--> Skip to main content

All Pleasure Ultimately Turns Into Pain

The Katha Upanishad points out that God has made the senses outward-oriented. So we seek happiness in things of the external world. Sensory pleasures, however, are transient; sooner or later they fail to satisfy. They become even counterproductive. When an anticipated pleasure is not attained, frustration sets in. Pleasure turns into pain. What appeared to be a merry-go-round at first glance is found to be really a misery-go-round. Trying to get happiness by pursuing sense-pleasures is like attempting to put out a fire by pouring ghee on it.

So the Upanishad asks us to take a U-turn. Direct the buddhi inwards and discover the true source of all joy, the Atman. The Upanishad calls the aspirant who dives within to attain the immortal Self dhira, a word that has a double meaning – one who is bold, as also one who is intelligent. Self-realization is the highest wisdom and most thrilling adventure.

Expanding this concept further the Upanishad says we have two options: to go in for preyas, the pleasant, or unflaggingly seek shreyas, the good. The dhira recognizes the difference between the two choices. He opts for the good, which ensures permanent happiness while the stupid man, thinking in terms of yoga and kshema, acquiring and hoarding, falls a slave to the glitter of the pleasant.

Source - Prabuddha Bharata Magazine June 2003 edition page number 40 - 41.