( How to get rid of Desires?)
If you want to realise God, then you must cultivate intense dispassion. You must renounce immediately what you feel to be standing in your way. You should not put it off till the future. ‘Woman and gold’ is the obstruction. The mind must be withdrawn from it. One must not be slow and lazy.
“A man was going to bathe; he had his towel on his shoulder. His wife said to him: ‘You are worthless. You are getting old and still you cannot give up some of your habits. You cannot live a single day without me. But look at that man! What a renouncer he is!’
HUSBAND: ‘Why? What has he done?’
WIFE: ‘He has sixteen wives and he is renouncing them one by one. You will never be able to renounce.’
HUSBAND: ‘Renouncing his wives one by one! You are crazy. He won’t be able to renounce. If a man wants to renounce, does he do it little by little?’
WIFE (smiling): ‘Still he is better than you.’
HUSBAND: ‘You are silly; you don’t understand. He cannot renounce. But I can. See! Here I go!’ “
That is called intense renunciation. No sooner did the man discriminate than he renounced. He went away with the towel on his shoulder. He didn’t turn back to settle his worldly affairs. He didn’t even look back at his home.
Reference: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 39 : The Master’s Reminiscences
Devotee: “How does one cultivate the spirit of dispassion? Why don’t all attain it?”
Sri Ramakrishna: “Dispassion is not possible unless there is satiety through enjoyment. You can easily cajole a small child with candies or toys. But after eating the candies and finishing its play, it cries, “I want to go to my mother.’ Unless you take the child to its mother, it will throw away the toy and scream at the top of its voice.”
Reference: The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter:10: The Master With The Brahmo Devotees (II)
We must rouse a tremendous divine discontent, the discontent the mystics of all ages speak of. Unless we are able to rouse in the soul this divine discontent which can destroy all our attachments to worldly things and desires, we will not be able to get real yearning for spiritual realisation.
We must consciously keep burning the fire of hankering and yearning for the higher life. We must never prefer the peace of lethargy to this restlessness for spiritual achievement. Spiritual practice and prayer must be intensified. Constant prayer, day and night, constant meditation, constant thinking of higher thoughts would do us immense good. The mind of the beginner must be kept constantly busy with divine ideas so as to create the habit. After having created the right habit the path becomes smoother, and there is less strain in the life of the spiritual aspirant
Reference: Meditation and Spiritual Life by Swami Yatiswarananda (p.9)
One way to control desires is using will power. Another is to cultivate the witness attitude towards them. Neither of these is easy and in the beginning of one’s spiritual life, well nigh impossible. What then is the way for a spiritual aspirant? He should connect them all, directly or indirectly, with Divine.
Every desire, every sensual impulse, every passion, must be given a Godward turn consciously and knowingly with an effort of the will. If his artistic sense and his desire to enjoy art are very strong, he should take up some holy form of art and make that a stepping stone for rising to the plane of the Divine. Instead of listening to worldly music, let him listen to devotional music; instead of singing for other people, sing for the sake of the Divine; and so on. If he is very fond of the sweet fragrance and beauty of flowers and wishes to enjoy them, let him pluck flowers, offer them to the Divine and decorate with them the holy altar artistically. If he desires to love somebody or feels greatly attracted towards somebody, let him love the Divine in that person and be thereby directly drawn towards the Divine.
If done consciously and knowingly, all these act as a great controlling factor, as a great regulating agency, helping us in sublimating our desires, in giving them a higher turn and in attaining greater purity.
Reference: Meditation and Spiritual Life by Swami Yatiswarananda (p.255)