DESIRE – THE ROOT CAUSE
Normally, it is believed that when needs are not met, sorrow arises. Needs are of two types : (a) natural and (b) artificial. Natural needs like thirst and hunger have to be attended to for our survival, whereas artificial needs are generated by ourselves. One can survive without the latter. Man’s natural physical needs are fulfilled through a small amount of labour. It is the artificial needs that bring pain. Hundreds of years ago, when the modern amenities were not existent, people lived happily. No one can own all the goods and resources of the world. Many people miss many a thing and are unhappy on this account. Poor people lack amenities compared to the more well to do. Therefore, they should be more sad. However, it appears that the lives of the richer people is more stressful. Ordinary sadhus are more joyous. Evidently, the reason for sorrow is not lack of amenities. When we compare the modern period with the earlier times, we find that presently all kinds of amenities exist which were non-existent earlier. The present generation ought to rejoice on this account but it is not so. Progress in different fields has made the life of an ordinary person far more comfortable compared to even that of the kings of the earlier days. Earlier, in the absence of modern modes of transport, journeys were performed on horsebacks, elephants or camels. There has been a great improvement in the field of communication too. Access to these and such other facilities are within the reach of common people. If joy could be found through the increased use of amenities, those in power and with resources ought to be satisfied and joyous. This does not happen. The rich and the resourceful equally suffer from sorrow and lack of peace. They resort to drinks and drugs to forget their sorrows.
Endless desires are thus the reason behind a sorrowful existence. If one is unaware that certain amenities exist, there is no room for sorrow. When one sees and learns of these amenities and believes that they will give him pleasure, desire for them is generated. His mind yearns for them and he gets disturbed. This leads to sorrow. The belief that amenities provide joy is the reason for sorrow. The more the desires, the greater the sorrow. If some one is given all amenities and riches, he will still not be satisfied and yearn for more. We need not generate desires as they bring sorrow to us. We should limit them. Unless we restrict our desires to a reasonable degree, yearning for more worldly amenities and pleasures, will bring turmoil in our minds. Desires need to be curbed, not expanded. Otherwise our sorrows would only multiply.