The eternal dilemma

Like a traveller on the brink of the awesome ocean before

undertaking his voyage, a jivatma is overwhelmed by the

ultimate goal, liberation, which is believed to be his

birthright. In his case, neither the distance to the destination nor the time to be taken to reach it can be guessed. But there are many options with regard to mode of travel and also the possibility of seeking help and advice from co-travellers, said Sri R. Krishnamurthy Sastrigal in a discourse.

Chasing the finite pleasures of this world which are

attractive is known as choosing the path of Preyas. These are diferent in diferent people. The goals keep changing in an individual during one’s lifetime. What seems attractive at one point of time is likely to sour in the course of time and new goals are pursued. The chase for this elusive happiness continues in every birth. But choosing to ignore the pleasures and attractions of the world and be determined to seek permanent release is known as the path of Sreyas which leads to freedom from the cycle of birth. Only a refined mind that is convinced about the ultimate goal and is steadfast to attain it can tread the path of Sreyas.

Nachiketas exemplifies the significance of detachment in

all its fullness and only longs to gain the knowledge of what

lies beyond death. Yama tempts him with all the pleasures

that men most desire — mighty kingdom, horses, chariots,

celestial maidens, song and dance, etc. But Nachiketas turns his back on the desire for all these which he knows are ephemeral. He wishes to seek the knowledge of what confers immortality. He has internalised the basic lesson taught in the scriptures that ‘there is no happiness in the finite and that the Infinite alone is the abode of happiness’.