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Desirelessness

Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha

11 August 2021

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It is not the fulfilment of our desires that makes us happy. It is the elimination of desires that truly makes us happy!

People often ask: Can anybody work sincerely and efficiently without desire?

The truth is: Sincerity becomes natural and efficiency reaches its peak when actions are no longer motivated by desires.

Desire makes the mind cling to the thoughts of future gain or loss, instead of the present task at hand. Desire accompanies expectation or anxiety and fear. It affects attention and performance.

We are born with an insufficiency or lack that makes us look for happiness. We are born with the delusion that something from the world will fulfil that lack, will make us happy.

Has anybody ever become permanently happy by gaining anything from the world – be it money, power, companion, fame or appreciation? Even the most overwhelming happiness lasts till the mind picks up some other lack, or a fear of losing what we have gained.

The truth is: It is not the fulfilment of our desires that makes us happy. It is the elimination of desires that truly makes us happy!

When a desire is fulfilled, the mind becomes ‘desireless’ for a while. It remains contented and peaceful till another desire for gaining something, or fear of losing something, agitates it again. It is the undisturbed state of the mind that makes us happy. It reveals for a while the placid joy that is always there within – as a natural characteristic of our inmost identity, the Self. It is like seeing the bottom of the lake clearly when there are no waves.

That is why we experience unprecedented joy or bliss in meditation when the whole world is forgotten, and the mind gets absorbed in its Source.

The day we realize that joy comes from within, it is a natural property of our Self, we understand that desires make us unhappy because they take us away from the Self. If joy lies within, why should we run after external objects seeking joy?

If we do not expect happiness from the objective result of our work, what will be the motivation for work?
The motivation for work will be – just the objective result of the action, and not “gaining happiness from the desired objective result”.

In the absence of any desire, our mind will be naturally placid and fulfilled. We shall do whatever the circumstances need and what is within our capacity. No more shall we work expecting happiness. We will do whatever is to be done – as an expression of joy. And such desireless performance can produce the best objective result!

Tremendous activities are going on constantly in the Universe. The earth is running around the sun; the moon around the earth. The rivers flow. Plants grow. Flowers blossom – each with its own colour and beauty. Nowhere there is desire. When desires fall, we too blossom like flowers with our own colour, own natural qualities (svabhāva), spreading our own fragrance around.

– Article by Swami Nirviseshananda Tirtha

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“In the absence of any desire, our mind will be naturally placid and fulfilled. ”

“Has anybody ever become permanently happy by gaining anything from the world – be it money, power, companion, fame or appreciation? ”

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