What Do We Really Want?

Human’s innate desires, according to Hinduism, are pleasure, success, and the responsible discharge of duty.  But are these what we really want, or are they just superficial, finite longings?  And if they are limited cravings, what then do we truly desire?

Pleasure, success, and duty certainly are desires that people wish to attain, but human beings are far too deep to be completely satisfied by such simplistic measures.  Which is why Hindus believe these three desires are merely doors that lead to the deeper human subconscious (where our true wishes remain hidden until we are able to realize what we really want).  So what are these ‘real’ wants, and how do they differ from the obvious conscious desires?  According to Hindu principle, being (rather than not being/dying), knowing, and joy are what people actually want.  Supposedly, it is not until the initial appeal of pleasure, duty, and success wears off that one is able to realize a deeper level of want.  Anyone can seek pleasure, maintain success, and fulfill duty, but these are all finite desires that can restrict people from the limitless being, consciousness, and bliss that we genuinely desire.

People want boundlessness; they want infinite being, infinite knowledge, and infinite bliss.  Although pleasure and joy seem identical, joy, in the sense used in Hindu thought, opposes futility, boredom, and frustration (opening a person to possible unrestrained happiness); pleasure, on the other hand, is a direct cause of enjoyment (if this, then that) rather than an indirect promoter of bliss.

We want to know.  Human beings are constantly striving to learn and understand.  Knowledge and wisdom, however, is infinite because the universe is forever changing; things come and go and no human could ever fully comprehend the phenomenal amount of information, ideas, and obtainable knowledge that exists.

Continuation is the final, and perhaps most crucial, genuine desire of the human race.  What is success, pleasure, and duty, or any quintessential human desire without life?  Existence comes before anything else (before extension or before any desire can exist at all).

How is it possible to generalize about and differentiate between what people want (pleasure, success, and duty) and what they really want (being, knowing, and joy)?  Hindu belief does so by stating that the former desires are bounded, while the latter are limitless.  In the end it’s simply a matter of what we really, deeply desire:  release from the finitude that restricts us from existing, consciousness, and harmony.


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