The desire behind all desires || Acharya Prashant (2016)

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Question: Acharya Ji, an intense desire for liberation, is a prerequisite?

Acharya Prashant(AP): Classically, it has been put that way. The Scriptures talk of mumuksha (desire for liberation). But that intense desire is not a desire with the same quality as that of normal, ordinary desires. It is a very latent thing. It is not something that would scream from the surface. It is not something that would shout from the rooftops – “I want liberation.”

It is the desire behind all desires.

And one has to be a little watchful, a little meditative to be in touch with it. Otherwise, you will be in touch with only with what you superficially want.

For example, you want to change your job. If you are not attentive enough, you will say, “My desire is to get a new job.” But actually, your desire is of deepest Liberation. So mumuksha is actually the one desire, behind all desires. And if you make it superficial, if you start saying explicitly that – “I want Liberation, I want Liberation,” then you have reduced and trivialized mumuksha.

Questioner: Do we have to think about it day and night?

AP: No, you don’t have to. Because you are anyway thinking about something day-in and day-out. Whatever you are thinking about, you are actually thinking about Liberation only.

Give me one thought that bugs you, or anything that you think about, you will see that behind that thought, is the thought – ‘I want Freedom. I want Freedom’. But if you start explicitly exclaiming – “I want Freedom,” then as we said, that we have trivialized the matter.

So, you don’t have to say, “I want Liberation.” You anyway keep thinking about X,Y and Z, something or the other. Right? Don’t we all keep thinking? Is our mind not always occupied?

Whatever your mind is occupied with, behind that occupation, lies the desire for Liberation.

You say that you want a new house. The thing is that you want liberation from what your current house imposes upon you.

Behind all desires is the one fundamental desire – to be liberated.

And you don’t have to make that desire explicit.

You just have to pay attention to what is already going on.

The mind is already thinking, the mind is already occupied. The mind is already thinking, the mind is already occupied. See what it is already occupied with. Just don’t swim on the surface, dive a little deeper. And there you will find, that you may say that you want ‘this’, you want ‘that’, you want A,B,C,D,E,F,G, but whatever you say you want, you actually want that One single thing, which you may call by any name or no name.

Questioner: Acharya Ji, so is there a bond between love and liberation?


We love to be liberated.

We want Liberation, so that we may love.

Man’s primary draw, man’s fundamental pull is towards Freedom. People call it the ‘Truth’. So you love freedom, you love to be liberated. You go towards That, which will relieve you of your sense of bondage.

You feel bonded, you feel enclosed.

You are drawn towards That, which you feel will give you relief from your chains, and pull down your walls.

That is Love.

That attraction is – Love.

So you may be attracted to any thing or any body, but fundamentally you are being attracted only towards Liberation. You might be attracted sexually towards somebody, but even there, what you are looking for is – Liberation.

“There is something within me that is so incomplete. By being with you, I sense that I might begin to feel complete. That will give me Liberation from my sense of incompletion.” And that is why you are drawn towards a man or a woman. The pinnacle of that Liberation is the moment of orgasm, when you feel liberated from just everything. It is in search of that one moment, that you go to a woman.

Questioner: So, is spiritual being really loving and caring?

AP: First of all, we all are spiritual beings. Because we may or may not have spiritual antecedents or pretensions, but we are anyway drawn towards Peace, Love, Truth. And that is what is meant by being ‘spiritual’.

To be drawn towards Peace is – Spirituality.

And there is nobody here, who is not drawn towards Peace.

So, there is no living being who is not spiritual.

We all are spiritual.

It is just that some of us follow so-called spiritual practices, others don’t.

There are some who associate themselves with religions and cults, others don’t. But to be a man, is to be spiritual. To have a heart, is to be spiritual. Everybody is inexorably spiritual. There is no exception possible here.

That is one thing.

Second – would a religious or spiritual being be loving, caring, compassionate? Of course, because that is one’s nature. It is just that when one is not simple, then love, care, affection and compassion, themselves assume very vicious forms.

Then your intention is to love, but you end up chaining the other. Then in the name of care and compassion, you put the other in a prison. The intention is always of love. You ask anybody who is doing something at any given particular moment, and you would find that his intention, in his own eyes is right.

In his own eyes, everybody is doing the right thing, at any given moment. Later on he may repent, later on he may acknowledge that he was led astray. But at that moment, everybody is right in his own eyes.

So, we all are always looking towards the same things – love, care, compassion. But we are not simple enough, not surrendered enough. Then we say, “I want love, but on my own terms and conditions. I will surrender, but at a time and place of my choosing. I will narrate the Truth, I will live in the Truth, but in my own particular style.” This ‘own particular style’ – that is where the problem is, that is where we all blunder.

We are not simple enough. When there is something beautiful, we don’t just simply say, “O! Beautiful.” We would rather take oblique ways. When we find something that is really valuable, we just don’t present ourselves to it. We just don’t go to it, and greet, and acknowledge. When we love something or somebody, we just don’t go ahead, hug and kiss. We try very tangential tactics.

The woman would dress-up to attract the lover. Now, if you are really caring for your lover, if you have something for this person, this man, then why are you trying all these games? If you love him, go to him, sit with him, be with him.

But no, she would rather keep a distance, and try to seduce him.

This is where the problem lies. The woman is acting from the center of love. There can be no denial. Because she loves, that is why she is maintaining a distance. But what mind of love is this, that is only increasing the distance?

“I love you so much that I will not call you for one week.”

“I love you too much to be with you.”

Have you not heard these statements?

Listeners: Yes.

AP: “Let’s go a little distance apart, that will increase our love.” These are not simple things. We are not simple beings.

This is a simple way of loving.

If there is something that is tasty, eat it.

If you are thirsty and there is water, drink.

If you find somebody lovable, kiss.

If you don’t like a place, quit.

But we don’t do all these things. When we don’t like a place, we say, “You know what, this is one of the best opportunities I could have had. And I really like being with these people. But the time has come to move on, but still I would be here for two more months to bug you.”

This is not simple.

If you don’t like, please quit.

If you don’t like taste of something…just as a kid…spit it. Can you force a kid to eat something it doesn’t like? You can’t. You can dupe him, you can coerce him, but he would not do it by himself.

Getting it?

Watch the session video: The desire behind all desires || Acharya Prashant (2016) The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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