Will is the development of the wish. When one says, 'It
was the divine will', it means that it was a command, a
wish that developed into action. When the wish becomes action
it becomes will, it becomes a command. One may think it
is only one's wish, but it is a wish as long as it is still.
It is there, it has not sprung up, it is inactive, just
like a seed in the ground: it is wish. But the moment the
seed is coming out of the ground as a seedling and is in
the process of becoming a plant, then it is a will. Therefore
these two different names, wish and will, are names of one
and the same thing: in its undeveloped state and in its
process of development.
Desire is a weaker or primitive stage of the wish. When
an idea, a thought, is not yet made clear in one's own mind
and one's own mind has not taken a decision: 'It must be
so, I would like it to be so' – then it is a desire,
it is a fancy. It comes and it goes, and one does not care.
But when that desire is a little more developed then it
is a wish. Then it stays there, it does not fade away like
clouds, it is tangible, it is there. Yet it is not fulfilled,
because for fulfillment it must develop.
There are some people in this world who say, 'All my
life I had bad luck. The bad luck was that never in my life
my wish was granted'. They can very easily imagine that
a spirit was against them, or God was against them, or the
stars, or that something was keeping back their wish. But
it is not always so. In the first place God wishes the same
that we wish; if God wished differently from our wish we
could not worship that God who was always against us. It
is not so! Besides, there is no benefit in opposing the
wish of man; to God there is no advantage in doing so. No
doubt there are planetary reasons, reasons of the universe
at work, reasons of the cosmos that oppose the wish. As
it is said, 'Man proposes, God disposes'. The name 'God'
is put in the place of the cosmic forces, but God with His
mercy and compassion never has a desire to oppose anyone's
wish. God apart, a good-hearted man would never like to
oppose anybody's wish; he would do everything possible to
make anybody's wish complete, to make a person's wish come
true. A kindly person would do it.
But what mostly happens is that man proves to be the
worst enemy of his own desire – for many reasons. One reason
is that he is never sure what he desires. Out of a hundred
persons you will find one who knows what he desires, but
ninety-nine say, 'Do I desire, or do I not desire – I don't
know. I think I desire, but I do not know if it is so'.
Ninety-nine percent among men is in this condition; they
really do not know if they desire. One day they say, 'Yes,
I do', another day they say, 'No, I don't think I desire'.
Therefore their desire is decomposed in the unclearness
of the mind.
Then there are others who analyze their desire, and they
analyze it till they have broken it to pieces. There are
many analytical people who have all through life destroyed
their desires by analyzing them.
There is a third kind of people: those who have adopted
a passive attitude. They say it is a sin to desire. Yet
they cannot be without desire, and in this passive attitude
they say, 'Well, I will not desire'. They have crossed the
desire that was there.
And there is a fourth kind of person who desires something,
but by lack of concentration cannot turn his desire into
a wish. Therefore the desire stays in its primitive stage
all the time.
A fifth kind of person develops desire into a wish; he
goes so far and no further. But the wish must be developed
into will. So the desire is not carried through, so to speak,
and never comes to its culmination.
Now this is a subject which is of the greatest importance
in the life of every person in the world. No one can exist
in the world without wishing for something, and if there
is a person who has no wish he need not stay in the world.
He must go somewhere out of the crowd; he cannot exist there.
He must go out in the mountains and even there he should
turn into a tree or into a rock in order to exist, because
to be a living being without a wish is not possible.
The difference between persons – high and low – is according
to the wish they have. One wishes for the earth, the other
wishes for heaven. The desire of one takes him to the heights
of spiritual progress, the desire of the other takes him
to the depth of the earth. Man is great or small, man is
wise or foolish, man is on the right road or on the wrong
road according to the desire he has.
Now coming to the question of the opposing forces: according
to the Sufis there are Qaza and Qadr. Qaza
is the universal will, universal power; Qadr is the
individual will and the individual power. No doubt the individual
power in comparison with the universal power is like a drop
compared with the sea. It cannot stand against the sweeping
waves of the sea that come and destroy it. Nevertheless,
the drop, being from the same source as the sea, has also
a certain amount of strength, and the individual will also
has a certain strength if it wills to hold against opposing
If we want to make the individual will and the universal
will more clear, it is in small things that we can do so.
When a person is walking in the street and says, 'I feel
hungry, I should like to go to a restaurant and have a meal',
that is individual will. Another person goes in the street
and sees a poor man, and says, 'Ah, this man – he seems
to be poor, he must have something; can I not do something
for him? I want to see him looking happier'. As soon as
he thinks of the good of another person, at once his will
becomes the universal will. The reason is that the boundary
that limits the will of an individual is the thought of
the self. As soon as one has forgotten the thought of self,
as soon as one thinks of another, that boundary breaks down
and the will becomes stronger. The masters of humanity,
those who have been able to do great things in the world,
where did they get their will from? It was their own will
which was extended by the breaking down of the boundaries
of the thought of self. It does not mean that one should
give up the thought of self, that one must never think of
oneself, never think of one's lunch and dinner. The self
is there, one has to think about it. But at the same time
in order to expand, in order to let the will grow, the more
one forgets oneself the more one is helped.
There are some who take the path of resignation, neither
doing good to themselves nor to another. It is a kind of
attitude they have taken to say, 'It will come from somewhere.
Somebody will do it. If I am hungry somebody will come and
feed me' – or, 'If another person is in need, somebody will
come and help him'. Their wish is inactive, they do not
let their wish become a will, they remain where they are,
they are passive. No doubt, an intelligent passiveness and
resignation can also bring about a wonderful result, but
many of these people do it unintelligently. The quality
of the saints is to be resigned to all that comes – but
then they do not even form a wish. They take all that comes,
flowers or thorns; everything that comes, they take it.
They look into thorns and see that they are flowers. With
praise and with blame they are contented. They are contented
with rise and fall; they take all that comes, they take
life as it is. That is the intelligent way of doing it.
The unintelligent way is to say of anything that is difficult,
'Somebody will come and do it'. This is a kind of laziness.
They may think it is passiveness, but it is laziness to
think, if one has to do something, 'Somebody will come who
will do it'.
In India it is told that a man was lying under a cherry
tree and some ripe cherries were falling near him. But he
was just lying there. A man came from a distance to whom
he called out, 'Please come here, will you please put this
cherry in my mouth?' There are many to be found like this
who out of a feeling of helplessness, of laziness, give
in, who have no enthusiasm, no courage. In this way their
will power is broken down and in the end they are helpless.
There is no comparison between the saintly spirit and the
spirit of the helpless. Although both become resigned, the
latter is not truly resigned: he would like to have the
cherry in his mouth, but another person must give it to
him. The saint does not care if he eats it or if he does
not eat it; it is just the same to him. In that case it
Then there are others who are over-anxious for their
wish to come true; it destroys their wish because the strength,
the pressure they put upon their wish is too great. It is
just like guarding a plant against the sun and against water;
if one guards the plant against the very things that should
help it to grow, then it cannot grow. It is the same with
the wish; if a person says, 'This is my wish and it must
come true, no one must think about it, no one must look
at it', he is always afraid that perhaps this wish will
not come true. He is eager, he is thinking with doubt, fear
and suspicion and therefore he will destroy his own wish.
Again there is a person who is willing to sacrifice anything,
or to persevere as much as it requires for even a small
wish which he does not value very much when it comes to
value. Yet he gives it every thought and he does everything
in his power to make that wish come true. That person is
taking the same path as the path of the masters. He must
have success, and it is success which brings success. If
once a person is successful, his success attracts success.
Once a person fails then this failure attracts failure;
for the same reason that, if a person is on the path of
accomplishment, each accomplishment gives him a greater
power to go forward, and when he is on the path that goes
downward then every step leads him downward.
Now arises the question which desire and wish one must
give up and which one must rear. One must have discrimination.
If there is no discrimination one will take a wrong way;
it may lead to success, but it will be a success in a wrong
way. If one rears every desire and wish, and thinks, 'This
must be accomplished', then sometimes it may be right and
sometimes wrong. Discrimination must first be developed
in order to understand what leads one to happiness, a lasting
happiness, a greater peace, a higher attainment. But once
a person has discrimination and has chosen a wish, then
he should not analyze it too much. Many have formed a habit
of analyzing everything every day. If a person holds a wish
for ten years and every day analyzes it in his mind he acts
against it. Every day he looks at it from a new point of
view, he tries to find the wrong points of his own wish
and so he tries to crush it in every way possible. In ten
years' time his wish would have come true, and instead it
is broken to pieces. There are many intellectual people,
many people who doubt, many analytical persons who are the
greatest enemies of their wish.
And now comes the question whether it is wrong if a person
expresses his wish in prayer, for many people say, 'God
knows everything, so why should we tell God that such and
such a thing should be done. God knows the secret of every
heart. Besides, is it not selfish to bring our wish before
God? If it is a good wish, it must come true of itself.'
The answer is that prayer is a reminder to God, prayer is
a song sung before God who enjoys it, who hears it, who
is reminded about something. But one thinks, 'How can our
prayer, our little voice reach God?' It reaches God through
our ears. God is within us. If our soul can hear our voice,
God can hear it too. Prayer is the best way, because the
wish is beautifully expressed, which harmonizes us with
God, which brings about a greater relationship between man
Then one may ask whether it is good to think about the
wish one has. One can never think too many times of the
wish one has. Dream about it, think about it and imagine
it, keep it in mind, retain it in mind and do everything
possible towards its fulfillment – but with poise, with
tranquility, with patience, with confidence, with ease,
and not by thinking hard about it. The one who thinks hard
about his wish destroys it, for it is just like overheating,
or giving too much water to a plant: the very thing that
should help it, destroys it. If a person worries about his
wish he certainly either has no patience, or he has some
fear or some doubt; all these things destroy the wish. The
wish must be cherished easily, with comfort, with hope,
with confidence and with patience. Doubt is like rust, it
eats into it; fear is still worse, it destroys it.
When a person has no discrimination and he is not sure
whether it is a right wish or a wrong one, whether it should
come true or not, one day he says, 'I should so much like
it to come true'; another day he says, 'I do not care if
it comes true'; after a week he says anew, 'I so much wish
it to come true', and after a month, 'Oh, I do not care
now'. It is just like making a fire and then putting it
out, then making the fire again and again putting it out.
Every time he extinguishes the fire it is gone, he will
have to make it anew. And so, if a person has formed a wish
and cherished it for ten years, each time it is broken he
has to make it anew.
And now comes the question what wish is the most desirable.
This depends upon one's own stage of evolution. A person
who is only so much evolved that he can make no greater
wish than for the need of his daily life, let him do it.
He must not think, 'Because it is only the need of daily
life it is nothing, I must wish for something higher'. He
must not think that. If his heart is inclined to the need
of daily life, he must think of it first. But if his heart
thinks, 'No, I cannot wish for this, I can think of something
much higher', then he must take the consequences. The consequences
will be that he will have to go through tests and trials
– and if he does not mind this, so much the better.
There are many things in this world which we want and
which we need, and yet we do not necessarily think about
them. If they come it is all right, and if they do not come
we feel uncomfortable for a time, but that feeling passes.
We cannot put our mind and thought upon them if we are evolved,
because then we think of something else, of something higher;
our thought is involved in something much higher and greater
than what we need in everyday life. We do not pay attention
to what we need and that slips from our grasp. It is therefore
that great poets, thinkers and sages were very often hard
up for things that one could get in everyday life. With
all their power they could command gold to come to their
house – and the gold would come, they only had to command
it. If they commanded that an army was to come into their
power it would come – the army and anything they would command.
Yet they could not give their mind to it, they could only
wish for something which was equal to their particular evolution.
So each person can only wish for something equal to his
evolution, he cannot properly wish for something which is
beneath his evolution, even if he was told to do so. Very
often in order to help a person in a certain situation I
have said to him, 'Now think of this particular object'.
But being much more evolved than that he thought with his
brain, his heart was somewhere else, and so it never came
true. One can give one's heart and mind and whole being
to something which is equal to one's evolution. If it is
not equal one cannot give one's whole being to it. Maybe
a person gives his thought to it, but what is thought? Thought
without feeling is no power. If the soul and the spirit
are not at the back of it, there is no power.
So this must be understood: that our wish must be different
from what we need in everyday life. Never mix it! Always
think that what we need in everyday life is one thing: something
practical. Though if that be our wish, then it is all right.
And then we are to cherish, to maintain our wish as something
sacred, something given to us by God to cherish, to bring
to fulfillment, for it is in the fulfillment of one's highest
and best and deepest wish that lies the purpose of life.
Question: Is there any way of finding out beforehand
if a wish will be good for us?
Answer: That is the most difficult thing to say.
It can only be done by training oneself, and that training
is: always to have a good thought for everyone, a kind thought
for everybody, to develop a consciousness of justice within
oneself, to have sympathy, to have goodwill for everyone
in the world. If a person keeps this as a principle in his
everyday life then every wish that will come to him will
be productive of good results.
Question: Can we feel the accomplishment of a
Answer: If one can feel the accomplishment of
a wish beforehand it means that the wish is secure, that
the wish is surely to be fulfilled. If with the wish you
have got a feeling that this wish will come true, then it
must come true. There is no doubt about it, because when
you have that feeling it shows that you have no doubt, that
there is nothing opposing it. Therefore that wish of yours
is a promise at the same time.
Question: When Buddha said that we should have
no desire, did he mean that we should have the attitude
of a saint?
Answer: The Buddha never said that you should
have no desire. The Buddha spoke of 'the man who has no
desire'. It never was the principle of Buddha that you must
not have a desire; Buddha was too wise to commit himself
like this. What is meant is that we must develop so that
one day we may reach to that stage where naturally we shall
have no desires. But if we have a desire and say, 'Because
Buddha has said that we must have no desire, therefore we
must throw it away', it is working against ourselves. It
is just like a man who, having heard that a saint had lived
without food for a very, very long time and had experienced
exaltation, would say, 'Well, I shall give up my lunch every
day if I can become spiritual by it '. He may just as well
have his lunch because he feels hungry. The one who went
without food was not hungry, he had risen above it. We must
have principles according to our stage of evolution, and
never take principles higher than our stage of evolution,
forcing ourselves to abide by them.
Question: Does it matter if one has several wishes
at the same time?
Answer: Suppose one did salt and sweet and savory
and pepper all together in the mouth, how would the taste
be? It would come to nothing. And so each wish destroys
the other. You may have five best wishes at the same time,
but one wish will destroy the other; therefore there is
not one wish that you will enjoy. Besides, it is only to
one wish that you can give your greatest power.
Question: The other day you said, 'The one who
turns his back to the world – the whole world runs after
him'. How is this to be understood?
Answer: This can be understood by seeing two persons
bargaining. For instance a peddler at the dock of Alexandria
comes with an object, and you say, 'How beautiful. I like
it. How much will you take for it?' As soon as you have
said this he wants you to give as high a price as he wishes
to get from you. As soon as you turn your back and say,
'I do not care for it', he comes after you and says, 'Will
you take it for half the price?'. If you go still further
and still turn your back, he will give it to you for the
quarter of it. Exactly the same is the nature of this world;
it is a greedy world. You follow it, it runs from you; you
turn your back to it, it comes after you.