Truth, beauty, peace, joy and justice become our friends, as we feel, think, and live a simple life, in harmony with our intrinsic nature and the universe’s natural order, says BATURAM NAYAK

Human ingenuity springs up great wonders which finds expression in all that mankind does … be it in the making of a primeval tool or technique; a piece of art or an artefact; writing of a beautiful verse; rendering of a sweet musical note; espousing spiritual-wisdom or discovery of a subtle-scientific law. The simpler an expression, the closer it is to beauty and truth.

As simplicity appeals to everyone’s sense and sensibility, it has the potential to have a lasting value and leave a long-term impact. In all ages, simplicity has been regarded as one of the greatest virtues of all time.

In spite of people’s desire to ride on the transient wave of glamour and glitter, they nurture a soulful wish to make life simpler, in sync with man’s basic nature. For example, rich food with spices is not considered to be good for everyday meals. Hence, we often desire to have a simple dinner after a sumptuous lunch.

Mahatma Gandhi: Simple Living, High Thinking

This holds equally good for every other human phenomenon. While acquisitive humans are attracted to luxury and complex living, deep down they yearn for a simple lifestyle. After tasting affluence, many a person realises that in simplicity is the key to living a balanced life and to connect and be one with nature.    

After chasing pots of gold, dreaming of swanky cars and skyscrapers, over a period of time, man finds his path and returns to mother earth, realising that wisdom lies in simple living. But, given the lure of wealth and the so-called good things in life, is it really that simple to be simple?

Mahatma Gandhi, in the course of writing his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth, rendered an indirect answer to this very question, with these thought-provoking words: “The complexity of life puts you in a position of moral-illiteracy.”

Everyday life has a mesmerising effect on us. Consciously or unconsciously, we get into the trap of worldly pursuits and join the rat race for riches, glamour, and glitter in spite of knowing their ephemeral nature.

Such external trappings do not guarantee us happiness or help in achieving peace. Far from it, they destabilise us and upset our equilibrium. Then, how can one stabilise himself in an unstable equilibrium? How does man deal with such a precarious situation?

The answer to these questions is: Rediscover or reinvent simplicity and adopt minimalism as a way of life, in tune with our intrinsic, basic nature. Minimalism or simplicity will help us in being forever vibrant, never losing steam or becoming obsolete. 

As the Upanishadic story goes: Sage Yajnavalkya, desired to divide all his possessions between his two wives, Maitreyi and Katyayani before he renounced the world. But Maitreyi, the learned wife refused all the offerings of Yajnavalkya putting forth a strong logic.

Author Baturam Nayak

She said: येनाहं नामृता स्याम् किमहं तेन कुर्याम्? (What shall I do with all that which cannot make me immortal?)

Hearing this Yajnavalkya was so impressed by Maitreyi’s spirituality that he deemed it fit to teach her the great truth of the Vedanta ― the value of renunciation as the means of true knowledge and complete redemption.

One of the best paths to gaining true knowledge is the road of simplicity. Our life and living gets simpler and herein lies the key to peace and happiness. Life becomes more meaningful and intelligible from all dimensions as we try to uphold the value of simplicity in everything we do.

Truth, beauty, peace, joy and justice become our friends, as we feel, think, and live this (simple) way, in harmony with our very own, intrinsic nature and the universe’s natural order as well.

Baturam Nayak, a postgraduate in economics, joined the banking sector in 1983 and retired in June 2020. He is a firm believer in simplicity and minimalism. “My faith is Oneness, एकत्वम्; that’s the way I would express myself and live in harmony with everything,” he says.

More Stories by Baturam Nayak