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Pleasantly good

We touched upon the red pill and blue pill in a post titled The Matrix a few weeks ago – link here. This is a concept that has existed for ages in many Indian spiritual texts, notably in the Kathopanishad.

The blue pill denotes that which is pleasant. The red pill denotes that which is good. Is there a difference between pleasant and good? There certainly is.

What is pleasant, is merely a function of what our sense organs perceive. That yummy looking pizza, that smell of freshy baked cream cookies, the sound of a TV advert asking you to spend the next 2 hours on the couch – are all examples of pleasant things. But are these necessarily good as well? Hardly.

In Sanskrit, the pleasant is denoted by the word preyas, while the good is called shreyas. It follows, that many times, to get the good, the path may not be easy or obvious.

Across many parts of the world, as the coronavirus threat seems to be abating somewhat, many people are throwing caution to the wind, and going on holidays and partying with friends (preyas). Needless to say, some of these have resulted in new infections. While 6 or 8 months spent locked down at home has indeed been painful, can we not wait another 2-3 months (shreyas)? Ask anyone who has gone through the ordeal of having to beg for hospital beds for their loved ones, and then maybe we will realize the gravity of the situation.

The Kathopanishad concludes decisively – “The wise one always chooses shreyas.”

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