Yogis, monks, and sages of ancient times warn us that desire itself is an extremely powerful asset and if we lack the knowledge of how to properly use it, we can easily create devastation in our and others’ lives.
Fire has immense potential. While a tiny flickering flame looks so seemingly innocent, in actuality it carries the potential to produce immense devastation to the life of an entire city if allowed to burn out of control.
Curious children sometimes play with fire and can set a house on fire in their innocence; being unaware of the power of the small flame within their possession.
Similarly, everything we do individually has a huge impact collectively. Like uneducated children, we are not even aware of the actual impact of our own apparently innocent actions.
In American culture, we are very much proud of our freedom to express ourselves. We also feel satisfaction in the fact that we can do so, “just as long as it doesn’t get in others’ way.” The Constitution tells us that we have the freedom to pursue individual happiness. Being able to pursue each and every desire that makes its way into the mind’s agenda for happiness is the ultimate expression of freedom, isn’t it? Everything we have ever desired was good for us and brought us happiness in every situation. Right?
WRONG! Don’t be fooled by the external hype. Let’s look at the history of our own lives.It sounds good in theory, but in practice we find that the reality of chasing certain desires bears serious unwanted consequences and puts us in situations that severely limit our freedom of self expression altogether.
That’s why yogis, monks, and sages of ancient times warn us that desire itself is an extremely powerful asset and if we lack the knowledge of using our most valuable asset, we can easily create devastation in our lives and the lives of others around us.
THE FIRE OF DESIRE
When fire is utilized in the proper spirit, it is like a nice bonfire that many others can take shelter of for warmth and light. With its illumination, it can reveal the truth of who we are, our surroundings, and can show us the path we need to take to get home. However if that same fire is allowed outside of the boundaries of the fire pit, it can consume the whole forest.
Human life is successful when we learn how to utilize human energy for the benefit of others. When we use our own desire potency for selfish purposes, for increasing our selfish pleasure at the expense of others, then, depending on our social position, we can create a lot of devastation. We are thinking in our so-called expression of American freedom that our actions don’t affect the lives of others, but actually we are much more interconnected than people realize. Every single action creates a ripple effect, and can set a bad example for society at large.
Atomic energy, discovered by scientists, in itself is not really a problem. What is a problem is when this energy is used to make bombs which can destroy entire cities.
Such a weapon has no other purpose than to destroy the lives of others in an attempt to gain power over them. Like the forest fire, such a person gradually becomes caught in self-created network of lust, greed, and untruth to artificially satisfy one’s seemingly innocent but burning desires that are uncontrolled. That individual’s personal expression of freedom is going to devastate and affect the lives of millions of innocent people.
Fire is always hungry, and no matter how much fuel you put on it, it grows and becomes hungrier. Similarly, lust is like fire, the more you cater to the sense’s demands for pleasure, the more the itching sensation of longing becomes prominent. This exaggerated emphasis on acquiring material objects to satisfy lust is the source of all social and political conflict in the world today.
CONTROLLING THE FIRE
People are often morose in our society, despite so much technology and industry, because they do not know how to properly utilize this fire of desire. They do not know how to use desire in a way that can completely satisfy the heart.
Peace, fearlessness, and other superb character traits come from controlling sensual desire, yet people are under the impression that to be happy one has to constantly cater to these incessant sensual urges.
People are so blinded by the power of this addiction that they cannot see how their lives are becoming more miserable on account of chasing the imaginary and petty achievements created by the mind. Unfulfilled and unnecessary desire is our greatest enemy in the search for inner fulfillment.
Buddhists say, “You cannot eat a painted cake.”
Not that because you are capable of desiring, you should desire to have, control, and posses more and more material things.
People don’t know that the quality of happiness is not enhanced by money, although they will argue ‘till their dying day that it is.
Does eating out of a golden pot or eating out of a steel pot really make that much difference? How is sitting on a golden toilet really that much different from sitting on a ceramic one?
Remember: everything has a price. The price for materialistic hankering is perpetual dissatisfaction.
Actually, the quality of life depends on accumulation of INTERNAL ASSETS. We have to make a solution to the world’s problems, but the real problem-solving has to begin within. The disturbing things we see on the evening news are only but symptoms of the sickened person who cracked under the internal pressure of lust, envy, and depression.
INTERNAL VS. EXTERNAL ASSETS
Attention fellow Americans! In order to be happy you must have: car, bank balance, social life, bodily beauty, nice home, soft bed, etc. This is the garbage you’re fed day and night by TV, radio, movies, newspapers, billboards, video games, etc.
The purpose of television, advertisements, etc. is to make you feel dissatisfied and to increase your lust for materialistic enjoyment. While you are busy chasing the carrot dangling at the end of the stick, other people are getting rich with your money and you are becoming a much more docile and manageable consumer unit for them to utilize in their profit schemes.
Material possessions will never provide you happiness. Without acquiring the critical asset of CONTENTMENT, no matter how much you own, you will never be happy. On the other hand, if you have the INTERNAL ASSET of CONTENTMENT, no matter what you have or don’t have, you can be happy in any situation.
So if one truly wants to improve the quality of one’s life, he must strive for internal assets.
In other words, what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?
Internal wealth is unconditional love, meaningful relationships, peace of mind, deep spiritual life purpose, and being free from things like hatred, jealousy, envy, and pride. This can only come through a genuine and spiritual cultivation of wisdom. The Krishna Consciousness movement is attempting to provide society with inner fulfillment through this publication.
I know, I know, it doesn’t appeal that much. Okay, the article is done, now you can go back to your mindless routine of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending, and peppering it up with Concerts, Sports, Beer, and Shopping.
EXCERPT FROM THE BHAGAVAD-GITA:
Arjuna: O Krishna, by what is one impelled to wrong action, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?
Sri Krishna: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the pyschological state of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring enemy of this world.
As fire is covered by smoke, mirror by dust, or as the fetus is covered by the womb, the living entity is similarly covered by different degrees of this lust.
Thus the wise living entity’s pure consciousness becomes covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.
The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.
Therefore, O Arjuna, in the very beginning curb this enemy by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.