The fewer one’s passion, the greater are one’s freedom and enjoyment. – Chinmaya
An intense desire for anything worldly is called passion.
In passion, the mind rules over the intellect; hence there is compulsive thinking which forces one to act based on likes and dislikes, and not based on rights and wrongs. In passion there is an addiction, and therefore a state of helplessness.
All the evolutionary possibilities are shut off in a passionate one as the mind cannot think of anything other than the object of passion. Being thus a slave of his mind, he rots in his self-projected world of confusions and delusions, distributing miseries freely to one and all.
Hiranyakashipu, after obtaining the boon from Lord Brahma, conquered all the three worlds. He shifted his residence to Svarga Loka, the very abode of beauty and prosperity. There he indulged in all pleasures and lived a licentious life. During his oppressive and tyrannical rule, even the guardian deities were at his feet to execute his orders. Violating all scriptural injunctions, he lived a life amidst unimaginable luxury and pleasure, power and prosperity.
But he could never satisfy his mind or the senses. His life ever remained unsatisfied and hollow, being addicted to his animal passions.
Scriptures warn us that the passions of the heart can never be quenched. Trying to gain happiness by fulfilling the desires is like trying to put off the fire by pouring clarified butter (ghee) to it; or like trying to quench one’s thirst by drinking salt water; or like scratching the skin affected by ringworm.
A Sanskrit subhashita says:
आशा नाम मनुष्याणां काचित् आश्चर्य शृङ्खला । यया बद्धा प्रधावन्ति मुक्तस्तिष्ठति पङ्गुवत् ॥
Desire is indeed a strange chain. The bound run around, while the one free from passions is as quiet as lame!
Lord Narasimha, after killing Hiranyakashipu, was seated on the throne, burning with rage, wearing the garland of intestines and His whole body stained with blood. None dared to approach Him in that mood of intense fury. The little boy Prahlada was sent to pacify the Lord.
Listening to the Stuti (adoration) of Prahlada, who was lying prostrate unto His lotus feet, the Lord’s heart melted. Lifting the boy with His lotus hands the Lord insisted to ask for any boon of his choice. But the intelligent boy refused to ask anything.
He said, “O Lord, the one who is devoted to Thee only to seek something of the world is not a devotee; he is only a businessman. He has only made Thou a means for gaining his worldly end.
O Lord! May my devotion to Thee be pure and immaculate without any worldly desire.
“O Lord! Being born in an Asura race, I am naturally inclined to sense pleasures. Please don’t tempt me through such irresistible boons of Thine.
“Also, I am scared of worldly desires because:
इन्द्रियाणि मन: प्राण आत्मा धर्मो धृतिर्मति: । ह्री: श्रीस्तेज: स्मृतिर्सत्यं यस्य नश्यन्ति जन्मना ॥
“ The strength of the senses, the mind, the vital energies and the body, the sense of righteousness, determination, understanding, modesty, good fortune, prowess, talents and abilities, memory, adherence to the truth – all these are destroyed the moment desires sprout in the heart.
“Therefore O Lord, if at all Thou insist to give me any boon, please bless me that my heart becomes free of all desires.”
The six enemies in the mind described in our scriptures are kama (passion), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (delusion), mada (arrogance) and matsarya (jealousy). But
on closer analysis, we find that all these enemies have their root only in kama.
Kama turns to krodha, and later into moha, when one doesn’t get the object of one’s desire. When one gets in abundance, kama turns to lobha. Fulfilment of these desires also leads to mada, when one finds oneself better off than others; otherwise, it takes the form of matsarya.
Thus we find that all deformities of the mind are rooted in passion.
For a spiritual seeker, passion speaks volumes. It is a coded message from the Divine indicating that one is seeking the world more intensely than the Creator of the world.
Needless to say, the Lord, like any father or mother, expects His children to love Him the most, for in this alone lies their welfare and wellbeing.
The moment passion rises, peace vanishes. The intelligent ones, therefore, take passion as a loving guidance from the Supreme to correct themselves while walking the spiritual path towards absolute freedom and joy.
O M T A T S A T