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Chapter 5: Desire Only That Which Is Within You

Now these sutras become deeper, now the river deepens. Only if you pay attention will you be able to understand.

The seventh sutra:

Desire only that which is within you.

It is very paradoxical, paradoxical in two ways. One is that we only wish for, we only desire, what is not within us. That’s what it means to desire something - a longing for that which we do not already have. We only desire what we feel is lacking. So to desire means to want something which we do not yet have, but which can be had tomorrow. What else is desire but this thirst?

This sutra is saying:

Desire only that which is within you.

The first implication is, do not desire what is not within you. But all our desires are for things which are not within us; we only desire what we do not have. It seems logical that we should ask for what we do not have; why should we ask for what we have already? So the first thing is, desire does not arise for that which is already within us; hence this sutra seems very paradoxical.

And this sutra is very meaningful and paradoxical in a second way: in life we can only attain that which we already have. We can never attain that which was not already inside us. No matter what we attain on the outside, it will never really be attained. It can be taken away from us.

No matter how much wealth a person may accumulate, it can be stolen, you can be robbed of it - and even if it is not stolen, even if you are not robbed, even if the state does not become communist, even if none of all this happens, still death will snatch it away. Whatsoever you desired and accumulated will, at the moment of death, drop from your hands. It was with you, but it did not become yours. If it had become yours, then no one could have taken it away from you.

That is why, in the eyes of religion, wealth means that which cannot be taken away from you. That which can be taken away is just a trouble - because of all the problems involved in having to protect it. First you take it from others, and then you suffer the problem of having to protect it. First the problems of snatching and taking it from others and after doing all this you remain afraid and trembling, twenty-four hours a day in fear, in case someone else takes it away from you. And in the end it is taken from you anyway! So religion says that only the foolish call it wealth - it is actually a misfortune.

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