Krishna is the supplier of desires, the supplier of desirables and the supreme desirable

As desires are among our life’s strongest driving forces, we may wonder: How do desires relate with life’s ultimate reality, Krishna?

Bhakti wisdom explains that Krishna, being the center of everything in existence, is the center of desires too. The Vishnu-Sahasra-Nama conveys this pivotal position through three profound divine names: kamah (supplier of desires) kamada (supplier of desirables) kamya (the supreme desirable). Let’s unpack their import:

Supplier of desires: All desirable objects manifest a spark of Krishna’s all-attractiveness (Bhagavad-gita 10.41). Without him, nothing could exist (10.39), not even our desires. As he infuses all objects with their desirability, he is the supplier of all desires – just as the teacher is the supplier of the various choices in a multiple-choice exam.

Supplier of desirables: Whatever we desire, we cannot get on our own. Our efforts for getting them are necessary but not sufficient, as are the efforts of birds in searching for grains. We can get desirables only when Krishna sanctions – he is the cosmic overseer and permitter (13.23). He sanctions our desires according to our karma, just as a teacher provides grades according to students’ exam performance.

The supreme desirable: He is the supreme desirable because he is the embodiment and fulfilment of everything attractive. Whatever pleasure we may get in any particular desirable object, we can get all that pleasure, and much more, in Krishna, provided we become devotionally absorbed in him. Just as the teacher provides various choices in the exam, but wants the students to make the right choice, so too does Krishna want us to choose him over and above everything else (18.66).

Understanding Krishna’s pivotal position thus inspires us to direct our desires towards him by diligent bhakti-yoga practice. By such practice, we become purified and relish increasing absorption in him.

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