Ramana Maharshi on dealing with Desires and
Question : What is the best way of dealing with
desires and vasanas with a view to getting rid of them - satisfying them
or suppressing them?
Ramana Maharshi : If a desire can be got rid of by satisfying it, there
will be no harm in satisfying such a desire. But desires generally are
not eradicated by satisfaction. Trying to root them out that way is like
trying to quench a fire by pouring inflammable spirits on it. At the
same time, the proper remedy is not forcible suppression, since such
repression is bound to react sooner or later into a forceful surging up
of desires with undesirable consequences.
The proper way to get rid of a desire is to find out `Who gets the
desire? What is its source?' When this is found, the desire is rooted
out and it will never again emerge or grow. Small desires such as the
desire to eat, drink, sleep and attend to calls of nature, though these
may also be classed among desires, you can safely satisfy.
They will not implant vasanas in your mind, necessitating further birth.
Those activities are just necessary to carry on life and are not likely
to develop or leave behind vasanas or tendencies. As a general rule,
therefore, there is no harm in satisfying a desire where the
satisfaction will not lead to further desires by creating vasanas in the
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