Need And Desire – In Gita Verse 1.12 Then Bhīṣma, the great valiant grandsire of the Kuru dynasty, the grandfather of the ﬁghters, blew his conch shell very loudly, making a sound like the roar of a lion, giving Duryodhana joy.
When Bhīṣma blew his conch shell very loudly, making a sound like the roar of a lion, conveyed a message to both the sides of his determination, focus, control, pride and leadership.
Message to both the sides was the same but how it was received was different.
Duryodhana immediately expressed his joy, before the war started. This indicates he is more eager to fight than to become objective about it. His focus was not on his present moments act but on his desire.
Needs can be fulfilled, but desires or wants cannot be. Desire is a need gone haywire. Needs are simple, they come from nature; desires are very complex they don’t come from nature.
They are created by the mind. Needs are moment to moment, they are created out of life itself. Desires are not moment to moment, they are always for the future. They are not created by life itself, they are projected by the mind.
Desires are projections, they are not really needs. This is the first thing to be understood, and the deeper you understand, the better. What is desire? It is movement of the mind into the future. Need belongs to this moment — if you are hungry it is a need, and has to be fulfilled. and it can be fulfilled.
There’s no problem about it. If you are thirsty, you are thirsty here and now, you have to seek water. It should be fulfilled — so it is a life need. But desires are not like that.
Remember, needs are always here and now — they are existential. And desires are never here and now — they are non-existential. They are just mental, in the mind. And they cannot be fulfilled because their very nature is to move into the future.
They are just like the horizon you see. It seems that it is nearby somewhere the earth meets the sky. It is so apparent! You can walk there! But you could go on walking forever and ever, and the distance will remain the same; always somewhere ahead the earth will be meeting the sky. But you will never reach that place, that point where the earth meets the sky. They never meet.
This is just an illusion, what Hindus call MAYA: it appears, but it is not so. It appears if you are standing at a distance. The nearer you come the more you realise that it is not so. The horizon moves further ahead, and the distance between you and it always remains the same.
Needs are simple. They can be fulfilled. You feel hungry and you eat; you feel thirsty and you drink; you feel sleepy, you go to bed.
Desires are very cunning and complex. You are frustrated, but not because of needs. You are frustrated because of desires. And if desires take too much of your energy you will be unable to fulfill your needs also, because who is there to fulfill them? You are moving into the future; you are thinking of the future; your mind is dreaming.
Who is there to fulfill ordinary needs of the day? You are not there. And you would like to remain hungry but reach the horizon. You would like to postpone needs so that the whole energy moves towards the desire. But in the end, you find that the desire is not fulfilled, and because needs have been neglected, in the end you are just a ruin. And the time that is lost cannot be regained; you cannot go back.
There is a story about a old wise man, whose name was Mencius. He was a follower of Confucius and he died when he was very old. Somebody asked him: If you were given life again, how will you start it?
Said Mencius: I will pay more attention to my needs and less attention to my desires. And this realisation will come to you also. But it always comes very late and then life is no more in your hands. If you were given life again….
Needs are beautiful; desires are ugly. Needs are bodily; desires are psychological.
Pandava also heard the conch shell blown by Bhīṣma and they did not shown any joy or eagerness. It was a challenge for them with all the preparation, managing their resources, still the challenge would be whether they would be able to fight without enmity or not. For them the war was not for winning and losing it was about fighting with or without enmity. This had made them silent. Indication of silent was not cowardice but that they were connected to their subjectivity.