Lack Of Desire & Enlightenment Vs Isolation
One often gets to hear about the wonderful bliss experienced by enlightened beings like Lord Mahavir or current Tirthankara Lord Simandhar Swami. When one ceases to desire anything, one becomes truly and completely free. But the lack of desire that comes with enlightenment should not be mistaken with the lack of desire that often arises out of loneliness and isolation. The latter may lead one to progress spiritually, but it in itself is not a complete freedom from desire.
Let us explore this a bit further!
When one is isolated from other human beings for a long time, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, one begins to devalue a lot of things that one had previously coveted. One begins to understand that the worldly riches, name, fame, etc. can only do so much. He realizes that one would soon get bored and tired, and dissatisfied with them as they are not a source of real happiness. Besides, they are not all that necessary, and often become a hindrance rather than an aid to a happy life. Such thoughts would propel the individual to seek real happiness, and thus he would begin on his spiritual journey towards moksha (the ultimate liberation from the cycle of birth and death).
Thus, the lack of desire that comes from isolation or loneliness marks the beginning of spiritual journey, while the lack of desire that comes from enlightenment marks the end of this journey. After initially experiencing a relative emptiness, one begins to desire circumstances that would set him free from karmic bondage. One would desire to meet a Gnani, the Enlightened One, who can show him the path to enlightenment. Also, one would desire the necessary time and energy to do purushartha (immense spiritual effort) according to Gnani’s instructions. And finally, one would desire to renounce, mentally and then even physically, the materialistic world!
So, the lack of desire that comes from isolation or loneliness indicates that the person no longer desires worldly things. However, the desire to be free is still there. When one becomes enlightened, even that desire goes away, only then does one become entirely and permanently free!
Furthermore, the lack of desire that stems from loneliness could also be on a negative note. When one’s ego is very badly hurt, one goes into a mode of pseudo renunciation, where there are subtle internal desires – to be loved, respected, valued etc. – but the wounds prevent one from admitting this and an inflated (or deflated, depending on the case) ego makes the person believe that they don’t need anything from anyone. Such a lack of desire is nothing more than an egoistic attempt to make others confess their need for this person. This has nothing to do with the path of enlightenment, where one genuinely does not have a need or want left to be satisfied, not even at the subtlest of levels. There is complete contentment of enlightenment!
Thus, a total lack of desire can only come with enlightenment, but even if one experiences partial contentment amidst isolation and loneliness and he responds to it positively, one can set out on the path to enlightenment!
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