You can learn all about the Pythagorean cup in this Wikipedia entry.
Like many other events in my life there has been synchronicity here too. On Tuesday night, my friend Koushik who features in so many such synchronicities, exchanged ideas with me about Aparigraha as a way of life. Lo and behold, just a few minutes later another friend Arun sent me the image that features on top showing the Pythagorean cup.
Let me quote a sentence from the Wikipedia entry; “The virtue of aparigraha means taking what is truly necessary and no more.” Is it not strange that the same concept seems to have worked on the mind of Pythagoras?
Further Wikipedia also quotes Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras;
Yoga Sutra’s sutra 2.39 states,
अपरिग्रहस्थैर्ये जन्मकथंतासंबोधः ॥३९॥
With constancy of aparigraha, a spiritual illumination of the how and why of motives and birth emerges. (39)
— Patanjali, Yoga Sutra 2.39
The symbol of this cup should also apply to the modern fad of Minimalism.
The Universe is sending me a big message. I am hearing it loud and clear.
1. Organised-efforts by individuals, groups, and governments to help protect consumers from policies and practices that infringe consumer rights to fair business practices.
Consumer protection in India is very strong for those who are willing to take the pains to fight for their rights. I know a number of cases where the consumers have won big settlements from large corporations here and I am sure that it must be the same overseas as well.
2. Doctrine that ever-increasing consumption of goods and services forms the basis of a sound economy.
and 3. Continual expansion of one’s wants and needs for goods and services.
This is something that has overtaken us human beings from the time of the Industrial Revolution which was speeded up from after the second world war when it was discovered that women could also come into the non agricultural workforce. Rather than expand on what has happened elsewhere in the world, let me concentrate on India where we got out of the Socialistic Pattern of Society in the 1990s of the last century and got royally involved in the rat race.
The one word mantra is Growth. Everyone and his uncle obsesses about growth. If the GDP growth gets below a certain percentage point, all hell breaks loose and the pundits start baying for the blood of the politicians. And such growth can only come from demand for goods and services constantly increasing to facilitate production of goods and services. So, businesses have come up with the brilliant strategy of advertising overt and covert to keep the demand pot simmering and producing goods and services highly subject to obsolescence so that replacement demand also takes place besides demand for new goods and services.
To facilitate that process, financial institutions get on the bandwagon and offer products, read loans, to make borrowing attractive so that people are perpetually in debt often just meeting interest payments without the original borrowed sum ever reducing at all. Another phenomenon that one can watch is that of the debt servicing going up for individuals as their incomes go up too! A self perpetuating cycle that leads to many of the modern ills.
I am glad to report that I do not contribute to the growth of our GDP. I am in the process of simplifying my life to the extent I can by becoming a minimalist. I refuse to be swayed by advertising for goods and services though I am sucker for advertising for movies and books. In the latter case however, I prefer buying a kindle version and buy hard copies only when I cannot get an electronic version. I however doubt that my splurging on these two items will seriously impact our GDP, the current growth of which is 7.3%, among the highest in the world!
I had suggested the topic for this week’s LBC Friday post. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs. Maria, Pravin and Shackman.
Everybody’s talking about people breaking into houses but there are more people in the world who want to break out of houses.
~ Thornton Wilder.
This post is dedicated to Tammy who is a great minimalist constantly trying to break out of shackles.
He could be fictional, but the greatest minimalist that I have come across is Jack Reacher, Lee Child’s hero. He does not own anything other than the clothes that he wears and discards to buy just another set to last him a while longer. He stays in motels and keeps wandering getting into all kinds of adventures.
My one regret in life is my physical limitation that prevents me from taking to the life of a Sadhu. Indian Sadhus are somewhat like Reacher except that they do not get into the kind of adventures that the latter gets into, nor are they likely to be retired Military Police officers. These are the people who have successfully broken out of houses as Wilder suggests most would like to. I would dearly love to and take to a life of wandering not quite begging to survive but like Reacher living on the move with no baggage.
Joshua and Ryan are two modern day Minimalists who are kind of trail blazers and their book Everything That Remains explains the philosophy of Minimalism and the benefits of leading such a life like nothing that I have ever read before. How I wish that I could at least be as minimalist as Joshua has become if I can’t become a Reacher clone!
In my life synchronicity is a great player and as I should have expected, this morning when I was musing about how to go about writing this week’s LBC post, I came across this piece of wisdom, thanks to Nick who posted this on his facebook page.
I want to use this forum to list all the serious stuff that either have been eliminated or which I have eliminated from my life.
Right on top of the list will be matrimony. I did not eliminate this. This was eliminated for me by life which took my spouse of forty years away from me five years ago. I however do not for a moment doubt that the state of matrimony is a very serious matter. It was not always so for us in the first 33 years of our life together but it did become so the last seven when Urmeela was incapacitated and I cared for her. I tried to make it as unserious as possible during those days but for her too many important things kept cropping up that made life very serious.
The next big item that was eliminated for me from my list of serious stuff was the death of my father two years ago, which after some serious set backs, released me from psychological scars that I had carried for a life time. That baggage was right royally eliminated with that resolution.
Believe it or not, all the other items in the list are things that not big in terms of impact on my life but the elimination of which has made for a rather unserious life style. In no particular order of priority and not exhaustive, they are:
Formal Western style clothes and footwear.
Attending religious ceremonies/rites except under exceptional circumstances.
Obligatory attendance of meetings, reunions etc.
Whatsapp and similar Instant Messaging applications on my mobile phone and computer.
Guilt when saying no to things and situations not to my liking.
A number of subscriptions to magazines/periodicals that do not appeal to me any more.
You do get a sense of how I am moving my lifestyle to one of being totally unserious don’t you?
I hope that you enjoyed reading my take on this subject which was chosen by Maria the gaelikaa, for the weekly Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where five of us write on the same topic. The four other bloggers who write regularly are, in alphabetical order, Ashok gaelikaa, Maxi, Shackman. Do drop in on their blogs and see what their take is on this week’s topic. Since some of them may post late, do give some allowance for that too! Ashok too is having prohlems with his blog being down and may or not participate this week.