Sreyas & Preyas Principle in Life and Management

If you are looking for Spirituality related content such as articles, MP3 audio and PDF books, visit SREYAS.IN, the Malayalam language website dedicated for spirituality, advaita vedanta and sanathana dharma.

I was on the look out for a meaningful Sanskrit or Malayalam name for an organization. One of my best friend suggested the name Sreyas. By hearing the word itself for the first time, I liked it. Really meaningful word. BTW, Sreyas also contains sri or sree in it!

In common language, Sreyas (or Shreyas) means more splendid or beautiful, more excellent or distinguished, superior, preferable, better, etc… In spirituality, the Sanskrit word Sreyas has a peculiar meaning. It implies, literally, the best of all things; hence it means beatitude (supreme blessedness) or the highest happiness that one may acquire in heaven. It also refers to those acts of virtue performed over time by which that happiness may be acquired.

Sreyas is referred in the Kathopanishad. It says, “At every stage in a man’s life he is confronted by the necessity to choose between two courses of action. One is sreyas and the other is preyas. Having carefully examined them both from all angles the wise man discriminates between the two and chooses sreyas; the average person on the other hand opts for preyas out of selfishness.”


Sreyas and Preyas are the two competing factors at work in this world. Sreyas promotes a spiritual outlook of life. It manifests as the noble virtues of compassion (daya), love (prema), patience (sahana), empathy (sahanubhuti), spirit of sacrifice (tyaga), etc. in the individual.

Preyas is a road to happiness but a road with a dead-end. Sreyas ensures eternal happiness. But generally it is not very inviting. It is ‘a road less traveled.’

Sreyas is a voice of gentleness and good. But it is a dim voice. Preyas is a voice of glamor and pleasure, and has a loud volume.

Sreyas is that which seems painful in the beginning but the end result is pleasant. As opposed to this, preyas is pleasant in the beginning but painful in the end. The pleasure or benefit ensuing from sreyas is permanent while that from preyas is transient.

Every decision in life and in management can be taken by looking at each option from the sreyas and preyas angles. Wise men go for Sreyas and long lasting happiness, while selfish people goes with preyas and the transient pleasure.

The Hindu newspaper published an article Ancient thought & modern management in June 2004. Discusses about taking decisions using the sreyas & preyas principle.

Before making his choice, a manager must ask himself the following questions:
Will this option be in conformity with the general norms of justice and fair play?
Will it be in the interest of the majority of persons in the organization?
Will the benefits flowing from it be long lasting?
Will the solution it provides be a permanent one?
If the answer to these questions is in the affirmative, the proposed course of action is to be taken as sreyas and is to be preferred.
Otherwise it has to be regarded as preyas and rejected.

Do you follow the Sreyas & preyas principle in your organization? Have you ever taken a managerial decision which you later regretted as being preyas / selfish?

Reference: Preyas and sreyas

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply