Is it bad to desire something?
There were a few respectable men in the hall. Sri Bhagavan spoke to them some time after their arrival.
M.: “Where is the use of trying to remember the past or discover the future? That which matters is only the present. Take care of it and the other things will take care of themselves.”
D.: Is it bad to desire something?
M.: One should not be elated on having his desire fulfilled or disappointed on being frustrated. To be elated on the fulfillment of desire is so deceitful. A gain will certainly be lost ultimately. Therefore elation must end in pain at a future date. One should not give place to feelings of pleasure or pain, come what may. How do the events affect the person? You do not grow by acquiring something nor wither away by losing it. You remain what you always are.
D.: We worldly men cannot resist desire.
M.: You may desire but be prepared for any eventuality. Make effort, but do not be lost in the result. Accept with equanimity whatever happens. For pleasure and pain are mere mental modes. They have no relation to the objective realities.
M.: There were two young friends in a village in South India. They were learned and wanted to earn something with which they might afford relief to their respective families. They took leave of their parents and went to Benares on a pilgrimage. On the way one of them died. The other was left alone. He wandered for a time, and in the course of a few months he made a good name and earned some money. He wanted to earn more before he returned to his home.
In the meantime he met a pilgrim who was going south and would pass through the native village of the young pandit. He requested the new acquaintance to tell his parents that he would return after a few months with some funds and also that his companion had died on the way.
The man came to the village and found the parents. He gave them the news, but changed the names of the two men. Consequently the parents of the living man bemoaned his supposed loss and the parents of the dead man were happy expecting the return of their son bringing rich funds as well.
You see therefore that pleasure and pain have no relation to the actualities but are mere mental modes.
Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi
24th January, 1939