The human mind is designed to desire. It cannot refrain from creating desires that it thinks will bring happiness. Some of us desire for material happiness and some seek spiritual bliss. In both the cases, desire exists in the mind and it is the decision of the intellect that defines where we look for happiness.
Jagadguru Shri Kripaluji Maharaj, in many of his lectures, repeatedly remind us that it is the mind alone which is the cause of bondage and liberation. Quoting profusely from the Vedas, Upanishads, Narad Bhakti Darshan and other Shastras, Shri Maharajji proves this fact and lays enormous stress on the working of the mind and the intellect.
It is well established that true happiness or bliss can be found in God alone and the intellect has to make the firm decision that God is our goal. Once the intellect has decided, the mind has no choice but to work towards this goal. Naturally, desires that arise thereon will center around God and all things related to God. In contrast, an intellect deluded by Maya will only seek material bliss as long as its decision says that happiness lies in the material world.
Elaborating the nature of desire in the 37th verse of the 3rd chapter of The Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjun,
काम एष क्रोध एष रजोगुणसमुद्भव: |
महाशनो महापाप्मा विद्ध्येनमिह वैरिणम् ||
śhrī bhagavān uvācha
kāma eṣha krodha eṣha rajo-guṇa-samudbhavaḥ
mahāśhano mahā-pāpmā viddhyenam iha vairiṇam
The Supreme Lord said: It is lust alone, which is born of contact with the mode of passion, and later transformed into anger. Know this as the sinful, all-devouring enemy in the world.
The Vedas use the word kām, or lust, not only for sexual desires but also to include all desires for material enjoyment based on the bodily concept of the self. Thus, lust shows itself in many ways—the urge for money, physical cravings, craving for prestige, the drive for power, etc. This lust is only a perverted reflection of love for God, which is the inherent nature of every living being. When the soul associates with the material energy in the form of the body, its divine love for God is transformed into lust, in association with the mode of passion. Since divine love is the highest power of God, its perversion in the material realm, which is lust, is also the most powerful force in worldly activities.
Shree Krishna identifies this “lust” for worldly enjoyment as the cause of sin, as the malignant allure sitting within us. The mode of passion deludes the soul into believing that worldly objects will give satisfaction, and so one creates desires for acquiring them. When desire is satisfied, it gives birth to greed; when it is not satisfied, it gives rise to anger. One commits sins under the influence of all three—lust, greed, and anger. Greed is nothing but intensified desire, while anger is frustrated desire. Hence, Shree Krishna labels lust, or desire, as the root of all evil.
Knowledge of what is right and what is wrong is called discrimination. This discrimination resides in the intellect. However, lust is such a formidable adversary that it clouds the discriminatory ability of the intellect.
Cautioning Arjun again in verse 39, Lord Krishna states,
आवृतं ज्ञानमेतेन ज्ञानिनो नित्यवैरिणा |
कामरूपेण कौन्तेय दुष्पूरेणानलेन च ||
āvṛitaṁ jñānam etena jñānino nitya-vairiṇā
kāma-rūpeṇa kaunteya duṣhpūreṇānalena cha
The knowledge of even the most discerning gets covered by this perpetual enemy in the form of insatiable desire, which is never satisfied and burns like fire, O son of Kunti.
In verse 40, Lord Krishna says,
इन्द्रियाणि मनो बुद्धिरस्याधिष्ठानमुच्यते |
एतैर्विमोहयत्येष ज्ञानमावृत्य देहिनम् ||
indriyāṇi mano buddhir asyādhiṣhṭhānam uchyate
etair vimohayatyeṣha jñānam āvṛitya dehinam
The senses, mind, and intellect are said to be breeding grounds of desire. Through them, it clouds one’s knowledge and deludes the embodied soul.
…to be continued in the next article.