Community on Yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda and Spirituality
Saints like Swami Sivananda have often exhorted the true spiritual disciples to follow the dictum of simple living and high thinking by saying, “Develop simple living and high thinking. You will realise God in this very birth.”
You may very well question, “Swami ji, It’s fully understandable that I have high thinking. But, I can’t comprehend as to how I can lead a simple style. I live amidst luxuries which have become necessities for me. I have a big palatial house, latest car, sophisticated household gadgets like refrigerators and air conditioners, a coloured T V, a laptop. I can’t do without the internet connectivity.
I can’t remain without enjoying my daily dose of modern food and beverages. I can’t give up on modern life saving medicines. In the name of simplicity, I will find myself conceiving more children if I don’t use modern birth-control contraceptives…!”
You may go on adding many more material commodities and services that may be defined as not being simple.
You may end up in exasperation, “Swami ji, how can then I give up all my material comforts and lead a simple life? Aren’t you asking me to regress to the old cave-age devoid of any modern amenities? Isn’t it sheer non-sense?”
It’s not your fault. Most of us take the wise words of the great seers and sages literally without trying to understand their true spiritual import. The end result is that we throw up our hands in despair saying, “No, no. It’s too difficult for me to follow this and that spiritual teaching of the spiritual master.”
Saints use the words ‘simple living’ to mean not that you give up modern means of comforts and healthy living. They aren’t asking you to move out of your luxurious 2 BHK flat and live in a hut in some far away rural area. They aren’t advising you to throw away your washing machines. You aren’t being coaxed to give up your internet connectivity. In short, they aren’t asking you to go back on your material progress.
Then, what do the Saints mean by the use of the phrase ‘Simple Living?’ Well, what they do essentially mean is that you remain simple in your thoughts, habits and actions even while making use of the latest sophisticated luxurious tools of living. They wish you to be not carried away by your material opulence.
Therefore, don’t let the fact of your being more fortunate than others sink deep into your head and swell it with unwanted pride. The unreasonable sense of pride is a sure recipe for spiritual disaster. So, always remain grateful to the Almighty for your having received all this bounty in this birth.
I know of many successful Hollywood actors like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt who have earned tremendous amount of money, goodwill, name and fame. But, if you closely observe them, you will find they are ever humble never showing it off. They live like any other ordinary person.
Or you may take the case of Barack Obama, the current USA President who carries no airs of being the highest authority and the politically most powerful person on the Earth today. He remains as ever humble as before becoming the President. You can find him enjoying food and beverages at cafes or restaurants sitting amongst other common American citizens unlike elsewhere in the world where no ordinary citizen is permitted to enter the cafe, restaurant or hotel till the time such a high political dignitary like a Prime Minister or President is there inside.
The concept of ‘The High Thinking’ is more readily understandable to any average person. It means that you think positively about your own self and about others. It means that your thoughts should be good and not bad. It means that your thoughts always should consist of feelings of love and compassion for your own self and others around. In brief, it means that your thoughts always should be such as that would help in your spiritual evolution.
In nutshell, you will realise the Supreme Consciousness or God in this birth itself if you develop simple living and high thinking.
~ J G M J V S A J