Deivathin Kural - 72
Om Namah Sivaya.
Deivathin Kural # 72 of 22 Sept 2006.
1. These e-mails are translations of talks given by the erstwhile Pontiff of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, over more than sixty years, published by Vanady Padippagam, T.Nagar, Chennai, India, in ten volumes, in the Tamil language. The english version is likely to be available very soon. These e-mails are simply an effort on the part of the sender, to share some of his bliss, as it is said, 'Yam perra peru peruga ivvaiyagam'. When he adds any personal observations he uses the phrase, 'KTSV adds'.
2. To-days chapter is from his lecture, titled, 'Vazhkkait Tharam', ie., 'Standard of Living', in pages 360 to 362, in Volume 1 of Deivathin Kural. Unless specifically mentioned, he or man includes, she or woman.
3. The Government makes a lot of plans for improving the Standard of Living of the citizens. Scarcity, poverty and privation, is also increasing every day. No body has the feeling that they are satisfied and contented. There is a Tamil proverb which says, 'Podum enra maname pon seyyum marundu', meaning that, sense of contentedness is a golden panacea. This word, 'enough', seems to have disappeared from people's dictionary, except when having to hear advices from elders! This is absolute poverty, not being able to feel contented and not being able to listen to good advice!
4. For a man having two cups of coffee a day, to be able to have four cups of coffee, is not raising the standard of life! Same way, a man having four shirts, to have twenty, is not an improvement in the standard of living. To keep increasing the list of needs and necessities, is not an improvement. However much you may earn, since your own demands are on the increase, the net result will be one of dissatisfaction, discontent, poverty and penury!
5. The Government should plan only for those necessities as required to protect a Man's decency and life. 'Roti, Kapda aur Makan' says a political catch phrase, meaning food, clothing and hearth, as three essentials. To ensure the availability of these three for all citizens is the job of the government. For this to happen, even the richest should live at par with the poorest. Bring parity at the minimum level. If the poorest lives in a hut, let us all do so. If he has gruel, let us all have gruel. It is richness to reduce the wants. Just because you have money, does not mean that, you carry on feeding your wants. More the luxuries, more the comparisons and feeling of jealousy and hate and discontent.
6. Just because one can afford, the more facilities and luxuries one falls for, we subject ourselves to the sin of, going against the Dharma of 'aparigraham'. Aparigraham can be translated as conservation, or not surrendering to the sins of, 'consumption, over-exploitation and denying others their due'. Once we give in to this consumerism, we can never get God's grace. If human life has to be optimally utilized, we should not want an iota more than the minimum requirements, for living. That is 'aparigraham'. When You have more, it is for sharing, helping, aiding and donating. That will give us Gnana, Nirvana, Release. Release is to become free of wants.
7. Without knowing this, the rich go on accumulating, more and more of everything, pants, shirts, appliances, shares in the market, bank deposits, lockers, jewels, landed properties and so on. Looking at them, 'not-so-well-to-do' under go torture. Loans from friends, banks, and loan-sharks is the answer. Then when you are under debt-trap, look for illegal methods of earning. You end up selling your whole and soul to the Devil! Fifty to hundred years back, no one drank coffee. Everybody lived in a hut only. Ladies wore palm leaf rolled and inserted in the ear hole. For food they had a cereal porridge with some vegetables. People lived in almost similar dwellings. No one wore silks. If you decide not to have coffee and not to wear silks, from the money so saved, five families could live with equal felicity.
8. The moment you decide that something is important or necessary, till that want is fulfilled, endless effort goes into it. This is an irritant for satisfaction and peace. Till recently Radio and Telephone were luxuries. Now they have become necessities. The more your wants, the peace of mind is affected inversely proportionally. Well being, happiness, peace and contentedness are all affected. More the outer accumulation, greater the internal paucity and poverty. Standard of Living is translated in Tamil as, 'vazhkkai tharam'. To live with devotion to God is really the high standard of living. So it is not standard of living that is important, but the Quality of Life, that is important. 'Simple Living and High Thinking', is not to be looked down at askance. To keep on increasing ones economic needs is not to be thought as the standard. All battles are said to be won or lost in the mind. In this case under discussion, that idiom is very important. Make up your mind to improve the quality of your life, for which the battle has to be fought in your mind.
9. The Government may never listen to me. But I have to say what I feel sincerely about. If we really want to improve our lives, instead of spending more on the, 'Standard of Living', we should be trying to bring down the so called 'Standard of Life', and improve the, 'Quality of our lives'.