The Painful Thorns of Desire-Ridden Rebirth #241


One of Sri Ramakrishna’s favorite stories for communicating to people the reasons for their suffering involves the camel and its habits in life. Desire and habit cause the camel to consume thorny bushes. It loves the taste of these, but has to suffer the thorns piercing through the mouth, cheeks, and tongue. Still, it goes on eating. It will have to take another camel body later based upon its heightened and unfulfilled desire for this taste. This example provides apt analogy for human beings as well, as they go on with whatever preoccupation that pleases them, continuing in it despite the attending suffering that comes to them in the process. Camels become camels again, drug addicts become drug addicts, athletes become athletes, war-mongerers become war-mongerers, intellectuals become intellectuals again — all based upon this inexorable law of karma. Only those who court freedom escape these suffering-prone cycles by getting over their desires.

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