, is only one.
1. Who is the enjoyer? Lesson 30
2. Why the world will be full of fun after gaining knowledge? Lesson 31
3. Why should we enquire about the enjoyer? Lesson 32
4. What are the four qualifications prescribed? Lesson 33
5. What is the result of the enquiry? Lesson 34
Lesson 29: Meaning of the phrase ‘for whose benefit’
In the second part of the sentence the object (the world), subject (enjoyer) and the experience (that results due to the interaction of the subject and the object) are negated as illusion, based on the knowledge gained as described in the first part of the sentence.
The meaning of the words ‘for whose benefit’ in the key statement ‘If a person knows himself to be this ONE, desiring what and for whose benefit will he struggle?’ is discussed here for negating the subject (enjoyer).
It is already shown that there is no object to desire because the whole world is an illusion. Similarly, in this section we will see that there is no enjoyer (subject) because he does not have any relationship with anything in the world.
Statement 41: The words “for whose benefit” signify that there is no enjoyer.
What is there cannot be told that it is not there. What is not there need not be told that it is not there. By stating, that there is no enjoyer it is very clearly specified that there appears to be an enjoyer existing but in reality, he does not exist.
Every experience involves an object of experience and the experiencer.
Example: Ram eats the cake.
Here the object of experience is cake. Ram is subject (experiencer or enjoyer) who enjoys the cake. In this example, the cake is an inert object and the subject is a conscious principle. It is essential that the subject have to be a conscious principle.
Example: Rope is tied to the pole.
Here there is no experience. Since both the rope and the pole are inert objects, there is no possibility of any experience. It is not possible that both the subject and the object are conscious principle in one experience.
Example: Ram kisses Sita.
Here there are two different experiences and not just one. For each experience, there is a subject and an object. The subject is called an ‘enjoyer’ for the purpose of discussion for that particular experience. It does not matter, whether the object of experience is inert or not.
The enjoyer has to be a conscious principle and cannot be an inert object. Since the body/mind complex is inert, it cannot be the subject. Therefore, the subject could be ONE or the EGO or a combination of both the EGO and ONE.
Lesson 30: Meaning of the word ‘enjoyer’
Is the enjoyer ONE or EGO or a combination of ONE and EGO?
ONE, who is not related to anything in the creation, cannot be the enjoyer. In order for someone to be called as an enjoyer, one has to have some relationship with the object of enjoyment.
Example: Music can be enjoyed only by those listen to it. Food can be enjoyed only by those who eat it.
The following three facts are involved in any experience.
The conscious principle (the enjoyer)
Object of enjoyment
Experience of enjoyment
There has to be a change in the enjoyer during the experience of pleasure or pain. Since ONE is changeless, it cannot be the enjoyer.
It is seen that in order to be an enjoyer, one has to be a conscious principle and at the same time, it should be changing in nature. Our EGO then is a perfect candidate for being an enjoyer. However, there is a major issue in this regard.
EGO does not exist independently. EGO is a reflection of ONE in our mind.
Example: A light is reflected in a mirror. The reflection can illumine the objects around. However, it is not possible for the reflected light to exist without the original source.
Similarly, we cannot say EGO is the enjoyer since it does not have the capability to exist without the support of the ONE.
Therefore, we need to assume that the enjoyer is the combination of EGO and ONE. We can safely state the EGO, which is substantiated by ONE, is the enjoyer.
Presence of an enjoyer is acknowledged by all. Through the above discussion, it is now established that the enjoyer is the EGO supported by ONE.
Statement 42: The combination of EGO and ONE is the enjoyer.
Lesson 31: Importance of the Enjoyer
Which is the most important component of the experience? Subject or Object?
Everyone is well aware that the subject is more important than the object. However, due to Delusion and thoughtlessness one is under the wrong impression that the object is more important than the subject is.
Example: Sita sees a beautiful frock in a shop. Just by seeing the frock, she experiences happiness. Then she takes the frock and wears it in the trial room. Now she is happier. The next step is to convince her father to buy the frock for her. When she manages to buy the frock, she becomes the happiest person in the world.
In this example, Sita is the subject and the frock is the object. The object seems to be more important than the subject is. Sita becomes happy, happier and happiest when she sees, wears and possesses the frock.
Before her father agrees to buy the frock, if someone asks her to name, the most important object in the world, she without any hesitation, will say, ‘the frock’.
The fact remains that she likes herself more. Nevertheless, she is under the impression that she likes the frock more. In fact her liking for the frock depends on her liking for herself. If someone sees her in the new frock and says that she looks horrible in the new frock, she will never wear the frock again.
The very same frock will be the most hated object within seconds.
Thus, no one likes any object for the sake of the object. Their liking is highly selfish. The liking one has for oneself is far greater than the liking for any other object.
May be in the case of an inert object like frock this is more easily understood. However if the object is not inert, it will be difficult to see the truth.
Example: Ram and Sita love each other.
It is almost impossible to convince any of them that they do not love the other person at all. The truth is no one can love anyone else. Each one in reality loves only the self but superimpose the love for the self on the other person.
Example: Ram loves Sita. He calls her on her landline phone. Sita’s sister picks up the phone and Ram says, ‘I love you’.
Everyone knows that Ram does not love Sita’s sister. However, no one (including Ram) knows that he does not love Sita either. His love is only for himself.
I love you and I live for your sake.
I love my country. I will die for my country.
Such statements cannot be true. However, due to ignorance many people say these statements thinking that they are saying the truth.
The love for self is superimposed on others (including persons/ objects) and there is no genuine love for others. This can be easily proved by the P/A Logic (Presence/ Absence logic).
For example, if Sita says that she has switched her love to Ravana. For a while, Ram might be upset. Nevertheless, he recovers and starts loving Gita, again superimposing his love for the self on Gita.
The only purpose of such love is to derive happiness for self.
Example: If Sita no longer gives Ram happiness, he will no longer love her
Everyone is selfish. This is the absolute truth.
Even if Ram was to commit suicide when Sita abandons his love, it goes to prove that he does not want his self to undergo suffering and not for any other reason.
Thus, the enjoyer (subject) is more important than the object. Without this knowledge, people spend all their energy, time and resource on chasing and possessing various objects in the world.
It will be fun to see the world once we understand this truth. We are the sole object of interest in the world and we were running after the sense objects thinking that we are interested in them.
Example: In a treasure hunt game, the final clue points out that we need to find ourselves. Without understanding the clue properly, we think that we need to find others.
Once we decode the clue, we claim victory. It will be fun to watch others thinking that they need to find someone else and running here and there.
Statement 43: Enjoyer is the most important person in the world. In fact there is nothing else existing to compete for this position.
Lesson 32: Need for an enquiry about the Enjoyer
Once we understand that self is more important than the other external objects we will be more curious to know about the self.
Example: In a party Ram sees a beautiful girl and he likes her. He will then start enquiring about the girl. If he does not like the girl, he will ignore her.
Similarly, as long as we are not aware that we like our self, we will not have any interest to know about our self. Once we know this fact, we will have a deep desire to enquire and know about our self, the enjoyer. As long as one thinks that the truth of happiness is in the objects, they run behind the objects of the world. When they find that the truth is in the self they will want to enquire and know more about the self.
One who has not understood that the enjoyer is more important than the object of enjoyment is not fit to conduct the enquiry on the self. Since the attitude of a person depends on his knowledge, those who think that happiness is in the objects will give more importance to them. They will not spend time and effort for understanding the self.
Enjoyer actually enjoys the enjoyer and not the enjoyed object. The attention from the external objects of enjoyment has to shift to inwards once the fact that the enjoyer is the only source of joy is known.
Example: Ram meets Sita in a party. Both of them like each other. However, they decide that they should date for a year before getting into wedlock. The purpose of such decision is both of them wants to be happy.
Both do not want to risk their happiness. Therefore, they want to understand the other person. This is the grave error. If Ram wants to be happy, it is more important for him to understand himself than understanding Sita. It is true for Sita as well.
All the objects of enjoyment exist for the sake of the enjoyer. There are countless number of objects with varied names and forms. Therefore, one does not have to analyze or scrutinize the objects but have to concentrate on the enjoyer. There is no need to understand or change anything external.
The enjoyer can be happy if he understands himself. There is no need to run behind the objects of the world since the supply is virtually unlimited.
In order to live joyfully there is nothing to be changed in the world except one’s attitude towards the world. This attitude can change only when one gains the true knowledge about oneself. To gain the knowledge one has to conduct an enquiry.
Lesson 33: Method of conducting the enquiry
To conduct an enquiry into the nature of the enjoyer one has to have four essential qualifications. They are listed below:
Complete Attention: It is essential that we pay complete attention to the process of enquiry. We will not be able to reach our goal if we do this as a pass time activity.
Example: When we give our gold chain for repairing, we watch the goldsmith working with full attention. Even if we slack for few seconds there is a possibility of the goldsmith stealing a bit of gold from the chain.
We need to pay such an attention while we are enquiring the true nature of the enjoyer.
Continuous Effort: Self-enquiry is a very time consuming project. One should continuously spend long duration of time consistently until the goal is reached.
Example: Sportsman working for an Olympic Gold Medal
It is not enough if we spend more time on the enquiry. We need to do that with deep interest. No sports person can win a gold medal unless he is interested in the sports.
Confidence: One should have complete confidence on the teacher and method of teaching. In addition, one should have self-confidence that it is possible for him to know the enjoyer at the end of the enquiry.
Example: A person drinking water to quench the thirst need not have any confidence. As he is drinking the water, he will see the benefit. However if a person is digging a well, he has to have confidence that he will find water. If he doubts every time whether he is digging at the right place, he will never be able to find the water.
If we feel that we do not have enough time for the purpose of enquiry it only means that we are not confident enough to find the solution. Confidence has a very high role to play in the process of acquiring the knowledge.
Example: In a village where there was no rain for a long time, a sage was offering special prayer for rain. At the end of the prayer, still there was no sign of any rain. The sage then told the crowd, “Now it is going to rain. However, it is not because I offered the special prayers. It is because of the confidence of that man standing with an umbrella”
Similarly, if we have strong confidence, it will lead us to success.
Hard work: This is the fourth and final requirement for successful completion of the enquiry.
Example: A person starts a new business in a highly competitive area. He needs to work hard to succeed in the business venture.
We need to put in similar hard work in our pursuit.
Lesson 34: The enquiry on the enjoyer
It is impossible to conduct any enquiry on the nature of enjoyer without the guidance of a right teacher.
Example: The master health check up programs, which involves various laboratory tests conducted on a person, will NOT reveal any disease or illness. Only a medical doctor who in the process of diagnosis can prescribe specific set of laboratory tests, which will serve the purpose. This is so because the doctor has to have a suspicion, which the tests are to confirm or dismiss. Without the initial suspicion, the tests cannot prove anything.
Similarly, if we are to conduct an enquiry without the guidance of a teacher we will not be successful. Based on the history it is clearly shown that no one has ever found out the true nature of the self without the guidance of a qualified teacher.
The qualified or right teacher is one who draws his wisdom from scriptures. One who does not depend on the scriptures is not qualified to guide anyone.
Example: An uneducated person cannot perform a medical investigation.
Similarly, a person who is not well versed with the scriptures cannot assist the enquiry of the enjoyer.
Therefore, the first step in the process of enquiry is to listen to the teacher’s answer on “Who is the enjoyer”.
The scriptures reveal the truth about the enjoyer. There is no enjoyer at all. Whom we think is an enjoyer does not exist at all. The term “for whose benefit” signifies that there is no enjoyer.
The next step is to start the enquiry based on our findings. We have already seen that enjoyer is a combination of EGO and ONE. In this combination, ONE is the only reality and the EGO is just a reflection.
EGO in reality not existing and ONE exists.
Everyone perceives the EGO which is not there and do not see the ONE which is very much there.
Delusion is the reason for not seeing what is there and for seeing what is not there.
Since the enjoyer always seems to be in the combination of EGO and ONE, firstly we need to apply the P/A Logic to know whether they (EGO and ONE) can exist independent of each other or not) When two objects are always together it is difficult to assess if they are same or one is different from other.
Example: A child looks at the mother’s hand with a bangle most of the time. The child may assume that the bangle is part of the hand just like the fingers. However when the child sees the mother’s hand without the bangle, it can figure out that the hand can exist with or without bangle.
Applying the same P/A logic during the waking time, both EGO and ONE exists.
During the deep sleep, the EGO does not exist but ONE exists. If it does not exist on waking up, we cannot recall that we had a good sleep.
Thus, the enjoyer is thought to be the combination of EGO and ONE, before the enquiry. After the enquiry, we now know that EGO is a reflection (of ONE) and ONE alone is the reality.
ONE, which is not related to anything in the world alone, is not the enjoyer.
EGO is the enjoyer.
There is no EGO.
Thus, there is no enjoyer.
Once we know this truth, we will not have anything to do with the objects of the world. Earlier we were under the assumption that we are the enjoyer and chasing the objects of the world for enjoyment. After knowing that there is no enjoyer, the search in the external world will stop.
Example: Ram loves Sita.
It is already shown that Ram loves himself and not Sita. Now it is shown that the Ram comprising of
Body/ Mind Complex – Inert Object
EGO – An illusion, which appears to exist
ONE – The only reality that sustains the whole world including Sita
After this knowledge, Ram will be happy with Sita and equally be happy without Sita because he is the Ever Witnessing Joy. He will not be ashamed to see himself running behind Sita, since he knows that he is the only source of happiness nor he will mind dropping Sita and chase Gita. It does not matter anymore. Whatever he does will have no effect on his natural state of happiness.