What does Bhagavadgītā say about them?


Want is something we lack but essential to sustain life and health or satisfy hunger, seek shelter and maintain health. Desire is  longing for wealth, enjoyment over and above one's needs, fame and name, extramarital carnallity... Desire in some people, when not obtained leads to anger... There are good desires and bad desires. Coveting is worse than desire. Here is what Bhagavadgītā says about desire.

BG 2.57: He, who is totally detached from all desires, who experiences neither joy at receiving good nor hatred in receiving evil, has a steadfast wisdom.

BG 2.62: A person while contemplating on the sense objects develops attachment to them. From the attachment develops desire (Kāmah). From desire develops anger.

BG 2.70: As the waters enter the ocean from all sides, it remains steady and unperturbed. So also the desires enter a person of steadiness, tranquillity and peace (without causing any perturbation). It is not so in (an epicure) a person who seeks desires. 

BG 2.71: He, who is indifferent to his needs and gives up all his wishes and pleasures, and is devoid of   and even a little bit of desire, attains peace. Desire to lead a good path.

BG 3.25: As the ignorant act with attachment to their work, O Bharata, the learned should do their work without attachment, but with a desire to lead the people in the right path. (Good Desire)

BG 3.30:  Dedicating or surrendering all your activities unto me, with your consciousness fixed to or anchored in the Self, without desire, free from conceit (ego) and sorrow (fever), fight (do your duty according to your Dharma). 

BG 3.34: Desire and dislike reside in senses and sense objects. Men should not come under their influence for these two are obstructionists (to self-realization).

BG 3.37: Sri Bhagavan said: This is desire; this is anger born of the mode of Rajas (passion), all devouring and greatly sinful. Know this as the enemy here (on earth).   

BG 3.39: O Kaunteya, this eternal enemy in the form of desire, the all-consuming fire, obscures the wisdom of the knower. For desire, there is no such thing as enough is enough. It is like fire. The more you feed it with fuel the more it grows, and the more it grows the more fuel it needs.

BG 3.40: The senses, the mind and the buddhi (intelligence) are the seat of this desire. This covering of the Jnānam (wisdom) by desire deludes the embodied soul.

BG 3.43: Thus knowing that he is beyond intelligence and steadying the (lower) self by the (higher) Self, O mighty-armed Arjuna, conquer this formidable enemy in the form of desire and strike him. Jahi: Strike, cuff.

BG 4.10: Freed from desire, fear, and anger, absorbed in, and regarding Me as their sole refuge, and purified by jnāna (wisdom) and meditation, many people attained to My nature.

BG 4.12: In this world of men, those who desire the fruits of their work worship many gods, because the benefits from fruitive work are obtained very quickly.

BG 4.14: These works never bind me, for I have no desire for their fruits. He, who knows me as Truth, is never bound by actions. BG 4.19: He, whose task is devoid of any will of desire and whose karma is destroyed by fire of perfect knowledge or wisdom, is called panditah by the wise. 

BG 4.20: Having given up desire and attachment to fruit of action, always contented, and not dependent, and though engaged in action, he does nothing ever at all.

BG 4.21: With no desire, and controlled body, mind and senses, giving up sense of ownership and allowing only bodily functions, he doesn't incur any guilt or sin.

BG 4.22: Satisfied and happy with gains that come on their own accord without any desire for them, transcending - rising above - duality (pleasure and pain), free from envy, and balanced in success and failure, he is not bound even when he acts.

BG 5.3: It should be known that the enduring renouncer - nityasannyāsi - neither detests nor desires, and free from dualities, O Mighty-armed one, is easily released from bondage.

BG 5.12: A yogin, giving up the fruits of his actions, attains everlasting peace. The man ignorant of yoga, attached to desires of the fruits of his actions, is ever bound.

BG 5.23: He, who can endure the flood of desire and anger, before he gives up his body, is a yogin and a happy man. 

BG 5.26: The beatitude of Brahman is imminent in the ascetic, whose desire and anger are removed, whose mind is restrained, and who has knowledge of the self.

BG 5.28: The sage, who has controlled his senses, his mind, and his intellect, has his highest aim as moksa or liberation, having freed himself from desire, fear, and anger, and is forever liberated.

BG 6.2:  What they call as sannyāsa, you know that as yoga, O Pandava, no one can become a yogin without renouncing (selfish) desire.

BG 6.4: When one does not have any attachment to sense objects and actions, and has renounced all purposes and desires (sarva sankalpa sannyāsi), he is said to have attained yoga.

BG 6.10: A yogi, by controlling his mind, senses and desires, desisting from accumulating earthly possessions, alone by himself, should constantly concentrate on Atman.

BG 6.18: When the disciplined mind is anchored in the Self, free from all desires for enjoyments, then he is said to have attained perfection in yoga.

BG 6.24: Giving up all desires born of mental will and limiting by the mind all senses from all sides. (continued)

BG 7.11: I am strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am carnal desire in all within the principles of dharma (duty, virtue and righteousness), O Arjuna.  

BG 7.20: Those, whose wisdom was dispelled by desires, surrender to other gods, and perform various rites, compelled by their own natures. 

BG 7.21: Whatsoever is the form of deity, a devotee desires to worship with faith, I make sure that his faith is steady (in that deity). This is a good desire to have and cultivate.

BG 7.22: Endowed with that faith, he worships that god, and fulfills his desires, granted by Me alone.  (If you obtain anything over and above your needs, It comes from God.)

BG 7.27: Desire and hate arise from the dual nature of delusion, O Bharata. All living beings surge forth into delusion, O Parantapa.

BG 12.9: If you are not able to set your mind firmly on me, then practice repetition (of my name), and thus develop the desire to attain Me O Dhananjaya. (This is a good desire to have.)

BG 12.17: He who neither rejoices nor hates; who neither grieves, nor desires; and who has renounced both the good and the evil, is a devotee dear to Me

BG 13.6: Desire, hatred, pleasure and pain; the body as an agglomerate (of 25 elements), consciousness, and firmness: this is the field briefly described with their modifications.

BG 4.12: Greed, activity, and initiation of self-serving endeavors, unrest, and eager desire: these come forth when Rajas increases, O Best of Bharatas.

BG 14.22: Sri Bhagavan said: O Pandava, he who neither hates illumination, activity, and delusion, when they arise, nor desires for them when they are withheld…

BG 16.8: They say that this world is unreal, without foundation, without Isvara or God, and without an orderly cause and effect and that there is no cause other than lust or desire. 

BG 16.10: Deceit, self-pride, arrogance, insatiable desires, entertainment of wrong views due to delusion, pursuit of impure vows: These are their ways.

BG 16.12: Bound by hundreds of fetters of hope, taking refuge in lust and anger, they strive to accumulate illegal wealth for the gratification of their desires.

BG 16.13: "I gained this today." "I will fulfill this desire (tomorrow)." "I have this wealth." "Moreover, I am going to gain this later.": This is what they think.

BG 16.23: Anyone giving up scriptural injunctions, acts according to (the dictates of) his desires will never attain perfection, happiness or the Supreme state.

BG 17.11: Sacrifice that is performed according to the prescribed rules by those with no desire for fruit and with a firm mind, is good.

BG 18.1: Arjuna said: I wish (or desire) to know the Truth about Sannyāsa and Tyāga and the difference (thereof), O Mahabaho, O Kesi-nisūdana. (This is a good desire.)

BG 18.2: Sri Bhagavan said: The seer knows that sannyāsa is renunciation of work attached to desires. The wise declare Tyāga as the renunciation of the fruits of all activities.

BG 18.23: That action which is performed as duty or obligation, without attachment to its fruits, without love, hatred or desire, is called Sattva.

BG 18.24: The action which is performed with an extraordinary effort and a desire to enjoy the fruits and which is induced by ego is considered to be Rajasic.

BG 18.27: The doer, who is passionate and desires fruits of actions, who is greedy, of injurious nature, impure, and subject to joy and sorrow, is said to be Rajasic.  

BG 18.34: The determination, by which one holds fast to Dharma, Kāma, and Artha with attachment to desires of fruit O Partha, is Rajasic.

BG 18.49: He, whose buddhi is unattached everywhere, having control of his self, from whom the desires have left, attains sannyāsa through supreme perfection by transcending all karma.

BG 18.54: Being one with Brahman, the tranquil atma neither laments nor desires, equal to all living beings, he attains Supreme devotion to Me.


 Compiled by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj