Desire and aspiration1

America’s fond child is New York. New York’s fond child is New York University. This evening I wish to offer my sincere affection, true admiration and humble dedication to you, O fond children of the New York University.

Desire is a wild fire which burns and burns and finally consumes us. Aspiration is a glowing fire that secretly and sacredly uplifts us, our consciousness and finally liberates us.

Thirst for the highest is aspiration.
Thirst for the lowest is annihilation.

Desire is expectation. No expectation, no frustration. Desire killed, true happiness built. Aspiration is surrender. Surrender is man’s conscious oneness with God’s Will.

As war brings the commerce of a country to a standstill, even so our tremendous inclination to the pleasures of ignorance brings all our inner spiritual movements to a standstill.

Already as things exist at present, our very birth compels us to be far away from God. Why wallow deliberately in the pleasures of the senses and move farther away from God? Indeed, to satisfy the imagined necessities of our human life and cry for the fulfilment of the earthly pleasures cannot but be self-torturing evil. But to satisfy God’s necessities, real and divine, in us and through us, is self-illumination.

Poor God, ill-lit men always take you amiss. They think that you are merciless. Yet when you fulfil their lecherous desires, they think that nobody on earth can surpass you in stupidity.

Now poor man, look at your most deplorable fate. In the apt words of Bernard Shaw: “There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart’s desire, the other is to get it.”

Desire means anxiety. This anxiety finds satisfaction only when it is able to present itself before solid attachment. Aspiration means calmness. This calmness finds satisfaction only when it is able to present itself before the all-seeing and all-loving detachment. In desire and nowhere else abides the human passion. Human passion has a dire foe called judgment, the judgment of the divine dispensation.

In aspiration and nowhere else dwells man’s salvation, man’s salvation has an eternal friend called Grace, God’s all-fulfilling Grace.

Desire is temptation. Temptation nourished, true happiness starved. Aspiration is the soul’s awakening. The soul’s awakening is the birth of supernal delight.

A true seeker of the infinite truth never can gain anything from Oscar Wilde’s discovery. He says: “The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” The seeker has already discovered the truth that it is only through high, higher and highest aspiration that one can get rid of all temptations, seen and unseen, born and yet to be born.

Wilde says something else. And this is quite significant, “I can resist everything except temptation.” Needless to say, that nobody blames him for that, for temptation is a universal disease. For a mortal without aspiration, temptation is unmistakably irresistible. But a true seeker feels and knows that he can resist temptation, but what he cannot resist is transformation, the transformation of his physical nature, his entire consciousness in the bosom sea of Time. Of course, the transformation of his physical nature, his entire earthly consciousness — never did he resist and never will be. On the contrary, that is what he is on earth for.

Look at the strength of a bubble of desire! It has the power to encage our entire life for its absolute use. Look at the strength of an iota of aspiration. It has the power to make us feel that God the Infinite is absolutely ours. And something more, God’s infinite Love, Peace, Joy and Power are for our constant use.

The objects of the senses and man’s attachment to them are inseparable. But the moment they see the smile of God, they fail to admit their intimacy. What is more, they become perfect strangers.

Fulfil your body’s demands and you lose your self-control. Fulfil your soul’s needs and you gain your self-control.

Don’t desire vice. In refraining, you will possess something more valuable — self-control. What is self-control? It is the power that tells you that you have not to run towards your goal. The goal has to come to you and it shall.

The capital of the outer world is money, which very often changes itself into poisonous honey. The capital of the inner world is aspiration which eventually transforms itself into self-realisation.

The acme of human desire is represented by Julius Caesar: Veni, vidi, vici. (I came, I saw, I conquered). The pinnacle of divine aspiration was voiced forth by the son of God. “Father, let Thy Will be done.”

Passion’s slave is man. God’s child is likewise man. What do you want to be? God’s child, or passion’s slave? Choose. One selection leads you to utter destruction, the other to immediate salvation. Choose, you are given the golden and unconditional choice. Choose, choose you must. Here and now.


  1. AUM 485. This lecture was given by Sri Chinmoy at the New York University on March 29th, 1969.

Sri Chinmoy, AUM — Vol. 5, No. 8, Mar. 27, 1970.First published by AUM Centre Press in 1970.

This is the 9043rd book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book AUM — Vol. 5, No. 8, Mar. 27, 1970, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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