Article published in the Special Issue of "Sadguru's Blessings" - a spiritual magazine published from Hariharapura - October, 2013.
Simple living and high thinking :
KAVI SURESH, Shimoga
No other animal in this earth is more cruel, greedy and selfish than man! Man is perhaps the only specie who store or preserve things for tomorrow. With rapid advancements in all spheres coupled with weakening of the family system, this tendency has become more pervasive today. Concern for the elderly, concern for the helpless and the needy in society, concern for upholding moral values etc., have all taken the back seat. The deteriorating ethical standards of life in all walks of life, without exception, are indeed a matter of concern to all right thinking people.
The causes for this sorry state of affairs are many. Today, the focus of all our efforts and activities is towards earning money and amassing wealth at all costs. Mahatma Gandhi had once said: Our goal should not only be good, but the means to achieve that goal should also be good. But today, people do not hesitate to adopt any means to achieve the above objective. Our educational system, mind-set of our parents, the demands of our present day life-style, increasing influence of urbanization, influence of western life styles, wide-spread consumerism, least concern for ethical values etc., all make man a ‘money-making machine’! Yes, money is an inevitable and indispensable tool to eke out a reasonably good living. But, certainly it is not the end in itself. Many of us are under the illusion that money can provide anything and everything. It may bestow a special status in society also, though temporarily. We believe that what we possess in terms of material things will provide us with all comforts and happiness. But the real question is: What is happiness and comfort?
This, indeed, is a very difficult question. The concept of happiness and comfort varies from man to man. “One man’s food is another man’s poison”! A Writer may find pleasure in writing poems, stories, novels etc.,; a Painter may find happiness by painting beautiful paintings; another man may feel comfortable and happy by daily performing his religious duties; someone may find bliss in daily meditation and so on. No doubt, there are some people who take pleasure in troubling and teasing others also! In fact, man has been in the pursuit of happiness and bliss since eternity. All preaching of our Sanatana Dharma and great saints over the years and our holy epics Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Bhagavadgeeta – are an invaluable guide to everyone in this direction.
The problem with all of us today is that we do not know what we exactly want? Our mind aspires for everything that comes to its notice. But we do not think even once whether we really need it or whether we can do without it. The result is accumulation of several unnecessary things which we hardly use one or two times. Next, most of the time, energy and also additional money are spent in maintaining or safeguarding the same. With the slightest of problems in the process, like theft, fire etc., man loses his cool. Worry and anxiety overcomes him. Hence, the vicious circle continues to revolve around him incessantly.
It is high time that we realise that material and worldly comforts are all illusory and temporary. They may wane or vanish anytime causing unbearable heart-burn. Ensuring one’s and his dependent’s comfortable and decent living is everybody’s basic duty. But when once that is ensured, it is time to seek happiness and bliss within ourselves. Bliss or total happiness is there well-settled and firmly seated in everybody’s hearts. It is up to us to identify it first, find ways to activate it and permanently pursue it. Leading a simple, straight-forward and righteous life, without in any way, harming others, is the first step in this direction. Living in total harmony with nature, without exploiting it aimlessly, will improve individual health besides igniting positive energy from within leading to bliss.
Hence, the need of the hour is to put a ‘full-stop’ to our wants (of course, relating to material things)! Our *Sanatana Dharma, great Maharshis, the divine knowledge (Bhagavadgeeta), life-stories of many exalted persons, holy scriptures etc., have left behind us innumerable proven and definite paths to accomplish the ultimate aim of life i.e., bliss and salvation. Most of the so called elite people today spend (waste) most of their time and intelligence in debating or criticizing the preaching of our ancestors or our time-tested traditions. However, the paths left behind by our ancestors are wide, clear and proven. When we are unable to find for ourselves a suitable path, a wise and prudent person should straight-way follow one of these paths shown by our ancestors. To that extent, he is safe, secure and certain! The need of the hour for everyone is to tread a similar path and attain internal bliss and total emancipation in life. “Simple living, high thinking” – sums up this discussion.
*Sanatana Dharma means: Eternal Path, Never beginning nor Ending Way, Perennial Philosophy, Universal Tradition, All-Pervading Truth, Natural Flow