Saturday, January 29, 2011




Sri Adi Sankaracharya


(Attributed to Bharati Vamsa)




(... Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam, Govindam..)


Ø Desire, anger, greed, delusion,
Ø having relinquished,
Ø the seeker in the Self, 'He am I', (i.e., sees himself everywhere)
Ø those who have no self-knowledge,
Ø are the fools,
Ø they, are tortured, in hell as captives.


Let us first see a few famous quotes on desire, anger, greed and delusion :

ABOUT ANGER : I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who overcomes his enemies – said Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC). He says - It is the nature of desire not to be satisfied, and most men live only for the gratification of it.

ABOUT GREED : “There is no calamity greater than lavish desires.

There is no greater guilt than discontentment.

And there is no greater disaster than greed.” says Lao-tzu (604 BC - 531 BC).

ABOUT GREED, ANGER & IGNORANCE : “The world is always burning, burning with the fire of greed, anger and ignorance; one should flee from such dangers as soon as possible.”- Buddha

ABOUT ANGER : …“Anger will never disappear so long as thoughts of resentment are cherished in the mind. Anger will disappear just as soon as thoughts of resentment are forgotten.”

…Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal

with the intent of throwing it at someone else;

you are the one who gets burned.”  - Buddha.

DESIRE : There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it – George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950).

Regarding the nature of desire (or want), the science of Economics says that – wants are unlimited; as each want is satisfied, another takes its place. This premise is the base for Economics.

So, these are some of the Famous Quotes on Desire, Anger, and greed.

The whole of Bhagawad Gita contains several verses dealing with desire, anger, greed and delusion.

Among the three Gunas of Sathva, Rajas and Thamas – Sathva does not create any of the problems aforesaid. Rajas tends to create anger, greed and desire (vs.12 of Guna thrayam Vibhaga yoga, Gita). Moha or delusion arises primarily from Thamas ( vs.13 of Guna Thraya Vibhaga Yoga, Gita).

Desire is the root cause of all evils. In most of the world cultures, this has been recognized.

It is in the nature of human mind to generate Desires. Every thought contains the seed of a desire.

All Human efforts are directed towards the satisfaction of some human desire. Whatever you do – you are striving to satisfy some desire. When do desires end? only with the last breath. This unfortunately is the reality about desire.

But – the real problem here is – not desire per se. Kaama or desire is actually one of the four PURUSHARTHAs, or, the four, well-recognized essential goals of man. Readers can see the article on Dharma-Artha-Kaama –Moksha in this blog, elsewhere.

Desire must be under your control. You must not be under the control of the Desire. This is the essential requirement for happiness.

Ask your self –

(i)                 Have you chosen the desire after careful thought, or, has it chosen you and is possessing you?
(ii)               Are you in control of the desire, or, is the desire in control of you and driving you?
(iii)             Is your desire in accordance with Dharma?
(iv)             Will the satisfaction of the desire lead you to happiness and contentment, or, will it lead to further desire, discontentment and dissatisfaction?

If you are in control – and the desire will definitely lead to happiness for you and no unhappiness to others, and it is in accordance with Dharma, then, there is no problem with the desire, or, you having the desire. Go ahead. Satisfy your desire. If the goal is reached, wonderful. If the goal is not reached, then also, wonderful. No resentments; no regrets; no angers; no greed; no delusions. Life is still full of happiness.

But – most other desires are habit forming. They create deeper and deeper craving in you. They consume your happiness and create fixation.

If such desire is not satisfied – it leads to Krodha (Anger).Most wars by Kings are out of unsatisfied desires, leading to anger. Most ordinary people also become angry, when their desires are not satisfied. It is in the nature of desire, to create anger.

Desire is the first level of disaster. Anger is the second level of disaster. When we act in anger – we destroy ourselves and others. As Gandhiji said – an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

Anger in us generates anger in others. While desire is not contagious but consumes us only – anger, which is its second stage, is highly contagious and consumes the whole world, including us.

Suppose, desire is SATISFIED. Then what?

Sorry. No desire is fully satisfied. It leads to dissatisfaction  and it creates LOBHA, or, GREED. Now, you want more of it. And, you don’t want to share it with any one else. You want to protect it; preserve it; ward off others from it. So many of your efforts will rivet round the object of the satisfied desire.

You are effectively, still, around the so called SATISFIED DESIRE!! Desire hasn’t left you before its satisfaction, or, after its satisfaction. Either it becomes Anger, or, it becomes, Greed. Lobha – is not mere Greed. It connotes some thing more of all that we 
have described here.

While desire is the first stage in which, control is easier, when the same desire turns into anger, it becomes more difficult to control. When desired object is possessed, or, when it starts possessing us, it creates lobha or greed, in which stage, it is more difficult to control.

Moha is usually translated as Delusion. Moha is delusion; but, it also connotes the attachments caused by delusion. Moha is created by Maya. As we can see from Guna thraya Vibhaga Yoga, Moha arises out of thamo guna. In another Post, we will see the genesis of Guna thraya, their effects and their effective use – in another post.  

Just look back at your own life so far – your past. Was everything that you did – was it the best you could do, or, given a chance, can you improve on it? You can. Then, why did you fail to do it in the first place?

Things are happening all around you – and most of them are, not even an iota, in your control or influence. If you carefully and clearly think of it, you are being swept through your life, by so many forces around you – and there is nothing much that you are able to do about them.

That – is Maya. Moha arises out of it. You don’t understand all that is happening either within you or around you. You laugh, You smile, you become angry, you become greedy, you become lustful, you become disappointed, you become morose, you become mad, and all that, without your conscious control and without even your awareness. This is Moha. This is Maya.

Can You come out of it? Yes. You can. Seek to know your self. All solutions to these problems of Kaama, Krodha, lobha and moha are within you. Once the journey to your interior starts, many things become clear automatically. As self knowledge increases, these four decrease proportionately.

There is no circular relationship here. As self knowledge increases, these four come down automatically. There is no way that these four will come down first, without self knowledge. Self Knowledge is first; and decrease in the four weaknesses comes next – as a consequence.

This is the problem. Avoid anger, we may tell our self and others. No one is able to do it.

But tell them – know your self. As they search themselves – and know more of themselves, first desires (outside the dharma path) disappear gradually. Angers disappear as a consequence. Greed disappears as a consequence. Delusion disappears as a consequence.

The man with self knowledge sees himself in every thing (and everywhere) and sees everything in himself. All beings are part of him, and, he is part of all beings. How can he be angry, or greedy with himself? His delusion disappears with the arrival of self knowledge.

Knowing the self is the Key. It is the only key.

Those who do not know their own SELF, evidently, they are foolish. They are bound to nurture in themselves, all sorts of desires, one after another, and all of these desires will lead to either anger, or, greed and delusion.

All sins are committed under the influence of insatiable desires,  anger, greed or delusion.

Such people lead their earthly life itself  like hell – and, the doors of heaven are barred for them after death. They are thrown into hell to pay for all of their sins.

Hence, Know thy self.

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