Futility of desire

It is a paradox that the truth about the deceitful nature of desires is not recognised by the human mind. Hence desires find a prominent place in the mind and motivate the Jivatma in a myriad ways so that there is more and more entanglement with worldly pulls, with less and less hopes of salvation.

Sacred texts advise us to eliminate desire, for this is the only means for a Jivatma to transcend the cycle of births and deaths. The story of Sage Saubhari, narrated in Vishnu Purana, reflects the futility of desires that appear attractive on the face and can easily lure even realised souls, said Sri M. V. Ananthapadmanabhachariar in a lecture.

This sage had spent 12 years in meditation in water when suddenly he was distracted by the activities of the fish therein. They all seemed to be happy as a family. This evoked in him the desire to enjoy the happiness human life offers. He abandoned his penance and sought the hand of one of the 50 daughters of King Mandata. Through yoga, he appeared youthful to all damsels and all of them chose him to be their husband. He created palaces for each of them, lived with each one of them and brought forth progeny. But in due course, he realised that wishes could never be satiated. He resolved to devote himself to penance and worship of Lord Vishnu. This alone could help one dissociate oneself from the worldly attractions.

Echoing the same truth is the story of Yayati. As he was cursed to become old prematurely, he exchanged his old age with the youth of his son Puru. He indulged in worldly pleasures and found that they remained ever insatiate. The truth dawned on him and he decided to renounce worldly attachments and seek spiritual reality.

Fire becomes more intense when fed with oil. No amount of worldly possessions in the form of foodstuffs, cattle, land, gold, etc., can ever be considered enough when one is driven by desire. The feeble-minded are unable to relinquish desire. Grey hair, fallen teeth, failing health, etc., do not put an end to the love of wealth or life. He who escapes the demands of desire is wise and remains happy.

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