On Advait Vedanta: It is beautiful to earn pain

Acharya Prashant
5 min readApr 4, 2022

The following excerpt is from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

ਜਤਨ ਬਹੁਤ ਸੁਖ ਕੇ ਕੀਏ ਦੁਖ ਕੋ ਕੀਓ ਨ ਕੋਇ ॥
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੁਨਿ ਰੇ ਮਨਾ ਹਰਿ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਹੋਇ ॥੩੯॥

jatan bahut sukh kay kee-ay dukh ko kee-o na ko-ay
kaho naanak sun ray manaa har bhaavai so ho-ay

People make all sorts of efforts to find peace and pleasure, but no one tries to earn pain.
Says Nanak, listen, mind: whatever pleases God comes to pass.

~ Guru Granth Sahib 1428–11, Salok Mahala 9–39

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Questioner (Q): What does Guru Tegh Bahadur mean by earning pain?

Acharya Prashant (AP): The constitution of the body is such that it is pleasure-seeking. That’s the guiding principle behind bodily actions. Bodily actions include the impulses of the brain. So, that which you call as natural, in loose language, is nothing but pleasure-seeking behavior. When you say something is natural, effectively what you’re saying is that it is pleasure-seeking behavior.