Next, let us consider how to deal with desire. To conquer desire you have to develop a sacrificing nature; you must be steeped in renunciation. Renunciation does not mean that you give up your family and go to the forest; nor does it require you to give up all your property. Once you realize the defects in any object, once you recognize its transitoriness and worthlessness in helping you to reach your goal, you will automatically stop desiring it.
Even when living the life of a householder immersed in the world, you can recognize the defects and weaknesses of the things of the world. For example, there may be a certain kind of food that you enjoy very much, like a curry, for example, and you ask your cook to prepare a variety of dishes made with this curry. You sit down to eat, the meal is brought in and you are about to eat it with great relish. But then the cook comes running in and says, “Stop! Please sir, don’t eat this food! I just discovered a poisonous lizard has fallen into the pot and is dead inside!” The moment you hear this and recognize the harmful nature of the food you were about to eat, you would under no circumstances consider eating it anymore, no matter how much you previously cherished that dish and looked forward to having it.
In the same way, you have to recognize the nature of the things of the world. They are ever changing and some day they must cease to exist. Once you know this, how can you remain enthusiastic about acquiring them and trying to get lasting enjoyment from them? Food is only medicine for the disease called hunger. How can it ever be an item of luxurious indulgence? When you are sick and medicines are given, do you refuse them if they are not tasty? Therefore, recognize the fact that the things you use in the world are only medicines for the diseases that you have.
As the disease declines, the need for medicine diminishes. When you are well you do not need to take any medicines at all; but when you are sick you must take the right medicine which will cure you of your illness. You cannot refuse to take the medicine just because it is not very tasty, while at the same time hoping to get cured. Now you are running after all sorts of attractive and tasty things which instead of curing your ills worsen them. You rejoice that you have discovered so many delights in the world and that you are living a very happy life, enjoying many things which seem to give you a lot of comfort and joy. But these are not real enjoyments, for, in the future, you will surely have to face the consequences of all these indulgences you are engaging in now.