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Freedom from Desire

🌺 Peace, Love, Harmony

Freedom from Desire
by Atman Nityananda

Desirelessness is freedom.

Desire is bondage and slavery.

Identification with consciousness is freedom.

Identification with body is bondage. Desire is the cause of identification with the body.

Freedom is psychological independence from everything outside us -including our physical body. Happiness arises spontaneously together with freedom.

Desire is dependence on sense objects which is bondage itself and the womb of misery and suffering.

All suffering is born of desire. Pleasure depends on things, happiness does not”
 ~ Nisargadatta

Desire (aspiration) for freedom and desire for pleasure are opposites. The former derives from our soul and leads us to independence of all forms. The later lead us into dependence on sense objects and experiences which is the core of bondage and slavery.

Freedom gives eternal peace and bliss.

Desire gives shorted-lived illusory pleasure and satisfaction and innumerable suffering at all levels, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

“The cause of pain is pleasure. The cause of death is love for sensual life. Give up all sensual pleasures, if you do not want pain. Give up sensual life, if you do not want death.”                                                                            
  ~ Swami Sivananda

Questioner: Why should pleasure be the seed of pain?
Nisargadatta: Because for the sake of pleasure you are committing many sins. And the fruits of sin are suffering and death.                              
~ Nisargadatta 

When a man thinks of the objects, attachment to them arises; from attachment desire is born; from desire anger arises. From anger comes delusion; from delusion the loss of memory; from loss of memory the destruction of discrimination; from the destruction of discrimination he perishes.
 ~Bhagavad Gita CH. II 62.63

Freedom is the dissolution of all desires, attachments, addictions and all mechanical compulsive habitual patterns, by the axe of self –realization. We regain our pristine state of absolute freedom by realizing that we are the eternal light of consciousness which is immutable, indestructible, formless, changeless, always peaceful and blissful.

Bondage and slavery is the identification with the body; it is the attachment and addiction toward sense objects and sensual pleasures; this is caused by the mechanical repetition of pleasurable experiences.

Consciousness is freedom itself and it is our eternal heritage and our real identity. It has neither beginning nor an end.

The bondage of desire is a temporary disease superimposed in our psych due to sexual depravation. By intense spiritual practice and Self realization the knot of desire dissolves forever.

We can return into our natural state of freedom and independence from external forms and circumstances by healing our psych from the disease of desire and pleasure.

We can free our psych from desire only if we are conscious of what really desire is and how functions in our psych. We can regain our freedom by inner detachment from all mental and emotional states and all objects outside, and by intense spiritual practices such as japa mantra, self-enquiry, meditation, prayer, bhakti, affirmation, contemplation, discrimination, satsang, karma yoga, pranayama etc.

“Remember, you cannot abandon what you do not know. To go beyond yourself, you must know yourself.”
 ~ Nisargadatta 

“It is difficult to conquer desire because it is of a highly complex and incomprehensible nature. But a man of discrimination and dispassion, who does constant and intense Sadhana, can conquer it quite easily.”
~ Swami Sivananda

Desire is the root-cause of the pain-body and all psychological disorders. All the expressions of pain-body –i.e. anger, fear, greed, jealousy, depression, sorrow, anxiety, hatred, aggressiveness, impatience etc. are only modifications of desire. Desire and pain-body are essentially one and the same thing.

“When a man’s desire is not gratified and when someone stands in the way of its fulfillment, the man becomes angry. The desire gets transformed into anger. Anger is only a modification or form of desire. Anger is desire itself.”

“All evil qualities and actions proceed from anger.”
  ~ Swami Sivananda

Desire itself takes also the form of ‘Iness’ which is the sense ‘I am an individual’ confined in the body and mind, separate from creation and God. ‘Iness” is the sense ‘the body is me’. Desire and ‘Iness’ are essentially one and the same thing.

Desire, ‘Iness’ and pain-body are one and the same thing – the so called ‘ego’- which apparently appears as three different things; the core of them is lust.

The core of ego

Due to the modification of desire into ‘Iness’, desiring appears as ‘I desire’ and wanting as ‘I want’. Thus desire deludes us making believe that what desire wants is our conscious choice.

“The problem arises only when the memory of past pains and pleasures remains as a reflex, dominating behavior. This reflex takes the shape of ‘I’ and uses the body and the mind for its purposes, which are invariably in search for pleasure or flight from pain.”~ Nisargadatta Extract from book “I Am That”

Most of the time we want or we don’t want something; we like or we don’t like something; we are attracted to something or we feel aversion for something. All these is only the play of lust and desire. Deluded by this play, man becomes an obedient servant of desire. He and his instruments (body, senses, mind, vital, intellect) become slaves of pleasure, passion, lust and desire.

What is desire? It is the impulse that drives us to possess or achieve something in order to get pleasure, happiness or to feel special, worthy and superior.

But what is the nature of desire? 
Desire in essence is lust. Lust is the energy that takes the form of the impulse that prompts us towards objects.

What is lust? 
Lust is memorized pleasure. Every experience of pleasure is memorized in the mind and in the energy field (vital). After some repetitions the pleasurable experience becomes a tendency, a dynamic force that wants to repeat itself as a similar pleasurable experience. This tendency or force drives compulsively our body, mind and senses to find the appropriate object or situation (usually similar to them which created this tendency) so that the same pleasure to be experienced.

This impulse of lust that drives us towards sensual pleasures and objects is what we call desire.

Desire is the memory of pleasure.”
~ Nisargadatta

What is the first pleasure that has created lust? It is the sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is the only pleasure that really exists and it is the origin of lust and desire. All other pleasures and desires are only expressions and modifications of sexual pleasure. Food pleasure (gluttony) is very strong because the genitival organs and the mouth are very connected; they are made by the same tattva. For the same reason kiss excites strongly the sexual energy.

Lust, primarily, has as main object the sexual gratification, but gradually lust by transference is projected on other sense objects, like for example the food. Birth after birth lust and desire multiply in innumerable ways by association with different kind of objects and situations. Of course sex and food were and still are the prince and the princess of pleasure.

.“A man has a thousand and one desires. But the central strong desire is the sexual desire. The fundamental desire is the urge for a mate. All hang on this central basic desire. The desire for money, the desire for a son, the desire for property, the desire for houses, the desire for cattle and other desires come later on.”           
  ~ Swami Sivananda

The ego in the form of desire and lust hypnotizes the intellect (note 1) and the manas (sensory mind) and keeps them compulsively agitated by thinking ceaselessly the sense objects. Compulsive thinking is always associated and interrelated with emotions and sensations. Due to compulsive thinking ego wants to keep the mind, senses and body connected with the sense objects in order to experience pleasure. Desire together with thinking pulls everyone into the seeking of pleasure. Pleasure is experienced either by direct contact with the object itself or by dreaming the object by the power of imagination.

“Desire is a mode of the emotive mind. It has got a power of externalizing the mind. Desire is the fuel; thought is the fire. The thought-fire is kept up by the desire-fuel.”“…the endless chain is welded out of three component, desire, thought and activity. A desire stimulates a thought; a thought embodies itself in an act.”                                       ~ Swami Sivananda

The primary sensations, emotions and feelings that are associated with the compulsive thinking and the sensual experiences are pleasure-pain, like-dislike, love-hatred and attraction-repulsion. All other psychological distortions or defects are based on them and in reality, they are only expansion and modifications of the above pairs.

The tree of ego

Ego deludes the intellect by decreasing its power of discernment and reasoning; this way intellect loses its capacity to discern between the true and the false. Thus it fails to realize its identity with consciousness and to recognize lust and desire as a disorder in the psych. The intellect, instead of being the king of the whole human structure becomes the servant of ego helping it to find more and new ways of pleasure and sensual gratification.
This way we are subjective to all kind of suffering created by the lust-made ego.

Ego misuses and overuses all instruments -body-mind- intellect-senses-vital energy-sexual energy for its own superficial sensual gratifications and pleasures.
The consequence is suffering in the form of body diseases, psychological diseases and all kind of psychological disorders such as anger, fear, depression, sadness, impatience, irritation, hatred, greed, jealousy, aggressiveness etc. which are only modifications of desire itself.

More precisely the ego and desires create suffering by three ways:

1. By the transformation of desire itself into pain-body; viz. anger, fear, depression, greed, jealousy, sadness and all other well known psychological disorders.

2. By committing sinful actions in order to fulfill our desires. These actions create painful situations and conditions in the future (karma).

3. By overusing and misusing the senses, body, mind and prana. This cause physical, vital and mental diseases.  

Of course pain after pleasure may be due to the misuse of the body or the mind. The body knows its measure, but the mind does not. Its appetites are numberless and limitless”.
  ~ Nisargadatta

“Man tries to find happiness in sensual objects. Too much sensual indulgence wears out the senses and brings disgust, sickness, and disease of all kinds.”
 ~Swami Sivananda

 Attachments and addictions are also the result of the greedy-lusty ego which always wants more, different and higher states of pleasure. Drugs, alcoholism, sex perversions and gluttony are the exaggeration of the seeking- pleasure behavior. Excessive indulgence in pleasure and especially sex pleasure exaggerates selfishness, discontentment, boredom, uneasiness, depression, loneliness, anxiety, impatience, irritability, insecurity.

“Sensual pleasure is only pain. It is momentary mental excitement, momentary sensation of flesh, momentary itching and scratching of the senses. You can have eternal bliss in your own Inner Atman alone.”
    ~Swami Sivananda

“Pain is the background of all your pleasures. You want them because you suffer. On the other hand, the very search for pleasure is the cause of pain. It is a vicious circle.”
 ~ Nisargadatta

Desire and lust are the beginning, the middle and the end of human suffering.

First desire creates in us – almost always-, a sense of incompleteness, that something is missing, a sense of discontentment, uneasiness and boredom which is the beginning of suffering.

Subsequently the suffering of desire takes the form of expectations, imaginations, impatience, anxiety and agitation of mind (compulsive thinking). That happens when the impulse of desire arises in our mind and heart.

Finally the suffering of desire takes the form of fear, anger and depression.

Fear arises when there is possibility not to get the desired object or to lose it when we have succeeded in getting it. In addition desire transforms itself into anger when something or someone obscures the fulfillment of desire.

If we lose or not get the desired object, desire itself is modified into anger, hatred, aggressiveness, violence followed by disappointment, depression, sadness etc.

Usually when the desire is fulfilled there is for a while a sense of euphoria, satisfaction, contentment, and possibly happiness which are followed again by the feelings of emptiness, lack, discontentment, uneasiness and the fear of losing the desired object.

Thus a vicious cycle is created by desire which starts and ends with suffering. There are only some intervals in which we feel content, happy or peaceful and which last very little.

This vicious cycle of the suffering created by desire is going on without a break until we become aware of it and by diligent practice we get free of it.

It is very important to mention here that desire keeps us in its clutches by making us also believe that happiness (note 2) and pleasure are inherent in the sense objects and the external situations.This is only an illusion created by desire.

This is the greatest illusion because there is not even an iota of pleasure and happiness in the objects. The ego-desire creates this illusion by projection, association, superimposition, identification, imagination and the aid of rajas and tamas gunas.

Lack of discernment and inattention keep this play of ego and desire out of our conscious observation; thus the desire mechanism functions unobstructed.

“There is neither pleasure nor pain in objects. It is all mental creation, mental perception, mental jugglery. It is only the mental attitude or certain kind of mental behaviour towards objects that brings joy or grief, pleasure and pain.”“Mind plays havoc through desires. As soon as a desire arises, you think you will get all happiness by its realization.”                                                           
 ~ Swami Sivananda

This dreamlike mental state caused by lust and desire prevents us to realize that the psychological state of incompleteness, discontentment and unhappiness are created by lust and desire. Deluded by the hypnotic power of lust and desire we try to get rid of the above painful states by seeking always to find happiness, contentment and fulfillment in the place which there is only suffering; viz. to sensual pleasures and the fulfillment of desires.

There is only one way to escape the suffering created by desires and the vicious circle of pleasure and pain. This is the realization that freedom and happiness lies within ourselves; that we are freedom and happiness itself; that we are the eternal light of consciousness which nature is eternal Existence-Consciousness and bliss.

We already are and have what we are looking for in vain in the illusory and transitory sense objects. We are consciousness which by nature is freedom itself, peace and bliss. This is what all great sages and scriptures declare since thousands of years ago.

“You can find eternal, infinite, supreme peace and bliss only in your Atma (Soul, Consciousness) which shines in all its splendour and glory in the chambers of your heart. It is an embodiment of Bliss (Ananda Swarupa).”

“You are ever free. You are already free. Liberation (Moksha) is not a thing to be attained. You will have to know that you are Atman, that you are free.

Destroy the subtle desires (Vasanas), and cravings. This will lead to the annihilation of the mind. Destruction of the mind will lead to the attainment of Brahma Jnana or wisdom of the Self.”

 ~ Swami Sivananda

CH. V 26. Absolute freedom (or Brahmic bliss) exists on all sides for those self-controlled who are free from desire and anger, who have controlled their thoughts and who have realised the Self.
~Bhagavad Gita

By knowing that happiness and freedom lies within us and that desire create bondage and innumerable suffering it is up to you to decide what you really want!

Do you want to continue as a limited body-mind entity, suffering the pains caused by the insatiable desires or to be free and blissful by realizing your identity with the eternal Truth within, which is your origin and the abode of eternal bliss and immortality?

If you want to experience effortlessly and unconditionally the ever-present happiness within, you have to eliminate the ego and all its desires, pleasures and pains. In the egoless state the intellect becomes clear like a crystal or like a cloudless sky and reflects naturally and effortlessly the bliss of our glorious divine Consciousness.


1 The intellect is the instrument that has the capacity to discern between the true and the false and reflect the light of consciousness. When it is pure and calm we can experience effortlessly the peace and bliss of our own Self (Consciousness). But if intellect is polluted by lust and desire, intellect becomes obscured and loses its capacity to reflect the bliss of consciousness and identifies with the body. With an impure intellect we fail to realize our identity with consciousness and we believe that we are a body-mind entity subject to pleasure and pain and all kind of sufferings that are related with this limited existence.

2 Happiness has nothing to do with the external objects, events and situations. Happiness is inherent in our true Self or Atman (Consciousness).
This happiness is experienced naturally when the mind is tranquil, calm and introverted. But the ego which likes to experience pleasures and pains keeps almost always the emotions in turmoil. and the mind agitated and extroverted. This psychological state obscures the experience of happiness which lies within our heart and causes suffering.

Occasionally due to the fulfillment of a desire the mind becomes temporally calm and introverted; in that mental state we experience the happiness of our innerSelf or consciousness.

Due to inattention and lack of discernment in those moments that we feel happy due to the fulfilment of desire, we do not realize that happiness arises from within. Thus erroneously we associate happiness with the external condition and the fulfillment of desire.
This misapprehension makes us seek again and again similar external conditions in order to experience happiness once more. Thus we are caught in the net of the ego which seeks more, better and variety of pleasurable experiences creating more and more suffering intermittent with rare moments of little happiness.

CH. V 26. Absolute freedom (or Brahmic bliss) exists on all sides for those self-controlled who are free from desire and anger, who have controlled their thoughts and who have realised the Self.

🌺 Peace, Love, Harmony