Nov 29, 2023
Nov 29, 2023
Basis of life is desire. According to Rig Veda Universe came into being when “It” desired so? When there is no desire there is no life. Hence the old Indian tradition of saying that one should stop or reduce desire or that desire is the root cause of all evils is wrong. When there is no life of course there will be no evil! So a life with all its darts and farts is much better than no life!
Human desire manifests itself in different forms – lust, aim, ambition, control, goal, etc. However, the driving force is the same – power, fame and money and I think it ultimately boils down to control and hence power. Some also call it an ego trip.
Desire is fueled by experience. A living being wants to experience the world. This is an inherent trait of all life forms. We are wired for experience. Urge for maximization of experience fuels the desire. Whether the desire is for sex, money, fame, etc. it is driven by the same need to have experience.
As our brains develop (right from our birth) the neurons with inputs from senses need to form the neural pathways. Brain is an autonomous organ and there is a continuous energy and material flow into it for making and unmaking neural pathways. These neural pathways then form memories and hence desires. Thus memory formation forces experience gathering. This is the basis of desire. Therefore desire, memory and brain are interlinked. As long as brain exists there will always be desire.
The intensity of desire depends on how intense the memory is. In childhood the availability of neural pathways and brain processing power is huge and hence the memory formation is also very easy and powerful. That is why the childhood memories are very strong and the root cause of all desires. One of the outcomes of desire is possession. We feel a need to possess whatever we desire whether it is a person, object, money or even an idea. This possession provides an anchor for the experience and helps in its maximization. As we absorb this “experience” our brain processes this information. It is during this process that we “decide” whether our desires are fulfilled or not.
This decision is a function of the power of the brain. Thus a powerful processor or mind which can coolly and calmly look and evaluate all the possibilities can sometimes get its desires fulfilled without physically possessing the objects of desire. Fulfillment of desires therefore helps us in releasing the “possessions” and is the genesis of detachment or contentment as preached in most of the religions of the world. This process gives us tremendous sense of peace, tranquility and perspective in our lives and is called wisdom.
While on the other hand a weaker brain with small memory needs to possess a lot more things for fulfilling them and this leads to greed and corruption. Thus to live a sustainable, fulfilling and holistic life it is necessary to have a powerful brain processor.
Desire is a useful and necessary emotion. It provides the engine for evolution and achievement. For example when the powerful brain focuses on one desire then it becomes junoon or passion and is the engine of great discoveries and inventions. Without desire we will be lifeless, dead or like stones. However what we need to do is to channel our desires so that they get fulfilled without too much taxing of resources, materials and energy. Also we need to create desires for higher and noble things. This will create happy memories, a fulfilling life and contentment.
Unresolved desires produce memory knots or stresses which have the mechanism of always directing the brain to them and creating anger, frustrations and hence depression. This happens because the thought production is channeled or influenced by the existing memories since these neural pathways provide the path of least resistance. If the brain has more memory knots of unfulfilled desires then its working memory gets reduced and the new thoughts get centered and focused around these knots leading to anger, frustration and fear.
A stressed mind therefore gets angry very fast and is also fearful. Anger is an emotion, which occurs when things don't happen the way we want. Thus lack of possession, loss of control, etc. fuel anger. Similarly fear comes because of insecurity since the mind is not at peace. A powerful processor or mind through wisdom may have better conflict, insecurity and anger resolution capabilities than a shallow thinking mind.
One of the possible ways to satiate the desire for possession of material goods is sublimating it via virtual reality (VR) tools. These high tech tools which are like 3D video games like aircraft simulation systems allow the mind to have an enhanced experience without physically possessing the objects of desire. Nevertheless the resolution of desire knots via this tool requires a powerful mind to analyze, resolve and dissolve them.
These desire knots not only have to be resolved in our brain but their memories have to be removed from the Knowledge Space (KS) as well.
Just like memory and material removal from our computers is not the end of a person’s presence in the cyber world (it has also to be removed from cyber space as well); so the memories of the desires have to be removed from KS also for achieving liberation from the cycle of death and birth.
As Patanjali has said that when the sanskars (Karma, memories, desires, etc.) are resolved they have no role to play in a person’s life and then he/she achieves Nirvana or liberation.
The power of the brain processor is increased by availability of its working memory. This can happen with cultivation of deep thought so that the dissolution of other memories and psychological knots takes place. As this memory increases, the absorption and digestion of inputs also get enhanced since the mind becomes hungry for more experiences and this increases our desires. As our desires increase, both in quantity and quality, the powerful brain/mind complex starts looking for higher purposes. This “mind opening” or God experience allows interaction of mind with external and higher dimensional knowledge space (KS) and allows us to access the existing information from it - the basis of most discoveries, inventions, etc. In doing so it gives us happiness and contentment.
First published as an editorial article in Times of India, 28 June, 2010.
More by : Dr. Anil Rajvanshi