Both the neighbours indulge in wealth accumulation and are under stress, thinking that the other man would always think of us, the man next door! Both think that the other man is watching his movements closely, avoid face-to-face contact, do not talk with each other and spend their lives without fear, which is not worth undergoing. We loose ourselves, our self-esteem, are trapped and fail to come out openly with a clear thought and mind. We spend beyond our capacity to make the other man appreciate and feel envious about us. One day, we will be burying ourselves in deep depth of debt. It happens the same way in the other man's life too. This unaccounted life game becomes a threat to us; others feel hatred towards us and in fact avoid us. In front of our face, they hail us but behind our backs, they shun us. Some evil-minded enemies go to the extent of giving a complaint against us to the authorities, anonymously!
The movie, which detailed simplicity in an eloquent way
The director with a sharp brain who has made many movies to evoke the intelligence of the society, by mixing both comedy and realism is none other than the Tamil Director K.Balachander. He not only made commercial movies, but also ensured that they carried social messages.
Extravagance and its suffering were well documented in the Tamil movie 'Bama Vijayam'. The evils of being spending beyond ones limits is well explained interlaced with comedy, by showing how three middle class women fall prey to the glamour world and pretend to be rich, eventually suffering themselves due to their own plight. None can forget the song, 'Varavu ettanaa, selavu patthaNaa' (வரவு எட்டணா, செலவு பத்தணா). A famous adage goes like this in Tamil, 'swell, suiting to the size of the finger', which implicitly means spend suiting to your income'. In the beginning chapters, I had explained very clearly how money is not important for happiness, by two live examples.
My parents were money-minting machines…!
The true son makes his father proud
By becoming a front-runner, in all claims...
is the meaning of a couplet of Poet Valluvar who also says in the same breadth the duty of a father towards his son, in another one:
Father does his true duty by making himself
a role model to his son
An industrialist father and a leading medico mother both work tirelessly and accumulate enormous wealth to their children, but they never spared time to spend with their children. They always worried about the future but forgot the present time. Out of the enormous interest they showed in making money not even an iota was showered on the children. The children themselves had to seek appointment of their father through his personal secretary!
The children yearned for parental love and affection. Soon, both the sons got addicted to drugs and this went on undetected by their parents. The parents became money-minting machines but had no love. When drug addiction became too severe, the eldest son lost his life. The other son was saved miraculously by highest and most expensive medical care! We come across many such instances in our daily lives. There are women weeping for the plight of a child in the television serial, forgetting about their own kin!
The adage 'father' is equally important as that of being named as an 'industrialist'. Both have different work and different role to play. One complete man does both jobs correctly. If he fails in his dual role, life will fail him!
The true incident mentioned above shows that he parents failed to understand the minds of the children, in spite of them being clever enough to accumulate so much wealth. Love and affection are also precious little things, which are essential in life.
Principled simplicity - a definition
Another saying goes like this: ‘As a cat burnt itself with hot tongs trying to imitate the tiger stripes'. We should lead a life within our earning capacity and should not fall a prey to the pomp and show outside. On the contrary, we should observe how poor folk who earn less live comfortably than we do.
'I wept for a pair of shoes and stopped when I saw a lame man walk by' - is another proverb. This is what is aiming for simplicity. Decide from today, to lead a simple life.
Aim for natural happiness.
The reason for you to lead a simple life is not that you do not have money, but because you have decided to live so. You are not broken. You are not a miser or insane. You observe simplicity as you have that as one of the aims in life. Simplicity is the path to happiness.
A simple designer badge can demonstrate principled simplicity. This is how it looks:
This can be made in engraved letters either in metal or plastics and can be worn close to your heart on your shirt pocket. This can be any language denoting the initials of principled simplicity. You can wear a simple dhoti, or wear sandal slippers, but yet by seeing this badge on your shirt people will look upon you, not tease or ridicule you. They will understand that the simple life you have chosen is by choice and not by force or situation. Principled simplicity is not a banned word! Those who see you with this badge will not think bad about you, but will look upon you as a role model. Your value will raise amongst them. Your style will spread like the fragrance of an incense stick to others around.
No 'badge' needed …
In fact, real masters with an aim of leading a simple life and who lead as an example, do not really need any badge. Their dress, their simple attire and their simple deeds are suffice to promote the idea and the person.
But let's think the other way. In case you are a simple man wearing this badge. Anyone new to this concept, will surely approach you out of curiosity. You can then start explaining the concept, the virtues of simplicity. So the message spreads fast. So please wear such badge whenever you go out. Spread simplicity, its virtues, advantages and all the goodness it brings along with it. Keep spreading the message. Do this NOW!
Hypnotizing and Subliminal Advertisements
Many advertisements come in television which attracts us, changes us, make us mad, which conquer us, make us addicted. A finding from a Western research says that some advertisements are produced in such a way, that they go deep and get embedded into our minds. The characters, their dress, their style, conversation, dialogue delivery, background score, all keep aside your judgmental mind and start imposing the advertiser's ideas forcibly into your brain. What next? You become like a keyed toy, go and buy the said commodity or expensive thing without ever wanting it really. This is called 'subliminal'. Those who see advertisements daily and also follow them strictly are sure to become paupers and to the streets! Then their own life becomes fit to be a screen play for another television serial!
Just do a 'small survey' immediately
Walk around your home with a paper and pen. Just jot down all the needy things based on their use to you. Do not leave anything in your house. Everything you see. Give 100 marks for those who are inseparable like gas, gas stove, light, fan etc. Give lesser marks for things which are sparingly used. You will be surprised that 90 % of the goods in your house being useless or in other words, which are sparingly used. You may find surprisingly certain unwanted things filling your almirah unopened! The unwanted stuff makes cockroaches dwell there. Most of those unwanted things would have been purchased using credit cards and the dues would also accumulate for nothing. More the interest in the bank, more goes up your blood pressure!
A simple method to suppress the ‘urge to buy’
Let bygones be bygones. Let the future be good. Do you feel like buying something you see at a friend’s place or see in an advertisement? Do you feel the rush to buy at any cost? You need to just do one thing. A self – test. Just for two minutes. Sit in a chair. Relax and lean back then ask yourself the following five questions and answer back yourself.
Those five questions:
Question 1: Is this thing very essential for me? Do I want it?
If the answer is ‘no’, it’s OK. On the other hand, if the answer is ‘yes’, you are inviting trouble. Then go to the next question.
Question 2: Do I need it?
If the answer is ‘no’ again, you are fine. If the answer is ‘yes’, it means you are in danger. Then go to the third question.
Question 3: Can I afford to buy it? Do I have the capacity to buy it?
It is pertinent to know before you answer this question, that you have the money to buy that thing, well in your account. If you are going to get credit for the same, the credit should again be reasonable. Can you repay the credit card company in time? Ask this question too. If you have the capacity to re-pay the monthly installments, it is fine. If you get a big ‘NO’ as an answer for all the questions, it is great, you are free. But if you get a big ‘YES’ as an answer then YOU MUST go to answer question number four.
Question 4: Can I lead my life without this?
This is an IMPORTANT question. Most of the things in our homes are not essentials in our life. Still we accumulate them. We can easily say, ‘yes, this is not really an essential item in my life or life style’. You can avoid buying such things immediately. Nothing will change or life become abnormal if we stop buying that thing. If your answer for this question is again a big ‘no’ you are again saved, but if your answer is ‘yes’, you have to answer the final fifth question without fail and then may proceed with your purchase.
Question5: Can I postpone buying it?
By asking this vital question, you may postpone the purchase if needed, may be you may cut down your desire of buying the product later, for ever, which does more good than harm in long run.
These 5 wonder questions:
You will be surprised that after answering these vital wonder questions, you will end up, not buying many unwanted things. You will be a true man using your sixth sense, not getting carried away by advertisements. Your family welfare will be safe. Simple life style will engulf you and you will walk with a raised head ever. You will feel light – hearted. Savings will grow. All in your family together or alone can undertake these self – examination. Better to do as a group.
Sixth ‘bonus’ question:
Still is your desire to buy more is not doused? Then this sixth question which needs to penetrate your head and mind is:
‘ Does this affect the environment or will this purchase cause pollution?’
Do you know the best expenditure in the world? It is spending to save! Yes, this four lettered word ‘save’ saves you a lot. The more you spend on saving, the more you gain.
Let others who are pompous and extravagant, weep around for their misfortune.
We should remember a point. There are not less than 10 crore Indians living under the sky, as their roof. They live, eat, deliver children and die on footpaths. There are at least few crores of populace who starve without a square meal a day! Many die due to starvation. More than that, many tender hands of children toil and work hard in harsh conditions to support their family!
There are so many underprivileged poor souls like the lame, blind, orphans, destitute, discarded, aged, suppressed, women who resort to run brothels for want of food, starvers who beg, those who do petty thefts as they do not know how to earn their bread, and so on. Is it right on our path to spend lavishly when our brethren are dying due to penury? Is it fair?
It is not the gold plate or aluminum plate which satisfies our hunger. It is the food on the plate that fills our stomach.
More than making us feel rich, extravagance makes us feel pompous. The very feeling that we are pompous will develop a guilty feeling in our mind and that also leads us to illness.
Way to lead a simple life
You want to lead an easy life? Be stronger yourself. Control the wavering mind. You want your life to be a smooth sail? Be tough to yourself.
What a ostentatious nature?
There is a Tamil saying, “ An overnight filthy rich, holds an umbrella even for a midnight moon!’. It is a fact that these ‘sudden rich and snobbish’ act worsens their normal life. A sudden rich man asked the guy at the watch show room, not about the life of the watch, or its technicalities, but “ Which is the most expensive watch in your showroom?”. He bought the costliest one. He did not buy for himself but insisted the sales man that none other than him should wear that particular branded watch, and must not be sold to any one else! “ As it is costlier, it shows more time than what is normal!!” is a joke remarked on this incident. How snobbish and arrogant these filthy sudden rich ones are!
A rich man had three children, who studied in the same school, but he chose to send them to a near by school which was within two kilometer radius, by individual car for each child! Separate drivers for each vehicle and brought them back. Just near by is a slum area, where most children live in penury and most of them have no clothes to wear or proper food to eat. Can’t the rich man cut down on his expenses by sending all the three children to the school in one car? The money thus saved could have been used to provide education for all the downtrodden children in that slum. God will only bless those who live for others.
Fetish for imported goods
There are many who boast of proclaiming, “I do not buy anything local. All foreign make only!’. However pretentious they are, can they remove the tag which is on them that they are only locals, i.e., Indians!
Buy only Swedeshi goods
Many foreign goods, mostly unwanted goods, are adorning the shelves of our shops. If you are not ready to give up the snobbish attitude, so be it. At least listen to this simple advice. Do not buy foreign goods. Buy only Indian goods. That would indirectly benefit our brethren and give job opportunity to our own country men. Many houses will have their lights lit and we would save foreign exchange to our country. Our country will also prosper and grow.
Just see this imaginary situation
You have two workers approaching you for help; a healthy cash-rich worker from abroad and the other a poor labourer from India. You need not help any of them. Just try to stick on to ‘Made in India’ tag. Just buy Indian goods. That’s enough. This would be the best favour one could do for saving the lives of the Indian worker. Take an oath, with immediate effect as “ I would buy only Indian goods”.
The extravagance that’s makes you loose your mind
Let me narrate an interesting story to illustrate how obsessed we are with money and an extravagant life. A rich man gifted a dog to his son. The son and the dog became inseparable and were play mates. One day unfortunately the boy sees the dog motionless and still. He wept profusely and asked his father to get back the dog its life. The father tried to console his son but failed. He said he will buy a similar one, but the son was adamant and went on crying. The father changed the track and proclaimed, “See, let’s do one thing. We will have a grand burial for your pet dog. The body will be carried in a chariot bedecked with garlands, driven by horses. A band will lead the way. After burial, we will have a grand feast for all who attended the cremation. The boy’s face lit up! He was happy and was about to get ready for the ‘cremation’. Then, the unexpected happened! The dog, which was actually unconscious, leapt back to life! The boy had a rude shock! He was expecting a feast and not the dog back to life. He immediately yelled to his gardener. “Hey, kill that dog!”
I need not elaborate any further on this story. We all live like this, mindlessly. We are possessed with extravagance. We avoid being simple and end up simply loosing all good things in life. At times we are forced to live so and when such an attitude dominates our mind, we are forced to become cruel against others too.
Why simplicity? Here are some reasons:
Lavish life forces us towards debt.
Dowry deaths, cruelty, bribery, robbery, all happen due to the desire for a lavish life
This extravagance and desire to buy unwanted things make producers produce such unwarranted and unwanted goods in plenty. This in turn spoils the nature. The world will become a grave yard in the next generation. Natural resources will perish, and the earth will become barren.
The more we buy useless things, the more they are produced. Due to increased production, pollution increases which in turn spoils our soil, air, earth and sea.
More scrap and solid waste accumulates, due to the unrelated use of useless things and discharge. The packing boxes, film covers, the thermocole or styrofoam packing's, paper, all add to the waste. We end up spending money for solid waste management and disposal.
The vehicles which carry the waste pollute the air, sound as well as the land.
The place were the waste is dumped also become a waste land, useless for irrigation, agriculture, in short useless for habitation. We also are loosing more of our lakes and ponds, which are used as dumping yards for the waste managers.
Diseases spread due to the waste. We spend money to cure diseases. The medical expense in the city life has become inevitable.
Luxury invites danger. Boot-leggers and criminals target people who own luxury cars. Thieves target those who flash their wealth.
Many women who walk like a show piece bedecked with jewelry also become victims of murder and theft.
What does simplicity give us?
Simplicity gives mental peace and solace.
Simplicity gives fulfillment in life.
Simplicity uplifts the standard of our life.
Simple men are always held in high esteem in the society
A well deserved peaceful life, less expenses, adores us. Savings always saves us.
Simplicity brings us all together. If simplicity becomes a common goal for all, the other unwanted differences in caste, creed, money, economics, etc., all of them will take a back seat. Simplicity should be your breadth. If so, happiness will surrender at your feet. If not, you will be at the mercy of the demon called debt money.
Most of the work we were once doing physically are now taken care of machines. All exercises are now gone. Grinding and pounding using hands, sweeping and cleaning the floor using wet cloth with our hands, use mug and bucket to bath, washing clothes by hand in a river bed, all have become bygones. The simpler exercises we do are now totally not practiced. We do not stand up to switch off a running television. We use remote control button! Only thing which you cannot operate using a remote control is your own brethren. We have invited body ache and pains by avoiding the smaller exercises we used to do once upon a time. What do we do to reduce the pain? We run to a gym. We pour money there and try out all kinds of exercises in all types of awkward looking machines! What a farce! Should we not feel ashamed of this? Exercise is the only thing which you should do yourself. You cannot assign that task to some one else.
In short, we have reduced body motions by buying machines for every possible work. We have reduced normal exercises. We pay and join a gym! Then make the body sweat. What a shame! We waste money as well as time.
Principled Simplicity – here is the plan
Make a badge like what you see here. Or like what I showed in the earlier pages.
Live and lead a simple life and set yourself as a leading example
Preach simplicity wherever possible. Call for gatherings to discuss simplicity. Talk to school children stressing the need to be simple. Become a messenger to spread the benefits of simplicity.
Give this book to all known friends, relatives and well wishers. Gift this on any occasion to them.
Make such badges and also sell it to them.
Principled Simplicity – here is the plan
Please save the money saved by practicing principled simplicity in a bank. Use that to give quality education for children. Get them good books to read.
All simple folk observe a walkathon wearing simpler dresses.
Four friends can come together to start the ‘Principled Simplicity Club’.
Meet twice at least a month to work out strategies to live simpler. Take wise decisions to cut costs and live happily.
We resort not to talk to others and gain money to become rich. We become aloof. Instead, we can become a member of this ‘principled simplicity club’ and share our experiences and knowledge with others to make them also live simple.
Principled Simplicity – here is the plan
Make more members join this unique but purposeful club.
Talk in public forum, schools, colleges in appropriate stage and gatherings, the advantages of simple living. Create more clubs over there.
Start such simplicity clubs in multi-storied buildings and on roads. Inform us. We will publish and popularize your club.
Simplicity makes us save money. We can save this money and utilize a portion of that to donate to people who need it. Buy food, cloth and books to the needy and poor. If possible try to build shelters for the under privileged
Share others joy as well as their sorrows. If you share their joy your joy doubles. If you share their sorrow, their sorrow will be halved.
We need clean mind and control to lead a simple life. Take efforts to gain a peaceful and controlled mind.
You may ask, ‘if all start observing simplicity, will not the industry fall down? Will not many factories which produce goods for the buyers, close down? Many may lose jobs!’ – Yes this is a meaningful question. Simplicity does not mean being a miser. One should always buy what we consider is very essential and avoid buying non-essential things. The result is, essential goods production will go up. Production of unwanted things will go down. Industries would then resort to make only those commodity which are very essential to mankind and avoid doing lavish, unwanted, goods of extravagance.
What are essential goods?
Food, water, shelter, clothes or dress, medicine and education are the essential needs of a man. If principled simplicity is observed by one and all sincerely, savings will grow; social awareness and work will improve, health standards will increase. Quality goods which are essential would be produced more and would also pave way for exports and earn foreign exchange for our country. Very few industry would loose business, but many new ones will spring up. By and large economy would not perish or diminish, but will cherish along with simple living.
The natural resources are not omnipresent and immortal. We may usurp all of them one day. By practicing ‘principled simplicity’ one will be forced to use the natural resources only for producing essential goods. Depletion of nature will reduce. This is the best use and benefit for simple living.
The money thus saved by living simple, can be utilized to serve the poor and needy.