Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Shreyas & Preyas

Please welcome Dr. Sampadananda Misra, who brings us Sanskrit with Soul... I was lucky enough to spend a day with him at a conference and was completely floored by his spirituality and the innate connection he has with Sanskrit. His approach to chandas started me on a journey which I'd never dared before. Today he talks about Shreyas and Preyas. Read, enjoy and interact with Misra ji on Twitter @Sampadananda

Shreyas & Preyas 

The word shreyas is derived from the root-sound shri (श्रि) which means to cause to lean or rest on, lay on or in, fix on, fasten to, direct or turn towards, spread or diffuse light or radiance or beauty over. The most common word from this root is aashraya (आश्रय) meaning support, refuge, shelter, dependence etc. The third person singular form of the root shri in present tense is shrayati or shrayate (श्रयति, श्रयते). The word shrii (श्री) is another most familiar word from this root which means light, lustre, radiance, splendour, glory, beauty, grace, loveliness, prosperity, welfare, good fortune, success, auspiciousness, wealth, treasure, riches, high rank, power, might, majesty, royal dignity etc. Goddess Lakshmi is known as shrii because she is the refuge and support of all existence; she is the goddess of beauty and harmony. It is the greater harmony that supports all movements in the creation, without that there will be no creation.  
The word shriimaan श्रीमान् (feminine shriimatii श्रीमती) is one who is in possession of shrii, the one who shines with the knowledge of soul, lives in the light of the spirit.  To achieve the knowledge that leads to the realization of the cosmic consciousness in each and everything is the object of shriividyaa (श्रीविद्या). The word shreshtha (श्रेष्ठ​) which means the most excellent is also from the same root. The word shreyas ,(श्रेयस्) derived from the root shri, therefore, means that which diffuses light, brings happiness and bliss, and is good. It has the following meanings: auspicious, fortunate, conducive to welfare or prosperity, bliss, fortune, happiness, most splendid or beautiful, most excellent or distinguished, best, propitious, well disposed to, superior, preferable, better, better than etc.  The word shreyaskara (श्रेयस्कर​) means that which promotes happiness and is favourable.
The word nihshreyas (निःश्रेयस) is another important word in this group. It is formed by combining the prefix nis with the word shreyas. The prefix nis conveys the sense of certainty, fullness, completeness and integrality. So, nihshreyas refers to that which is certainly and completely good. The word nihsreyas is related to the soul’s salvation. When we fall back entirely on the inner support or resources, then the real quest begins to bear fruit. This leads to the realization that our real existence is in the soul. This is nihshreyas, the perfect goodness or true happiness.

The word preyas (प्रेयस्) is derived from the root prii (प्री) which means: to please, gladden, delight, gratify, cheer, comfort, soothe, propitiate; to like, love, be kind to, to refresh. The third person singular form of this root in present tense is either priiNaati or priiyate (प्रीणाति, प्रीयते). The words like priiti, prema and priya are derived from this root. The word priiti means pleasure, joy gladness, satisfaction, amity, love etc.; prema means love and affection; priya refers to fondness, one who is dear to, favourite, liked.  So the word preyas means that which is pleasant.

According to a verse in Kathopanishad (1.2.2) from between shreyas (that which is good to the soul) and preyas (that which is pleasing to the senses) the wise one always chooses the shreyas.

In a true sense preyas is that pleasure which is born from the contact of the senses with the objects and ‘is nectar to the lips at the first touch, but there is a secret poison in the bottom of the cup and after it the bitterness of disappointment, satiety, fatigue, revolt, disgust, sin, suffering, loss, transience.’  And that which is born of the satisfaction of the higher mind and spirit is shreyas. This refers to the best and most inward with us. At first this may, though not necessarily, be like a poison but in the end it straight leads to the nectar of immortality. So, preyas is something pleasing to the senses and leads to failure and disappointment. And shreyas is something good to the growth of the soul which ultimately leads to nihshreyas, the perfect happiness.

tattvamasi shvetaketo

“That thou art, O Shvetaketu”


Unknown said...

Thanks for the detailed, precise explanation.

Anonymous said...

Please explain meaning of sanskrit word Shrayat (derived from gopi geet)

Thanks in advance