Ep.04 ~ Desire and Willfulness

“Most of everything we do in life is designed to shine us up a little bit, so people will like us and look at us and appreciate us more and we get some attention, some affection. You know? But we don’t have to shine. We really don’t have to. So, if you’re noticing all the ways you’re trying to shine, that’s good. Otherwise how can you let go of that stuff if you don’t notice? Right? It’s not going to help you get happy. You’re just going to spend a lot of time shining yourself up. Then you fall apart.” – Krishna Das


Q: I’m wondering if you can speak to the differentiation between going after what you want, desire and like a willfulness.

KD: You need will, you know? Will is what moves you. It directs your energy. Without will, you know, where does it go? What do you do? Whether it’s, you’re trying to direct your attention, that’s also your will. I remember, I’ve told this many times, but when I was in the jungle with this old Baba who was 163 at the time, he said to me one day, he looked at me and said, “Hm. You have to develop willpower.” And my first thought was, “Willpower? What do I need that for?” And then he kind of went like, like he saw my thought, so He did something and He showed me inside of myself, what He was seeing and it was pretty intense. I saw that I was not, I was putting chains around my ankles, you know? I was not going after the things I wanted in life, and I was all justifying it with, “well, I don’t need that. I don’t need this.”  You know, all this kind of stuff. But I really wanted things that I wasn’t going after.  Things I wanted. And I saw that I had this kind of funny thing like that there was spiritual life and worldly life and that you could live a spiritual life and you didn’t have to, you know. But I was in the world. There was only one life, mine, right? And if I wasn’t going to live it, who was going to live it? I was not going after the things I wanted. I wasn’t living fully. And that was a big moment for me. Willfulness, by that I mean, I take it to mean inappropriate selfish craving of something. But not, go ahead

Q: Yeah perhaps, but do you think it’s possible to experience that kind of want and desire in a positive way and at the same time have that craving and wanting. So there’s two things happening.

KD: Ok, let’s do this again. So, you have a desire for something and, which is called craving. Desire is craving. The issue is it going to hurt you or somebody else. That’s the only real issue I can see. If it’s a desire to drink a bottle of poison because it might taste good, I don’t think that’s good.

Q: I think, can I elaborate?

KD: Please.

Q: So, like, if I want something in my life, if I have a goal or an aspiration for something that’s important, but then when I find that I’m pursuing it, that I get caught up in wanting it to turn out a certain way or I get caught up in what people think of me or how good I am in the face of someone else.

KD: Well, first of all, one thing is why do you want it? Do you want people to think a certain way about you? You’re trying to get something so that people will appreciate and look at you a certain kind of way? If that’s your motivation, hm, that’s what’ll happen. But the other part of it is that you know, as far as the fruits of our actions, we have no control over that, all we can do is do what we do, and whatever comes to us, comes to us. We can’t guarantee success in anything and we can’t guarantee failure. Well, we can guarantee failure by not going after what we want. So it was my fear of failure that was keeping me from going after the things I wanted. And when I noticed that, I was able to overcome that to some degree. But yeah that’s good, being aware of all that stuff that happens to you on the way to getting something is very good. Is that a reason to not go after it anymore? Not necessarily. It’s like it’s doing good, it’s showing you parts of yourself that you weren’t seeing before, which then horrify you and that’s very healthy. It’s good to be horrified by things that are horrifying and selfishness and greed and desire to shine, you know? I remember, one of Mahrajji’s great old devotees named Dada, and we were at the Kumbh Mela in India in 1989 and Dada lived also in Allahabad, a few miles away from this space, the place where the rivers meet and there’s a big Mela there, a big festival. So, we were going to, we stayed with Dada for awhile, and then we were going to go to the Mela grounds and stay at this Baba’s place, and so He sent one of His disciples to come get us and show us how to find Him because it was very hard, there were 20 million people, you know, that came from all over India for two weeks, and then they disappear again. So, this sadhu comes into Dada’s house and he was so arrogant and so, had so much pride, it was, he walked in like, “Look at me, I’m such a great sadhu, you’re just a householder”, he walked in like this, you know. Dada took one look at him and he grabbed me and he pulled me into the back room and there was an old Almira, you know, an old cabinet and he reached down under it, way down in the back and he pulls out this key and then he opens it, right, he opens the door and he reaches down the back shelf and he pulls something out, and it’s these old funky newspapers, something wrapped up in newspaper, so he starts unwrapping it, and it’s this really cheap aluminum Lota, which is a, like a big copper pot, small pot, which they use to pour water or carry water. It was all rusty and dirty and dusty and he looks, and he takes it and he holds it up to me. “Krishna Das, do you see? Do you see?” “No Dada, I don’t see.” “Do you see? Do you see?” “No Dada, I don’t see.” And he looks at me, and he goes, “You don’t have to shine.” And he just wrapped it up again. Oh, sorry. He said, “Maharajji left this for me, the last time He was here, He left this for me. Do you see?” I said, “No.” “Do you see?” “No.” He said, “You don’t have to shine.” And he put it back, folded it up, closed it, took the key, put the key back under there and walked out of the room. You don’t have to shine. You know? Most of everything we do in life is designed to shine us up a little bit, so people will like us and look at us and appreciate us more and we get some attention, some affection. You know? But we don’t have to shine. We really don’t have to. So, if you’re noticing all the ways you’re trying to shine, that’s good. Otherwise how can you let go of that stuff if you don’t notice? Right? It’s not going to help you get happy. You’re just going to spend a lot of time shining yourself up. Then you fall apart. Your arms fall off and your legs fall because you’ve been shining so much.  So, desires are not necessarily bad. Necessarily lead to shining, but they lead to fulfillment in many ways. They lead to wisdom, too. Because you want something, go after it, look at all the things you’re learning by going after something. If you stayed home and watched tv, you’d never see these parts of yourself. If you don’t see them, who will see them? If you can’t let go of them, how will you ever really get what you really want? Since those desires to shine and attract this and attention and all that stuff, that’s in the way of real love. So, Dada was too much, you know?  He was really something. Anything Maharajji said, he said, “Yes, Baba.” “Dada you are an idiot. You never, you have no brains.” “Ha Baba, I have no brains. Yes, I have no brains.” “If I was your wife, Dada, I would have thrown you out long ago.” “Yes, Baba, you would have thrown me out. Yes, You would have thrown me out.”  “You have no brains.” “Ha, Baba.” “No Dada, you have no brains.” Then He goes, “Dada, I have plenty of brains.” “Yes, Baba, you have plenty of brains. Yes.” “You have brains, too, Dada.” “Yes, Baba, I have brains, too.” It didn’t matter what Maharajji said, Dada just said, “Yes, Baba.” It was unbelievable.

We used to, he would be with Maharajji from morning til night and for most of his life he was a smoker, a heavy smoker, so there’d be long periods where he’d be with Maharajji and he couldn’t smoke, so Maharajji would go, “Go take your two minutes.” So, he would run through our room in the back, we always had an ash tray, his favorite brand of cigarettes and some chai ready for him and he would come in and he would start smoking cigarettes and drinking chai and telling us Maharajji stories, and then all of a sudden he would, you’d see like, he’d feel and start to move and you’d see that he was starting to throw the cigarette down, you know? And put the tea cup down and then we heard Maharajji, “Dada!” But he heard it before anybody heard it, before it was even a sound, he was already moving in that direction. It was so cool. So cool. One time Maharajji says to him, “Dada, I could have been a really big Saint.  I could have been a really big Saint, but I had one fault.” “What’s that, Baba?” “Too much compassion.” Really. When he said, “ really big Saint,” he means, walked around in those fancy clothes and drove big cars and had thousands and millions of disciples. He was just so far beyond that shit it’s unbelievable. Everywhere He sat down it became a town. People showed up from everywhere. How did they know he was there? Woosh. Like this. He couldn’t stay in one place. He couldn’t in one place. They used to call him Latrine Baba because the first place, the first thing He would do when He got to a place was build latrines. Because there would be a thousand people there in one day, where are they going to go poop? So He became known as latrine Baba.

He used to say, “People come here, they think they can fool Me.” One time this group of people came and they wanted, they wanted to use Maharajji’s name to raise money for a school, which is a good thing to do for kids, start a school. But for some reason He didn’t give them permission and when they left, He said, “People come here, they think they can fool me. I go on fooling the whole world. And people think they can fool me.” We just kind of went… He could see everything. He knew everything. It was, and He knew everything about us and He still loved us. That’s the fucking miracle. I’m sorry. That’s a miracle. That’s the miracle of love. Unconditional love.

Suggestions for your practice: Devi Sadhana | Sri Ram Kirtan Sadhana

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