A couple of readers posed the following questions:

Que: Hari Om Ji, Thank you for sharing and explaining the true nature of desire. It’s like a whirlpool; we all are rolling in it without even understanding the depth of the starting point of a particular desire. Swami ji, can you plz elucidate more on Intellectual Desires. You said” Often, pursuit of these desires creates something valuable for the society though. Creating a charitable organization, working towards a material or spiritual discovery, devoting to a social or a religious cause are examples of intellectual desires”. How can doing anything good for the society or helping someone in need without any of your own personal interest be taken as intellectual desire? People who do it for name /fame definitely brings ego. But how can we relate it for the people who are just operating from their hearts while doing seva and not through mind. Mind is giving them the idea, but the actions are through bhaav and then, it no longer connects to intellectual desire. Please explain. “Desires are first to be understood, then tamed, followed by their mastery later conquest before they are eliminated”. –You mentioned that through meditation we can still our mind, and therefore desires. What if the thoughts overpower you each time? At that time one gets so disappointed with the realisation that we are just like a thinking machine. It’s dissatisfying, that even if you try, you are unable to tame your mind! How can we? Thank you

It is important to understand the difference between a vow (sankalpa) and a desire (iccha). A sankalpa is a thought that charts your course of action. However, when you are attached to the outcome of that sankalpa, it becomes a desire and is no longer a sankalpa. My focus, in all my posts without exception, is spiritual attainment. From the point of meditation (dhyana yoga), all desires of any nature or classification bind the meditator. Whether a desire is good or bad is simply a matter of labeling. It is not possible to do anything from your heart without the thought of such action originating from the mind first. Even an impulse is a thought at first, albeit a swift one. Please note that mind does not mean buddhi but manas.

Thoughts will dominate at first, but with practice, you can exercise complete control over the mind, hence thoughts. It does not come easy though I reiterate. Patience and great persistence are reciprocated by priceless rewards. I will write on the science of meditation in the foreseeable future. For now, know that if you persevere you will see the results. Each time your mind wanders off, bring it back, very gently, to the point of your meditation. After a while, long while, it will stop drifting away. No short cuts! Achieving quietude of the mind is an extraordinary feat and it surely requires an effort just as magnificent, at least initially anyway.

Que: Namaste Swamiji I am very happy to read your blog, thanks for sharing information on various subjects. I have the following two questions. What is the difference between Aatma gyan and knowing your true nature? When we say “Amah Brahmasmi” does it mean that Aatma gyan and Brahma gyan is one and same? We look forward to seek your guidance. Pranam.

Aatama gyana and knowing your true nature mean exactly the same. When you know (gyana) who you are (aatama), that is aatama gyana. Brahama gyana and aatama gyana are identical. Please note that this understanding must not be an intellectual one alone. It is  beyond the grasp of intellect. One must work towards letting it dawn. I would like to quote a couple of verses from Bhagavad Gita but I am deprived of transliteration support presently.

Also, I have scheduled some posts; one per week. Stay tuned.

Hare Krishna
Swami

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