Desire includes everything that is finite. Whether it is pleasure or passion that we see in the finite world it belongs to the realm of desire. Until the vital is completely purified, the human consciousness feels that pleasure is something very sweet. It is what we call 'comfort'. Comfort and pleasure go together. There are two Indian words: aram, meaning 'comfort', and haram, meaning 'very dangerous and destructive'. Our late Prime Minister Nehru used to say, " Aram is haram. " Comfort seems like something mild, but it is basically the same thing as pleasure in the form of passion and is inevitably followed by destruction.
When we enter into the world of aspiration, we deal with Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. When we live in the world of desire we see that passion abides there. Desire ultimately ends in the lower vital where passion is located. When we can purify desire through our aspiration, we see that automatically passion is transformed into intense aspiration. In order to purify desire we must have inner aspiration, and this aspiration comes when we are awakened within. If our aspiration is constant, then the burning flame inside us is climbing steadily upward. But when the flame is not burning, the downward pull of the vital becomes very strong. There is no other way to conquer passion or to illumine passion than through aspiration.
Some human beings progress very, very slowly in their spiritual life because they have no aspiration. But there are people who not only have no aspiration but also have no desire either for themselves, for humanity or for God. Those people are in the most deplorable situation. God says to them, "Something is better than nothing. It is better for you to have some desires and to get some temporary satisfaction from the life of desire than to live in the stone-consciousness, wallowing in the pleasures of idleness and making no progress at all." Then, when you see that you get nothing but frustration from the fulfilment of desire, you will begin to aspire.
There are elderly people who are like this — they have practically no desire but, at the same time, they have no aspiration either. They know that they are approaching death, but that does not inspire them either to cry for the fulfilment of their desires or to pray to God or meditate on God. They do not even have any particular desire to live.
But there are also highly spiritual people who don't have any desires because they have transcended them. They serve God in humanity with the utmost dedication and unconditional love. This form of desirelessness is the only satisfactory one.
If one has desire but no aspiration, that is better than having neither desire nor aspiration. He will have many necessary experiences and eventually he will see that there is no fulfilment in desire. Then he will jump into the sea of aspiration. But if one enters again into the realm of desire after having entered into the world of aspiration, that is a real catastrophe. If one does not aspire, we can say that he is just an ignorant fellow; he does not know that there is something called inner peace, inner bliss, inner light. If someone has not seen the light and he stays in a dark room, God will not blame him because he is not aware that there is a room full of light. But after having had inner experiences, if one wants to go back to the ordinary world, then he will be a victim to frustration and inner destruction. Once one has seen the effulgence of light in the illumined room, if the vital pulls him back again to the dark room, his inner psychic pain will be most excruciating. When he saw the light, the joy that he received had intensity. In the dark room there also is intensity, but this intensity is like a sharp knife. In the light room there was somebody to show him how to use the knife properly. But in the dark room he does not know how to use it and he just stabs himself.
Once you enter into the spiritual life, never, never go back to the ordinary life. If you go back to the ordinary life you will be an object of ridicule in the outer world and an object of distrust in the inner world. People will say, "This fellow failed, that is why he has given up and come back to us." The divine forces in the cosmos will say, "Oh, he does not care for us. He cares more for the life of ignorance," and they will not try to help you any more. Also, you will always make a conscious or unconscious comparison between the divine life you have left and the life you have returned to. This comparison will always be unfavourable to the ordinary life. Your soul, the divine spark within you, will make you feel that you have given up something most fruitful. Then frustration will loom large in your ordinary life. If you cannot be sincere and jump into the sea of spirituality wholeheartedly, then it is better to remain on the shore with your desires until you are really ready to accept the spiritual life permanently.