No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk

16 Sep, 2006, Economic Times, Janki Chopra, TNN

All human beings have desires. Desires running amok are the cause of human suffering and pain. When the desires function separate from discrimination, it causes immense suffering.

While all of us have desires, few of us ever stop to take a reality check on them. Being carried away with what we want , we do not bother to see the ground realities. The mind and intellect in us are divorced entities. The mind is the desire. The intellect is our rationality, discrimination.The incapability of the mind and intellect’s joint functioning is the base of human suffering , be it physical or mental. This is aptly demonstrated in all our bad choices.

A girl falls in love with a boy. She has many dreams of what the marriage will turn out to be, how her husband will treat her . This may not be the way it turns out. Because she never stops to check whether there is any likelihood of him ever behaving in that manner. She is too carried away in her own imagination to see what he is really like.Usually after marriage the hard reality strikes. She may berate the stars, or him. But what she is facing is the consequences of her own choice, her own action. Once we take an action, the consequence will have to be faced . Hence it is very important to make the choice correctly. There is no use crying over spilt milk. Much the same can be said of bad business decisions.

There is a tendency to get carried away by the dreams rather than the realities. That explains why so many people lose so much in business, in the stock market . It is difficult to keep one’s head on one’s shoulder because the desires are so powerful. The greed, the fancies, are all powerful motivators. It is easy to go along with them blindly and live in a world that does not exist. But reality will catch up with us sooner or later. In the form of consequences. One solution people have for this is to call in outside experts. The theory is that they will be able to look at the matter more objectively. So basically we pay them huge sums because our desire is out of our control. Would it not be wiser to gain more objectivity ourselves! Studying Vedanta trains us in gaining this objectivity.

11 Responses to No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk

  1. Mahesh Ursekar says:

    Are desires limited to the mind? Can the intellect have desires?

    • janki says:

      Yes, only the mind can have desires, by definition.

      However, the mind’s desires can be of three types: physical, mental and intellectual.

      • Mahesh Ursekar says:

        Ok, clear. Thanks. I misread a statement in the Gita commentary by Swamiji , which seemed to allude to “desires of the intellect”. But, on re-reading, discovered that fault was all mine. (Thank God! 🙂 )

      • Asa says:

        I congratulate you on the new diecotirn you have taken. I hope you will include Hindu and Buddhist iconography in your writing I am not much given to philosophical discourse, but I love when these ideas are concrete-ised in religious icons. That manifestation of philosophy in art is very sublime and exciting


    How do we know that we are moving away from Reality? Sometimes it may appear that you are thinking objectively and then choosing, however later on after knowing the outcome you realize in which areas you moved away from reality. Is there any way to know that you are moving away from Reality on an ongoing basis?

    • janki says:

      ‘Moving away from reality’ i.e. not getting a true perspective of the reality is a function of the mind. So how does one stay with a correct perspective? Strengthen the intellect. This is done through reflection on Vedanta. However, this is a long term programme. Until such time that the intellect gets strengthened one can take a precautionary measure. When the mind is getting excited about something, take a pause. The strong activity of the mind is likely to blur the lines of reality. Be most cautious when the mind likes something. Under the strong influence of a strong like/demand/excitement, no decision should be taken. if something is seeming just fantastic take a break to see the negative side too.

      • jack dsouza says:

        Janki ji ,
        correct me ,if i am wrong
        If we keep our expectation low,Can we be able to focus more on the work that is on hand.

        • janki says:

          Hari Om Jack. The point of this artricle is not high or low expectations but realistic expectations. That means whatever we hope for, whatever we expect, we must apply our intellect to. Check whether the expectations and the ground realities meet. For instance, I want to be a millionaire. If today I am a pauper, I must understand what all I will have to do to become a millionaire and how long it will take. There is no point living in a dream world because that later leads to frustation.
          In other words expectations must be based on correct assessments. Else expectations will meet with disappointments.
          There is nothing in Vedanta against aiming high. We can and must aim high. However, the process must be led by the intellect and not the mind.

  3. Many thanks for your very insightful write-up, we could benefit from much more sites like this on the web. Could you expand a little more about the second paragraph please? I’m a small bit confused as well as unsure whether or not I am aware your point totally. Thank you so much.

    • janki says:

      The point is only this: that we get so carried away with out desires we fail to do any due diligence. The effect is that the result is not as we had anticipated in our day-dreaming. We believed something will happen and something altogether different does. This is because we don’t stop and focus our intellect on our desire. Things are not going to happen in a certain manner because we wish them so. For any desire we have, first we need to find out if there is a chance of fulfillment from the object. Secondly, if there is, how best do I get it.

    • Chloe says:

      I am unable to get the suejcbt object thing around 18th min. Suppose I say I am angry which is the suejcbt? You say that intellect is the suejcbt. Next suppose I say I have understood. Here you say intellect is the object. Then what is the suejcbt? Jiva? Ego?Another question: Suppose I listen from a doctor that I cannot see yellow color. Then the ears becomes a suejcbt and eyes an object. At the same time, I see a note written by a doctor that my ears cannot process the akshara ka . So now my eyes becomes a suejcbt and ears become an object. Combining the two statement, we get that eyes can become a suejcbt of itself.

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