Dropping desire is just another desire; knowing desire is fulfillment of desire || Acharya Prashant (2015)


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Question: As I listen to you, I understand that when you don’t have a desire, you don’t have hope, and when you don’t have hope, you don’t have anxiety, and that leads to a peaceful life. Correct?

Acharya Prashant: No!

We have constantly been saying that you want change. What you heard is what the religions and the traditions have been repeating always. So you have not really heard it here. You have been carrying it in your mind even before you entered this hall.

Listener: I am coming out of your statement on desire that – desire leads to hope, and hope leads to anxiety.

AP: No! I have constantly been saying that you are thirsty for change. Desire is something that you surely want. It is just that what you want cannot be given by hope, cannot be given by future, because hope is always in time. Getting it?

This line – “don’t desire, don’t hope, and remain settled with what life has given you” – that is a very beaten line. And the mind has found enough loopholes in this argument, to trash it long back. That is why we want to stick to this argument.

You understand, “Santosham Parmam Sukham” (Contentment is absolute happiness). We want to stick to this. Why? Because it is so hollow that we can easily trash it. Everybody wants a weak adversary. This adversary – “Do not desire, do not hope” – is so weak, that we all love it.

Let us have this argument come to us. Let us say, “All spirituality is about not desiring and not hoping.” Why? So that then we can say that spirituality is rubbish. There is no way I have said this. This is what one has been carrying in his mind, continuously, continuously. And whenever it comes to spiritual discourse, one feels like pre-deciding that because it is supposed to be spiritual, so he must be parroting the same old line again.

Unfortunately, I am not saying that!

Surely there is desire. It is evident in your eyes, it is written large on your face. ‘You’ are desire! How will you drop desire? I am saying, “Go to the root of your desire.” I am not saying, “Drop it.” I am saying, “Don’t be so stupid that you don’t even know what you are desiring.”

Please look carefully at your desire. Go close to it. Find out why you desire so much, and in that there is no condemnation of desire. We are not deciding in advance that desire has to be dropped and all that, because such a decision is impractical, cannot be implemented, and is also hypocritical.

We are products of desire, and we are desiring not to desire. So there is a lot of hypocrisy in this.

L2: It’s again a desire to not to desire.

AP: Another desire.

We are saying: Life is full of this and that. Please understand what ‘this’ and ‘that’ are.

Why do I work in a particular office? Why do I have such and such relationships? Not even ‘why’. What are these relationships? Why do I speak in a particular way? Why do I avoid something? Why do I go to particular places? Why do I watch a particular program on the television? Why do I get nervous and defensive about a few things? Why must I be aggressive about other few things? Go to the root of all this. And everywhere as you proceed towards the root, you will encounter hope in the way.

Desire is a wonderful messenger. It is telling you, “Something ought to give. Something really needs to change.” So when desire arises, do not treat it with kid gloves. Do not send it to the O.P.D., to some junior doctor, send it right to the I.C.U., because the desire might appear small, but it is arising from your Heart. Go to the root of desire.

Somebody wants a new dress, somebody wants a baby, somebody wants a job, and somebody wants recognition; somebody wants a luxury travel, somebody wants a yacht, and somebody wants food.

What is this whole ‘wanting’ all about? Somebody wants to not to want. What is this whole ‘wanting’ all about?

When did the mind start wanting? What is wanting? What is its relation with becoming? What is its relation with time? What is its relation with our way of living, our social structure, and our celebrations? When exactly did it come to the mind, that it must want, that it must become something else?

Is it possible that we keep wanting because what we are, simply cannot be contained in this small body? Is it possible that you want because you are so big and your envelope is so small, so you are always terribly dissatisfied? That’s just a way of putting things. That’s to me a nice way.

You have so much money and your wallet is so small. Now your problem is that you have so much. Now, that’s a problem. A problem of abundance, a problem of having the immeasurable, a problem of immensity. “I have so much that I have nowhere to keep it. May be that is the core problem, may be that is why the mind starts wanting in the first place. I am so big, and thoughts are so small.

“Goodies here and goodies there, I don’t know to keep where.”

May be this wanting is contained in the very constitution of man. May be that is what Christianity calls as the original sin – being a man. You are being a man when indeed you are not a man; so you remain dissatisfied.

Yes? Why are you being a man? You are not a man! Don’t you know that? The more you say that you are a man, the more dissatisfied you will remain, and then you will want something. What will you want? Maybe all wanting is about no more being a man. But you say, “I must remain a man and fulfill my wants.” That won’t happen. Because wanting starts with being a man.

You are a tremendous, infinite bundle, which cannot be bundled. Nothing except perfection, totality; and only an ocean-ness satisfies you. You keep wanting more and more. But look at your fingers, how small they are. Everything about you is measurable. Look at your nose. Such a tiny nose. Have you seen the trunk of an elephant? Oh, that too is very tiny. Look at everything that you have, it is all quite tiny. I respect the attachment you may have with the size of your biceps or other body parts. Joydeep here was intent on proving a point or two quite recently about his . . . but the fact remains that it is still quite tiny, pathetic.


In the laboratory of existence, you will require a Vernier Caliper to measure it. It is so small. In fact, I am honoring you by saying you will require a Vernier Caliper; you will actually require a microscope. You are so small.

But in this little mind, oceans must be contained, otherwise you will not get peace. That’s the contradiction that man must overcome.

Being small, he must contain infinities, otherwise he won’t come to rest. Being man, he must transcend humanness. Otherwise he won’t relax. That’s the challenge, that’s the invitation.

Enter so deeply into yourself, enter so deeply into your smallness that you come to the beyondness that you so desperately crave.

L2: Sir, that incompleteness makes us want, yet that gap, that constant gap, remains.

AP: You are destined to feel it. And you would not have been destined to feel that gap, that difference, that distance, had you also not been destined to close the gap. Close it! The ocean must be contained in the drop. The drop has to proudly and boldly come out and declare, “I will contain the ocean. I am the Ocean.”

That is what is called, ‘Aham Brahmasmi. The drop is saying, “Aham Brahmasmi.”

You all require the haughtiness of that drop. You all require the absurd sureness of that drop. You all require the faith and deep confidence, bordering on arrogance.

“The ocean is my birthright. I am the Ocean. Yes the body is small, yes everything about me is petty, but I am infinite.”

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi: Dropping desire is just another desire; knowing desire is fulfillment of desire. The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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