Question: What is the difference between desire and aspiration?

Sri Chinmoy: There are two significant polarities in our human life: one is desire, the other is aspiration. Desire is something that brings us the message of the unfulfilling and unfulfilled finite, and aspiration is something that brings us the message of the fulfilling and eternally fulfilled Infinite. Desire always binds. But unfortunately, before we can bind someone, we find that we ourselves are already bound. Before we can possess something, we are already possessed by that very thing. Before we succeed in possessing someone as our slave, we discover that we have become a perfect slave to that particular person. But the nature of aspiration is to expand and to offer oneness at every moment. When we use our aspiration, from a river we become a sea, and from a sea we become an ocean. We are constantly expanding our consciousness with aspiration, but with desire constantly we are binding ourselves.

When we aspire, we feel that there is something called Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. These are not mental hallucinations but something very real. The seekers who soulfully pray and meditate feel in the inmost recesses of their hearts the presence of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality. Of course, these must be highly developed seekers, seekers who have sincerely practised spiritual life and have meditated for a number of years.

What today we call desire, tomorrow that very thing we will call frustration. And the day after tomorrow we will call that thing destruction. From the divine point of view, anything that does not help us in our spiritual progress is nothing short of destruction.

We have to know that there is no end to our desires. Before we fulfil today’s desire, we have ten new desires. It is endless. No matter how many desires we fulfil, we will never be able to put an end to our desires. We will feel that the one desire we have fulfilled has not given us enough satisfaction. Perhaps if we fulfil another desire, then we will get real satisfaction. So we try. But each time we fulfil a desire, we discover that we have become worse beggars. Before we fulfilled our desire, we were beggars because we wanted something which we did not have. Now, after we have fulfilled our desire, we feel that our sense of insufficiency has increased rather than decreased. But when we fulfil our aspiration even to a small extent, we feel a sense of completeness.