How desire is both the lock and the key — Desire Management series 5
Suppose we are locked in a prison. Suppose further that the lock doubles as a key — say, it is touch locks that if operated expertly open the doors.
Similar is our situation as spiritual beings entangled in the material world. The Bhagavad-gita (13.22) states that the soul’s consciousness gets locked in matter due to its desire to enjoy worldly things. Sensual desire destroys spiritual knowledge and even the inclination for spiritual knowledge (03.41). Such desire can entrap us lifetime after lifetime — it is like an eternal enemy (03.39). Reading such dire warnings about desire’s delusionary power, we may demonize desire itself.
However, demonizing desire is a blunder because desire is also the key to open the prison. What begins our spiritual quest is desire, in the form of curiosity about life’s higher dimensions (athato brahma jijnasa Vedanda Sutra 1.1.1). The purpose of devotional practice is to kindle desire for the ultimate spiritual reality, Krishna (Bhagavad-gita 12.09). What spiritual practitioners carry from one lifetime to the next is desire, in the form of a spontaneous attraction for transcendence (06.44). Indeed, the sole price for attaining Krishna is desire, in the form of intense greed (laulyam api maulyam ekalam Padyavali 70). And desire for Krishna is inclusive, accommodating various essential dimensions of our life — for example, when desire for Krishna animates our heart, our work becomes a form of worship (18.46).
Whenever we feel tempted, we needn’t dread that worldly desire; instead, we can focus on fanning whatever spiritual desire we have. And that desire will give us the power to go beyond the temptation.
For the prison of worldly entanglement, desire is both the lock and the key — don’t demonize desire; develop your desire for the spiritual.
Think it over:
- How is desire the lock that keeps us materially entangled?
- What’s wrong with demonizing desire?
- What desire can be your key to freedom? How can you fan that desire?
12.09: My dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot fix your mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga. In this way develop a desire to attain Me.
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