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Chapter 5: Desiring the Unattainable

The seventh sutra:

Desire only that which is within you.

It looks absurd, paradoxical, illogical: Desire only that which is within you. Desire is basically for that which is not within you. Desire means the desire for something that is not within you. If it is already within you, what is the need to desire it?

We never desire ourselves, we always desire something else. No one desires himself, there is no need. You are already that, you are not missing anything. We desire something which is missing.

This sutra says: Desire only that which is within you, for many reasons. One, if you desire something that is not within you, you may get it but it will never become yours. It cannot. You can never really become the master of it; on the contrary, you will become a slave. So whatsoever you desire in the outside world, if you get it you will not be the master of it, you will become just the slave. The possessor is always possessed by his possessions.

You may think that you own your house. That is not true: the house owns you. Things become masters because you cannot live without them. They can live without you, so they are the masters. You cannot live without them so you are not the master. The master is that which can live without the other; the slave is one who cannot live.who has become dependent. The greater the number of possessions, the greater is the slavery that is created.

You are possessed by your possessions, and you desired mastery! Frustration sets in because all your hope is frustrated. You come to a point where the things you wanted are there, whatever you desired has happened, but you have become the slave. The kingdom now appears to be nothing but an imprisonment and whatever you possess - or think that you possess - is not really possessed, because it can be taken away at any moment. Even if no one takes it away, death is bound to take it.

In religious terminology, that which can be taken away by death is not yours. Death is the criterion. If you have something, there is only one criterion to judge whether you really possess it: judge it against death and think whether you will be capable of having it after your death. If death takes it, you never possessed it. You were just in an illusion.

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