The Path of Material Prosperity vs. The Path of Spiritual Bliss – Part 1

For  every  man,  the  body,  the  tongue  and  the  heart are  the elements which constitute humanness. A sacred and pure heart, speech wedded to truth, and a body dedicated to the service of others, with these three attributes a man can have no trouble from Kali (presiding deity of the present age). Purity of the heart, truthfulness in speech and a body devoted to service constitute what is called Trikarana Shuddhi (the triple purity of body, speech and heart). 

Sai seeks from you good qualities,
Friendliness towards mankind,
The spirit of sacrifice,
Eschewing of selfishness and
Rendering selfless service to society.
This is the offering Sai desires from you.
And this is verily the wealth you should offer to Sai. 

This is the wealth Sai expects. Good qualities, friendship towards all, selfless service to society are what Sai seeks from you. 

In this world of moving and non-moving objects, man is carrying on his life with two desires. One is Preyas (material prosperity). Although there are all kinds of objects in the world, man seeks first of all things which will please his senses. Deriving pleasure  from time  to  time  through sense-organs is described as Preyas. This Preyas is not enduring. It is like a mirage. Sensuous pleasures are momentary and leave a trail of pain behind. However, most people seek only such fleeting and unreal pleasures. From the learned to the illiterate, all seek only these sensuous pleasures. Indulgence in sensual pleasures leads to bad practices and bad conduct. 

“Constantly entertaining bad thoughts,
Playing a game of blind man's bluff,
Strutting about with a perishable body,
as soon as one's accumulations
from past lives are exhausted,
Giving up this make-believe existence,
The poor player meets with his death,
carrying with him the consequences
of his good and bad deeds” 

Is this the life one should lead? Can this be the purpose of life? This verily is not the life a true man should lead. One should manifest his full personality. How is this personality to be developed? The first requisite is elimination of the ego. Only when the ego is destroyed, does an individual’s personality blossom forth. 

Shreyas and Preyas 

Man today primarily seeks sensual desires. Secondarily, he desires Shreyas. Shreyas means overcoming the demands of the senses and achieving that spiritual bliss which is represented by the term Sat-Chit-Ananda (Being-Awareness-Bliss). All actions aimed at Atmic (Spiritual) bliss are related to Shreyas.The  one  who  seeks Preyas (sensual pleasures) is concerned with the body, while the one concerned with the Atma seeks Shreyas (spiritual well-being). 

Today 90% of the population are involved in sensual desires. Education today is mainly concerned with sensory pursuits. All occupations are related to the achievement of sensual desires. All enjoyments are related to the senses. Even the acquisition of wealth is for enjoying trivial sensual pleasures.  The involvement with Preyas thus is connected with pleasures of the body, the mind and the senses. There is no doubt that there is a need for some concern about physical comforts. ‘Even the body is essential for the realisation of Dharma’, say the scriptures.  The demands of the body have to be satisfied.  Society has to be served. Family responsibilities have to be discharged. The body is the basis for all these. However, this should not be the ultimate goal of life. The former relates to the external phenomenal world and is concerned with worldly desires. Together  with  this,  there  should  be  the  yearning  for  a higher  spiritual life. 

The pursuit of Preyas (worldly desires) is negative. The quest for Shreyas is positive. Without association with the positive, Preyas is of no use, however much there may be worldly goods. It is only when one yearns for Shreyas (spiritual bliss) that even Preyas leads to fulfillment. Worldly knowledge is not to be ignored or neglected. It is undoubtedly necessary.  Secular knowledge is for the enjoyment of this world. Brahma Vidya (spiritual knowledge) is for the enjoyment of heavenly bliss. While acquiring secular knowledge, be keen about realising the spiritual truth.  

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