Saturday, November 6, 2010

Differentiating the pleasant and the good.

Many people can't differentiate the pleasant and the good. This is a big problem in a democracy, where people start voting themselves lollipops and vote a bread and circus democracy in, also check what that means by an excellent post from a close ally.

I know, Diwali prayers and the feeling of union with family, laughing and joking are all good, but if you have time, try to get your countries out of such a democracy if it is in one, and if it is not in one, keep it out of it.

In this, a part of the Kathopanishad can be of use. I am quoting an excerpt from a translation of the upanishads by Swami Prabhavananda and Frederick Manchester. I assume either you have a copy of the Kathopanishad, or can read the part before the part I have taken from online sources.

Nachiketa: "Tell me, O King, the supreme secret regarding which men doubt. No other boon will I ask.

Yamaraj: "The good is one thing; the pleasant is another. These two, differing in their ends, both prompt to action. Blessed are they that choose the good; they that choose the pleasant miss the goal.

Both the good and the pleasant present themselves to men. The wise, having examined both, distinguish the one from the other. The wise prefer the good to the pleasant; the foolish, driven by fleshly desires, prefer the pleasant to the good.

Thou, O Nachiketa, having looked upon fleshly desires, delightful to the senses, hast renounced them all. Thou hast turned from the miry way, wherein many a man wallows.

Far from each other, and leading to different ends, are ignorance and knowledge. Thee, O Nachiketa, I regard as one who aspires after knowledge, for a multitude of pleasant objects were unable to tempt thee."

Please read the rest of the Upanishad from your source. Let us resolve to be like Nachiketa and be able to differentiate between the pleasant and the good this year. At some places, that has already begun to happen. May that light spread and elevate us from this darkness. A very happy deepavaly and a happy new year to all of you readers.