Each 'Choose-day' we will investigate the process by which we can reassess our activity and interaction with the world of plurality and become more congruent within our personality.
Continuing posts prompted by the prasaadam grantha, "Gita in Daily life" by Sw. Tejomayananda.
We have seen how the Bhagavad Gita directs us to act in accordance with guidance. What, now, does it say about living with things, beings and experiences? The word which rings out in these regard from its pages is समता /samataa - equanimity, impariality, benevolence, fairness (and other such nuances).
Let us first address objects; those things we either possess or desire to possess. Constantly in this age of untold luxury we feel we must acquire the latest gadget, the newest fashion, the neatest car. What does Gita say about the nature of such objects and the objective world at large? Three is one phrase which applies well here. समलोष्टाश्मकाञ्चनाः /
samaloshtaashmakaancanaaH, which is to show an equal appreciation towards a lump of clay, a piece of stone, or a nugget of gold. All arise from the same place and have no intrinsic value of their own. It is we who place the value. Also, as each thing does have a value, by virtue of its presence before us, we ought to respect all things with equal reverence. What is the value of stone, you are wondering? Say you are walking along happily with an amount of money upon your person. How useful is that purse when you have to defend yourself. The hand stone which you can through comes into its own! Value is a functionality, but we have tended to play a greater weight upon certain items, beyond their true worth and thus beyond their function. Clothes are there to preserve modest. Fashion has almost reversed that function at times! Mud can be used to build a home whilst gold is a useless material for this. You may say that with gold you can build a palace. What has happened acutally is you have used your gold to be turned into mud (bricks) to build the palace. Consider further... Has that made you happy? Is your daily life improved by having to care for such large property - or have you added to your stresses and the weight of your sorrows?
Samataa requires of us that, even if we are endowed by some grace with the greatest riches, or even if we are the poorest person on the earth, we are to treat all objects as exactly that. Objects. They have no greater importance than the function they serve.
Bigger is not necessarily better. There is a saying that one must not ignore the small because there is a bigger to be had, for the work of a needle cannot be done with a sword. Function is as function must. Everything has a purpose and place in life. Whether the needle is simple steel or the shiniest gold is irrelevant - all that is required is that it can pierce fabric and draw through the thread. Conversely, a battle cannot be fought with a needle, the sword now must serve. Give each and every object in your daily life only as much value as it deserves, whilst respecting that all objects do have some value, even if not directly to your own requirements. Giving value because we require recognition of status is an exaggeration of form and function. We must understand the correct place of objects. Only then are we practicing the equanimity implied by Gita's 'samataa'. To end, a story given by Guru-ji in this booklet;
A man was very rich, but his sister was very poor. He used to host lavish parties but would never invite her. She thought that after all he was her own brother and a formal invitation was not necessary. She went to one of the parties with her children. However, her brother insulted her and told her never to come again. In her anguish, she prayed to Goddess Lakshmii. Slowly, by Her Grace, the sister became rich. Then the brother invited her to one of the parties. Decked in all her finery, wearing a lot of jewels, she went to her brother's house. When the food was served she quietly started feeding her ornaments! Aghast at this the brother asked what she was doing. She calmly replied that he had invited them, not her, hence she was giving them the food...