Desire is a metaphysical evil. As students of Yoga interested in the true welfare of our souls, we must be able to know what has really happened to us. We should not be wool-gathering, we should not be in a fool’s paradise even in the name of religion or spirituality. Any kind of outward ritualistic movement of our personalities, even in the name of religion, is not going to save us in the end, because this evil called desire is a metaphysical evil. It is not a social evil; it is not a physical evil. It is a metaphysical evil, as the philosophers call it. It is a cosmic catastrophe and therefore, it requires all the analytical capacity that we are capable of to know what has happened to us, and know how we can gradually wean ourselves away from this impulse that is dragging us out from ourselves in the direction of the objects of sense. This weaning oneself away from objects is done very gradually.
The fulfillment of desires is not condemned in any religion, though it is well known that desires have to be completely extirpated one day or the other; because, they are bondages which tether the soul to the body and its physical associations. We have various kinds of needs, though all needs may be called desires, and all desires may be called undesirable things in the end. Yet, when they are there as realities to the senses and the mind, and not lesser realities than our own bodies and our personalities, we have to tackle them with great caution. We have to interpret them as realistically as we interpret our own selves. The objects are as real and unreal as ourselves. To the extent that we are real, the things connected with us are also real. And to the extent that we are unreal, to the same extent, they are also unreal. The subject and the object evolve simultaneously. The evolution is not just individualistic and subjective. So, this system of classification as per our working is a systematic procedure to adjust ourselves and adapt ourselves to the circumstances of life, horizontally in society, and vertically in our own personality. The horizontal adjustment is the work and the vertical adjustment is the section. We have to be complete in society, in our relationships with people, and we have to be complete in our own selves by a suitable harmonious alignment of the various layers of our personality. Such an adjustment is very effectively brought about by following the great canons of the work and the section.
In some societies, there has been communities division in terms of their working. But in course of time, this classification has amounted to mean as different castes, but it is not that. It means a class. The principle of the classification of society is called the work attunement. It is a classification, not a ‘castification’. To say that work means caste is to give it a wrong name and an erroneous interpretation. No man is complete in himself, and therefore, no man can be satisfied merely in his own self without the cooperation of other persons. Man is, among other things, intellect, will, emotion and energy. There are certain people with a tremendous physical capacity, but intellectually they are poor. There are others who are rationally and intellectually brilliant, but physically weak. The other two aspects, namely, emotion and will, are also distributed disproportionately among people. Everyone is not possessed of these characteristics in the same measure. Inasmuch as everyone’s intention is the welfare of all human beings, the solidarity of mankind in general, it is necessary that we share among ourselves the commodities that we have. The commodities are not necessarily physical ones; they can be psychological ones also. If one has great intellectual capacity and spiritual acumen, which are necessary for the welfare of society, but not other facilities, he will share the knowledge and wisdom and the directing intelligence that he has with others, for the facilities which he does not have. The mutual cooperative activity of society—spiritually, administratively, economically and manually—forms the essence of the classification system. The classification into teachers/ educators/ priests/ religious preachers, warriors/defence people, traders/finance movers and helpers/servants is not a categorization of people into superior and inferior types, into bosses and subordinates, but it is a classification of the functions of individuals according to their knowledge and capacities, for the purpose of a complete cooperative organization of humankind, with a noble intention and purpose.
We must take the classification as such and this is one way in which we can be happy in this world. Otherwise, we will be in misery everyday, every moment. The desires of ours are classified in this manner, and they are given an opportunity of permissible satisfaction, by a mutual cooperation horizontally in this manner.
There is the other side, namely, the vertical side, which is the subject of the section, or duties pertaining to the different sections, or stages of life. Just as we have totally misunderstood the meaning of the classification system, we have also misunderstood the meaning of the section system. Just as we condemn the classification of working as caste distinction, we convert the classification of the stages of one’s life by way of sections, into a kind of dead routine of religion. Neither working nor section is a routine. Working system is a vital participation in the processes of life, externally as well as internally. Externally it goes by the name of working, and internally it goes by the name of section. The idea behind this is the fulfillment of the requirements of the human personality, in the way it would be required, for the purpose of a transcendence of all limitations, with the great goal of liberation of the spirit, in mind. No item in this classification is unimportant, because nature catches us by the throat, with such a firm grip, that we cannot free ourselves from its compulsive pressure without the aid of the classification. We are caught firmly by Nature socially, physically, vitally; psychologically, rationally and even spiritually. So, we have to free ourselves from these clutches or pressures by a gradual dissociation of ourselves from nature, as we untie its knots one by one.
If we tie a thread into a dozen knots, and then want to untie them and straighten out the thread, we do not go to the bottom knot first, but rather to the topmost one. The topmost knot is untied first, then the previous one or the eleventh knot, then the tenth, then the ninth and so on, till at last we come to the very first knot. We cannot touch the first knot in the very beginning. Similarly, in spiritual life, the first problem is treated last, and the last problem is taken up first. Because, the first is more subtle and more proximate to the realities of things than the later ones which are the evolutes of the causes. The effects have to be taken care of first, and the causes later on. So, outwardly as well as inwardly, these systems of organization known as work and section, are procedures enjoined upon every person, for untying the various knots of entanglement in life, engendered by one’s needs which are social, physical, vital, emotional, intellectual and so on.
Such a vast involvement is associated with this little thing called celibacy, by the practice of which we do not merely put on a conduct personally and socially but establish ourselves in a status of strength, where we are so tuned to things that our energies do not move at all in any direction, but are held up in such a way that there is no urge within ourselves to transfer our energies to outside things for the fulfillment of our desires. Desires have to be fulfilled, and also, they are not to be fulfilled. Both these statements are correct statements. But, the statements must be understood in their proper meaning. For instance, hunger has to be appeased, though hunger is a disease of the body, though it is a canker that eats into every man’s vitals and compels him to remember always that he is a body. Can anything be worse than this that one should be made to feel always that one is a prisoner? One may be a captive in it prison, but why should one be made to think everyday that one is a prisoner? But, that is precisely what hunger does. All the time it makes you remain body-conscious. Such an evil thing it is, but how can one get out of it. By meeting the demands of the body, while exercising very great caution simultaneously. That is why we put on clothes when we feel chillness; we go to sleep when we are tired; we eat a meal when we are hungry. We go for a walk and we do many things. Now, all these activities are so far removed from the goal of our life, as the north pole from the south, and yet they are taken as necessities. We may call them necessary evils, if we like. They are evils, no doubt, but they are necessary evils. So, they have to he befriended first, in order that we sever ourselves from them ultimately. The intention behind the practice of the canons of classification in a graduated manner is not the indulgence of desires, but their graduated, scientific, systematized and cautious fulfillment in a measure that is permissible and required under the circumstances for the purpose of freeing oneself from them finally. So, we do not eat because we want to eat, but because it is necessary to reach a stage where we need not eat at all.
Some time we need for something and sometime, we need to give up something out of our possessions as warranted by the circumstances. We need to identify what action must be taken and at what time. We need to identify our needs and accord priority according to their individual importance. If we achieve this, we can systemize our life and lead that more perfectly and more happily.
Be Happy – we may identify our desires and resources and do what is necessary to fulfill them.