A sacrifice is invisible to the one who makes it.

Google the meaning of Sacrifice’ and you’ll find ‘to give up something important for something that seems more important‘.

(There are other meanings, like offering something to a god, that aren’t relevant here).

But the question is – if you’re giving up something of lesser value for something of more value, is it really a ‘sacrifice’?

How is it different from any other transaction?

Because that’s exactly what you do in a transaction. Give up something you have for something you want more.

If I give cash for bread, it’s because I think that amount of cash is less, or at most equal, in value to the bread I receive for it.

If you sell shares, it’s because you think the cash is more in value to you at that moment than the shares, and vice versa if you buy shares.

In that sense, you sacrifice money for bread or shares.

No Real Sacrifice

Whenever I heard the word ‘sacrifice’ I always had in mind something hard, something like renunciation.

You renounce or give up something.

You do something very hard, something that a normal person wouldn’t, or would hesitate to.

But it’s an incomplete picture because it only covers half the canvas, depicting just the ‘giving up’ part of a sacrifice.

You sacrifice ‘for’ something, which means there’s also something you receive.

It might be intangible, like a god’s blessings or someone’s well-being, but there is something you get for your sacrifice, and that something outweighs the cost of the sacrifice.

Moreoever, if you believe that you have agency, that you choose your actions and no one compels you, then you’d agree that you entered the sacrifice voluntarily, of your own free will.

So you did something that you chose to, that gave you more benefit than it cost you – then where is the sacrifice?

I think the answer is that there is no real sacrifice.

At most, there’s opportunity cost – the thing you give up, that which you forego to get what you value more.

It could be giving up a couple of hours of sleep to exercise or work on your hobby, or not spending money on going out to save up for a car or a vacation.

This might seem like a pedantic game, simply playing with words, and perhaps that’s not entirely wrong.

But it can be useful because words like ‘sacrifice’ seem loaded.

They come with a lot of baggage, powerful words apparently signifying deep, meaningful actions.

Piercing through their bubble helps to shatter their illusion and clarify your own choices and actions.

Another such one is ‘self-control’ or ‘(self) discipline’.

‘Discipline’ brings to mind rigid obedience to a set of rules.

Avoiding junk food or alcohol. Exercising, reading, writing, making time to learn a skill – do this long enough and you’ll probably hear that you’re very ‘disciplined’.

Again, it’s based on the fallacy that you ‘want’ to indulge in things that others, those who’ll call you disciplined, do – but you ‘hold yourself back’ because of your discipline.

But if you genuinely enjoy what you do, you wouldn’t think of it as a sacrifice.

And you’ll probably realize you don’t have that much discipline as others might think you do.

It’s just another transaction where you give something up for something more important to you.

You might give up junk food or sleep or going out to do something that has more value for you.

So someone who exercises or studies daily might be an extremely lazy and disorganized person otherwise.

Yet those who only look at one aspect of a person tend to extrapolate it to make a judgment about the person as a whole. It’s like judging a book by the first chapter.

It’s just that exercise or study is something that matters a lot to him so he makes time and effort to do it.

There probably are times when it’s tempting to give up, but what keeps a person going isn’t so much ‘discipline’ as it is second order consequences – knowing that the temporary discomfort is outweighed by future value.

That’s not to say that this isn’t a commendable trait. In fact, such people are among the most impressive you’ll find.

Impressive not for their ‘discipline’, but because of their passion and deep commitment to what they consider matters to them.

And because of their awareness (and acceptance) of opportunity costs, things they give up, to make time for what they want – which is what frees you from distractions.

As well as their understanding of second order consequences – to push through and persist through difficulties, that are inevitable, and in fact desirable – because if it was easy it couldn’t be worth it.

Sacrifices Aren’t Trumpeted

“I’ve sacrificed so much for this.”

Anyone who brags about or keeps bringing up what he’s sacrificed probably regrets it, and wishes he hadn’t.

A person who sacrifices his career to spend time with his family or goes hungry to feed his kids won’t constantly remind them of it, trying to make them feel guilty or responsible for his decisions.

Because it was something he chose, and because he chose it believing he was getting something worth more for what he ‘sacrificed’.

Imagine someone who gives up a high-paying job for social service, like a Mahatma Gandhi leaving his law practice.

Or someone voluntarily leaving a comfortable life to undergo avoidable suffering – say a Nelson Mandela spending a quarter of a century in jail or a Witold Pilecki volunteering for Auschwitz.

To an outsider, it’ll probably look like a tremendous sacrifice because it’s hard to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.

All you’ll see is an apparently terrible transaction – someone giving up something precious for something awful in return.

Like paying a billion dollars to be whipped and beaten.

It’s hard to imagine that someone in their right mind would ever do that.

And no wonder it looks like a sacrifice.

And I think it is a real sacrifice, and if you asked anyone else they’d probably think so too.

But I also think that if you asked the very person who actually made the sacrifice, they wouldn’t consider it one.

They did what they wanted.

What they got meant far more to them than what they gave up, and they probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

It would have been far more painful to continue as they were, and to not have made a sacrifice – after all, you usually get plenty of opportunities to backtrack.

It’s easy to try to be cynical about this and argue that such people didn’t do anything great; they merely acted in their self-interest.

They derived something, some value, from their sacrifices – perhaps personal fulfilment, happiness, social esteem, validation or whatever.

It’s a pointless argument because you can say that about every single action (especially if you define ‘value’ broadly enough); it doesn’t tell you anything new.

On the contrary, I think they deserve far more respect for this because what they did was of their free will and not under someone’s orders.

Even more impressive, it probably wasn’t the result of a blind, unquestioning commitment to any ideology but the culmination of a process of reasoning and introspection to carve an independent path in a world pushing you in a different direction.

So a sacrifice is only a sacrifice to the rest of the world; to the one making the sacrifice, it is anything but.

A sacrifice is invisible to the one who makes it.

For all the rest of it, words like sacrifice and discipline are what people tell you to get you to do what they want you to.

They aren’t things you do to yourself, unless you act without using your mind, or you torture yourself and regret your actions.



The words sacrifice and discipline held such meaning I didn’t know, thanks for sharing this perspective Pratyush and also a very happy new year to you!


The way you broke down the perspective of different parties involve is commendable.
Very well written.


Happy new year sir🙂

Raghav Ramola

Have you heard about Acharya Prashant ?
What are your views on him ?

Raghav Ramola

Rightly said ,
just wanted to know if he knows him

Meghna Tripathi

If its a habit it isnt discipline or holding back.
You do it for your own well being.
Sacrifice exists because noone can do what they”want” all the time but what they “need” to do has to be done . Even most privileged can’t do what they want owing to societal “rules” or personal “responsibilities”and the need to live “sustainably” because humans are inherently selfish especially when they have access to large chunk of resources. Wishing,Willing, Wanting are luxury concepts. Future is uncertain but still some people “give up” tangible resources to less privileged or strangers (someone outside their own family without being known) when there is no guarantee of favours being returned. In the moment of time, they did SACRIFICE and can be counted/valued as an act of kindness. Future might never arrive but thats the “risk” they took and “sacrifice” they made. Luxury/ wants/ needs come at a cost and classism exist and functioning in groups requires sacrifice which again comes at a cost of mental,physical,emotional ,financial well being.The one who takes the hit is sacrificed consciously or unconsciously.


How Einstein’s Theory of Relativity can be applied in our day-to-day life?

What is the essence of the Upanisadic teaching? How do we realise the
ideal state mentioned in the Upanisads [the oneing of the individual self
and the Overself]?

The phenomenal universe, in the view of modern science, is embraced by
the concepts of time and space [It exists in the time-space frame]. The
Upanisads declare that only by being freed from time and space factors
can we grasp the ultimate truth that is at the source of the cosmos. I told
you about the horizon – where we are right there the horizon is.
Recognition of this truth takes us beyond space. In this way we must also
try to transcend time.

Is it possible?

To give us the confidence that it is, an example could be cited from
everyday life. To spend the time we lap up newspaper reports of the fight
going on in a distant country like, say, the Congo [now called Zaire]. If a
dispute or trouble erupts nearer home, in a country like Pakistan (or at
home in Kasmir), we forget the Congo and turn to Pakistan or Kasmir. The
newspapers themselves push reports of the Congo trouble to some
corner and highlight developments in Pakistan or Kasmir. But when a
quarrel breaks out even nearer, say, a quarrel over Tiruttani between the
Tamils and the Telugus, Pakistan and Kasmir are forgotten and the
boundary quarrel claims all our interest, Now, when we come to know of
a street brawl in our neighbourhood, we throw aside the newspaper to
go out and see for ourselves what the trouble is all about. Again, when
we are watching the street fight, a friend or relative comes and tells us
that a war is going on in our own home between the wife and the
mother. What do we do then? We forget the street brawl and rush home
at once.

On an international level the Congo dispute is perhaps of great
importance. But we pass from that to quarrels of decreasing importance.
Our interest in each, however is in inverse proportion to its real
importance. Why? The Congo is far away in space. We are more
concerned about what happens nearer us than about distant occurences.
It is all like coming to the horizon, the spot where we are.

Now let us turn our gaze inward. If we become aware of the battle going
on within us, the battle fought by the senses, all other quarrels will
become distant affairs like the Congo dispute. Let us try to resolve this
inner conflict and try to remain tranquil. In this tranquility all will be
banished including place, space, and so on. When we are asleep we are
not aware of either knowledge or space, but the jnana (in the state of
enlightenment of the inner truth) we will experience knowledge without
any consciousness of space.

The time factor is similar. How inconsolably we wept when our father
died ten years ago. How is it that we do not feel the same intensity of
grief when we think of his death today? On the day a dear one passes we
weep so much, but not so much on the following day. Why is it so? Last
year we earned a promotion, or won a prize in a lottery. We jumped for
joy then, did’nt we? Why is it that we don’t feel the same thrill of joy
when we think about it today?

Just as nearness in space is a factor in determining how we are affected
by an event, so too is nearness in time. Evev when we are turned outward
and remain conscious of time and space, they lose their impact without
any special effort on our part. So the confidence arises that we can be
totally freed from these two factors of time and space if we turn inward.
When we are asleep we are oblivious of time and space without any
effort on our part. But we do not then have the awareness of being free
from them. We must go to the state spoken of by Tayumanavar, the state
in which we sleep without sleeping and are full of jnana and are
immersed in the bliss of freedom from time and space. Then nothing will
affect us, not even a quarrel right in our prescence, in our home. Even
when we recieve a stab wound we will not be affected by it – it would be
like a happening in a remote land like Congo. When someone very dear to
us dies in our prescence – husband, wife or child – it would be an
occurence remote in time, like our father’s passing ten years ago.

Let us, for the time-being, forget arguments about non-dualism and
dualism. Let us think about our real need. What is it?

Peace….. Tranquility…..

We are affected by good and bad things alike. We cry, we laugh. Both
sorrow and joy have their impact on us. Even excessive laughter causes
pain in the stomach, enervates us. When we are tickled we react angrily.
“Stop it!” we cry. Even when we dance for joy we are fatigued. We like to
remain calm without being affected by anything, without giving way to
any type of emotion. Such is our need. Not dualism or non-dualism.

Let us consider what we must do for this goal. One point will become
clear if we think about how the impact produced by a happening or an
emotion is wiped away. “When news about the Congo war broke how we
became engrossed in newspaper reports of the dispute. How did we lose
interest in it later? Why does it not have any impact on us now? ” If we
think on these lines we will realise that the impact of any event – or
whatever – is progressively reduced as it is pushed further in space. If we
also consider why we are not as much affected now by our father’s death
as we were ten years ago when he died, we will realise that with receding
time we are less and less affected by past events. So if we are to remain
detached we must learn to think that what happens close by is happening
in a remote place like the Congo.

Similarly, we must also learn to think that all the happy and unhappy
incidents of the moment occured ten years ago. We must assiduously
train ourselves to take such an attitude. No joy or sorrow is everlasting.
They are all relative [that is they do not have their own integral or
independent force but rely on other factors]. So without being part of
anything or else dependent on anything, we must remain in the absolute
state of being ourselves. Then alone will be free from all influences and
experience eternal peace. This is how Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is
applied to the science of the Self (Atmavidya).

The essence of Upanisadic message is the burning desire to be from time
and space. It would be in proportion to the extent to which we burn
within in our endeavour to be free from the spatio-temporal factor that
we will be rewarded with the grace of Isvara and be led towards the
fulfilment of the great ideal.

There is no need to go to the mountains or to the forest for instruction.
Space and time teach us how to remain unaffected by events. All that we
need to do is to pray to the Lord and make an effort to develop the will
and capacity to put happenings of the moment back in time and distant in
space .

The first of the ten [major] Upanisads. Isavasya, says:”It is in motion and
yet it is still. It is afar and yet near. It is indeed within. . . . . “. This
statement refers to space and time and creates the urge in us to be freed
from both. The next mantra asks us to see time and space and all
creatures in our Self itself. Then there will be no cause for hatred,
delusion or sorow, that is nothing will affect us. Another mantra of the
same Upanisad declares that the Self is all – pervading, going beyond
space, and distributing things through the endless years according to
their natures.

On the whole, the Upanisads speak of the same basic truth of space and
time that modern science teaches. But there is this difference. For science
this truth is a mere postulate. For the Upanisads it is a truth to be realised
within as an experience.

This is a conclusion of the Upanisads which themselves are the concluding
part of the Vedas.

Meghna Tripathi

Charity begins at home and those who become charitable to the world without being charitable at home , they do have ulterior motives and arent sacrificing anything.


The relatability quotient is so high that I would end up writing a whole damn essay .Still better to refrain.

It appears like a sacrifice or discipline mode to the spectators, but for that person, it is what they really are( what they really want) .

I sincerely wish it was possible to meet you in person. Would have been a gr8 conversation.

Keep writing!


Is there anything exists like a masterpiece? If it does which writing of yours,you consider as a masterpiece which have shaped your personality, thoughts and has a great impact on your life?


It’s the best illustration on middle range theory of Merton of manifest and latent functions, dysfunctions and non function on sacrifice.

Mundschutz Shop

Great content! Keep up the good work!

Akshita Tiwari

Thank you for your prospective Sir. Most people feel regret on their decision not to choose what they prefer more or like more or consider it as Sacrifice.
As i can see,
Everyone is wishing you, Happy New year.
May I know your prospective about wishes ?? As I came to know from one of your friend from IIT Kanpur, he said you always say why people do good morning or good night ?

Music is only noise to you ??
Food is just nutrition you don’t eat for taste practically.
Why People are fascinated about snow it’s just water in solid form ???

What’s your prospective about human emotions , about wishes , about prayers ???
If you think like this then ???

If you believe wishes are good thing
Then accept my wish
A Healthy happy new year to you …
Stay blessed & as fortunate as you are
Najar na lge 🧿🧿💎

Akshita Tiwari

Thank you for explanation .

Could you explain what’s your perception on wishes

If you believe in wishes
Then Accept my wish
A Healthy Happy New Year Sir
Stay blessed always as you are.

Akshita Tiwari



Writing the same thing again and again is only a waste of your time.

Overhyping anyone, especially someone who hasn’t done a single thing to deserve it, is a sure way to disappoint yourself. Not a single person who is ‘blessed’ to know me would share your opinion.

I don’t think this will have any effect, but I’m sure that in a few years, when you look back on yourself, you’ll wonder at yourself, probably with some embarrassment

Prateek Kumar

Wrt “sacrifice being invisible to the person committing one” ; don’t u think it may also be that s/he is just ignorant of what they are doing? Or they don’t value enough what they are doing?


Thank u for that

[…] the aim, greater will be the sacrifice. But in order to reach where one wants it is […]