Enjoyment Cannot Quench Desires



Most people think that they will see through worldly enjoyments, and that Vedanta could wait for their retired life, if at all. Unfortunately, things do not work out that way. A mind given to sense enjoyment and brooding over worldly concerns cannot just turn to higher things concomitant with retirement. Nor does fulfillment of our desires help us get rid of them; they only increase all the more.

King Yayati’s life from the Bhagavata illustrates the point. In his brim of youth Yayati was cursed to premature old age by an incensed sage. The king asked the sage’s pardon and prayed for a remedy. The sage told him that he could have his youth back if someone else exchanged his youth for the king’s old age.

The king exchanged his son’s youth for his old age and enjoyed sense pleasures for thousands of years. If desires could be quenched by satisfying them, Yayati would have been a sated man by now.

Instead, he discovered a profound truth: Desire can never be quenched by enjoying sense objects. Like fire fed with ghee, it only flames up all the more.

Source - Prabuddha Bharata Editorial May 2004.