Which type of benefits would you go for?
There are two concepts. One is of Shreyas (श्रेयस) and the other is Preyas (प्रेयस). In Shreyas, there is an initial phase of toil and apparent trouble and a later stage of unending bliss. In Preyas, there is an initial phase of temporary excitement and shallow happiness. But the later phases of Preyas is that of unending distress and trouble. All humans without exception have to accept one of the two paths of Shreyas or Preyas. This is because mind can never remain without activity even for a moment. Unless Shreyas is accepted completely, there can be no holiday for the mind. The mind then has to toil life-after-life without respite. We shall talk about Preyas and Shreyas in conclusion towards the end of the article.
In the Kathopanishad (कठोपनिषद), it is mentioned that man has been handed over a chariot by the Lord. In that chariot, there is a body, represented by the human body. There are 10 horses of the chariot, represented by the 5 Jnana Indriyas (ज्ञानेन्द्रिय) or Knowledge senses and 5 Karma Indriyas (कर्मेन्द्रिय) or Action-driven senses. These horses are such that they are active to the maximum and they are supposed to work in favor of the chariot, body. There are harnesses that control the horses and they are represented by the mind. Thus the harnesses of the mind are supposed to control and direct the horses represented by the 10 senses. The driver of the mind is the intellect, the one who commands the mind, the harness of the horses represented by the 10 senses. The driver operates by the will of the owner of the chariot, who is the jeev (जीव), the living entity. But jeev is sitting on the lap of its owner which is Brahman the Lord, who is the parent of the jeev and controls or watches over the jeev.
The jeev although, guides the chariot is not fully qualified to direct the chariot. The right method is to consult its eternal parent, the Lord. Unless the jeev accepts the subordination of its parent, the chariot shall run in all wrong directions. The parent shall not instruct or direct the child, unless the child surrenders and accepts the subordination of the parent. The child may ask the parent, “Oh father, the Vedas talk about so many things and yet you command me to simply surrender to you. I do not get the point.” The father replies “The Vedas give you detailed processes to attain insignificant, perishable objects of the world. These processes represent peculiar forms of spiritual disciplines that give you some control over material things and situations. However they do not have long term benefits. There are no clear instructions to attain the imperishable object. The problem with the long and arduous processes of attaining perishable benefits from the Scriptures is not guaranteed. But there are some very tiny instructions that are sprinkled here and there in scriptures that have the real secret revealed. However one may not even believe that this is possible. The interesting thing is that, if one gets committed to this process 100% result is guaranteed. Even if one continuously remembers this secret, one can attain the imperishable without fail and graduate to the zone of permanence. All other processes of the Vedic scripture is like dividing zero by any number or multiplying zero by any number. Result shall be zero at the end of it. Now we shall know about the secret.
It is all about remembering the Lord all the time. However one condition applies. One should simply think of the Lord, with no worldly expectation whatsoever. One is warned against expecting anything from Him. The remembrance of the Lord and His pastimes should be done out of our love for Truth because Truth and God are one. When one is truly non-expectant, love shall be discovered. This love is supposed to be directed only towards the Lord with a pure and clear heart. This is the greatest secret that is enshrined in the Vedic scriptures although, it cannot be discovered easily even by mastering the Vedas. It is discovered only by the man who has received Grace. The best way to attain Grace, is to desire Grace so that all murkiness of the heart is completely washed away. It is the view of elevated sages that 99.9% of the world desires for objects of the world or attain worldly position and about 0.98% of the world whines for liberation. But the extremely fortunate ones desire neither for the world nor for liberation. This is the secret that the Scriptures reveal and accepted by the full-blown enlightened ones. Even when someone goes to temples and takes up pilgrimages it is not out of love for the Lord but to attain meagre means of welfare for oneself and all that one considers as one’s own. This is lust which people unfortunately label as “love”. Lust is for this planet and love is for something eternal, unassailable.
People go to temples to please the Lord so that they receive something of this world. It is strange that for buying shoes we go to a clothes shop and ask the shopkeeper to show one, the best shoes in town. It is indeed sad that intelligence has fallen to such an extent. One cannot pass exams by going and asking the Lord to perform a miracle and make one pass who has not touched his books for the entire year. If one is a good student, attended classes and applied the right efforts towards passing the exam, one shall pass. There are other people who say that I prayed to the Lord and I got the promotion. Yes this can happen sometimes, no doubt. However one should ask deeper questions. How can the Lord give you something when you do not have a bank balance of good Karma that you have earned in this lifetime or previous lifetimes? You get material things and material happiness if you have a stack of good Karma although you are right now earning bad Karma for the future. You have to ask eternal things to the eternal being, the Lord and not make the mistake of asking Him temporary things of the world, which shall anyway come to you in proportion of your accumulated Karmas. Here seeking material things is Preyas while seeking the Lord is Shreyas.