The anatomy of desire

Acharya Prashant
8 min readNov 9, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Acharya Prashant (AP): ‘I’ tendency is not what gives you an identity. The ‘I’ tendency is what hides your real identity from you. ‘I’ tendency is not what gives you your face. It only gives you a mask. It hides your real face from you. It gives you a false face and a desire to maintain and secure that false face, by desiring everything that helps secure the falseness.

The mother tendency is the ‘I’ tendency, the mother face is the ‘I’ face, the mother desire is the ‘I’ desire, and then there are a thousand miscellaneous desires, each with the task of maintaining the mother desire; maintaining the mother falseness. So the incompleteness in the false self is supplemented by desirousness, and these two together become some kind of a substitute for totality, completeness.

The ‘I’ tendency is incomplete, right? Now, how does it make up for its incompleteness? By being desirous. So there is incompleteness, and then you add desire to it and it becomes some kind of a substitute for wholeness. The real thing. Alright! I am incomplete, but I am not just incomplete, I have desires. So desires fill up your inner hollow, in a very false way, obviously.

Desires are what does not allow you to give up the incomplete for the complete. Otherwise the incomplete is so obviously inferior to the complete. You would have dropped it long back.

Why didn’t you drop it? Because it is incompleteness plus desirousness. These two things combine and put up a shady front, in front of completeness. Remove desire, and incompleteness shows up as obviously inferior. Therefore, wherever you would have incompleteness, to cover it up, to boost it up, you will also have desirousness.

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