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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Niśśreyas literally means ‘highest good’.

The Kathā Upaniṣad[1] declares that every human being has the opportunity to choose between the following:

  1. Preyas - Preyas is what is pleasant, the apparently good, but which ultimately turns out to be bad, painful and ruinous.
  2. Śreyas - Śreyas is that which is really good, though at first sight, it may not appear to be attractive.

A wise person always chooses the latter in preference to the former. Śreyas, again, has two stages:

  1. The abhyudaya - The former is worldly well-being got through dharma or the righteous means. This, however, is not permanent.
  2. The niśśreyas - Niśśreyas is spiritual well-being leading to mokṣa or liberation, the highest good.

The word is used to indicate mokṣa also.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

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