The false promise of pleasure || IIT Kharagpur (2022)

May 18, 2022 | Acharya Prashant

Questioner (Q): I find myself in a vicious cycle of wanting more and more pleasure all the time. How can I get out of it?

Acharya Prashant (AP): Get some real pleasure. Real pleasure has a quality to it, and when you have that quality then your hunger for quantity diminishes. If you keep looking for more and more pleasure, chances are you are not getting pleasure anywhere. Had you been getting it somewhere, you would have stopped at that point, right? Because you don’t get it anywhere, that is why you want it everywhere.

So, look for the right place where real pleasure can be had. For that you will have to first of all test whether all these places that promise pleasure to you are of any avail. They promise, they attract, they also extract a lot, but do they really deliver? And maintain the faith that the real thing is not inaccessible. You are born to achieve the real thing and you can get it, but not if you remain attracted to, engaged with all the little and false stuff. Then the little things will keep you forever away from the real deal.

Q: The reason I asked this question is that society promotes this mentality which says, for example, “Crack that exam and you will get pleasure after that, you will live in pleasure after that.” Someone might be aspiring to crack the UPSC, and he is taught that after he cracks it he will have cars and servants and all the possible pleasures available to himself. The thing is that when we are focusing on our work based on this promise, we don’t develop any plan on how to proceed after the initial achievement. We might succeed and still find ourselves lost afterwards. We don’t know what to do after the initial achievement.

AP: People who write the JEE thinking that after the JEE there would only be an unmitigated pleasure, or people who write the UPSC thinking that once you get your rank and are allotted a cadre, all you will have is power, pelf, privilege, servants, and all the things that you talked of—


Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More