What to Go After ? प्रेय (preya) or श्रेय (shreya) ?

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 Urban,

the Young and the Middle-aged lot

who are

– 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


15 thoughts on “What to Go After ? प्रेय (preya) or श्रेय (shreya) ?

Add yours

  1. Absolutely true.
    For my case…I had a habit of using too much social media… Reducing or almost not using it increased my efficiency in my studies. I think that was my shreya over preya

  2. Bhai went through the blog… Nicely written… But i disagree with the examples of food and lifestyle written… But the topic of Shreya is far more greater than doing good for oneself… It should be whether it will take me nearer to myself or God as one would like to call it… And Preya is something which takes me away from myself or God… This is also an angle which should be given a thought…

  3. I maybe wrong with my interpretation of your blog but the above message is just a suggestion on which i would like to hear your thoughts as well… A self centered society should be more Shreya centric then Preya… Shouldn’t it?…

    1. Exactly. Shrey is excellence and seeing ‘good’ the one which is required. God Centric Society can only be the solution as it covers all other aspects.. May be step by step..we can reach there.

  4. Wow… Nice feeding for starter who really wants to reach to himself… GAURANG Bhai… Please keep it up and give us more wide path…Now
    Waiting for next

  5. I can just relate myself with example for mother that you have given its take real understanding to not run in rat race of earning when you are gifted with angels. It’s need deep belief in God. Other factors do matter in making choices though. How well you r read. Whose company u r in. Etc I guess priorities sets accordingly n we can lead our life towards greater goal each day.

  6. Nicely written GB. My only thought is if we start looking for Shrey in every activity we might tend to loose the small happiness that life gives us. So sometimes looking at Prey should also be okay until its not harmful to us or anyone around us.

    1. surely. it does not say that shrey is dryness or boredom..there is word for it..Nirmal Anand..or Subjective happiness.. the focus on happiness without object is far sulerior then pleasure relater to se.nses. however it does never say that such happiness is banned. When we fo to temple ..we see turtle over there…the sense should be used for pleasure like turtle..it can shrink its body parts within its shell when needed..small happy moments with family and friends are much needed..only over indulgence in sense pleasure is detrimental. hope i could clarify.

  7. Nice blog Bhai… Isn’t it the problem of having separate co-existance of both? As long as we don’t conciously mature to a stage where both coincide, isn’t ignoring preya rather a burden on self? Great to know if there are some thoughts how to get there. ..Keep bloging

    1. both are by nature seperate.. pleasure and goodness does not always go hand in hand.. for e.g. hardwork and laziness.. even to sustain laziness ..someone will have to do hardwork..

  8. We are living in a materialistic world where we know what should we do ideally but to keep someone happy we get along with the undesired way.we actually don’t know what we want out of this life but as I said just to keep happy people around me, I usually get carried away. We play so many roles in our life and want to win OSCAR in each roles played by us .but Gaurav nice way to make understand impotence of the प्रेय (preya) or श्रेय (shreya)
    Good going bhai

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