Mr. Anandapadmanabhan was a born leader and was a living example for today's youth. He aspired and worked hard to change the life of today's youth, to make them more educated, prosperous, so that they become worthy citizens of tomorrow's India.
He silently but meticulously taught among school children, that simplicity is the best virtue to excel in life. Though the God of death has being so cruel in taking away the life of our dear Anandapadmanabhan, he lives forever in our minds inspiring us to lead a life with simplicity.
I dedicate this book with tears and fond remembrance, to the epitome of simplicity, my friend Anandapadmanabhan.
Original Tamil book titled, "வாழுங்கள், வளத்துடன் வாழுங்கள் - இலட்சிய எளிமை", of the same author Mr. M.B. Nirmal translated in English by 'REACH' J.Chandrasekaran
Forgetting gratitude is forbidden
I owe my heartfelt thanks to those who helped in the original Tamil version:
Mrs. Lavanya Senthilkumar, who designed this book, which is sure to create history, in the e-publishing format.
'Navalar', Poet, 'Anagai' Mr. N. Sivan @ Sivalingam, who is our ExNoRa Senator. He did proof reading and editing.
Mr. Shagul, of MOFA Enterprises, who computerized and digitized the Tamil edition.
Mr. N.P. Manohar and Mr. P.G. Ramnath of Classic Printers, who brought out the printed edition of the Tamil book.
I do not believe in the proverb, "to make or destroy, it is the woman's will". I respect womanhood. I believe in another proverb whole heartedly, which says, "Wife is the gift by the Almighty".
There is a turning point in every man's life. His appearance, life style, thinking, dress code - all go for a change during his marriage, or soon after his marriage. The changes are of different types.
A good wife reforms bad thugs. Good simpleton turning to bad habits after marriage is also common. There are instances, where one could not withstand the lavish life style of a spendthrift wife, making him earn money in unethical means.
I remember an instance, when a bank officer, went to the jail to distribute sweets to the prisoners. He was shocked to see his dear friend, a Government official in higher position, among them! When asked about how he came here, he said that he resorted to earn ill-gotten money to buy silk saris for his wife!
I, the author of this book, was simple ever since I grew up. After marriage, simplicity took strong roots in my family. My wife, a Postgraduate practicing medico, also practiced simplicity. At present, she is the Deputy Director of Madras Medical College. Nevertheless, she ever made her position or fame affect her path of simplicity. She naturally possesses simplicity as a jewel and her nature astonishes me!
Most of the days she travels by public transport. She also buys the vegetables and groceries required on her way back home. She cleans the home, sweeps the floor without engaging any servants. She travels by II sleeper class only while traveling by train. She checks the price of any commodity before she buys and settles with the one with the lowest price tag. She never 'makes herself' up! Extravagance is never in her vocabulary. She also gets along with others with simplicity and straight forwardness.
I dedicate this book to my wife who is the simplest and modest woman in my life. I am sure this book will bring happiness to countless people who will enjoy reading this book and absorb the contents to enrich themselves and their life.
With love and gratitude.
M. B. Nirmal
Live, Live in Prosperity
Simplicity as goal
ExNoRa M.B. Nirmal
Read this book once. Your live will change forever and rise higher!
Money that controls the world
Even though there are many problems in the world, that varies from person to person, country to country, the most common problem every one has is, "MONEY" or the need for money. Money controls the world. Industries run, business persons compete with each other, fights for positions and going for a job - all are to generate money. Business is done for money. Some families strain relationship for dowry issues, ending up in want of money. Man robs to get money. Before the pyre's fire puts off, the heirs fight each other for want of a share in the wealth of the deceased soul, again for money.
For the poor, next to oxygen, money matters. Money gets them food, cloth and shelter. Money wipes away their sorrow.
For middle class folk, just to maintain their 'middle class' status, they need money! If they have more money, they can buy a bigger house with more amenities. Can buy car; go abroad; pay 'capitation' fees for higher studies; even though prohibitive, can discreetly give dowry for a safe marriage for their daughters. Let them earn well, but they should also learn to control their expenses and desires. Otherwise, they will loose control over the swirl of greed and desire and will put them in a crisis.
For the rich: Rich too worry about money. How to safe guard the hard-earned money? How to earn further ? On seeing some one richer, they yearn to beat them, by adding few more crores to their kitty . These are few worries they carry. This constant worry of making more and more money builds stress, which gives them immense pain, and invites all diseases. These 'rich' diseases carry those filthy rich people towards the ICU of a rich hospital. Then they eventually loose the body worth crores for ‘want of money’ or the ‘thought of money.’
Is there any connection between money and happiness?
If some is to read what I said earlier, they will surely conclude that money is everything. But great souls, saints, philosophers, patriots, freedom fighters, social workers, nature lovers - all are in unison by thinking otherwise!
"There is NO CONNECTION between money and merry. And absolutely no connection between money and mental peace," is what they say.
Is this true? Here are two true illustrations:
The poor rich man!
I went to a rich man's house. His house is in Chennai main city which covers some acres together! There must be at least 15 rooms within his bungalow. Not less than five cars were lined in his portico. A large door at the reception, on opening carries a huge surprise . A big swimming pool awaits you, with a springboard on its bank. You can dive into the water and come out by the rising steps.
Small trolleys carry food for guests. The food is driven to the guests' place, in these cars. They are converted to dining tables, in a moment! A big tennis court, grand wooden carvings, smooth silk carpets and many such jaw-dropping artifacts decorate the bungalow. This book would is not enough if I have to comment on everything I saw that day.
The owner of the bungalow knows me well. When I went there, he was sitting in a sorrowful mood. I was with him for half an hour. By then, two doctors had already checked him and left. One was a cardiologist and the other a diabetes specialist.
I remembered many say that this man can do anything with the money he possesses! What happened now? I slowly went near him and enquired, "I always get surprised by the wealth you have possessed, but now today, I feel very sorry for you. What's really your problem?"
He replied, " I wish I lessen my burden by sharing my problems with some one else.' Having said that, he talked with me for about ten minutes.
I could summarize that as follows:
A week before, the income tax sleuths have raided his house, dug the unaccounted money, and have raised an enquiry on him.
He recently came to know that one of his business partners had been swindling huge sums of money for a long period, unnoticed!
On seeing his lavish life style, his factory workers have started asking for a raise.
His son-in-law's tantrum had reached a crescendo. He had first received a Honda car on persistent requests, and now he wants a Benz car, again!
He also came to know that both his sons have illicit affairs.
As he always thinks of his business, he has developed no attachment or relationship with his wife.
All these things put together had made this man bed ridden and a pressure driven wreck.
I suggested, “Sir, why don't you do some meditation, go for a cool swimming? These would relax your mind, body and soul!” He retorted back, “I wish I remove all the water and jump into the dry pool and commit suicide instead!"
I am known for giving solace to many parched souls but I could not muster any reply for this man! I just bid bye and returned back, without uttering a word more. The surprise element is that, when this man had a smaller unit, he was happier as I saw him but as the unit grew in size, so grew his worries, along!
The rich poor man!
The same day evening, I had another experience altogether. The dhobi Dhanakoti, who lives near the slum next to my house, was sleeping peacefully. On hearing my vehicle's sound, he woke up, came running to open the gate of my house, to allow the vehicle in. I just enquired, “How’s life man?" He gleefully replied, “All in our family went to Muniandi Villas for sumptuous Biriyani, saw a MGR movie and are back home. Our day today went off happily!"
Dhanakoti, his wife Mookayi, their children, all wash the clothes of their customer's outside their hut. They work hard throughout the day. They enjoy working hard. Their hard work had made their arms muscular and strong. Morning 8 to 2 noon they wash the clothes. Then they dry the clothes, have food, take some rest and after five in the evening they start pressing the clothes and give the pressed ones to the clients' houses and come back with the collected money. While on work, the tape recorder in their hut belts out cinema songs continuously. After 7 pm, they all squat before the black & white television and see all the programme non-stop. They laugh, clap hands and get so involved with the comedy scenes they see and are immersed into the scenes themselves! Every weekend they visit the Mari Amman temple. Being dhobis themselves, they always sport well-washed, white linen. They always live happily.
Measure of happiness
If at all we try to measure the happiness, through some fictional 'happiness readometer", the mercury in it, would cross all barriers and burst itself out! If we use the same meter on the rich man, I referred earlier, the mercury would never rise to any level, and would stay put as if it is frozen forever!
The vision of truth
On seeing two different families the same day, a great truth dawned upon me. Comparing these two families, I concluded that money and happiness have no connection. Money and Mental peace have no connection. Moreover, to top this all, I felt strongly, “Money and mental solace have no relationship at all!" These two instances made me do a thorough research. The result is what you see, this book. If one understands this book and its essence, the reader can get peace of mind, and happiness, forever. Money do gives comfort. However, it is only 90% a physical aberration. The mind never gets solace from money.
Let more of money be there. If you can earn more money the righteous way, please go ahead. Earn as much as possible. Any earning member should follow a strict methodology. That is why I have this book before you. Not to stop you earning money. Let's come to that important methodology one has to follow, after earning hoards of money.
What can give you mental solace?
There are many answers for the above question. But what stands out is just one reply, 'simplicity'. The more simple you live, the more happiness and mental solace, you achieve. This is hundred percent true. Even if you earn more money and possess more wealth, just desist and be simple. Earning money is not a crime. Nevertheless, forgetting simplicity is a huge mistake! When money beckons a man, we see that simplicity tends to leave him.
Great men are simple. Simple men turn great.
The most renowned men in the world are all simple. List out the beacons who lead a great, yet simple life. They may be from different class, kind, clan and nationality. However, the common thread, which runs through all such names and personalities, is 'simplicity'. Here is a sample list:
The great Gowthama was not famous as a Prince, but he became world famous, after he became 'Buddha', leading a simple life, renouncing the charm of being a prince.
Same way, Jesus, Mohammed the prophet, Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Mother Teresa, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Arutperum jyothi Ramalinga Adigal, Guru Nanak, Mahaveer, Leo Tolstoy, Bernard Shaw, Albert Einstein, Poet Subramania Bharathi, 'Iron Man' Sardar Vallabhai Patel, Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, Thiruvalluvar, Tamil poetess Avvaiyaar, Rabindranath Tagore, Gopala Krishna Gokhale, Bala Gangadhara Tilak, Ramana, Arabindo, Raghavendra Swami, Swaminarayan, Dr. Ambedkar, C.Rajaji, Karma warrior Kamaraj, Kakkanji, Lalbahadur Sastri, Annadurai, the saint who ploughs through your mind, 'Live prosperously' Mahan. Vethathiri Maharishi,… and so on. If I again start listing such great souls of this soil, this book will be over flowing. Most of them listed here came from affluent background, but adorned simplicity. They never lived a pompous and rich life.
Gandhiji was from an affluent family and a Barrister from London. The world hails him for not for his Barrister Law degree, but for his simple life style, for living one among the masses, like a common person. He traveled the length and breadth of our country; saw the plight of many poor peasants wearing almost nothing except their loincloth. He too shed away lavish clothing and wore just a dhoti and a small towel on his frail shoulders. Even Winston Churchill ridiculed Gandhiji as, "Half naked fakir' from India. However, it was not the well-dressed suit attired Churchill, who won, but this so-called half naked man of India, Gandhiji!
A small girl told her mother, " Ma, leave me for serving the Church. Let me become a nun!” Her mother refused saying, “You are still a small girl. Become 18 and then you can decide on your life path." After years, the girl, now a grown up woman, went to her mother again and retorted, "Ma, leave me now. I am 18. Let me become a nun." The mother with tears rolling down her eyes, allowed her daughter to join the monastery. What is shocking is the fact that, after this incidence, the mother and daughter never met again!
The young nun, who reached the shores of Calcutta, saw the poor and downtrodden dying in the streets with no shelter, but for the sky as their roof. Many were dying due to hunger, in footpaths. She sheds tears for them. She goes to her seniors in the Church, asking them permission to serve the mankind instead of serving the Lord.
She is an Albanian by birth, and white skinned. Will the locals accept her? She immediately sheds away her nun robes and gowns, but wears simpler sari, the Indian attire. Do you know which sari she chose to wear? The one that is being worn by the sweepers of Calcutta, which just cost her Rs.2.00. She is none other than the famous Mother of deprived, down trodden and the beacon of hope of destitute, the founder of Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa. Is there any other better example of a Great person leading a simpler life, yet becoming famous?
The then Chief Minister of Tripura, Mr. Nirupan Chakraborthy was a bachelor. After his tenure, he went to live in a small rented room, leaving away the posh Government Bungalow. Do you want to know what he carried along when he vacated the Government accommodation? A simple trunk containing three sets of dresses!
The then Chief Minister of Kerala Namboodiripad, donated all his ancestral property to his party, before entering politics.
The other Kerala Chief Minister Achyutha Menon was seen shopping like a commoner, the next day his tenure ended. Even minister A. K. Anthony is known for his simplicity even by his political oppositions.
A member of the parliament, holding various ministerial posts in the erstwhile Madras state Shri. Kakkan was travelling by public bus. During his last years, he could not even afford a private hospital and stayed in the general ward of a Government Hospital.
Mr. Kamarajar, the 'King maker', who was known for his ability to select the Prime ministerial candidate of India, was then the chief minister of Tamilnadu. He did not own a small piece of land in this country, where we know that politicians who hold even the smallest of smaller posts, having Swiss accounts to save discreetly their ill-gotten money. Mr. Kamaraj did not even have a savings account in his name. Perarignar Anna, also an erstwhile Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu is known for his great literary works, which were written by him squatting on plain floor. Rajaji was also known for his simplistic life style.
Guljarilal Nanda, who was a minister for long period in the Central Ministry, struggled in his late years unable to pay his room rent. He used to stitch his torn cloth to wear them again.
Is there anyone greater than these Great men I mentioned? Did the society boycott these men because they were simple? Even after their death, they are remembered forever, as an epitome of simplicity. So, shall we all agree that simplicity is not to be ridiculed but to be hailed?
The recent incumbent president, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam is a living example for this generation. Similar to him, is also the current Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh. Both of them lead a very simple life.
Advertisement Stunt and Show
The politicians today, and even the Religious Heads advertise themselves. They keep themselves figuring in tall digital banners and posters competing with the skylines. Some of these even fall off and injure the common public who walk gazing at those monstrous cutouts! They encourage their so-called 'supporters' and acclaim many 'titles' to themselves as prefixes and suffices to their names. They celebrate their birthday with pomp and extravagance.
Raise that comes with simplicity
The Great men we discussed earlier never did advertise themselves. There was neither internet nor websites during their days. No televisions or cell phones. In fact, there wasn’t that many publications or newspapers like what we read today. In spite of such short falls, they were famous. The whole world was familiar with these names. What gave them fame is their simple life style, their philosophy, their work and the path they lead. They not only preached simplicity but also lead by example.
Live, live happily
There is a simple way to lead a happy life. That is to lead a simple life and to proclaim that simplicity will be the only motto to lead that life.
Principled simplicity is the only way to lead a happy life
What is principled simplicity? What are the obstacles we face while observing principled simplicity? What is the real way to live a cherished and peaceful life?
If one understands the objective of principled simplicity and give shape to it, there cannot be a person better than you to lead the happier life. Again, what is this principled simplicity?
Before understanding this concept, it is important to understand that you will face a lot of obstacles while taking every effort to practice principled simplicity. In short, it is this 'society' which stops you practicing principled simplicity. We never see things in our own perspective. We always tend to handle any issue through the society's eye. What does the society think? "What will happen if 'x' thinks so, 'y' may blame me, how do I get fame and attention of the society or what will happen if the society shuns me for my deed .." and so on…
Therefore, by constantly thinking what the society thinks, we loose our own thinking, let our concerns to dilute and thought process to fade. We tend to bend ourselves to the thinking of the society and thus become a victim of borrowed opinion, resulting in tension and restlessness.
We blame the society and conduct ourselves, even though we do not like it. In fact, we tend to become spendthrifts blaming the society, only to suffer and bear the brunt.
Ninety percent of the population suffers from what is called as 'Neighbour syndrome'. Do you remember the famous Tamil cinema song, "Aduthaathu Ambujatha paartheyla? (அடுத்தாத்து அம்புஜத்த பார்த்தேளா?) This explicitly explains how the singer envies her neighbour.
The very concern of what would be our neighbour’s opinion makes us do things incorrectly. And the funniest part is here? Just to grab the attention of our neighbour, to attract him or to overcome him in terms of others' attention, we tend to do things differently than what is really ours.
The truth is that no neighbour has time to think of us, fathom or criticize us, leave alone adulating or finding fault with. So, first and foremost, we should come out of the lifeterm we impose on ourselves called as the 'neighbourhood syndrome'. Instead of living our fullest life for ourselves, we start living for the sake of entering our neighbour's heart or mind. In this context, neighbour means, the surroundings and the society too.
The social uneasiness
How is our neighbour or the society responsible for us shedding the simple life and falling prey for a pompous life? Here are the reasons:
Will the society think that we have become paupers, having lost all our wealth and property, if we lead a simple life?
Will they call us a 'miser'?
Will they declare us as ‘mad’?
Such unwarranted thoughts engulf us, and we resort to get into a pompous life. Even if some one thinks like that, should we really worry about it? Shouldn’t we decide how we live or is it the neighbour or the society, which should decide our destiny? Those who ridicule us, will they take care of us in hard times? Will they come forward to pay off our loans? Will they partake in our sorrows and pains? Will they share our burden now or ever?
‘It is not bad to be poor in wealth, but it is certainly bad to be poor in intellect’.