DESIRE AND ANGER
Will you talk about how to 'endure the impulse of desire and anger?'
Desire and anger disturb the natural state of the mind. To keep the mind stable in
desire and anger, that is enduring. Samvedhana - contact with an object; bhavana -
the object was in the past, now only its thought is coming; vasana - the thought of
the object is creating a desire to obtain it; kalana - the deep imprint of the desire
exists in the mind causing pain. Mind originally is pure. When it contacts an
object, then it starts thinking to have it. That way desire develops and brings pain.
About the impulse, is that the deep desire?
Kalana or samskaras of desires which we carry since birth. It's like waves. Rising
and subsiding all the time.
We talked about removing the object of desire from thought. The first thing to do
is to remove the thought of the object that the mind desires. It seems that first there
is an impulse, the general waves or the wanting to desire, the tendency to desire
that is in us.
Bhavana. The thought of an object is a memory of experience we had gained in the
past. One who had never tasted meat dish will have no thought of it because there
is no memory of experience.
Then there is a specific, the particle part of it . . .
That is vasana, or desire that is always there.
When I try to remove the thought from my mind, sometimes I can catch it and put
it outside, but sometimes it gets in through the back door somehow and it becomes
more than just a mental thing and I cannot take it and collect it into a particle any
more and put it outside the mind. It's too big.
It's hard to remove the thought when the mind is attached to the desired object. As
long as attachment exists, the mind will create different ways to set it.
The Gita commentary said, In a state of fear, desire and anger are not seen in a
person. Could you talk more about fear and how it relates to desire, anger and
Desire -> anger -> violence and fear. When the desire for an object is obstructed,
it gives rise to anger. Where there is anger, there is fear also. Anger is a defense
mechanism to defend the frightened ego.
In verse 23, Krishna says 'one who is able to endure while still here in this world,
before casting off this body, before casting off the impulse of desire and anger is a
yogi, is a happy man.' Would you comment?
When ego, attachment and desires don't rule a person's life. Human beings know
happiness only when desires are fulfilled and experience anger when desires are
obstructed. So it is very hard to imagine happiness without any desire and anger.
In verse 24, Krishna says 'happiness within.' It means the Self-experienced in its
real nature: Sat-chit-ananda.
What are examples of subtle desire and anger?
Desire and anger can appear in various levels. The more one advances in spiritual
life, the more the desires get subtle. They are not known to others, but the
practitioner can see them. A high yogi can be attached to possessions, but
outwardly it is not seen as attachment. Desire for power, fame, etc. can be very
We try to be mindful of our speech and actions to reduce negative karma, yet it is
often through the hurtful actions of others that we learn our greatest lessons and
really develop compassion. Why then does the person who was the greatest
teacher attract negative karma to themselves for that action?
Someone harms us and we learn from it. The reason is the senses always contact
the outer world. They can't contact our own mental state. The mind gets involved
deeply with the senses and it understands the harm that is experienced outwardly.
So from our childhood to the death of the body, first knowledge is achieved from
the outer world. In the case of spiritual people who are engaged in self-
development, they learn differently. They reflect on their own ego, attachment and
desires, and think that the outer world is only a reflection of their inner emotion. In
high beings, the effect of negative karma is seen, like Mahatma Gandhi, who
preached non-violence, was shot and killed. It is a war between positive and
negative forces. Sometimes negative force gets too strong.
Would you please explain more about what you mean by the Self as the friend of
In friends there are things that are common and acceptable to each other. A Self-
realized person sees the same Self in others, and becomes a friend of all.
I went to a camp last week with other young people my age and there was talking
and dancing, etc. I was interested in talking and relating with them, and increasing
my social circle, and at the same time, I was reading one of your books so there
was a kind of duality. How do I maintain relations with people and friends who are
dealing with mundane things and still remain thinking about God?
We have two lives: internal, which is only for ourselves and external, which is
social. We live in both. If we don't unite them, then there is no problem. You have
your spiritual life, but you do many other things. There is no conflict if you do
other things that are supportive of your spiritual life. If you do something like
hunting, it is not supportive and there is conflict. When you play, talk, sing, with
your friends, if it is not harming your spiritual life, you are not separate from God.
When someone comes to live in an ashram and they want to control their desires,
the ashram supports that desire to reduce desires. In the tribal situation, one is
forced to control them against one's will.
Common people walk on the footsteps of elder people. In a spiritual community, if
the elders are honestly trying to remove their negative qualities, then the new
people who come in the community follow them. In a tribe, there is one leader
who controls and sets his/her own rules. Those rules may not be acceptable to
some tribal members but they have to accept them out of fear.
© 1996 Sri Rama Publishing
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