On Guru Granth Sahib: It is beautiful to earn pain!

Acharya Prashant
5 min readOct 1, 2020

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

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. ||39||

~ Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, Salok Mahalla

(Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Ang 14128)

Question: Acharya Ji, please clarify what is meant here by, ‘earning pain’?

Acharya Prashant:

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 a loose language is nothing but pleasure-seeking behavior.

When you say that something is natural, effectively what you are saying is, that it is pleasure-seeking behavior. So that’s how your system is — it wants to have pleasure. It wants to have pleasure.

What is the definition of ‘pleasure’?

That which helps prakriti (nature) further its agenda.

‘Food’ pleases you because it gives energy to the body to continue, that’s what prakriti (nature) wants. ‘Flattery’ pleases you because it gives the subtle-body the energy to continue. It will continue, it will stay motivated, it will further its goals.

So, what really is ‘pleasure’?

That which agrees with the agenda of your physical constitution, is called ‘pleasure’.

Now in getting that pleasure, you get pain as well, and that pain makes pleasure even more necessary. So you earn two units of pleasure, and along with two units of pleasure, you also got two units of pain.

What is the inference that your system draws from this? Two units of pleasure is not sufficient, because two units of pleasure came along with two units of pain, and it got nullified. The net was zero. So now your system wants three units of pleasure. But very…