The desire behind all desires

Acharya Prashant
3 min readSep 10, 2020

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

Questioner (Q): Acharya Ji, an intense desire for liberation, is a prerequisite?

Acharya Prashant(AP): Classically, it has been put that way. The Scriptures talk of mumuksha (desire for liberation). But that intense desire is not a desire with the same quality as that of normal, ordinary desires. It is a very latent thing. It is not something that would scream from the surface. It is not something that would shout from the rooftops — “I want liberation.”

It is the desire behind all desires.

And one has to be a little watchful, a little meditative to be in touch with it. Otherwise, you will be in touch with only with what you superficially want.

For example, you want to change your job. If you are not attentive enough, you will say, “My desire is to get a new job.” But actually, your desire is of deepest Liberation. So mumuksha is actually the one desire, behind all desires. And if you make it superficial, if you start saying explicitly that — “I want Liberation, I want Liberation,” then you have reduced and trivialized mumuksha.

Q: Do we have to think about it day and night?

AP: No, you don’t have to. Because you are anyway thinking about something day-in and day-out. Whatever you are thinking about, you are actually thinking about Liberation only.

Give me one thought that bugs you, or anything that you think about, you will see that behind that thought, is the thought — ‘I want Freedom. I want Freedom’. But if you start explicitly exclaiming — “I want Freedom,” then as we said, that we have trivialized the matter.

So, you don’t have to say, “I want Liberation.” You anyway keep thinking about X,Y and Z, something or the other. Right? Don’t we all keep thinking? Is our mind not always occupied?

Whatever your mind is occupied with, behind that occupation, lies the desire for Liberation.

You say that you want a new house. The thing is that you want liberation from what your current house imposes upon you.

Behind all desires is the one fundamental desire — to be liberated.

And you don’t have to make that desire explicit.

You just have to pay attention to what is already going on.

The mind is already thinking, the mind is already occupied. The mind is already thinking, the mind is already occupied. See what it is already occupied with. Just don’t swim on the surface, dive a little deeper. And there you will find, that you may say that you want ‘this’, you want ‘that’, you want A,B,C,D,E,F,G, but whatever you say you want, you actually want that One single thing, which you may call by any name or no name.

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Acharya Prashant