I suppose all of us wake up sometimes with a tune playing in the mind, which then keeps playing like a scratched CD. Today I have woken up to the tune of "Thevile Anante Taisechi Rahave, Chitti Asu Dyave Samadhan". (A strange thing - the mind. One never knows what it churns up, when or why - am not complaining today though. It has started my day on a blessed note.)
This line used to feature in one of the bhajans my neighbours used to sing every Sunday morning. This is a famous line by Sant Tukaram of Maharashtra (see below)
This is one of the most beautiful one liners by Tukaram. It contains the simplest and profoundest truths of life and means "Be as the Lord meant you to be, Let there be "Samadhan" (satisfaction, contentment) in your mind.
Look at babies. What do they want? What do they ask for? Do they want wealth, fancy clothes, fancy toys? All they need is for their hunger to be appeased. Finito.
What happens as they grow up? They see so many people with so many things that take their fancy, they want everything. Covetousness (the desire to have something one does not have) takes over.
Dissatisfaction and discontent faithfully tag people everyday of their lives. While I can understand people who are really poor, living in abject conditions being discontented, ironically it is these very people who appear to live contentedly with what little they have. How many times have seen little kids on the streets, smeared with dirt and still laughing and smiling, sometimes even through their tears? It takes very little to make them happy. As people start acquiring more, the greed for more is born. Even within the working class, aspirations rise in direct proportion to living conditions (of course, one cannot deny that the reverse also holds true and is also necessary for them to have a decent life style. Let me clarify here, this is not to say that people should continue to live in poverty - everyone has a right to live well). It is the definition of "living well" which is the question here. I somehow wonder at the dissatisfaction born of sheer greed in people who already have everything one can wish for and more than can use. Strangely enough, it is the very people who have power and who classify amongst the richest in the world who keep chasing "more".
How much does a person need? The fact is we can travel only in one car at a time - it does not matter if we own 50 or 100 cars. We cannot use all of them at one time. Try stuffing in more than you need, even your stomach will protest. You can only wear one set of clothes and one pair of shoes at one time. For all her collection of shoes this rule held true even for Imelda Marcos and all she got at the end was to get hauled over the coals. We need homes that can accommodate us and our loved ones. Do we really need 60 storey buildings with helipads, parking lots and the works? The question is are people satisfied even with this? Soon they realize the vastu of such homes is not suitable and set about building another such monstrosity.
And the greatest irony is after earning all this wealth - by means fair or foul - people lose their peace of mind. Then starts the quest for "spiritual gurus" - often people who are as fallible as their shishyas - a classic case of the blind purporting to lead the blind.
Reminds me of a lovely poem which brings a lump to the throat every time I try to recite it.
The Miller of Dee
There was a jolly miller once lived on the river Dee,
He worked and sang from morn' till night,
No lark more blithe than he
And this the burden of his song, forever used to be
"I envy nobody, no not I, and nobody envies me"
Thou'rt wrong my friend, said Old King Hal,
Thou'rt wrong as wrong can be
For could my heart be lithe as thine
I'd gladly change with thee
And tell me now what makes thee sing
With voice so loud and free
For I am sad while I am king beside the river Dee
The miller smiled and doff'd his cap
"I earn my bread" quote he
"I love my wife, I love my friend, I love my children three
I owe no penny I cannot pay
I thank the river Dee
That turns the mill, that grinds the corn, that feeds my babes and me"
"Good friend" said Hal and sighed the while
"Farewell and happy be
And say no more if thou'dst be true
That no one envies thee
Thy mealy cap is worth my crown
Thy mill my kingdom's fee
Such men as thou as thou are England's boast
Oh miller of the Dee".
Sant Tukaram (1608–1650) was a prominent Varkari Sant and spiritual poet during a Bhakti movement in India.
Sant Tukaram was born and lived most of his life in Dehu, a town close to Pune in Mahārāshtra, India. He was born to a couple with the family name "More", the descendent of the Mourya Clan (Āmbile) with first names Bolhobā and Kanakāi. In accordance with an ancient Indian tradition, Tukaram's family name is rarely used in identifying him. His real name is Tukaram Vhilhoba Aambe. Rather, in accord with another tradition in India of assigning the epithet "sant" (संत) to persons regarded as thoroughly saintly, Tukaram is commonly known in Maharashtra as Sant Tukaram (संत तुकाराम). He is known asBhakta Tukaram to South Indian people. (Source: Wikipedia)