Question: How can one find a balance of desires so as not to deny them and push them away, but neither to be overpowered and ruled by them?

Sri Chinmoy: When we accept the spiritual life, can the fulfilment of our teeming earthly desires satisfy us in any way? No! On the contrary, each time we fulfil one desire, we fall prey to more desires. But even the fulfilment of the desire itself does not give us necessary satisfaction. On the contrary, it increases our greed, our dissatisfaction in what we see, what we feel and what we are growing into.

So vital desires, for a seeker, have to be transformed into the life of aspiration. They have to be illumined. If you feel that once this desire is fulfilled, you will not enter into the world of desire anymore, that you will immediately enter into the world of aspiration, you are mistaken, it is not possible. The life of desire is a tempting life. We cannot say that once twenty desires are fulfilled we shall enter into the spiritual life. No! At that time the twenty-first desire will come to claim us. Once we enter the spiritual life we have to feel that each desire has to be offered to the Lord for its transformation, for its illumination. At this point it is necessary to recognise whether we are dealing with a desire or with a command.

I have come to be of service to you. There are some people here who cannot, or do not wish to identify themselves with me. They will find fault with me. But if somebody is identified with my life of aspiration and dedication, he will feel that I have come to share with him my experiences, to be of service to the divinity in him. When one enters into the spiritual life, if one is really conscious, one will know whether it is a desire he is fulfilling or God’s command. Otherwise he may call it a desire when it is not a desire at all. It may be something else. And again, he may be fooled. He may have some real desires which have nothing to do with God’s commands or God’s inner dictates. Then he creates a problem. He feels that his actions are saving humanity, serving humanity, when they may be totally undivine.

So to come back to your question, in the spiritual life the life of desire has to be transformed and illumined. If you say spirituality and desire-life can go side by side, you are mistaken. Day and night do not go together. We have to choose one of the two. If we care for light, then we have to give all importance to light. But giving all importance to light doesn’t mean that we shall cast aside our life of desire. We shall have to transform it, illumine it, so that it can be of help to our aspiration life. Our life of desire is our weakness. It does not have strength enough to make us feel who we really are. But our life of aspiration makes us feel that we are God’s chosen children. So we have to strengthen ourselves by bringing illumination into our life from our life of aspiration. This is the only way we can really get satisfaction out of life.