I have realised that even if a single person owned everything on earth, all of her beautiful paddy fields and barley, all of her silver and gold, all of her precious gems and animals still they would not find contentedness. The thirst for selfishly gratifying our senses should be controlled. True happiness belongs to one that is not overcome by selfish cravings, this is extremely difficult for the wicked and unethical to achieve, selfish thirst follows one in life after life and is the real difficulty humanity faces.

– King Yayati, Mahabharata

In the context of the Mahabharata, King Yayati selfishly demanded his son Puru’s youth so that he could pursue his desires at his expense. For a thousand years Yayati chased and achieved everything he wants. But in the end he came to the same conclusion as Shri Krishna, selfish motives only serve to cloud the vision of our true nature. He compares this thirst to butter poured into the fire of desire, which then only flares stronger. The Buddha’s second great teaching was the desire is the direct of cause suffering.

Dedication
We all have to put the oxygen mask on in an aeroplane, but should we then have to continue to accumulate more masks for ourselves when many need our help. Yayati’s words are a strong reminder to at least evaluate the causes of happiness.

Hanuman Dass's blogs directly here. He is founder of Godharmic.com as is the co-author of The Power of Dharma and The Eternal Path

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