Tanha : Unqueched Thirst ( Desire )
2 Jul 2021 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
The Sanskrit word trsna means thirst . The pali equivalent of trsna is tanha .Lord Gautam Buddha has used this word in his teaching .He says that kamana (desire )is the cause of suffering .To get rid of desire , one has to annihilate one`s desires .
Any individual ,society,state or country cannot prosper and progress without desire . Satisfaction with what little one has is the enemy in one`s progress. Dissatisfication with the existing conditions with simultaneous desire for more and more is the key to progress .This principle has been accepted in economics and political science. It is the general observation that individual acquire more and more fame and more and more all-round prosperity through incessant desire and continuous striving .No material property is feasible without desire and struggle for achieving more and more .Materialistically speaking , sky is the limit to progress .Some very successful materialistic stride one step farther , they piece the sky and go beyond it in their limilless seach for further acquisition and achievement .
The materialistic view points has been tested and retested in all countries and all ages.How do we reconcile with budda teaching then?
Darwinism is atheistic,materialistic and anti-spiritual.`Struggle for existence and survival of the fittest’is a key principle in Darwinism .This principal is applicable not only for human beings but also for all plants and animal, starting from viruses, bacteria, protozoa, algae, and fungi. That is a well-tested , sound principalat the materialistic level cannot be denied. Inaction is anathema to struggle. Complete or partial inaction is involved in lack of desire. Hence, analyticallyspeaking, Buddha’s teaching on the annihilation of desire (Kamana-vinasa) and Darwinism cannot go together.
Three types of desires
There is no life without actions .Actions germinate in desires. Hence a desireless , actionless life is not pleaded for .Only samnyasis (ones who have renunciated the world )cease to act.And they too do not stop their daily actions , inevitable for living.inaction is to be condemned for householders , business –men, farmers ,fighters , administrators,statemen and all others who have to perform their duties .The Gita proscribes inaction.
The Vedas and the Upanishad declare that , prior to the creation , God desired the creation of the universe .Although he has no unfulfilled desire and no want at all.He,for his sportive play , desired to create a universe . He hed designed a blueprint of the universe before he really created it.He engineered t he design and continued to do so .His artistic hand creates the art of canvas of the cosmos.Whatever God does is executed through the agency of the divine mother ,the consort and power of God .He becomes the chairperson of the creation , evolution , involution ,and dissolution of the universe . if this is the case with God Himself,there is no question of the abandoned of desiresand activity for men.
There are three types of desires, namely ,sattvika ,rajasika,and tamasika .Mahatma Gandhi desired the freedom of india.One benevolent person has a desire to open a school and a hospital for the poor people.A yogi has a strong desire to librate his self .These are cases of sattvika desire.A politician desires to be Prime minister .A reputed writer desires the nobel prize.A businessman desires to be multimillioanaire.These are cases of rajasika desires.A perverted person desires sex-indulgence with many beautiful women.A notorious criminal has a desire to murder the Prime minister of a country.A terrorist desires genocide in a village if a certain community .These are example of tamasika desires .
If desire is proscribed , it becomes difficult or impossible for an individual or a society to live meaningfullhy.A life without purpose is no life .A life withour=t desires is impossible to think of.Hence desires ,as such , are not to be condemned,without an in-depth analysisof their merits and demerits.Tamasika desires are to be condemned , of course .Sattvika desires are to be recommended. Rajasika desires are to be critically examined for their adoption or rejection.