Desire and Deserve
Sri Swami Chidananda
This article is a chapter from the book Seek The Beyond.
Radiant Atman! Beloved sadhaks! There is a significant saying: “One gets what one deserves.” This does not apply to the spiritual field only. If people complain about the government, government officials, administrative authorities–their injustice, their corruption, their nepotism–it is said: “In a country and in a nation, people get the government that they deserve, because it is they who are responsible for sending people to the top.”
In our own lives, if we deserve something better, then we obtain something better. If we deserve something still better, then things change and we get something still better. It is what we do to ourselves, how we work upon ourselves, that ultimately decides what will be obtained by us.
Remember that within the context of Hindu dharma, our spiritual culture and the direct experience of our ancients, it is always said that the almighty Universal Spirit, the Supreme Lord, God, is a kalpataru (wish-fulfilling tree), is kamadhenu (the divine cow who fulfils all wishes), is chintamani (the divine pearl which gives everything). Devotees also laud Him by addressing Him with heart-filled gratitude: “Thou art vanchhita-phala-pradayaka–One Who bestowest whatsoever is wished for.”
But then, there is something significant in this saying. They say vanchhita-phala-pradayaka. Phala means fruit. A fruit is something that has been worked for diligently over months and years. A seed has been sown, it has been watered, carefully tended to and nurtured. It has been fenced in and protected, and when all that is necessary has been done, then it yields fruits. They did not say that He bestowest whatsoever vastu (object) is wished for, rather whatsoever phala (fruit) is wished for. Whatsoever fruit has been desired by an individual soul, immediately He gives it, whatsoever fruit. A fruit is something that has been worked for.
That means that He ever readily bestows that which one desires and then deserves, having worked for that which has been desired. You may have supreme, sublime desires, highest aspirations, the noblest spiritual ambitions–all are very good–but you must back them up with patient, diligent self-effort, purushartha, abhyasa (practice). Through such earnest exertion you will deserve. And when thus you have desired, aspired nobly, and worked diligently, God then becomes to you kamadhenu, kalpataru and chintamani.
Therefore, our aspirations, lofty desires, should be backed up by the patient, sincere and earnest living of a life conducive and favourable for the fulfilment of these desires. Gurudev was fond of saying: “Everything is possible! Nothing is impossible provided you deserve it, you work for it. Desire and then deserve.” Desire and then deserve–desire becomes fulfilled.
And the very fact that God or Providence or the Supreme Reality has put a spark of such desire in your heart, has put a spark of aspiration in your heart, is itself proof-positive that you are meant for great things. It is itself enough sign that God intends to shower upon you supreme blessedness. Otherwise, out of millions and billions of human beings wandering deluded upon the surface of this earth, why should he choose a few, call them and endow them with this aspiration? You can count these few on your fingertips, whereas millions grope in darkness and are quite satisfied wallowing in the mire of samsara, earthliness. They feel comfortable and rejoice, thinking that they are quite all right.
When such is the prevailing condition of humanity, how is it, why is it, that you have been called, pulled, made to go in a different direction, and been given ideas and aspirations, higher noble ambitions in this direction? Why? Because as the Bible says: “You are chosen.” God has some special intention. A few strive for perfection out of countless millions of people–manushyanam sahasreshu kascid yatati siddhaye (among thousands of men, one perchance strives for perfection). And do you not realise that you belong to that few? Do you not realise this? And, therefore do you not feel that having been chosen, belonging to this elite few, this microscopic little group, that it is a great privilege and honour bestowed upon you by the Supreme, a great chance and opportunity? And, therefore, do you not feel that you must prove yourself worthy of this that has been offered?
Let us conclude by considering this home truth; namely, where there is a will there is a way to obtain whatever is worthwhile obtaining, to reach whatever goal and supreme objective we have set for ourselves. All things yield and become favourable to a soul that has will, that has willed it, determined it, and with determination proceeds to work for his high ideals.
Obstacles may be many, difficulties may be many. That is the order of the day in this imperfect world of maya and the three gunas. It is not all sattva; it is rajas and tamas also. It is not that the scriptures have misled us or have kept hidden from us the facts of life, the truths about this samsara. No, they have been very, very honest, outspoken, frank, truthful and unambiguous with us. They have put before us all that is negative, all that is to be encountered. They have not deceived us. They have said: “No, no, it is not very easy.” But then, they have also said: “The most difficult can be rendered very easy IF you have the wish and the will for it.” That is the thing desirable, the one thing desirable.
For if the Supreme Reality is kamadhenu, kalpataru, chintamani, vanchhita-phala-pradayaka, if He is that, which He undoubtedly is, and more, then we have to be like a Nachiketas, a Savitri, a Prahlada, a Mira, a Bhagiratha. Because where there is a will, there is surely a way. This then is the truth upon which we should base our life, the living of our life, and the activities of our life. God bless you all!