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Pleasure And Sikhism

Harry Haller

Panga Master
Jan 31, 2011

The other day, eating late, I realised we were out of butter. Butter was important that evening, as it was Friday, which is steak day, and we had jacket potatoes. I normally have a particular brand of butter, it is not hugely expensive, but it floats my boat, its french, and I love its taste. So walking to the local happy shopper, I bought happy shopper butter, and used that. My wife could not tell any difference, but I could, it was nothing short of disgusting, fake and infused with flavorings, I felt sick. It tasted of the sort of butter I used to eat when I was young, although then, I loved it.

If bliss is a feeling of contentment and happiness, how does pleasure stand up, pleasure has a bit of a dark angle to it. I mean, you can be happy eating aloo prontha, but does it bring you pleasure, happiness (yes my mother informed me I had been spelling it wrong for some time now), is different, there is a purity in happiness, happy is smiling and chardi kala, pleasure is more, uhmm, lets see what the dictionary says

hap·py (hp)
adj. hap·pi·er, hap·pi·est
1. Characterized by good luck; fortunate.
2. Enjoying, showing, or marked by pleasure, satisfaction, or joy.
3. Being especially well-adapted; felicitous: a happy turn of phrase.
4. Cheerful; willing: happy to help.
a. Characterized by a spontaneous or obsessive inclination to use something. Often used in combination: trigger-happy.
b. Enthusiastic about or involved with to a disproportionate degree. Often used in combination: money-happy; clothes-happy.

pleas·ure (plzhr)
1. The state or feeling of being pleased or gratified.
2. A source of enjoyment or delight: The graceful skaters were a pleasure to watch.
3. Amusement, diversion, or worldly enjoyment: "Pleasure . . . is a safer guide than either right or duty" (Samuel Butler).
4. Sensual gratification or indulgence.
5. One's preference or wish: What is your pleasure?
v. pleas·ured, pleas·ur·ing, pleas·ures
To give pleasure or enjoyment to; gratify: Our host pleasured us with his company.
1. To take pleasure; delight: The hiker paused, pleasuring in the sounds of the forest.
2. To go in search of pleasure or enjoyment.

Reading this, I would say that happiness is more related to Waheguru than pleasure. One can be in a constant state of happiness, but if one were to be in a constant state of pleasure, then you would more and more types of pleasure to keep that state up.

I mention the butter, because the food is food, and one should be happy eating food, but we want to make dining, not a happy experience, but a pleasurable experience, and we take this to our lives, at one end of the scale, we should all be perfectly happy with the love of our family, a usable car, simple delicious food on the table, a fulfilling job, health, and enough money to live happily. At the other end of the scale, We want our family to prove that love, by doing things for us, an exciting car that is a pleasure to drive, fancy food that brings us pleasure, a job that gives us money for doing very little, so we can spend more time pleasuring ourselves, health that absorbs the damage we do in pleasuring ourselves, and more than enough money, to live without the luxury of budgeting or choice.

WHY? the answer, I think, is pleasure as opposed to happiness, unfortunately, as I see it, pleasure does not lead to waheguru, happiness does

I am no scientist, but from childhood, I believe it is possible to have a piece of metal rotate in between magnets around it, and keep rotating, to me that is happiness, a motor, however needs a supply of electricity, an external source of power, stop the power, the metal stops rotating, to me, that is pleasure,

Someone please tell me I am wrong, as pleasure is so much easier than happiness to achieve,


May 9, 2006
I agree with your observation, Harry veerji.

I think one of the goals of Sikh is to be able to enjoy the pleasures of the world without being attached to them, and without them distracting you from the greater happiness of Waheguru.

A Sikh should be just as happy with the aloo prontha as he is without the aloo prontha. But he can still enjoy the aloo prontha when he has it, but he shouldn't be envious of the other man's aloo prontha, he shouldn't think of aloo prontha above all else. I think the key is in awareness and rememberance of Truth.

The problem with us manmukhs, we think the Waheguru's happiness is actually the pleasure feeling, which is transitory... we are easily distracted by the temptations of pleasure... pleasure is the beautiful dancing woman, in your face, trying desperately to get your attention, promising you the world yet unable to deliver, she will demand more from you than she will give you... while happiness is the meek woman, beautiful in a plain way, quietly in the background, waiting to be discovered, not promising anything but infinite happiness exists there flowing freely without effort, and only those blessed to see past the obvious dancing woman and come to see the subtle beauty in the quiet one will find true happiness.

Ang 42

ਸਿਰੀਰਾਗੁ ਮਹਲਾ ਘਰੁ
सिरीरागु महला ५ घरु १ ॥
Sirīrāg mėhlā 5 gẖar 1.
Siree Raag, Fifth Mehl, First House:

ਕਿਆ ਤੂ ਰਤਾ ਦੇਖਿ ਕੈ ਪੁਤ੍ਰ ਕਲਤ੍ਰ ਸੀਗਾਰ
किआ तू रता देखि कै पुत्र कलत्र सीगार ॥
Ki▫ā ṯū raṯā ḏekẖ kai puṯar kalṯar sīgār.
Why are you so thrilled by the sight of your son and your beautifully decorated wife?

ਰਸ ਭੋਗਹਿ ਖੁਸੀਆ ਕਰਹਿ ਮਾਣਹਿ ਰੰਗ ਅਪਾਰ
रस भोगहि खुसीआ करहि माणहि रंग अपार ॥
Ras bẖogėh kẖusī▫ā karahi māṇėh rang apār.
You enjoy tasty delicacies, you have lots of fun, and you indulge in endless pleasures.

ਬਹੁਤੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਫੁਰਮਾਇਸੀ ਵਰਤਹਿ ਹੋਇ ਅਫਾਰ
बहुतु करहि फुरमाइसी वरतहि होइ अफार ॥
Bahuṯ karahi furmā▫isī varṯėh ho▫e afār.
You give all sorts of commands, and you act so superior.

ਕਰਤਾ ਚਿਤਿ ਆਵਈ ਮਨਮੁਖ ਅੰਧ ਗਵਾਰ ॥੧॥
करता चिति न आवई मनमुख अंध गवार ॥१॥
Karṯā cẖiṯ na āvī manmukẖ anḏẖ gavār. ||1||
The Creator does not come into the mind of the blind, idiotic, self-willed manmukh. ||1||

ਮੇਰੇ ਮਨ ਸੁਖਦਾਤਾ ਹਰਿ ਸੋਇ
मेरे मन सुखदाता हरि सोइ ॥
Mere man sukẖ▫ḏāṯa har so▫e.
O my mind, the Lord is the Giver of peace.

ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਪਾਈਐ ਕਰਮਿ ਪਰਾਪਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ
गुर परसादी पाईऐ करमि परापति होइ ॥१॥ रहाउ ॥
Gur parsādī pā▫ī▫ai karam parāpaṯ ho▫e. ||1|| rahā▫o.
By Guru's Grace, He is found. By His Mercy, He is obtained. ||1||Pause||

ਕਪੜਿ ਭੋਗਿ ਲਪਟਾਇਆ ਸੁਇਨਾ ਰੁਪਾ ਖਾਕੁ
कपड़ि भोगि लपटाइआ सुइना रुपा खाकु ॥
Kapaṛ bẖog laptā▫i▫ā su▫inā rupā kẖāk.
People are entangled in the enjoyment of fine clothes, but gold and silver are only dust.

ਹੈਵਰ ਗੈਵਰ ਬਹੁ ਰੰਗੇ ਕੀਏ ਰਥ ਅਥਾਕ
हैवर गैवर बहु रंगे कीए रथ अथाक ॥
Haivar gaivar baho range kī▫e rath athāk.
They acquire beautiful horses and elephants, and ornate carriages of many kinds.

ਕਿਸ ਹੀ ਚਿਤਿ ਪਾਵਹੀ ਬਿਸਰਿਆ ਸਭ ਸਾਕ
किस ही चिति न पावही बिसरिआ सभ साक ॥
Kis hī cẖiṯ na pāvhī bisri▫ā sabẖ sāk.
They think of nothing else, and they forget all their relatives.

ਸਿਰਜਣਹਾਰਿ ਭੁਲਾਇਆ ਵਿਣੁ ਨਾਵੈ ਨਾਪਾਕ ॥੨॥
सिरजणहारि भुलाइआ विणु नावै नापाक ॥२॥
Sirjaṇhār bẖulā▫i▫ā viṇ nāvai nāpāk. ||2||
They ignore their Creator; without the Name, they are impure. ||2||

ਲੈਦਾ ਬਦ ਦੁਆਇ ਤੂੰ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਰਹਿ ਇਕਤ
लैदा बद दुआइ तूं माइआ करहि इकत ॥
Laiḏā baḏ ḏu▫ā▫e ṯūʼn mā▫i▫ā karahi ikaṯ.
Gathering the wealth of Maya, you earn an evil reputation.

ਜਿਸ ਨੋ ਤੂੰ ਪਤੀਆਇਦਾ ਸੋ ਸਣੁ ਤੁਝੈ ਅਨਿਤ
जिस नो तूं पतीआइदा सो सणु तुझै अनित ॥
Jis no ṯūʼn paṯī▫ā▫iḏā so saṇ ṯujẖai aniṯ.
Those whom you work to please shall pass away along with you.

ਅਹੰਕਾਰੁ ਕਰਹਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰੀਆ ਵਿਆਪਿਆ ਮਨ ਕੀ ਮਤਿ
अहंकारु करहि अहंकारीआ विआपिआ मन की मति ॥
Ahaʼnkār karahi ahaʼnkārī▫ā vi▫āpi▫ā man kī maṯ.
The egotistical are engrossed in egotism, ensnared by the intellect of the mind.

ਤਿਨਿ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਆਪਿ ਭੁਲਾਇਆ ਨਾ ਤਿਸੁ ਜਾਤਿ ਪਤਿ ॥੩॥
तिनि प्रभि आपि भुलाइआ ना तिसु जाति न पति ॥३॥
Ŧin parabẖ āp bẖulā▫i▫ā nā ṯis jāṯ na paṯ. ||3||
One who is deceived by God Himself, has no position and no honor. ||3||

ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਪੁਰਖਿ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ਇਕੋ ਸਜਣੁ ਸੋਇ
सतिगुरि पुरखि मिलाइआ इको सजणु सोइ ॥
Saṯgur purakẖ milā▫i▫ā iko sajaṇ so▫e.
The True Guru, the Primal Being, has led me to meet the One, my only Friend.

ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਕਾ ਰਾਖਾ ਏਕੁ ਹੈ ਕਿਆ ਮਾਣਸ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਇ
हरि जन का राखा एकु है किआ माणस हउमै रोइ ॥
Har jan kā rākẖā ek hai ki▫ā māṇas ha▫umai ro▫e.
The One is the Saving Grace of His humble servant. Why should the proud cry out in ego?

ਜੋ ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਭਾਵੈ ਸੋ ਕਰੇ ਦਰਿ ਫੇਰੁ ਪਾਵੈ ਕੋਇ
जो हरि जन भावै सो करे दरि फेरु न पावै कोइ ॥
Jo har jan bẖāvai so kare ḏar fer na pāvai ko▫e.
As the servant of the Lord wills, so does the Lord act. At the Lord's Door, none of his requests are denied.

ਨਾਨਕ ਰਤਾ ਰੰਗਿ ਹਰਿ ਸਭ ਜਗ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਹੋਇ ॥੪॥੧॥੭੧॥
नानक रता रंगि हरि सभ जग महि चानणु होइ ॥४॥१॥७१॥
Nānak raṯā rang har sabẖ jag mėh cẖānaṇ ho▫e. ||4||1||71||
Nanak is attuned to the Love of the Lord, whose Light pervades the entire Universe. ||4||1||71||

Harry Haller

Panga Master
Jan 31, 2011

Its wonderful when you find a shabad that not only mirrors what point I am trying to make, but fully encapsulates it completely.


thank you


ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Dec 21, 2010
There is always pleasure before happiness or is it the other way round or is this a duality pair :interestedmunda:.

Example 1: I love "Parathas" and it was my staple breakfast from age 5 to 17 years everyday in the morning with Buffalo milk. Before the calorie counters jump in let me give a context. After school around 1:30 PM we used to play soccer everyday till almost sunset. I don't think any trace of any calories was left in our bodies by the end of the day for what we ate in the morning.
Living in Canada with less physical activities and slowing down of metabolism two things still happen,

  1. Someone says "Parathas" today, I become happy and my mouth starts to salivate. I am happy.
  2. Parathas in hand with the right condiments and tasty, I have pleasure when I eat. icecreammunda
Example 2: I have pleasure when I recognize the beauty of creation all around. I notice it in people and how each is different, in animals, in landscapes/plants and rivers/pebbles/rocks. I see a continuous relationship between all only the intensity and the timelines are different for different parts interactions with each other.

I get happiness when I find times or get opportunities for such. :sippingcoffeemunda:

Does it make sense or is it gibberish!

Sat Sri Akal.


May 9, 2006
You do make sense, Ambarsaria ji. The discussion of pleasure is reminding me about what Buddhists say about pleasure, I think it is said that it can only lead to suffering. A Buddhist member may like to clarify for us.

For example, humans are programmed to seek out pleasurable experiences. We can encounter suffering a number of ways because of this:

1. love candies, eat lots, get sugar diabetes
2. love chips, eat lots, get obese
3. love Gurdwara, go often, one day it's just not as "nice" as it was the other day, and you get disappointed
4. love driving fast, speed often, have accident or get ticket
5. love movies, watch often, get numb mind / distorted reality
6. love popcorn (like I do), eat entire bag (like I do), feel bloated and sick for the rest of the day!

I really like what Jasleen ji has said, that it's about BALANCE.

I think to have balance, you have to have the awareness and rememberence, or else you become ruled by the quest for pleasures and more disappointed when they can't be fulfilled.

On the flip side, they say many poor people are quite happy, yet I don't think they would have many pleasurable moments (what we would define as pleasurable). However I have not spoken to a poor person, so I can't really comment. Not that I'm rolling in money, I just make ends meet, but I'm happy.

Happy is a feeling related to contentment which is a solid feeling. Pleasure is so momentary, it falls away so quickly.


ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
Dec 21, 2010
Ishna ji perhaps my "Paratha" example is not right as it seems to have become part of my life for both pleasure and happiness. Pleasure when eating and happiness when I believe I am getting. For me it is a gray boundary rather than totally black and white between pleasure and happiness.

I agree with most of the rest of your post.

The danger is some believe that pleasure is evil and Sikhs should be careful. The truth is far from it. Pleasure is normal and so is hurt. Happiness is normal so is disappointment.

Theme running everywhere is moderation and balance but once one is trained as such it becomes second nature.

By the way, I have a wonderful times always after eating a bag of popcorn :interestedmunda:

Sat Sri Akal.

Harry Haller

Panga Master
Jan 31, 2011
OK, so what we need here is a motor spinning round with the use of magnets, in simple happiness, that gets a boost of pleasure to spin a bit faster now and then

so in your life, you need an underlying contentment, happiness, and every now and then, you can gorge on aloo prontha!, uhmm ok, no, gorge, nope, still haven't got it, ok , every now and then, you can uhmm nonchalantly , whilst whistling, walk very slowly to the dining room, and, sit down, and then enjoy your aloo prontha, calmly,

I think, for people like me anyway, they call us addictive personalities, I would call it no sense of moderation or balance (thank you jasleenji) personalities,

My wife commented yesterday, that I had not taken the clothes down, as she asked me to do, when I got in, surveying the mess in the kitchen, she said, I bet you drove home thinking only of the aloo prontha you were going to eat (mum had cooked some), I bet you didnt say hello to the dogs or the cat, I bet you tutted everytime you hit a red light, I can tell you couldn't even be bothered to park properly, it was a hot day, on the floor, the trail of shoes, trousers, and t shirt led to the kitchen, where I sat, a huge bowl of yoghurt, butter everywhere, and me sipping a huge mug of sweet tea.

Ok, so balance is needed, but that all makes much sense, upto the point where the voices in your head are screaming for aloo prontha, and all you can see in your head is aloo prontha, you can smell it,

For me, on the one hand, I am happy that the aloo prontha isn't something else, it isn't casinos, or bars, or the desire to be unfaithful, its just innocent aloo prontha, and it has me, in its grip!

I wonder sometimes if its a sign from the creator, to show me just how happiness I am capable of, to give me a taste of what embracing the light within is like, bow to the truth, let it flow, its like a million aloo prontha.

I have been owned by so much in my life, and now, it appears I should be going to aloo prontha anonymous or something,

My name is harry, I am an alooprontha addict


May 9, 2006
Lol Harry ji!

Pondering this is the shower tonight (as one does!), I thought, it might be that happiness, or a least contentment, is the background feeling you need to have to experience wholesome pleasure. If you are depressed (lack happiness, contentment, positivity) you tend to lose interest in what you found pleasurable, or they don't feel as good as they used to. You're still sad. You turn to less wholesome sources of "pleasure" which come from outside sources, like drugs and alcohol. When you have an undercurrent of contentment and happiness, then you get the full pleasure of wholesome activities like reading Gurbani or gardening or any of your regular activities like scoffing aloo prontha! :D

Hi, my name's Ishna, I'm an SPNaholic...



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