Why do small desires exert a big pull on us?

We all sometimes get caught in small desires that delude and distract us. These desires are small in the sense that they are about trivial indulgences — things that we will forget a few days or even a few hours later. Though the desires themselves are small, they exert a big pull; resisting them seems difficult, even doomed. 

Why do small desires exert such a big pull? Because resisting them is in itself not usually inspiring; resisting feels like a deprivation that drains us. If those desires keep tempting us, saying no repeatedly is exhausting. And when we eventually succumb to them, that’s discouraging. 

To overcome such desires, we can follow the old adage: the best defense is a good offense. We need to cultivate big desires — we need to have an inspiring purpose to do something worthwhile and to grow in all aspects of our life so that we can maximize our contribution. The Bhagavad-gita offers an immensely inspiring vision of our potential by explaining that we all are parts of the Divine, Krishna (15.07). If we work in a mood of service to him, we can become agents of his wisdom and compassion so that our talents can be used to their fullest. 

When the potency from our talents is complemented with the purity that comes by Krishna’s grace, that combination of potency and purity can empower us to do far more than what we can do on our own. Working thus in a mood of service generates a positive energy that empowers us to counter small desires. No wonder the Gita states that the best way to resist temptation is by steadily fixing our mind on Krishna and cultivating big desires for serving him (02.61). 

One-sentence summary:

Fight for your big desires, not against your small desires.

Think it over:

  • Why do small desires exert a big pull on us?
  • The best defense is a good offense — how can we apply this adage to our inner world?
  • How can the Gita inspire us to have big desires? 


02.61: One who restrains his senses, keeping them under full control, and fixes his consciousness upon Me, is known as a man of steady intelligence.

To know more about this verse, please click on the image

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