Credit: artoprecision.com
Credit: artoprecision.com

The state of total satiation where every need has been met in full measure, every urge satisfied infinitely, every growth potential achieved, every desire fulfilled, all goals reached, looks attractive but would  be a vegetal state like that of the non-living or dead.

Life on the contrary is like the action of a spring, a dynamic coil with inbuilt tension. The tortured coil produces movement, as our needs propel us forward. Total fulfilment equals uncoiling the spring. We would have no volition without need, no emotion if we were entirely self-sufficient, no mobility without deprivation, no joy without the experience of sorrow, no ability without challenge, no substance without shadow.

As the spring  is coiled, so too are we constituted of needs, psychological in the brain, respiratory in the lungs, nutritional in the stomach, reproductive in the loins. Needs which, even as they are  satisfied,  renew afresh with unmitigating vigour till the very waning of needs in old age is regarded as being symptomatic of the decline of the form we inherit, rather than an indication of the salvation of that form. It is from the repetitive and ordinary rotary motions of need and fulfilment, the motor activity of  consumption, that arise the hum of great and glorious achievements, noble thoughts, superior emotions, refined sentiments, ethereal qualities, outstanding creations, remarkable feats and extraordinary cooperation. Without need-based efforts and striving, would there be a churning out of this butter, a maturing of this wine?

 We fail to value an asset whenever there is over-supply. For instance an insensitivity may develop in the very rich and self-indulgent who have never known hunger even voluntarily from fasting, the philanderer who has never experienced the pangs of a lover’s longings, the spoilt child smothered by affection who successively becomes more and more self-centred, the quality of a person who has never suffered any deprivation, want or pain. What may such a person be like –  smug, self-centred, self-indulgent, impatient, self-opiniated, snobbish and selfish, possibly, if you believe in reincarnation, a first birth after reincarnating from an inferior, say animal existence, to make the experience of earthly life more tolerable without challenge.

It is ‘want’ then that teaches us understanding, need that inculcates appreciation of  like needs in others, pain that induces humanity, loss that develops care, hunger that refines taste, thirst that allows savouring of water’s true calibre, failure that spurs effort, absence that indeed makes the heart grow fonder, sorrow that arouses sensibilities, a restless quest that engenders great movements in art, challenge that produces evolution, toil that brings discovery and invention.

Insufficiency is motivating, anguish is humanizing, the coil of the spring powerful,  the tensing of a hungry cat’s muscles is a latent force, the heavy compact budding before bursting forth in a flower is blossoming. Then is not the ‘negative’ only another necessary side of the coin, sorrow and pain as necessary as joy?

But we cannot conclude that a painless state only arises from indulgent fulfillment. According to the Gita pain in the mortal world terminates with the termination of desire or greed! That is possible if the need is curbed and desire sublimated. Then follows equilibrium and peace, not the temporary kind resulting  from gratification but the more permanent one arising from restraint, simplicity in life style. discretion in consumption, unattached action, altruism, compassion, forgiveness, charity and consideration etc. In other words in giving rather than in receiving.

Need then is the great motive force, the civilizing energy, the secret impelling mechanism, the hidden spring, the cause of volition, the suction of vacuum, the lower threshold into which heat and electricity flow, the low pressure area attracting storms into its vortex, the problems that demand solution, the helpless infant that induces motherhood, the want that induces charity, the suffering that creates compassion, the striving that produces ability, the colours,aroma and nectar of flowers that attract bees purposefully, the twisted coils which spring into action, the pull of the catapult that activates the missile, the empty universe into which creation fills. The Universal Essence implanted need everywhere to animate, civilize and evolve  his creation.

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