The energy called desire has been condemned for centuries. Almost all the so-called saints have been against it, because desire is life and they were all life-negative. Desire is the very source of all that you see, and they were against all that which is visible. They wanted to sacrifice the visible at the feet of the invisible; they wanted to cut the roots of desire so there would no longer be any possibility of life.
A tremendously great urge to commit total suicide has dominated humanity down the ages.
I have a totally different concept of desire. First, desire itself is God. Desire without any object, desire without being goal-oriented, unmotivated desire, pure desire, is God. The energy called desire is the same energy as God.
Desire has not to be destroyed, it has to be purified. Desire has not to be dropped, it has to be transformed. Your very being is desire; to be against it is to be against yourself and against all. To be against it is to be against the flowers and the birds and the sun and the moon. To be against it is against all creativity. Desire is creativity.
"Men want more power, more fame, longer life, better health, but what are they desiring in these different things? The same, exactly the same: they want to be more."
The Eastern scriptures are perfectly right when they say that God created the world because a great desire arose in him -- a desire to create, a desire to manifest, a desire to make many from one, a desire to expand. But these are only metaphors; God is not separate from desire. Desire means a longing, a great longing, to expand, to become huge, to be enormous -- as huge as the sky.
Just watch people, watch desires, and you will understand what I mean. Even in your ordinary desires, the basic thing is present. In fact what the man who wants to have more and more money really wants is not money but expansion, because money can help you expand. You can have a bigger house, you can have a bigger garden, you can have this, you can have that -- your territory will be bigger, your freedom will be bigger. With more money you will have more alternatives to choose from.
The man who is after money may not know why he is after the money. He may himself think and believe that he loves money, but that is only on the surface of his consciousness. Go deeper into his unconscious, help him to meditate, and you will be surprised and he will be surprised to find that the desire for money is not really the desire for money, it is the desire to expand.
And the same is the case with all other desires. Men want more power, more fame, longer life, better health, but what are they desiring in these different things? The same, exactly the same: they want to be more. They don't want to remain confined, they don't want to be limited. It hurts to feel that you are definable, because if you are definable then you are just an object, a thing, a commodity. It hurts that you have limitations, because to have limitations means to be imprisoned.
But all these objects of desire, sooner or later, disappoint. Money becomes possible one day, and yet expansion has not happened; you may have a little more freedom of choice, but that does not satisfy. The desire was for the infinite, and money cannot purchase the infinite. Yes, you have more power, you are more well-known, but that doesn't really matter in the long run. Millions of people have lived on this earth and were very famous, and now nobody even knows their names. Everything has disappeared into dust -- dust into dust, not even traces are left. Where is Alexander the Great? What is he? Would you like to be a dead Alexander the Great or an alive beggar? Ask yourself, and your being will say it is better to be alive and be a beggar than to be dead and be an Alexander.
"If you watch carefully, money, power, prestige -- nothing satisfies. On the contrary, they make you more discontented."
If you watch carefully, money, power, prestige -- nothing satisfies. On the contrary, they make you more discontented. Why? -- because when you were poor there was a hope that one day the money was going to happen and all would be settled and settled forever, and then you would relax and enjoy. Now that has happened, and there seems to be no sign of any relaxation. In fact, you are more tense than before, you are more anxiety-ridden than before.
Money has brought a few blessings, but in the same measure it has brought many curses too. You can have a bigger house, but now you will have less peace. You can have a bigger bank balance, but you will also have a bigger madness, anxiety, neurosis, psychosis. Money has brought a few things which are good; in the wake of it many other things have arrived which are not good at all. And if you look at the whole thing, the whole effort has been a sheer wastage. And now you cannot have even the hope that the poor man can have.
The rich man becomes hopeless. He knows now the money will go on increasing and nothing is going to happen -- just death, only death. He has tasted all kinds of things; now he only feels a tastelessness. A kind of death has already happened, because he cannot conceive of how to fulfill that desire for expansion.
But desire in itself is not wrong. The desire for money, the desire for power, the desire for prestige, are wrong objects for desire -- let it be very clear. By having wrong objects of desire, desire itself does not become wrong. You can have a sword and you can kill somebody -- that does not make the sword something wrong. You can also save somebody with the same sword. Poison can kill and poison can become medicine too. In the right hands, poison is nectar; in the wrong hands, nectar is poison.
This is the essential wisdom of all the buddhas of all the ages. What the priests say is one thing; what the buddhas have brought to the world is totally different, it is diametrically opposite.
"How to transform desire? One way, the ordinary way, the mediocre way, is to change the object. Don't go after money, start going after God."
Desire has to be purified and transformed, because it is your energy -- you don't have any other energy. How to transform desire? One way, the ordinary way, the mediocre way, is to change the object. Don't go after money, start going after God. You are frustrated with money -- become religious, go to the church, to the temple, to the mosque. Let your desire have a new object called God, which is as illusory as the object called money, even more illusory, because what do you know about God? Money at least is something visible, objective; you have known it, you have seen it. What do you know of God? You have only heard the word. God remains a word unless experienced. God remains an empty word unless you pour some content into it through your own existential experience.
People, when they are frustrated with worldly desires, start changing the object: they start making otherworldly objects of desire -- heaven, paradise, and all the joys of heaven. But it is the same trick, the mind is again befooling you. This is not the way of the intelligent person, this is the way of the stupid.
What is intelligence? Intelligence means the insight that no object can fulfill your desire. No object, I say, and I say it categorically, no object can ever fulfill your desire. Your desire is divine. Your desire is as big as the sky -- even the sky is not a limit to it. No object can fill it. Then what is to be done? The intelligent person stops desiring objects. He makes his desire pure of all objects -- worldly, otherworldly. He starts living his desire in its purity, moment to moment. He is full of desire, full of overflowing energy. His ordinary life becomes so intense, so passionate, that whatsoever he touches will be transformed. The baser metal will become gold, and the dead tree will come to bloom again.
...You can move from small objects to bigger and bigger objects, but still your desire, your life, will not feel fulfilled. It cannot feel fulfilled unless it is really infinite, not in conceptions but in experience, and unless you taste the infinity of existence.
Desire is beautiful, there is nothing wrong in it -- only free it from objects. With freedom from objects, desire is divine.
Excerpted from The Book of Wisdom by Osho