We all have a mind that is responsible for all the actions that we perform. Firstly, it is the mind that constantly creates desires. The question is, why do we have desires? This is because, all souls desire true happiness, i.e. happiness associated with God. To fulfill this natural desire for Bliss, the mind constantly creates 'desires' every moment. There are five types of desires - the desire to see, desire to hear, desire to smell, desire to taste and desire to touch or feel.
The mind desires to enjoy subjects related to these five senses, and it can desire for objects only in two areas - either related to God or related to maya, the material world. Hence, this mind can either desire for God or for material objects. There is no third area where the mind can seek for happiness.
If we believe that happiness can be achieved from this material world, we will aim to fulfill our desires in this realm. If we believe that happiness can be achieved from God, we will automatically desire to attain Him. This is a natural tendency and not learnt from anyone. Not just humans, but even animals and birds have this innate understanding. The mind works in accordance with the decision of the intellect, and has to desire what the intellect thinks is the source of true happiness.
svatantraḥ kriyamāṇe vai kṛito bhagavatā vidā
The material world is readily visible, but God is not easily seen. It is the nature of the mind to desire material pleasure, as it is made of the same elements (Panchmahabhut) that constitute the material world. It is very natural and easy to get attracted to things that we can see, and we can see this material world and not God. Although the Vedas, Shastras and Puranas praise God, and the message is repeated by the saints, our mind is not able to concentrate in that direction. The mind is easily attached to material objects of pleasure, and seeks happiness in them.
Our experience of this world has taught us that there is no real happiness in material objects. Initially, we may derive a lot of pleasure, but with time, happiness disappears. We might have embraced our dear ones - mother, father, son, daughter, husband or wife thousands of times and cherished our favorite Indian sweet - rasgulla thousands of times, but we still remain tensed and disturbed. We have not achieved eternal peace or happiness from any of them. Our ultimate goal is to find happiness but our experience seems to be the opposite.
We think that the attainment of a material object or a person will make us happy. But when we get it, we no longer derive happiness from it. We get disturbed because that object no longer provides the same level of happiness as before. We have all experienced this before, across countless lifetimes. It is the intellect that must decide that the material world has been created for the body, and not to provide happiness for the soul.
surapati brāhmaṁ padaṁ yāchate
This disease of desire affects even celestial personalities. This quote above says that the king of heaven, Lord Indra desires for the seat of Lord Brahma. What about humans? We wish to earn millions or become the Prime Minister of India. This is the limit of our desires. What else we can desire? But even the king of heaven Indra has desires. Lord Indra has the ability to get whatever he wants by just wishing for it. He has Varun, Kuber and Yamraj as his servants. Yet, he has desires. Why? It is because he is still deprived of the love of God. He did not attain the happiness related of the soul.
Pleasure related to the senses are present in this material world as well as in heaven. It is a myth of this material world that we get immense happiness. After the initial pleasure, it keeps decreasing with time and finally turns to sadness. For example, on the arrival of a newly wed bride, we dance, sing and spend lots of money. Extra care is taken for her. But after a few days or weeks of association, we tend to be disappointed with her. We think that, "may be the other bride is good". The others person's wife is better".
Everybody wants his / her own happiness. The way you expect to get happiness from your wife, similarly, even your wife expects to get happiness from you. It is very obvious that there will be a conflict since both are fooling each other to get happiness, but none of them have it. Both say that they wish for happiness to the other. But in reality no one wants the happiness of the other.
Until we become God-realized souls, no one can wish or work for the happiness of others. Once a soul reaches the stage of saints like Tulsidas, Surdas, Merabai or Kabir, then that soul that think of helping others since that soul has nothing left to achieve. These people can now work for the happiness of others or not do anything because their motive is fulfilled. The desire to reach God has been fulfilled and eternal happiness has also been attained. Material desires were destroyed in the beginning itself. A God-realized soul has no more desires! Now, they will desire to give happiness to others.
par upakār vachan man kāyā, sant svabhāv man kāyā
What can God or God-realized Saints do? There is nothing that they wish to achieve further for themselves. They can only work for the benefit of others. The desire for God will arise once we let go the desire for this material world. We have only one mind. If we had two minds, one could desire to achieve God and the other could desire for the material world. But since we have only one mind, we can desire for only one of these things. Due to this confusion, the intellect is not able to make any decisions. When we get disappointed with this material world, the desire for God arises. But the very moment we start receiving happiness from the material world, we start desiring for it.
Our condition is very similar to that of a dog. If you beat a dog, it will run away from you. It stares at your from a distance with anger. If you now give the dog something to eat, it will start wagging its tail and come back to you. Again if you beat it, the dog will run away and if you give something to eat, it will again come back to you.
Similarly, when we are disappointed with our mother, father, brother, wife, husband or son, we start thinking that saints are true and God is everything. But when we start receiving happiness from them again, we again get attached to the material world. Like toys, we dance to the tune of other people. Our mothers, sons, wives and husbands make us dance to their tunes. We get detached from the material world many times and get attached again.
When we realize the true knowledge that the material world is made for the body, the soul is Divine and a part of God, and that God is the real subject of the soul, we will then desire for God.
Here is another example. Till the age of 18 years, a girl stays at her father's place. She considers her father's property as hers - the car, house and all the luxuries at home. If anything is lost, she will feel equally bad, as her father does. When she brings home her friends, she tells them that everything is hers. Now, when she gets engaged and married to a person she never knew before, and goes to his place, she claims that his house is hers and his car is also hers! How is this possible? We get attached to objects where we perceive our happiness. We do not have to try hard or practice, it happens automatically.
If a theft occurs at her husband's place, the new bride will get equally tensed about this, as she considers his possessions to be hers. Hence, the moment our intellect decides that this material world is not ours and only God is ours, and that we are souls and the soul's subject is God, the desire for this material world will end, and the desire to know God arises.
The desire for God is not created as we desire for material objects. This happens because our knowledge is limited, and we think that we can find happiness in this material world. We say that our father, mother, wife are not good, but we still believe that we can find happiness in this material world. When we take the decision that, everybody is looking for happiness and how can they give us happiness when they themselves do not have it?
What can a beggar do when he feels generous? The best that he can do is give his empty bag and the meagre earnings he has. We need to understand this fact and leave the bondage of this material world. We cannot leave it by just talking or by reading about it or by being told by the saints.
Now if you do something for your father he will love you but when his purpose is not solved he will get angry on you. When you accept all that your wife wants, she will love you but if you don't accept it, she will get sad. This is the selfishness of this material world and we need to remind ourselves about this every time. Friendship or enemies, attachment or detachment has to be made firm by its repetition. Think about this again and again and make the decision firm that there is no happiness in this world, and we are not separate from that.
At the funeral service, Hindus chant "Ram naam satya hai" which means, "The only truth is God's name and this material body is not true." If we truly realize this and believe in it, the attachment for this material world will fade away. If we do not desire for the material world, we do not have to create the desire for God, it is created automatically since we cannot desire anything else.
We have to create the desire for God since we cannot find happiness in this material world. This material world is for the body and God is for our soul. Everything has a different subject - like the eye are required to see, ears to listen and so on. Now we cannot listen through our eyes or see through our ears. People will say that we have gone mad.
Similarly if you desire happiness of the soul in this material world, how is this possible? This is the reason why it is said that, "remove your mind from this material world and concentrate it towards God". If your mind thinks about pure things, it will get purified. We need pure water to wash dirty cloths. It is not possible to wash dirty cloths with dirty water. It will become dirtier.
The material world is not pure, it is under maya. It is under three types of qualities - Satvagun, Rajogun and Tamogun. If the mind gets attached to any of these three, it will degrade further. If the mind is attached in pure things it will become pure. That is the reason we need to remove it from the material world and concentrate it towards God. If you are not able to attach your mind towards God immediately, practice to do so. Concentrate it towards God every time it gets diverted. Slowly and steadily, your mind will get attached to God.
You smoke a cigarette, have a drink and lie to people. After regular drinking, you get so habituated to it that you cannot leave it. The mind thinks that it is not possible for us to leave the material things as well. God is an ocean of Bliss. Concentrate towards God again and again. You will gain a lot of happiness, and soon, you will not be able to leave Him.