What is your ultimate desire?


I once had a thousand desires,

 but in my one desire to know you,  all else melted away.

– Rumi

Acharya Prashant: “I once had a thousand desires.” We all have a thousand desires. We all have thousand desires, right? What does each desire say? Each desire says, “Fulfil me, and you will get satisfaction.” Now, what is this satisfaction? When you are satisfied, do you still have desire? Does the desire say, “Fulfil me and still I will remain?” No, what does the desire say? “Fulfil me and I will go.”

So what does each desire want? To be fulfilled. And to be fulfilled means that the desire gets vanished. So each desire wishes for its own disappearance. So the desire only desires the disappearance of itself. That is what every desire wants. That is the nature of desire.

So there are thousand desires, and what is each desire desiring?

Listener: Its own disappearance.

AP: Rumi is saying, “I once had a thousand desires, but in my one desire to know you, all else melted away.” So a thousand desires are there. But what is the common desire that each desire has? The disappearance of desire.

So now you know what is the one desire that we have, behind our thousands of desires?

L1: The disappearance of itself.

AP: Can this desire please disappear? Because we do not know any other method of disappearance of desire, so we apply the only method we know. And what is the only method? To fulfil it. Had you known any other method to dissolve the desire, you would not have fulfilled the desire. Understand this.

You fulfil the desire because you don’t know anything else. You do not know any other method. If you could be assured that even without fulfilling the desire, the desire can vanish, won’t you take the option very quickly?

Let us say, you are craving for a pizza. If you were told that even without eating the pizza, even without paying the bill, even without consuming these calories, the desire to eat pizza will go away, and you will feel exactly as desireless, and as satisfied, would you still pay the money, travel to the shop and consume the calories? Would you still want to do that? You won’t. You eat the pizza because you don’t have any other option. You crave for pizza, and then, that desire asks for its completion, and you know only one way, to eat. So you eat. Right?

Desire actually does not ask for its fulfilment. It actually asks for its disappearance. And there is difference between dissolution of desire, and fulfilment of desire. The worldly man tries to beat the desire by fulfilling it. The spiritual man actually beats the desire, by dissolving it. This is the difference between the worldly man and the spiritual man. Do you understand this?

“I once had a thousand desires, but in my one desire to know ‘you,’ all else melted away.”

Knowing ‘you’ is knowing your own state of desirelessness. That desirelessness is not just an empty state. When you say, “desirelessness,” the word indicates the absence of something, desire-lessness. But actually you cannot be desireless without having something very big, very bountiful, very worthy of desire. Do you get it?

When we just say, “desirelessness,” the image that the mind gets is just of an absence. “I don’t have desires.” What you have, that cannot be captured in an image, because that is too large to be contained in an image. What do you get? That which you do not have. And what do you not have? Desire.

It is like the richest man saying, “I am not poor.” He is not lying, but he is making a terrible understatement. He is not lying, he is right. He is not poor. But he is making a terrible understatement. So when you say that the highest state is of desirelessness, then you are right. But you are very humble. You are, in fact, too humble. You are making a great understatement.

Remember: to be desireless means to be with something which is so large that no more desires are needed. “I have something so big now that all these small tit-bits have become irrelevant.” That is desirelessness. Right?

The world is afraid of desirelessness. If you tell somebody, “I don’t have any desires,” he will taunt you. He will say, “Have you become a sadhu-sannyasi? Oh! You don’t have any desires.” He will think that you have lost something, and the word itself is in negativa: “You have lost something.”

I am repeating again: what remains obvious is what you have lost. What have you lost? Trivia; desire. But what remains hidden is the greatness that you are now situated in. It is so great that it does not have a limit. And because it does not have a limit, so you cannot name it, or indicate it.

To be desireless means to have fulfilled the climax of the desire.

The worldly man has been trying to fulfil it, and you have fulfilled it. Remember, in trying to fulfil, there is only trying and trying, but in dissolution of desire, there is the actual fulfilment. So those who keep trying to fulfil their desires, all that they get is trying. Those who dissolve the desire, get fulfilment.

But remember again, dissolving the desire is not the first thing. You will not be able to give up the desire without first having something that is much more worthy, precious, important and immense, than all that you can desire. And then the desire drops on its own.

Even then it does not mean that you will not be desiring anything. It does not mean that you will be thirsty, and you will not ask for water. It only means that you will not be taking your trivial desires seriously. You will be happy with desires, and you will be equally contented without the fulfilment of desires. You will say, “Fine, small matters . . . I am so rich, I do not worry about small losses and gains.”

“In my one desire to know ‘you,’ all else melted away.”

That ‘you’ is that immensity which is the climax of desires; that you is that which all your desires are chasing.

When you ask for a pizza, you are not really asking for a pizza, you are asking for ‘That’. But because you have no way to come to ‘That,’ so you take an ugly substitute, an ugly shortcut. So what do you order? A pizza. But what do you want? Parmatma (The Absolute).

But that is not being sold in any of these huts. So instead, you go and say, “Pizza with extra cheese, seasoning, and this and that.” That waiter is an idiot. Had he been a realized man, he would have said, “We don’t sell Parmatma. And that is what you need.” You want ‘That,’ but you are running after some woman or some man; you want ‘That,’ but you are running after money, and prestige, and recognition. All your desires are desires of ‘That’ only – that which is referred to as ‘you’ by Rumi.

You have never wanted anything else. Anybody who has ever wanted, has wanted only ‘That’. Nothing else can be wanted. But we are ignorant, and we also don’t have a way to reach there. So instead of asking for ‘That’ directly, we keep asking for this and that.

So, you keep asking for more marks. Who wants marks? What will you do with these marks? You actually want that great contentment which marks unfortunately are never able to give. Such is our tragedy. We want something, and we keep asking for something else. And imagine your disappointment. Even when you get that something else, you are still defeated.

You need to shoot inwards, and you are shooting here and there. You need to shoot upwards, and you are shooting left and right.

Now even if you hit the jackpot, what do you get? Just disappointment.

You don’t hit the target, what do you get? Disappointment. You hit the target, you get more disappointment.

“In my one desire to know ‘you,’ all else melted away.”

Hit the real jackpot, shoot upwards!

And if you are really courageous, really, really courageous, then shoot inwards. Stop shooting here and there. Just shoot yourself right in the mind: “Goli maar bheje mein” (Shoot yourself in the head), and you are done . . . jackpot!

L2: This song can also be sung as a bhajan.

AP: Will you remember this? Stop shooting left and right. Stop targeting this and that. The real target is there (pointing upwards) and if you want to travel this distance really quickly, then shoot here (pointing inwards).

L1: Sir, can you name that greatest thing, that immense thing, after having which all other desires become so small. Can you name that?

AP: Yes, you can name it. It is like drinking tea.

L1: What is it?

AP: Everything. Everything is colored in that. It is not a separate desire. It is the essence of every desire. So why do you need to give it a separate name?

You can’t give it a separate name.

It’s like your lover asking you, “Can you tell me when you love me?” When do you love him or her? When exactly? If you are in love, when do you love? Twenty four hours! Or is there a specific time slot marked by alarm bells?

Similarly, that ‘One,’ in your own words, is immense. And what is immense, is boundaryless. You can’t say, “It begins here and ends there.” So, you are feeling like eating papaya. And even while you are eating papaya, you are with ‘Him’. On the surface it appears that the desire is of eating papaya, and you are taking a piece of papaya and having it, but it’s like eating papaya while sitting with your beloved.

Don’t you take breakfast with your beloved? When you have breakfast with your beloved, what is important, the breakfast or the beloved? On the surface if somebody sees you, he will say that you are having breakfast, but you know what you are doing? What are you doing?


L2: Sharing love.

AP: Yes! It is like that. You will keep doing everything else and you cannot even say, “Now, I have met the beloved. Now, I have been with him. Now, I am remembering him. Now, I have attained him.” When you put some salt in the sea, where do you find the salt? Nowhere and everywhere. The sea is always salty, no matter where you pick the water from.

The spiritual mind is always with ‘Him’ whatever it is doing, or not doing . . . eating, running. And in fact, it will never say, “This is the time that I have reserved for the beloved.” You will be surprised. You will actually accuse him. You will say, “This man never finds time for the beloved.”

“We have a separate time for chanting, we have reserved some time for reading, we have reserved some time for discussions. This man, he never goes to the temple, he never reads, he never does the rituals. Why does he never appear to be doing anything for the beloved?” Because he is always with the beloved.

You asked a name for ‘That’. (Pointing at one of the listeners) So, right now I am talking to Ayush, what is the name of the beloved?

L2: Ayush.

AP: Ayush! Right now I am reading these questions. What is the name of the beloved?

L2: These questions.

AP: (Pointing at another listener) I look at Ved, what name has the beloved taken now?

L2: Ved.

AP: Yes. You want to be possessive? You want to have only one name for the beloved?

L2: Sir, it is like thinking about something which I have never seen before. I can’t even imagine about the thing which we are dealing with.

AP: But it is so simple.

L2: It is not simple! It is so complicated that I can’t even think.

AP: You are Ayush. It is as simple as that!

L2: I need more time to think . . .

L1: Sir, often we see that the names of those follow Islam contain the word Muhammad. For example, Muhammad Azaz.

The name although is Azaz, but the fact that Muhammad is attached with it, conveys that the beloved is with you constantly.

AP: Yes, it wants to convey the same thing – that the beloved should always be with you, always.

In the same way, in the Sanatana Dharma, the trees, the mountains, the rivers, the rocks are worshiped. They too signify the same – that whatsoever it is, it is ‘That’.

Haven’t you seen it?  One sees a stone and starts praying; one sees a tree and he would tie a string around it, put a statue on it, light a lamp, and start praying. It is to signify that whatsoever it is, it is ‘That’.

Whatsoever you find, start worshipping it.

One sees a cow walking, he bows to it. But the problem is, one should then not only bow to a cow, but to a pig too. There is no problem in bowing to a cow, but the problem is in excluding a pig from being bowed to. One should bow to a pig too. And it has happened that in India there have been religious groups who have bowed to animals which you consider as untouchables. They have prayed even to the dead.

This only signifies, “Jit dekhun tit tu” (Wherever I see, I see you).

Have you seen henna? It is green in color. Are you able to see the red color in it? It is because the red color is everywhere, hence we are not able to see it. The beloved is like the red color in henna; because it is everywhere, hence it is not visible.

“Sahib teri sahibi har ghat rahi samay. Jyon mehndi ke paat mein, laali lakhi na jaaye.

(God, your godliness is contained in everything. Just as the imperceptible redness of henna is contained in the cauldron in which it is kept.)


Godliness is expressed in all the things, but it is not visible through the senses.

The mark of a spiritual mind is that he is able to see anything, anywhere.

You will be surprised how he could see this, in this. And he would see, and he would also get immersed in it.

As it happened with Guru Nanak that he was counting and counting, and he remembered ‘That’. Ramakrishna was going somewhere one day, he sees an animal being followed by its offsprings, and Ramakrishna right in the middle of the street starts singing, “Ma . . .” (a bhajan devoted to the Mother goddess).

Wherever one see, one sees ‘That’.

When your eyes start deceiving you, then you should believe that you have really seen. When what is being seen, is really not seen, rather something else is being seen, then realize that you really seeing.

– Excerpts from a Clarity session held at Advait Sthal. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: What is your ultimate desire?

Read more related articles

Article 1 : Do you know hearts deepest desire?

Article 2 : Do you know why you desire?

Article 3 : Free from the clutches of the world, You remember god

2 thoughts on “What is your ultimate desire?

    1. Acharya Prashant (आचार्य प्रशांत) Post author

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