The new age problem is of CHOICE….
To be or Not To be is no more a question.
To SELECT THIS or SELECT THAT is the Dilemma.
We are overexposed to Abundance or Plenty.. and so we have many choices… CHOICES in
– Clothes to wear
– Gadgets to own
– Books to read
– Ways of getting refreshed, recharged
– Food to eat..from Junk to Organic
– Places to visit on vacation and so on.
Few people spend time in deciding what to choose but we
the Young and the Middle-aged lot
– busy rushing through everyday combats of winning rat race or
– being triumphant over Success Targets
get carried away in selecting the CHOICE giving us quick sense pleasure or relief from the stress situation.
It becomes inevitable that such choice should give us back quick results on our Investment of time .. money .. relationships .. and efforts.
What we blatantly ignore or keep at bay while making CHOICE is
What is ‘GOOD’ for us ..?
What will give us ‘lasting benefit’..?
‘What we SHOULD have selected ?’ and
the final result of such choice many a time makes us feel LOST or FOOLED in the long run.
Look at this picture. It talks about Pleasure vs. Fulfillment.
Any creative or constructive act will have a period of struggle and pain but the final product will bring a sense of fulfillment.That is श्रेय.
In a case of any act giving us pleasure it may be the reverse case. That is why many a time after watching a movie or coming back from the party what we get is a headache or feeling of tiredness.
So the यक्ष प्रश्न or burning question is what can guide us to decide about making choice?
Here comes to our rescue .. .. one of the Gems of Vedic Texts known as Katha Upanishad (कठ उपनिषद)
Beautifully woven and strategically placed as the last part of Vedas..they are basically discussions in dialogue or story form.
For instance .. a dialogue between a seeker and a guru or master of the subject.
Katha Upanishad is a discussion between young boy Nachiketa and the king of Death… Yama..
In the initial part of the Text, Yama grants 3 boons to Nachiketa.
The third one backfires for Yama because Nachiketa asks Yama to teach him आत्म विद्या ( Atma Vidya ) i.e. What happens after Death?
That’s the real unknown Truth which could have made Nachiketa a conqueror of Death.
This is very much like a new joinee in a company asking an old-timer expert about all the tricks of the trade. 😀
It being suicidal for Yama, he tried to tempt or lure Nachiketa by giving him other alternatives with CHOICES which were full of worldly Pleasures and Lust.
Nachiketa declined all these worldly pleasures.
Yama was pleased with such a young truth-seeker who had rejected the path of enjoyment and chose the path of goodness.
He gave Nachiketa the knowledge of the ‘Atman’, realizing which man attains immortality.
The point which Nachiketa effortlessly drives home is that
श्रेय i.e. lasting benefit, always to be given priority over
प्रेय i.e. pleasure or enjoyment
while making Decisions or Choices.
Talking about we the lesser mortals, the story is no different.
We also face decision making moments now and then.
Yes, it happens to most of us most of the time but we don’t put this situation in weighing scale balance.
We never look at our choices critically from the angle of Shreya vs. Preya.
Let’s look at some of such choice events.
– Eating junk food giving pleasure to the tongue (प्रेय) vs. food that which is healthy as well as tasty (श्रेय) or including fasting in the diet schedule to clean up the system.
(I have suffered on health front in the past and can vouch for that going for प्रेय has made my metabolism go for a toss)
– Students succumbing to sense pleasures like movies, parties during study age i.e. Vidyarthi avastha.. taking my own example..a pleasure avoided in crucial exam time has helped me deliver better results.
– A sleep of half an hour vs. a walk of half an hour still makes a difference every day.
– Doing Painful uninteresting tasks at workplace vs. gossip.
प्रेय – living a life with full freedom in relationships and lot of spending on travel, food, garments will be like WOW..but as the age passes loneliness .. diseases .. boredom can creep in.
श्रेय – having balanced life focussing on satisfaction and fulfillment ..reasonable control over senses and building sustaining relations.
I have also paid the price for putting self first (learned it the hard way) as it is easy to do always.
This is the point which ties back this theme to my first post. WE in Centre with श्रेय as the focus is all we need.
Unless we keep श्रेय as priority in Life ..प्रेय will drown us into the Ocean of samsara
Moving on to ‘HOW TO DO IT’ .. let me quote a verse from Katha Upanishad itself spoke by Yama on this very topic.
Different is the Good (श्रेय) and different is the Dear(प्रेय).They both, having different aims, fetter (a chain at ankle of the feet to make you prisoner).
He, who chooses for himself the good, comes to wellbeing, he, who chooses the dear, loses the goal.
The good and the dear approach the man, The wise man, pondering over both, distinguishes them;
The wise one chooses the good over the dear,
The fool, acquisitive and craving, chooses the dear.
Both श्रेय and प्रेय are like Prison Chain holding us back. However one helps us to elevate whereas other has potential to ruin us.
It boils down to SELECTING
– Knowledge/Wisdom as the pursuit of GOOD or श्रेय, VS
– Ignorance/Delusion as the pursuit of Enjoyment or प्रेय.
We fall victim to Enjoyment due to our Love for Ignorance and in hindsight, we blame Lack of Time for it.
Can’t we just give an Hour or so of the week to this process of acquiring worthy Knowledge which will allow us to think about श्रेय over प्रेय in any choice or deciding event?
Mind will always justify why प्रेय should be selected (what difference it will make by half an hour walk ? or nothing will happen if we skip it one day )
Let’s use Intellect as a weapon to kill Mind ki Masti (naughtiness)
Ask self….what श्रेय my intended action can bring? and there you go.
Nothing can stop you on the path to wellbeing.
Finally, Love for own true self and others will push us to go for श्रेय.
Look at any mother of a newborn.
She happily and easily sacrifices all her pleasures and adapts a life routine full of श्रेय .. for her as well as her child.
Ask any head of the family and he will always be working for श्रेय of other members.
Our freedom fighters and our soldiers did it frequently for us in the past.
In short, श्रेय is not success ..it is all about wellbeing..excellence..long lasting benefit..vs प्रेय which is not happiness ..but is misery wearing the mask of pleasure.
Readers, I will also urge you for my श्रेय to share any such incident where you did or did not succumb to प्रेय.
Use the comment section below or FB comment or Whatsapp me. More we share, more it will bring out the practical aspect of it.
अस्तु । Om Shanti