Returning to the subject, Charan said, "Please tell me, brother."
I replied, "It is you who has to tell me."
Meanwhile we saw a farmer from a nearby farm selling ridge gourds at the roadside.
“Ridge gourds are fresh; shall we stop and buy some?” Charan suggested.
I didn’t say anything.
Though he said that, he too did not stop the car. And we drove past the ridge gourds.
"Eating bajjis made by frying tender ridge gourds sliced and dipped in well-mixed batter would be so good", Charan said as if he were actually having those bajjis.
I smiled and looked down the road.
"Not just that!" Charan said, lowering his voice, as though he were telling me a secret, "If done right, dosa, dal and chutney made with ridge gourd also tastes really good".
I just stared at him.
"Is this ridge gourd legend a need or a desire?", I asked him with a smile.
"Both", he said smilingly.
I said, "Alright Charan, let's continue our discussion with the examples described earlier. In your sister-in-law’s idli and onion dosa simile, why should one begin with idli? For example, if I were to say that - "thinking drinking water to be enough is a need. It’s a desire to think of eating idli." Would this be wrong? Because, drinking water will also temporarily ease our hunger, will it not?"
Charan began to reflect.
"Could be true,” he said at last.
Then I said, "I’m going to go one step further down. Why do we even have to think about drinking water? Why can’t we remain even without that?”
He said, "How can we live like that? Even if we want to, the body won’t agree. Its needs must be met, isn’t it so?"
I just smiled and inquired, "Do you get it now? Will you conclude or shall I?"
He said, “I am still uncertain, so you please go ahead and tell me?”
I said, “If the body desires, then we consider it a necessity. If the mind desires, then we consider it a desire. In both of these, desire is common. Isn’t it?”
Charan does not accept anything so readily.
He questioned, “How can we conclude like that?”
"Isn’t it true? Hunger is a need of the body. It is not a desire. If hunger is satisfied in one way or another, it will settle down for that moment, but craving for a specific thing is a desire. Body will not ask for that. It is the mind. Body does not have such grand desires and thoughts. It is satisfied once its needs are met for that moment. It is genuine and innocent. That is not how the mind is. It is very cunning. It doesn’t like the need to be fulfilled in simple terms. It requires plenty of flavor.
In your example too, the body would be glad to have footwear to protect it from heat. Its vision does not go further than that. It just hopes that the current painful experience would go away somehow. Body is like a little kid, it doesn’t have many needs. A small chocolate makes the kid happy. But mind is not like that, it is never satisfied. Even after getting biryani made with basmati rice it won’t be pleased. The mind is not content with footwear, it will continue to crave for an air-conditioned car. This is the characteristic of the mind.
Whether you like it or not, I’ll give you yet another example. Body is like a good lover. Your pure love is enough for it. It will be more than happy, if you give little gifts along with it. It does not ask for anything more. But the mind is like a bad lover. Its expectations have no limits. No matter how much we give, it is never enough. Even if you give away your entire wealth, it will still remain unhappy. It is not your love that the mind is interested in, you are not important to it. It is interested only in your expensive gifts.
The selfishness of the body is very limited, but the selfishness of the mind is unbounded. One can be relieved of hunger by eating to stomach full, but the mind’s cravings can never be relieved. The desires of the body are called necessities. The desires of the mind are called desires. Do you agree?”, I asked.
“You have presented such a logically convincing view, that I have little choice but to agree with you,” said Charan.
In spite of saying this, his comments echoed that there was still some doubt lingering in his mind. Maybe he was not happy with the way our discussion was going in a different direction, away from his expectation. The discussion moved forward in a direction different from how he’d liked to conclude. I understood that this is what led to his unsatisfactory tone.
I said, "Okay, you have agreed to that point so I’d like to ask you a question, shall I?"
"Please go ahead," said Charan.
I asked, "If the person walking on the road in your example is insane, then how would he feel?"
"How am I supposed to know how a mad person would feel?", Charan answered in my own words.
Not holding back, I too questioned him, "If you can understand how a normal person would feel then why can't you understand how a mad person would feel? I’m sure you understand pretty well, tell me."
He thought for a while and said, "Maybe he doesn’t feel anything."
I asked, "Why?"
Charan said, "Because the mind of a mad person isn’t in good shape."
I asked further, "Listen to another example. If a man is in a coma and he is starving, what is he going to feel?"
Charan must have thought why argue with me unnecessarily, so he said, "Would a person even feel anything at all when in coma?"
I asked, "What does that mean? For a need or a desire to arise in a person, there must be something called the mind, between the body and Nature, isn't it?
Meanwhile, we reached Pedanandipadu. We stopped both our car and discussion, and had breakfast in a small hotel. Farmers were selling fresh vegetables on the road side. We bought some of them as per our needs, and stowed them in the car and resumed our journey.
Charan did not say a single word this time. He was quietly driving the car.
I wanted to convey the point without prolonging the conversation too much.
I asked, "Brother, what are you thinking about?"
Charan answered, "I’m thinking about what you’ve said."
I asked, "Has anything occured to you?"
Charan said, "No, I am still thinking."
I started to speak, getting to the main point, “Brother, what’s there in it to think so much? Let me explain.”
“The root cause of all is the inability to remain unto oneself. Because of that we desire something else. That’s not wrong, for how did this creation come into being, as per Vedas? Before the creation began, the one, undivided form could not remain so, and became two. This intention of becoming two is itself the first will. This is verily the beginning of it all. It is nothing but the need or desire. This idea is embodied in every human being at the physical, mental and pranic levels.
Identifying the ‘other’ can only be done by the mind. You do not feel anything in states such as deep sleep or coma, where the mind is not present. This is because you are not aware of the ‘other’.
That is the reason, great men said, "Mind is duality."
"There is something else besides me" - when a person is conscious of this, that is when a need or desire begins. If you’re in a house all by yourself, you’re not going to be afraid as long as you’re unto yourself, but if you feel that someone is seeing or watching you in the dark, then from that moment on, fear starts inside you. This is a common experience for all, right?", I clarified.
"Yes, but isn't it fear and not desire?", asked Charan.
I asked, "What is fear? Isn’t it just a feeling that something might happen to us. That means there’s a desire for safety and well being, underlying that fear. ‘To be well’ is a desire. Because there is desire behind that, we're experiencing fear.
If there’s no thought of concern for our well-being, then where would fear come from? Hence, wouldn’t you agree that the root cause for fear is also desire?"
Charan did not utter a word.
“What does this mean? As soon as you become conscious of the ‘other’, trouble starts in you. If you can remain without acknowledging it, then you can be yourself. Then you have neither desire nor want. It is the Soul State.
Listen to one more example. If a beautiful woman is beside you, there will be no change in you, either physically or mentally, as long as you aren’t aware of her presence. The moment you become aware that you are different from her, and that you’re a man and she, a woman, all kinds of difficulties arise. Is it not?” I questioned.
He said, "Yes".
I continued, "Now, I’m going to tell you the gist of this, listen. We’re saying that the desire of the body is a necessity and that the desire of the mind is desire. Both are the same, the only difference is in their degrees. There’s just one thing, either desire or want, they’re not two separate things. Mother of Jillellamudi's famous words are "The only thing in this creation is necessity!" Do you remember now?".
Charan's face lit up suddenly.
He said, "Yes, brother!"
"In non-duality, there is neither need nor desire. In duality, they both exist. Creation is duality. In reality, desire and duality begin at the same time. That means desire is the basis for creation.
The real thing is for man to go from the state of desire to the state beyond desire, meaning, one has to go beyond creation from being within creation. Go from duality to Oneness. The journey of man’s life is to pass from duality to non-duality.
The meaning of Mother's words - "Need is the main thing in creation" is this, because there is nothing else in creation apart from necessity. An individual without any need has no business with the creation. He is in the Soul State." I explained.
He said, "Understood brother."
I concluded, "Now, I’m going to address your query, listen. You’ve asked whether creation is a need or desire, right? Both are the same, and that’s what is there. Need is creation and desire is also creation. It is the basis for your creation, for the creation that created you and also for the creation around you. Desire is duality. If you can cross that, then that is non-duality. This is the essence of the Vedas."
Suddenly, the car was blanketed with utter silence.
The car reached the seven mile road. The village of Jillellamudi was visible from afar. We all kept quiet.
The car moved towards Jillellamudi village. All of us remained quiet.
Soon, we reached "Andarillu", parked the car, and got down. We instantly felt that we had reached our home, a feeling of returning to our mother’s lap, after spending many years in a far off country.
My eyes welled with tears.
--- to be continued.
All rights reserved. This article has been translated by Ganesh A, which was originally posted in teluguyogi.net on October 11, 2014. The content or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express permission of the publisher.