It is a privilege to have a desire

Swami Dayananda Saraswati

Swami Dayananda Saraswati

A complete person is one who has the compassion to spare. Compassion towards himself and compassion to other fellow human beings. Compassion to spare compassion for every tree, every plant and every animal, well, that is compassion. One can grow into that person. That should be a routine job.

Embedded in the Hindu culture is the assumption that this growth is a routine job. That is why, professionally, we are not inclined to compete. We never competed originally. Whether it was good or not, definitely it was ideal. It was ideal for a society which is committed to spiritual growth.

To become compassionate and to conform to what is to be done by me, not to yield to my own likes and dislikes, is the commitment. Everybody has likes and dislikes, ragas and dvesas. As long as their fulfillment does not disturb anybody it is O.K. It is fine. To desire is a privilege.

Lord Krishna says in the Gita, “I am desire, which is unopposed to dharma, in all beings,” dharma–aviruddho bhutesu kamo’smi (BG 7.11). Bhuta can be any being, but he says, “I am the desire that is not opposed to dharma,” so this is the desire in a human heart. Lord Krishna says here that he is the desire that you fulfill conforming to dharma. That means it is a privilege to have a desire.

And to fulfil a desire is also a privilege—as long as one is able to conform to what is valuable to oneself, and to others also. That is called a universal value, and here, that is called dharma.

We go one step further. Dharma is not merely not robbing, not cheating, etc. There are different levels of hurt, different sorts of hurting. You can hurt a person by a look, you can hurt a person by a word and you can even hurt a person by deliberately entertaining a certain type of thinking. Do not think that there is only one type of hurt. You can hurt a person in so many different ways, and you do so all the time.

Therefore, not hurting another person, not yielding to my own likes and dislikes, and, on the other hand, conforming to what is right and wrong is the bedrock of our human society. All that I want you to understand is the emphasis. The emphasis is not to grab, not to accumulate but to give. And to give is your duty, whether you like it or not. In the beginning, I do it whether I like it or not. And later I begin liking what I do; I begin liking to do what I need to do, what I am supposed to do in a given situation. It becomes a privilege. Then you are a complete person, I would say.

Excerpted from Arsha Vidhya Satsanga ( The 89th birth anniversary of Swami Dayananda Saraswati is being observed on August 15

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