We come back to where we are. We are just at the beginning of the Karmayoga in which emphasis falls first upon purification, concentration, and renunciation. Where do we these three elements? We see because Sri Krishna says that our will is normally impure because of desire.
There is a distinction, which is made here between will and desire. The second and third chapters are given to this great distinction. The will is not to be excised; the will is not to be destroyed because that is the instrument. If you have to fight, you must have the will to fight. Will is not to be destroyed; but this will is normally vitiated, ‘impure’ by the presence of desire. Desire also looks like a will. If you examine the psychology of desire, you find in desire there is always this element of will: desire impels you. All will is force applied, and transformed into action so as to produce a result: this is the meaning of will. It is a force transformed into an action, applied to produce a result: this is the basic meaning of will.
This will in us normally is vitiated: it is in a state of impurity. That impure will is called desire. What are these elements of this impurity? We are never a force pure and simple. We are a bundle of a force, which is resisted by inertia. Our force is Rajas; our force is not the will, which is called ‘real will’, which is only a force of action. Ours is Rajas, there is a fever in it. That fever is again contradicted in us with idleness, sloth, negligence, at the same time. There is a force of action but it is contradicted because there is in us Tamas all the time. In our psychology it is impossible that Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas do not obtain together, in different proportions. Normally our action is Rajasic, but Rajas, which is greatly contradicted by Tamas: some kind of inertia. We want to do something but we do not want to do the whole thing.
You will see that this is one of the greatest problems of human life that even when we want to do something, we do not want to do the whole thing. At a certain stage you will say: “I will go so far and no more.” Or “This is my function, that is not my function; now somebody else must take it up, I have done all that I can, somebody else must take it up.” Or, there is Sattwa, which comes with its knowledge and gives you a balm of quietude; even you want to do action and a balm of quietude, which tells you to be quiet, “Don’t be feverish!” It gives you lots of questionings: “Are you really doing the right thing? Are you really doing the wrong thing? What will be the consequence of it? What will be the consequence of that?” Sattwa although it is intelligent, gives you knowledge, but it also stops the force of action.
These are impurities of our will. The will, which is ‘impure’ by Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas, becomes desire. This is one aspect of desire. The second aspect of desire is that there is an object, as I told you, will is a force applied to action to produce a result, but here, one becomes more exclusively turned to producing of result, and not so much careful in applying the force, not so much careful in really doing the action, but there is a tremendous vivacity to produce the result now, and wanting it right now!. That is desire.
The will to produce a result, nothing wrong about it! All action is nothing but will or force applied to action, so as to produce a result. But we are so weak that we do not give so much of importance to force, we do not gather enough force first of all, we do not really plan action properly, but we want to do something, immediately want to reach the results. There is a disproportionate relationship between force, action and result. In other words, our entire emphasis is actually upon enjoyment of result. Our force of will is a little, action is imperfect, but as far as the tendency to enjoy the result, is quick. And even when that result comes, you find that, “Oh! This is not what I wanted, I forgot what I really wanted, I wanted something else.” So even that we are not sure! Such is the condition: this is the psychology of desire.
Desire is basically a tendency to enjoy the fruits of action, about which we are not sure, and which we are not going to be satisfied with, and in regard to which the force is very little and the action is hardly planned properly, or hardly adequate for producing the result that is desired: this is the psychology of desire. All of us are subject to this desire. Apart of Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas, this is another strand in our desire.
Third, is that in every desire, and every action, there is a very powerful psychological strand, in which I put myself in the centre. In every desire, there is a central focus we might say, a central knot. I put myself in the centre without knowing who I am first of all, but there is an idea, a vague idea “I”: if you really examine what “I” is, it will be quite evaporating, but we don’t do that, we simply have an idea of an “I”.
That “I” is functioning in a very peculiar manner: it is said, “I, is a self contradiction.” I is a finite, which does not want to remain finite, but which don’t want to become infinite either. It is a self contradiction: the finite that does not want to remain what it is, and that does not want to be other than what it is, at the same time. If you really examine your psychology of the “I”, you will always find that it does not want to remain what it is: it wants to enlarge itself, wants be bigger…and yet anything that pokes it, and says, “Be, become!” it resists it, “I want to remain myself, I am I”: this is the psychology of the “I”.
Then I want to be ‘I’, not only that, but I want to be the centre of action. This is another aspect of our desire: “I want to be the centre of it.” That is to say: “For me, the whole action is moving on in the world, in which I am putting what I say “my” action”, without realising that, “Look when there is a whole universal action is going on, you are putting this one. How can you be centre?” It is obvious: you cannot be centre. But, ignorantly “I want to be the centre of it, and I want to say that everything ultimately must abide by “my” action, and ultimately my point should be the centre point, I should make the central contribution: “my” name”, Napoleon feels, that “My name in History should go round in such a way that the whole world was remade by Napoleon”, which is impossible, but that was his ambition, that was his idea. This centrality is another weakness in the whole action.
And third, when the result is produced, “I must be the enjoyer of it.” This “I” has this three fold characteristic: it wants to be itself, and yet not to be itself; it wants to be the centre; and it wants to enjoy, itself if possible the only sole enjoyer, (if possible!), if the world allows the sole enjoyer or if not, mine should be the main share: this is its fundamental urge. This is the three–fold state of our egoistic consciousness.