Monday, 29 August 2016
Development is a much-abused word — it is used almost always to refer to material development, excluding the spiritual or holistic aspects. In our zeal to quantify development and express it in empirical terms, we seem to expect that the graph should ideally move only upward; hence our obsession with rising gdp, production, sales, profits and salaries. Development is equated with a culture of ‘more’. This is so at all levels: personal, national and global. Mahatma Gandhi might have called this a migration from a need-based economic order to a greed-based one.
In our world of excess, there's a quiet movement towards minimalistic living that's gaining momentum. A growing number of people in urban cities is questioning whether they need as much as they have: clothes, accessories, gadgets and everything that fills our homes but doesn't necessarily serve us better or make us happy. People are embracing `voluntary simplicity'. In other words, they are developing the art of living with less - going back to our rustic roots.
The goal of development, according to Indian thought, is moksha, or liberation. In life, the manifestation of such development is in your movement towards being a jivanmukta, a free-in-life person. The four purusharthas, or pursuits recognized and sanctioned by Hindu thought, are: Dharma, Kama, Artha, and Moksha. Moksha, of course, comes in the end, as a supreme finale. The other three pursuits are not sequential: they do not come one after another: they run concurrent. Once the road map to development is clear, all doubts resolve by themselves.
HOW TO SIMPLIFY
Get yourself in a natural place, like a park and just sit. You can be by yourself or be with loved ones. Look out for the stars and the moon - it will make you happy. Not wanting a lot and not needing to do anything is conducive to happiness. A lot of us are really wound up, so it doesn't happen automatically. It's a habit you teach yourself.
Pare down your possessions or at least stop buying things you don't really need. Move to a smaller place, get people with negative energy out of your life. Spend time with people you love. Schedule time where you can just relax, turn off your gadgets, eat simple, whole, fresh foods, and talk to your family.
In Gandhi’s terminology, a world order based on greed — is ultra vires to dharma. It leads a person astray from the road to sustainable development. What is true of an individual is equally true of the nation and the world.