Is desire bad in Hinduism?

Ch 2 Verse 62 dhyāyato vihayān pusa sagas tehūpajāyate sagāt sañjāyate kāma kāmāt krodho ’bhijāyate

While contemplating on the objects of the senses, one develops attachment to them. Attachment leads to desire, and from desire arises anger.

“ God made desire, so why would it say desire is bad”. A question I had against the verses of desire in Hinduism, especially as I read the Bhagwad Gita. I didn’t understand how one could live without desire, desire fuels just about everything. Desire wasn’t bad, well not all desires were bad. We have goals in mind to achieve something, it’s a desire we strive for and the sense of accomplishment after is what we seek. Our whole economy runs off of desire, “HOW CAN IT BE BAD? Hinduism doesn’t make sense, I don’t get it” My previous thought process precisely.

I realized then, that the word desire is taken out of context and not interpreted by those of us who ask this question-as many things are in Hindu scripture(in my opinion).My interpretation is that many of us mix desire with happiness. We believe that when we achieve X, when we have X, when we do X, THEN we will be happy. My interpretation of being happy is a choice and state of mind stemming from a place of gratitude.

Sometimes we have desires, strong desires, we want it, and when they don’t happen we are upset, we become angry and unhappy. But have we ever paused to think, maybe this isn’t in my path? Maybe this particular isn’t for me? Maybe there is something greater and more aligned? Maybe I need to let go and trust-WAY easier said than done.

My interpretation of what scripture says, is that desire is not something outside our reach. The Hindu philosophy is that God is within, we are made in the creation and reflection of the almighty. Most of us don’t realize this or haven’t become aware of the higher power within us. As we awaken our spiritual being, we begin to connect with our creator and as we realize ourselves, our self worth, who we are and our dharma here in this life, we understand that we have the connection to the creator within.

I believe that we were created and equipped with everything we need within us. It’s like we are a seed that has been planted. We have to nurture and grow ourselves to reach our fullest potential, and in our journey of growth we will have desires, and manifest things that are meant for us to manifest on our journey to help us grow, learn our lessons, to fulfill our dharma(higher purpose).

I recently attended a Vedanta course webinar from Chinmaya Mission, which was the last piece to the puzzle for my internal debate on desire. I heard the statement “When we say desire is outward and attached to happiness, it’s implying that we are coming from a place of incompleteness” and after that everything made sense (in my head). If God is within, we don’t have to seek desire from outside, but feel gratitude from the inside out to manifest our desire, because it’s already within us we have to feel happy and grateful about them to unfold.

When we are connected with our higher selves, trust that the desires we have come from within, and they will manifest because they are on our path. When Lord Krishna says,” Seek me and forget all desires, I am the desire”, it’s connecting with our creator; like a plant growing in the direction of sunlight, it it will create desires which will manifest, some to push through to help it grow, some to help nourish it, some to help it become stronger.( strongly paralleling our life and things we face in life) This is also a reason why I believe it’s important to control our thoughts, because we can manifest desires to help us grow easily, or the hard way-let’s save that for another article. Back to desire!

If we desire God and God’s purpose for our life, our desires are in line with our higher purpose and by being grateful we are able to manifest from what is already within. So in my interpretation, scripture doesn’t say that desire is bad. It is stating that the misinterpretation of desire=happiness, leads to attachment to material things, which lead to lower vibrational emotions, which lead to unhappiness, is bad.

Understanding who we really are, and being happy as we are, being grateful as we are,and trusting and letting go, leads to manifestation of our true desires which are in line with our dharma. It’s not the desire itself, but where is the desire coming from.

Many of us want to succeed in an endeavor, what is the real reason? Is it ego driven? Is it to show off, show somebody(anger, greed,revenge)? These in my opinion would be examples of desires not in line. If we attain inner peace and happiness, we wouldn’t have desire stemming from anger and if you think about it, one cannot say “ I am grateful about taking revenge” If you want to take revenge on someone ,and manifest the desire with gratitude and happiness, they are two extreme emotions and probably cannot exist on the same plane ,like faith and fear.

Lastly, a disclaimer, I DO NOT claim to be any sort of expert at all to “preach”,this is simply my interpretation to myself that I am sharing on my platform to long term question I had on “why does our scripture talk about not having desires”. Hope this may help others similar to myself who may have been contemplating this question!


“The Indian Girl”

Connect with me on Instagram: Meri Sanskriti,would love to hear from you and your experience!

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