An array of highly priced things are daily sold in the market. There are people who buy shoes, ties, trousers, watches, cellphones, etc. at exorbitant rates. Some buy shoes worth 10 lakhs, or some wear suits costing 30 lakhs, or some use cellphones, which are bought for no less than 5 crores rupees or some rings coming with a price tag of 10 crores or so. This list is endless. People love to indulge themselves in such expensive products.
When American actor Nick Kane appeared on a TV show, he wore diamond studded shoes, which were worth 2 million dollars. He must have thought that wearing such expensive shoes will create a huge impression. In this way, people waste millions of rupees for various reasons. A lot of people do not even have the capacity to afford such highly priced products, yet they are seen to be buying the same. Some people even believe that since we have the affluence, we might as well flaunt that affluence by using only branded products.
They do this to create an impression in their social circle. A whole lot of people indulge in these products in order to show off, and even go to the extent of taking loans to buy them.
Pramukh Swami Maharaj was guru to millions of faithful followers. He held prominence as a spiritual leader and was a torchbearer for the world. Even though, there were people, who would just be readily waiting for a mere gesture of his to bring him things worth lakhs and crores of rupees, Pramukh Swami Maharaj always led a simple life. Simplicity was his life motto. He kept away from anything that was unnecessarily extravagant. Though he built grand temples, which were amazingly designed, possessing extraordinary beauty with intricate carvings and fine artistry for worshipping God and Guru, he was extremely detached towards anything that was meant for his personal use.
Once, swamiji was in Mumbai, as he sat to partake his evening meal, an elaborately designed napkin was placed on his lap. When swamiji noticed it, he immediately turned it upside down, so that the backside of the napkin, which lacked any design faced outside. On seeing this, his attendant saint asked him, 'why did you do this?', swamiji immediately replied, 'simple things befit a saint. A renunciate should not indulge in opulence. Such was swamiji's lifestyle. Simplicity was one of his principle guiding mantras.
The 150th birth anniversary of Bhagatji maharaj was being celebrated in the village of Mahua. At that time, since it was a festive occasion, all the saints strongly insisted that swamiji wear new clothes. It was a grand occasion and as soon as it culminated with great pomp, swamiji immediately asked the attendant saint, 'please bring me my old clothes.', to which the attendant saint replied, 'They have been sent to Sarangpur.' Swamiji observed silence and didn't say anything at that moment. A few days later, when Swamiji reached the Sarangpur temple, he immediately asked for his old clothes after taking his bath the next day. The attendant saints gave the excuse that the robes haven't yet been washed and dyed.' Again the next day, on taking his bath, Swamiji firmly insisted, 'I will only be wearing the old clothes today. ' Saying this, he sat down right there, wearing only loin clothes. Everyone was perplexed on seeing his strong resolve. The attendant saints rushed to bring Swamiji his old clothes. Only when he wore his clothes, did Swamiji feel at ease. He always held that only after we have prudently worn out our old clothes, that we should start wearing new ones.
On numerous occasions, one could observe Swamiji's spirit of simplicity, which served as an inspiration to one and all. A few years back, a similar incident transpired in the Atladra temple when Swamiji was coming down from his residential quarters. At that time, one of the devotees drew Swamiji's attention towards another devotee, who was standing near a neem tree, and said, 'Swamiji, this devotee has bought a brand new car, which is really quite good. He wishes to donate a similar car for the temple service. So what would you like him to do?. Swamiji asked, 'what is the cost of the car?', the devotee replied, 'Swamiji, it is costing 12.5 lakh rupees', Swamiji immediately said, 'we don't need to use such expensive cars. It is a different thing, if it is meant for the travel usage of the senior saints, but for other such vehicular requirements of the temple, we don't need such expensive cars.'
In this way, Swamiji always expressed his disinterest in using expensive things. The devotees would be more than willing to offer rich and magnificent things, but never has Swamiji got swayed by their emotions and used or even accepted such costly offerings.
Once, it so happened that Swamiji was in Africa and was travelling to Mombasa. Since it was going to an arduous journey, one devotee even suggested arranging a helicopter so that Swamiji could travel in comfort. North, South, East, West, the travel arrangements were in all random directions, so much so that there was hardly any time for Swamiji to take adequate rest. It placed a burden on Swamiji's health. But when this suggestion came up, Swamiji raised his right hand and while displaying his rosary said, 'we should only be indulging in service, which encourages devotion to God. The use of helicopter will only lead to a decrease in worship time and increase in flying time.' Then he slowly added affectionately that, 'Small centers could get ignored, and only the bigger centers would get covered.'
Hence, it is easy to understand what a popular blogger, writer and speaker like Jan Tegze means when he says that, Simplicity is the key to effective leadership.
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This article is written and submitted to The E Today by Sadhu Amrutvadandas. We thank swamiji for his research and analysis and hope to see the awareness about life and peace being spread ahead to larger mass of our citizens.