I remember reading in some book related to Upanishad, probably one by Swami Sivananda of Rishkesh a quote something to the effect of this :

Whichever is the object/source of pleasure today, will turn later into an object/source of pain/suffering later.

Which verse(s) from any of the Upanishads mentions this ?

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    I'm not sure what Upanishad verse this is, but it reminds me of a quote by the Christian writer C.S. Lewis: "That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, "No future bliss can make up for it," not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say "Let me have but this and I'll take the consequences": little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death." Sep 24, 2017 at 18:06
  • Can you clarify whether you want verse from only Upanishads or any Vedantic scriptures? If you want verse(s) from Upanishads alone, remove Vedanta tag.
    – The Destroyer
    Sep 25, 2017 at 5:46
  • To get broader range of such verse from Veda, Vedanta, Upanishada, Smritis, Shrutis etc. you may just keep the "scripture" tag. Remove the mention of "Upanishada" word from the Qn. @TheDestroyer, don't delete my answer if the "vedanta" is removed. ;-)
    – iammilind
    Sep 25, 2017 at 5:59
  • @iammilind I agree with you on purpose of scripture tag. But many users don't know real purpose of Scripture tag. If OP is fine, i can't do anything. But if he wants only from Upanishads, then you may need to edit the answer.
    – The Destroyer
    Sep 25, 2017 at 6:02

2 Answers 2


Original Qn has . If OP mistakenly added that, then this answer can be referred as an additional info.

In Bhagavad Gita (if it also fits as the source of Upanishada) such verse appears:

BG 18.38 - From the combinations of sense subjects (desires), which appears nectar in the beginning, but results in poison, -- that enjoyment is considered from Rajas

The actions performed under the influence of Rajas (passion) are due to desires [or anger]. The results of such actions would turnout to be sorrow.
Read more about Rajas here.

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    BG is not Upanishad neither it is the source of Upanishads which are obviously much older texts. So, how is this an answer !?
    – Rickross
    Sep 25, 2017 at 5:30
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    @Rickross, that's why I have mentioned in the answer, "if it fits..". Also see that link, which mentions: "Along with the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutra, the mukhya Upanishads (known collectively as the Prasthanatrayi)[22] provide a foundation for the several later schools of Vedanta". Moreover the Qn is tagged with VedAnta, so the liberty to answer from Gita is OK. Many a times, people innocently ask -- "Where in Veda XYZ is there?" -- At times the answer is present outside Veda. Then we can always tag our answer with "VedAnta" to provide info.
    – iammilind
    Sep 25, 2017 at 5:33
  • That does not suffice. As it is not an Upanishad. One of the 3 so-called pillars of Vedanta is BG. But that does not mean each pillar is equal to one another. Upanishads, BG, BS are separate scriptures.
    – Rickross
    Sep 25, 2017 at 5:34
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    @Rickross Tags created some confusion. Let OP clarify before we can decide on what he wants actually.
    – The Destroyer
    Sep 25, 2017 at 6:03
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    In the Upanishads the concept known as the gunas was not as fully developed as later. In the Upanishads they are referred to by their representative colors of white, red, and black and not as the gunas. I think your answer is fine. Sep 25, 2017 at 11:05

You are enquiring about the verse which says “Whichever is the object/source of pleasure today, will turn later into an object/source of pain/suffering later.” There is a verse in The Katha Upanishad which has the similar meaning as above.

Background – In this Upanishad there is story of small boy Nachiketa , who goes to Yama loka (Death god Yama’s abode) .Yama gives him three boons. Nachiketa tells what he wants out of two. But for his third boon he asks question related to death to Yama .” what becomes of a man after death”

But Yama the god of death says to Nachiketa that “ This is closely guarded secret and even in olden times in gods also arose similar doubt” and tells Nachiketa to ask something else other than answer of this question , and tries to tempt him saying that “I will give you all the pleasures of this world ,which are very hard to get , Long life , women , lots of sons ,gold , chariots etc.

But Nachiketa refuses all this and says to Yama that all this pleasures are short lived will not remain tomorrow , “they tend to the decline of the vigour of all the organs of man. These nymphs and other enjoyments only tend to harm, because they destroy virtue, strength, intellect, vigour, fame and the rest. “

Here is the verse with Shankara’s Commentary:

श्वोभावा मर्त्यस्य यदन्तकैतत्सर्वेंद्रियाणां जरयंति तेजः ।
अपि सर्वं जीवितमल्पमेव तवैव वाहास्तव नृत्यगीते ||26||

śvobhāvā martyasya yadantakaitatsarveṃdriyāṇāṃ jarayaṃti tejaḥ |
api sarvaṃ jīvitamalpameva tavaiva vāhāstava nṛtyagīte || 26 ||

26 (Nachikêtas says) Ephemeral these; Oh Death, these tend to the decay of the fire (vigour) of all the senses in man. Even the longest life is, indeed, short. Thine alone be the chariots, the dance and music.

Shankara’s Commentary:—Though thus tempted, Nachikêtas unagitated like a large lake, said: svôbhâvah, enjoyments whose existence the next day is a matter of doubt; the enjoyments enumerated by you are ephemeral; again. Oh Death, they tend to the decline of the vigour of all the organs of man. These nymphs and other enjoyments only tend to harm, because they destroy virtue, strength, intellect, vigour, fame and the rest. As for the longevity that you will give me, hear me on that point. All life, even that of Brahmais, indeed, short. What need be said of our longevity. Therefore, keep the chariots, etc., for thyself alone, as also the dance and music.

Although this verse is not exactly similar like "Todays pleasures are tomorrow's pain & sufferings" , but convey the same meaning that , all the pleasures of today in future are source of pain and suffering because they tend to destroy virtue, strength, intellect, vigour, fame and the rest only tend to harm.

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