Saturday, November 24, 2007

Discrimination between the path of Shreyas and the path of Preyas

With his firm resolve Nachiketas has overcome all resistance from his rationalizing intellect and has qualified himself to receive the subtle knowledge that transcends the duality of life and death. The knowledge flows into the awareness of Nachiketas from his relaxation of all the demands of the life in this world. He is now viewing the phenomena of life and death from a plane where there are no constraints imposed by any conditions.

Anyachchreyo/nyadutaiva preya
Te ubhe nanarthe purusham sineetah
Tayoh shreya adadanasya sadhu
Bhavati heeyate/rthadya u preyo vruneeta


In this world a man is held in his position by the actions of two opposing pulls. The first of these is the beckoning of the transcendental plane. By following this pull he reaches higher and higher planes of existence. This is the pull of shreyas. It leads him to prosperity. The second is the pull of the sensual pleasures that tends to keep him as a worldly being. This is the pull of preyas. It tries to keep him anchored in the lowly planes associated with gross pleasures, trapping him in the web of practicalities that prevents him from making any progress.

Shreyashcha preyashcha manushyametat
Tou sampareetya vivinakti dheerah
Shreyohidheerotabhipreyaso vruneete
Preyo mando yogakshemadvruneete


As long as he lives man is entangled in the tug of war between shreyas and preyas. Intelligent persons are able to view this in a detached manner. They recognize that shreyas is superior to preyas. Those who are not so intelligent are caught in the delusion that their welfare is to be sought through the pursuit of preyas. They indulge their mind in the pursuit of sensual pleasures. Their intellect is dedicated to making complex schemes for satisfying the caprices of the indulgent mind.

Sa tvam priyan priyaroopamshchakaman
Abhidhyayannachiketo/tyasrakshih
Naitam srunkam vittamyeemavapto
Yasyan majjanti bahavo manushyah


Nachiketas is one who has recognized his true passions. He has applied his power of discrimination to understand the enticing worldly pleasures for what they are and has resolved not to be bound by these pleasures, in which most of the people remain immersed.

Dooramete vipareete vishoochi
Avidyayacha vidyeti jnata
Vidyabheepsitam nachiketasam manye
Natva kama bahavonlolupanta


Shreyas and preyas spread their influence in opposite ways. The domain governed by shreyas is the domain of vidya. In this domain one converges to the essentiality of objects. The domain governed by preyas is the domain of avidya. In this domain one fritters his resources in the pursuit of non-essential expressions of objects. Nachiketas is not enticed by the objects of worldly sensual pleasures. By refusing to be bound by the worldly desires in the domain of avidya Nachiketas has qualified himself for receiving vidya.

3 comments:

Indrajit Basak said...

When one performs duties to family, society or country, one feels bound to them and probably derives a certain kind of pleasure out of that activity. However, it cannot be said that these actions are carried out solely for the sake of pleasure.

Do these qualify as belonging to the path of Shreyas or Preyas?

A.V.G.Warrier said...

I suggest you read the sections in Gita that refers to the performance of karmas as a part of yajna.... and also about the nature of swadharma and paradharma.

TATHAGAT said...

Till now we were educated to differentiate between good and bad but this discussion between Nachiketa and lord of Death reveals ultimate. The difference between genuine good and apparent good.