Do not always fix on the Destination; Enjoy the Potential Pleasures of the Journey itself

[Vinod Anand]

Do you think a desire to pass an examination in mathematics is necessary for motivating one to practice solving mathematics problems, or even for actually passing the examination? Not quite.

A student, who likes mathematics, will solve the problems because he gets pleasure out of it. He enjoys each step that gradually leads to the solution of the problem. He will pass the examination too as a natural outcome of his effort, without specifically desiring that outcome.

Most people find it difficult to appreciate that desire should be discarded if we want to pursue the spiritual goal of liberation. They are afraid that without desire, the essential locomotive for action would be missing and one
may become inactive. But action can have other locomotives too.

Consider bodily movement. The instruction for movement of hand normally comes from the mind and the brain. For example, a thought or desire for taking a book from the bookcase comes in our mind and then the brain instructs the appropriate muscles of legs and hands to move and do the needful.

However, movement of digits can come about even without our mind or brain coming into the picture. For example, when we accidentally touch a hot object, our medulla oblongata directly gives instruction to the hand muscles to withdraw without the brain or mind coming into picture beforehand. We know this to be a reflex action. This, of course, is purely a physiological phenomenon connected with survival instinct.

But even a conscious task can be performed with desire as its locomotive or without it. Motivation for action in worldly life usually comes from mind and action gets executed through the brain and action organs. But, motivation for action can also come from pure consciousness, the divine or soul. Let me call that motivation as the “divine objective”.

It is not centered on any selfish interest except only outwardly. It is something that fits the big picture of the Creator and helps us work out a road map for action. A spiritually inclined person will then focus on action in the present moment and not remain preoccupied with the thoughts of reaching the destination.

On the other hand, a not-so-spiritual person will remain attached to the idea of reaching the destination. In such a case, the objective coupled with attachment becomes a desire. Due to this attachment, such a person will have to undergo emotional ups and downs like hope, anxiety and self-doubt along the way.

He is likely to indulge in actions that are dishonest and aimed solely at fulfilling the desire by hook or by crook. For example, a highly keyed up student is likely to spend a good amount of crucial time just before examination in preparing small-sized “copy sheets” that can be hidden in his palm while writing the examination paper!

A spiritual person will enjoy the walk even if he may or may not reach the destination. He will enjoy the scenery alongside as he is not keyed up about reaching the destination. Atypical worldly person, however, has his eyes and mind always fixed on the destination and misses the potential pleasures of the journey itself. In short, desire is something that is anchored in future and compels us to “try and cross the bridge even before reaching it”! Thus, desire becomes the foreground. On the other hand, an action orientation, karma yoga, is rooted in the present with the objective forming only a background.

Author's Bio: 


Born in 1939, and holding Master’s Degree both in Mathematics (1959) and Economics (1961), and Doctorate Degree in Economics (1970), Dr. Vinod K.Anand has about forty five years of teaching, research, and project work experience in Economic Theory (both micro and macro), Quantitative Economics, Public Economics, New Political Economy, and Development Economics with a special focus on economic and social provisions revolving around poverty, inequality, and unemployment issues, and also on informal sector studies. His last assignment was at the National University of Lesotho (Southern Africa) from 2006 to 2008. Prior to that he was placed as Professor and Head of the Department of Economics at the University of North-West in the Republic of South Africa, and University of Allahabad in India, Professor at the National University of Lesotho, Associate Professor at the University of Botswana, Gaborone in Botswana, and at Gezira University in Wad Medani, Sudan, Head, Department of Arts and Social Sciences, Yola in Nigeria, Principal Lecturer in Economics at Maiduguri University in Nigeria, and as Lecturer at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in Nigeria. Professor Anand has by now published more than 80 research papers in standard academic journals, authored 11 books, supervised a number of doctoral theses, was examiner for more than twenty Ph.D. theses, and has wide consultancy experience both in India and abroad, essentially in the African continent. This includes holding the position of Primary Researcher, Principal Consultant etc. in a number of Research Projects sponsored and funded by Universities, Governments, and International Bodies like, USAID, IDRC, and AERC. His publications include a variety of themes revolving around Economic Theory, New Political Economy, Quantitative Economics, Development Economics, and Informal Sector Studies. His consultancy assignments in India, Nigeria, Sudan, Botswana, and the Republic of South Africa include Non-Directory Enterprises in Allahabad, India, Small Scale Enterprises in the Northern States of Nigeria, The Absolute Poverty Line in Sudan, The Small Scale Enterprises in Wad Medani, Sudan, Micro and Small Scale Enterprises in Botswana, The Place of Non-Formal Micro-Enterprises in Botswana, Resettlement of a Squatter Community in the Vryburg District of North West Province in the Republic of South Africa, Trade and Investment Development Programme for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises: Support for NTSIKA in the Republic of South Africa, and Development of the Manufacturing Sector in the Republic of South Africa’s North West Province: An Approach Based on Firm Level Surveys. Professor Anand has also extensively participated in a number of conferences, offered many seminars, participated in a number of workshops, and delivered a variety of Refresher Lectures at different venues both in India and abroad. Dr. Anand was placed at the prestigious Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla in the State Himachal Pradesh, India as a Fellow from 2001 to 2003, and had completed a theoretical and qualitative research project/monograph on the Employment Profile of Micro Enterprises in the State of Himachal Pradseh, India.