16.12: Are we wasting our desires?
Green consciousness has made us increasingly aware that natural resources are limited and so need to be used carefully.
Yet there is one natural resource that we keep squandering indiscriminately. That grossly overspent resource is not a collective, global resource, but an individual, local resource: our power to desire.
This power to desire is actually the only resource that we can call truly our own; all other resources come temporarily under our partial control and then soon go out of control. But the power of desire is something that is always ours as long as we live.
Unfortunately for most of us, this power is dissipated fruitlessly; we consciously or subconsciously expend it on any good-looking object that passes our vision or imagination. This thoughtless exertion of the power to desire frequently results in our own exhaustion. Additionally, the Bhagavad-gita (16.12) states that the power of these desires, once triggered unrestrainedly, overpowers our moral sense and drags us into self-destructive actions. One spinoff of such self-defeating actions is the rampant eco-destruction that has assumed alarming proportions in recent times.
If we wish to manage our desires more productively, the Bhagavad-gita stands ready to educate and train us in desire management.
Education: The Gita educates us about our true nature as souls and about the true nature of the material world as a place that can provide us happiness only when we utilize it in serving the source of the world, Krishna.
Training: The Gita trains us in focusing our desires on Krishna, the source of all happiness. It further equips us to desire worldly objects only to the extent that they can be used in Krishna’s service.
By using Gita wisdom to conserve and utilize our desires, we can uproot mental exhaustion, self-destructive action and ecological destruction.