Maya is very treacherous. No one knows it better than a youth perhaps, who feels a strong attraction towards young life (fun, party, entertainment, sex, food, clothes, ...); Basically all materialism, but at the same time he's aware and afraid of the painful cycles of birth and death, so he does as his guru tells him -- to repeat the name of god and do Brahm muharatam sadhana by chanting the lord's name.
Now, say he's partying and doing lustful fun as well, what will become of him?

Basically he wants to enjoy two life in one. He wants spiritual progression and good karma benefit as well, yet is afraid of missing out on the "fun" of life.

  • Balanced Artha and Kama are allowed for a Grihstha...So one can get married and enjoy youth life...
    – YDS
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 12:29
  • what if the youth in question is a homosexual ? since he can't get married or obtain pleasure from opposite sex and marriage to same sex is not option or legal , then what should he do ? Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 12:37
  • @Sikh He should do Vipassana and change his imperfect & filthy instincts. Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 15:44
  • 1
    I don't think the desire of both can exist simultaneously. One of them has to be dominant. I mean if one think of spirituality, s/he doesn't bother about the enjoyment you mentioned.
    – Pandya
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 14:30
  • 4
    Extreme materialism that includes forbidden activities is incompatible with a spiritual life.
    – user1195
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 5:04

6 Answers 6


Enjoyment is not forbidden as long as it's not against the principles of Dharma. So, one should make sure of that.

18 He should be a man who applies himself to acquiring wealth in righteous (dharma) ways, 1distributes it to worthy people, 20 gives not to unworthy people if they pose no threat to him, 21 conciliates people, 22and enjoys pleasures that are not forbidden by the Law. 23 In this manner he wins both worlds.

Apasthambha Dharma Sutras 2.20.1

So, if you want sensual pleasures, then be married first and lead the life meant for the householder as prescribed.

Also, the question is somewhat vague and too broad to answer IMO. Because, we have to consider many factors. A very precise answer may not be given that's why.


Refer below from Bhagavad Gita:

Persons who are learned in the Vedas, who utter oṁ-kāra, and who are great sages in the renounced order enter into Brahman. Desiring such perfection, one practices celibacy. I shall now briefly explain to you this process by which one may attain salvation. Bg 8.11

The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual engagements. Closing all the doors of the senses and fixing the mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, one establishes himself in yoga. Bg 8.11

It's better & wise to enjoy the first life fully before plunging into the spiritual world because spiritual path seeks many sacrifices in case you want to reap real results.

Consider this example: When you are preparing for the civil services what exactly do you do in order to get the desired results? You keep yourself aloof from all such activities and focus only on studies and give your 100% (even more) then you get the desired results, some times not even that and you go for the next attempt and so on.

There are so many activities that we all normally do while we are bachelors, but after getting married we do shun most of them (for a reason), so similarly spiritual journey is a tough terrain altogether hence do what you want to do before following this path. Like they say you can't travel in 2 different boats at the same time, you are bound to drown.

  • 1
    Things are not so simple ! What if the youth in question is say a gay man or lesbian woman ? then they can't get married in most of the world to same-sex. And since dharma says premarital or extra marital affairs is adultery and therefore sinful . But for someone who doesn't have the option to marry in the first place, why would god burden them thus ? maybe its their past bad karma they're born as homosexual. How else would you explain thus ? Also if they indulge in same-sex, is it sinful ? are they incurring bad karma ? Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 3:58
  • 1
    @Sikhandyeshallfind do you think nature made it that way? Same sex? Do you think human life could have existed if same sex was what nature wanted? It's basically outcome of hormonal imbalance not that which is natural.
    – Just_Do_It
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 13:06

Almost similar conversation as your query, took place during the discourse of Bhagavad Gita.

BG 6.37, 6.38 - Arjuna asked, those who possess faith, but wavers mind away from Yoga (state of attaining liberation); After failing to be perfect in Yoga, what state do they attain? O mighty armed, fallen from both, corrupted, don't they vanish like a torn cloud -- who without any position, are bewildered from the path of [supreme] Brahman?

In this context according to Krishna, indriya (sense enjoyment) & sAdhana (faith) -- both will co-exist.
Until the person is bewildered in sense enjoyment, he/she will remain in the cycle of rebirths. However the genuine faith will not allow them to descend completely. God never let a Bhakta get perished.

BG 6.40 - Blessed lord said, O Partha, neither here nor hereafter, their destruction happens; O dear, none of those engaged in such auspicious activity, goes to downfall.

Then, BG 6.41, 6.42 explains that, such fallen Yogis, after living in auspicious planes, will get rebirth in certain privileged families.
Later they resume efforts of perfecting their Yoga/liberation even more.

BG 6.43 - There [in the new body] they aquire the recollection of intellect of the previous body; And thereafter they persevere (put strong efforts) more for perfection

Hence, above verses answer your Qn precisely.

Analogically, think about your journey to liberation as journey from one city to other city. The road is full of good & bad distractions. Every day is equivalent to rebirth. Your vehicle is your intellect. Your faith is the fuel which keeps your vehicle moving.
More at the distractions you stop, more the days are passed. Yet you will reach the destination some or the day. Just don't exhaust the fuel!


Hinduism never discourages you from enjoying life! It never says you have to renounce everything and have to be a monk at a young age. What is natural, Hindus accepted it normally. If you read Vedas, you will see all the Rishis were married*! All Hindu avatars - be it Rama or Krishna are married! Renouncing material life at a young age is not Hindu culture. It is a Buddhist and Jain tradition. That is why Hindus had chaturashrama - first, you study, then get married, and at the end part of life you think of renouncing the material world. Life is a balance of all things. Think about what Krishna said to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita - To do his karma - his duty. He never said - "forget about the kingdom and go to a forest and be a monk".

Ref: * Principal Upanishads by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan


The life of Human is completely deluded by Maya. People think that it is they who are doing great achievements, or are enjoying pleasure, or are doing some bad work, or are in sorrow. But they do not know it is Maya who is playing with them with Her fingers. She deludeth souls of even intelligent ones, who can surpass Her? So I bow down to Devi MahaMaya who deludeth us as Avidya Maya, and freeth us from world clutches as Vidya Maya.

ज्ञानिनामपि चेतांसि देवी भगवती हि सा ।
बलादाकृष्य मोहाय महामाया प्रयच्छति ॥
The Devi Bhagawati MahaMaya snatcheth the heart of even intelligent people by force and puteth it into delusion of attachment.

Thy question whether or not one especially in youth shouldth go for material or spiritual path, is answered by Vyaasa and Shuka incident.

The answer given below is in abridged form as the story is very big. Links are provided to read full unabridged forms.

Devi Puraana, Book 1, Chapter 14-19 (abridged from 6 chapter story)

After Shuka cameth back from his Guru's teachings, Vyaasa askedth him to marry some daughter of a Muni. But Shuka was so dispassionate and declinedth saying this-

Shuka saidth-
O Father! what pleasure is in earth. Why should I marry. Human body is full of faeces and urine, so why do I enjoy sexual courtings amidst faeces and urine leaving the Supreme Bliss of Self. O Father! My Guru Brihaspati too is deluded by Avidya Maya into this terrible worldly ocean, so He cannot save me. Now I am come to Thee to save me by giving me true Gyaana.

O Father! if we discuss about Atman then we find no pleasure in world. Only ignorant people enjoy in world like worms enjoy amidst faeces.

Those people who have studied Shaastras and are yet deluded, are blind like horses and pigs. If they are attached, so who else is supposed to get freedom? I will not marry and have a material life.

Vyaasa toldeth Shuka -
O Shuka! householder life is not a prison. If the truthful householder who completeth his responsibilities hath his mind unattached, then he too getteth Moksha. O Fortunate Shuka! when one doth not take a wife (for love and sexual dealings) then he is pierced by the senses (which ask him to enjoy material pleasures). So the wise people tell to have wife in youth and then as old age cometh take up to renunciation. So do thou marry a good woman and take up to Renunciation as proper time mayeth come.

Shuka saidth -
O Father! I do not like this householder life as it fasteneth men to world like an animal. And what do I say of the pains of world. There is pain in life in womb amidst faeces and urine, pain in birth, in oldage, in death. But pain arising out of desire and greed is more painful than anything. So I will not have material life.

Hearing above, Vyaasa becameth very anxious and tears came out from his eyes. Seeing His father in such a state Shuka saidth.

Shuka saidth-
Alas! What power hath Maya got? She hath deluded even him who dividedth the Vedas and composedth eighteen MahaPuraanas and Mahabharata, and see how he is seeing the notion of "father" in him and "son" in me. Maya hath kept even Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva under Her control so who can be free from Her. So I bow down to the Supreme Governess Devi MahaMaya. O Father! Thou art the knower of truth, so why art Thou bewildered. Do Thou give me true knowledge O Father! and save me from this worldly attachment.

Seeing Shuka thus determined for truth and unattached to world, Vyaasa finally gaveth up the thought of marrige and gaveth Shuka the real knowledge.

Shuka usedth to be very dispassionate and always merged in thoughts. One day Vyaasa askedth him.

Vyaasa saidth-
O Son! why art thou merged in thoughts. O Suvrata! thou shouldst go to meet the King Janaka in Mithila, who is a Yogi, and liberated while living.

Hearing the wondrous words, Shuka askedth.

Shuka saidth-
O Father! how can someone who is King who has to live in material life, be a Yogi? How can he remain in worldly life unattached like a lotus is unattached to the mud. How can he enjoy things, yet the things enjoyed by him are unenjoyed by him? How can his doings be non-doings? How can he see the notion of "mother", "son", "wife" et cetera in people, and yet not actually have these relations? How can he like sour, sweet, salty et cetera tastes, and yet not feel them? It is to say that how can He be unattached when he is actually being in worldly life and seemeth like he is enjoying the worldly life? This is great wonder.

So Shuka worshippedth his father and Vyaasa blessedth him to meet Janaka. When Shuka reachedth Mithila and metteth Janaka, he toldeth him the reason of his coming and askedth.

Shuka saidth-
O King! my father asketh me to marry but I am totally unattached. I am very confused. So do Thou tell me how I can attain Moksha?

Janaka toldeth him-
O Son of my Guru! one shouldth marry and live worldly life to his contentment and as he ageth and getteth detachment from world then he shouldth take up to Renunciation.

Shuka askedth -
But if the Vairagya (detachment) already cometh in a person, then what is to be done?

Janaka toldeth-
O honour giving person! though the mind seemeth to be under self control in early stages of Sannyas, but net of desires is very strong and not easy to conquer. Just think, if desire to enjoy world life suddenly springeth in an unattached renunciate person, then how can he satisfy himself then? His state becometh so miserable because he never enjoyedth worldly life and now being renunciate he cannot even enjoy them, but the desires keep on perturbing him.

So the desires are to be cut slowly and slowly. If a man is already on a very high level and falls from there, it becometh extremely hard to get back in track.
But if a person climbeth up slowly and slowly just like an ant climbing a tree from root, then he is sure to reach the top of tree.

A householder who is of quiet temper, good intellect, not agitated by happiness or sorrow, does his responsibilities for responsibility's sake and is unattached, he is sure to attain Moksha. See me, I enjoy the things as I like, but I am unattached to them and am a JivanMukta(liberated while still alive).

O Shuka! when this material world is just an object of sight then how can it be source of bondage to Atman? It is this impure heart which hankereth for pleasures and getteth deluded. This mind is source of pleasure and pain. So when thy mind is pure thou art free from clutches. It is mind that differentiateth between Jeeva and Brahma. This feeling of difference caused by Avidya causeth bondage, and when non-difference cometh by Vidya then Jeeva is liberated.

How canst thou feel cooling of a shadow if thou never feltst heat of Sun? So How wilt thou feel Vidya( giving detachment from world), when you never feltst Avidya(causing attachment)?

Yet, to teach humanity the wise people made various rules to keep humanity in Dharma for benifit of people, otherwise ignorant people start acting lawlessly.

Shuka askedth-
O Janaka! still a doubt I have. How a man can be desireless when he liveth in world full of Maya. O King! a person who wanteth Moksha never doth revenge or injury, so how can it be possible for a worldly person?

O King! thou desirest to enjoy royal palace, wealth and victory. Thou seest difference betwixen a thief and a saint, lump of mud and gold, friends and enemies, et cetera. So how canst thou be JivanMukta?

Whatever good be worldly life, I am still completely unattached to world , so I see no use in this worldly life. O King! when thou canst not stop caring about thy family, wealth and enemies, so how art thou JivanMukta?

Janaka saidth-
O Sage! it is quite reasonable what thou askest, but just think when thou livest a renunciate life thou still hast to care for food, deer skin, wooden staff et cetera. See O Shuka! that thou hast come here from a far off place because thou hast doubt of delusion and attachment. But look at me, I am free from such doubts and I enjoy things as well as I am unattached. "I am not bound by worldly desires" I have this idea and it giveth me constant pleasure. But thou thinkest "I am bound by worldly attachment", this is why thou feelest constant pain. So leave off the thought that thou art bound.

"This body is mine" this knowledge leadeth to bondage, and "This body is not mine" leadeth to liberation.

Hearing thus, with all doubts clear, Shuka appreciatedth Janaka and wentteth back to Vyaasa. Then ShukaDeva tooketh up to Yoga(path of Moksha) but still marriedth a Muni-daughter Pivari, and had kids. Shuka always unattached and renunciate, at a proper time wentteth to Kailash and practicing asceticism (Yoga) attainedth liberation and becameth merged in Paramatman.


Will try to keep it short and simple. Our scriptures have laid out a path/plan for living ideal/balanced life. If you follow dharma -> artha -> kama -> moksha then you have lived a successful life. Now, let me try to answer this question; based upon above rule.

According to this rule, one should earn 'artha' (money) following dharma. Use such earned money to fulfull his kama (not only sex but any of his desires) and in the end prepare himself for moksha. It should be noted that, they have to be followed in that order/sequence.

Dharma here is not related/limited to chanting lord's name but following rules like non-voilance, honesty etc. Basically, it means money earned through good means/practices w/o hurting or cheating anyone.

So, dharma becomes ultimate filter to everything. Also, I would like to stress here that, one who hasn't enjoyed his life (kama) can't say he has done tyaga for moksha for example, if a king says he will not go to casino is making tyaga but if a beggar says that it doesnt make any sense because it is out of his reach.

Just to add here, to keep this answer short and simple; I have skipped part of dharma related to person's responsibilities towards society.

PS: My answer is based upon my readings of various magazines and I dont remember which veda and upnishad they took it from.

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