On Khalil Gibran: What is pleasure and what is its place in life?

Acharya Prashant
4 min readDec 11, 2020

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

“Pleasure is a freedom song,

But it is not freedom.

It is the blossoming of your desires,

But it is not their fruit.”

~ Khalil Gibran

Questioner: Sir, what is pleasure, and what is its place in life?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Khalil Gibran is saying, “Pleasure is a freedom song, But it is not freedom. It is the blossoming of your desires, But it is not their fruit.”

Pleasure and pain are two ends of duality, but they should not be taken as separate. They are one.

Pleasure in itself will hold no attraction for you if you are not in pain. If you ask, “What is pleasure?” The answer has to be in context of pain.

Pleasure means nothing in absence of pain.

What is pleasure then? A temporary perception of cessation of pain. A temporary perception of relief from pain. And you know it is temporary. Experience has told you that. So on one hand, pleasure is relief from pain and on the other hand, pleasure is the apprehension of pain.

You know you have left pain behind in time. There was pain yesterday and today is pleasure. You know you have left pain behind in time but you also know pain is waiting for you ahead in time. You try to clutch pleasure. You try to prolong pleasure. Nobody wants their pleasurable moments to end. We all want our fairy tales to continue. But in the desire of continuation itself lies fear, pain. You would not want something to prolong were you not convinced of its mortality. You know that it is going to end, that it is about to end. And that is the reason you pray and work for its elongation.

Now, look at what is happening. You were in pain and when you were in pain, you were in pain. And then the pain turned into pleasure and when you are in pleasure, you want to prolong that pleasure, and the very desire to prolong is pain. So when you were in pain, you were in pain, and even when you are in pleasure, you are in pain. In fact…

--

--