Simple Living, High Thinking

BY: PRITAM DE - 26.10 2018

The bane of modern world is that people have forgotten the wisdom of simple living, high thinking. The world has become more complex than ever, people's wants and desires are practically endless; desires are created by an intense greed for sense-gratification (desire to lord it over the material nature). When desires are not fulfilled, anger arises. Gradually the sane man is led to hell through lust, anger and greed.

"There are three gates leading to this hell – lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul." (BG 16.21)

Today's world is practically a hell. This is primarily because the current motto is "complex living, low thinking." People prefer to show off living in huge mansions, wear designer clothes and accessories, drive fanciest of cars, buy latest and most expensive gadgets, and so on. We see highly materially educated people wearing suits but demonstrating low level of thinking (or no thinking at all). Common people try to emulate these showy people and fall into the trap of gross materialism. And when compounded at a global level, this phenomenon causes havoc to the society.

If we analyze this philosophically, the reason behind this consumerist culture is because of people's forgetfulness of their spiritual identity. When they think they are the bodies and that satisfaction of the bodily needs is the life's goal, then they become totally bewildered. They cannot discern between temporary and eternal. Because they are bodily conscious, their behavior is geared around living a materially-high life.

But when we realize that we are not the body but the spirit soul, when we realize that the body is temporary and subject to gradual decay and death, only then we will be able to understand the wisdom of simple living, high thinking. When the body, and everything associated with it, is temporary, then what is the use of adopting means that make our existence on bodily platform complex and unachievable. On the other hand, when we understand that we are the eternal spirit souls, parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, automatically we rise to the platform of high thinking. Therefore simple living entails minimizing our bodily wants, high thinking means nourishing our eternal soul. Because of this lack of understand, the world is following the topsy-turvy concept of simple living, high thinking.

"Simple living, high thinking" is not just the art of living; it starts with the art of thinking, feeling, and willing. Our thoughts become words. Our words become actions. Our actions become habits. Our habits become character. Our character become destiny. Therefore we first have to have our thinking right. We have to nourish our soul and intelligence with right spiritual knowledge. Hence high thinking must come before simple living. The more we become spiritually strengthened, the simpler will our living become.

But all this is possible when we become Krsna conscious. "When a person takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is no need to care for material necessities. Kṛṣṇa says, yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham: "I personally carry all necessities to My devotees." Looking from another perspective, when we understand that the source of our income is not actually the source of maintenance. And that source of maintenance is none other than the Supreme Lord, Krsna. When we realize that He is the ultimate provider, we will no longer have anxieties about bodily needs. The six Goswamis lived a life of mendicants because they had faith that the Supreme Lord is their ultimate provider. Therefore, they never worried about where their next meal is going to come from, or where they are going to spend the night.

In order to live a life of "Simple Living, High Thinking", our faith in the Supreme Lord has to be strengthened. The faith can be strengthened by association with advanced devotees or pure devotees, purifying our soul by chanting and hearing about the Supreme Lord. When the soul is purified, then everything else will follow including simple living.

So I say, "Get Thinking Right, Live Simple Life."

All glories to Srila Prabhupada!