Hope and desire are natural waves of thought that give inspiration and enthusiasm to life. Good hopes and desires keep the lamp of life burning. They are the oil that keeps the flame of life shining and glistening. These are seeds from which plants of exaltation and frenzy grow and produce colourful flowers that beautify the garden of life.
Whatever we do, hope and desire play a very important role in it. We have hopes in our children because through them we wish to accomplish what we could not complete during our lives.
It is encouraging and heartening to have hopes as hopes give impetus and momentum to life. In the same way desires also play a very important role in keeping life evergreen. At the same time these hopes and desires must be based on integrity. Integrity is the soul of life. Without integrity life turns ugly and gruesome. It loses its charm and fascination. No doubt hopes and desires accrue inspiration for life, but they have to be within certain limits. And the only method to bridle these hopes and desires is the Word of the Guru. On page 59 of the S.G.G.S. Guru Nanak Dev Ji tells us this fact: “Hope and desire, which allure all, are stilled by the Guru, whose Word is True.”
The Word of Guru also teaches us to be contented with what God has given us. This state of affairs should only be brought about when Endeavour has been exhausted. We should not be fatalists. Endeavour is appreciated in the House of the Guru.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji tells us about endeavour on page 522 of the S.G.G.S.: “Making an effort for the Name, thou shall live and practicing it, thou shalt enjoy peace.” To fulfill one’s hopes and desires effort is the only means and it should be exhausted to the maximum to achieve something that is positive and adds glamour to life.
At the same time we should not forget that contentment is a Godly gift. Without contentment man’s hopes and desires have no limits. It is contentment that teaches us to remain within one’s own limits. Otherwise it takes the shape of avarice and cupidity that change a human being into an animal.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji narrates this on page 25 of the S.G.G.S. in Siri raag: “I eat whatever you give me; there is no door other than Yours to go to.”
Contentment comes to those who have full faith in the deeds of the Lord. They pray to Him and ask Him to fulfill their pious hopes and desires. If one depends sincerely and with faith in Him, He looks after his disciples at every moment of life.
Guru Arjan Dev Ji narrates this on page 682 of the S.G.G.S.: “The Lord does not allow his servants to face their difficult hours alone; this is His prerogative. With His protecting hand, He takes care of His own servants at every moment of their lives.” Guru Nanak Dev Ji further clarifies about contentment on page 467 of the S.G.G.S.: “Only those do the real service who being contented, meditate on God, the truest of the True. They place not their foot in sin, do good deeds and practice piety. They break the worldly bonds and live on paltry corn and water.”
When the mind is contented and has no more desires, service creeps into it. In service the person finds bliss and ecstasy. His individuality merges with the body of humanity and he acts according to the pulse of humanity. He never thinks of any sin and doing good deeds become his life. He practices piety and reverence and the rays of these righteous and pious activities change his outlook of life.
His hopes become the hopes of humanity and his desires merge with the desires of humanity. This is the magic of contentment which all of us can experience and enrich our lives. The flowers of contentment have always beautified life with colourful flowers of service, righteousness and justice.
Baba Farid Ji gives us the same advice on page 1379 of S.G.G.S.: “Eat your own bare dry bread and drink plain cold water, Do not tempt your mind, Farid, On seeing another’s buttered bread.”