Thursday, Apr 18 2024  

Desire Less, Help More - 11 Nov 2013

What are desires? Desires are wants BUT not a necessity. Swami says: “Who is the poorest man? He who has much desire is the poorest man in the world. Who is the richest man? He who has much satisfaction is the richest man in the world.” Let me share a story adapted from ‘Snacks for the Soul’ which beautifully illustrates Swami’s profound quote.

“Once, a rich man wished to offer a simple, poor hermit a thousand rupees. The hermit asked the rich man, ‘How much money do we have for ourselves?’ ‘Many thousands of rupees’ replied the rich man. ‘Do we wish for more money’ the hermit asked. ‘Surely!’ exclaimed the rich man. ‘Then I cannot accept our money as a man cannot receive from a poorer man’, said the hermit. The rich man did not understand how the hermit was richer than him. ‘Though I have nothing, I desire nothing! We have so much, yet we desire for more! Surely the person who desires to have more is poorer than the man who is satisfied and desires nothing!’ explained the hermit.

How can we desire less and help more? Swami’s teachings on COD (Ceiling on Desires) provides us with five main areas to practice COD. They are food, water, time, energy and money. Most of us are already practicing this in our daily lives.

When it comes to food, we should try not to be greedy and don’t take more than what we can eat. This helps to reduce wastage of food and the surplus food can feed another stomach.

Water is so precious and we should try to recycle it by switching off the shower when we apply soap and closing the tap when we brush our teeth. We should also not wash our dishes under running water. Many people in poor countries have to walk up to 10km for water. That’s why Swami, Himself, initiated the water project using the concept of COD, which has led to many villages in India having water supply without having to walk for miles.

By cutting down our own desires, we can save water and food and help others who are less fortunate than us.

The most important and needed factor is time. Swami said that: ‘Time waste is life waste’. Time should be spent in a useful manner to uplift ourselves and also for the benefit of others.

Why should we waste time watching TV dramas, playing electronic gadgets, oversleeping or gossiping about others? This time can be put to better use to help others and bring a smile on their faces. At the same time it brings us happiness and peace.

Conservation of energy is also equally important. Our physical, mental, and spiritual energies should never be wasted. We might ask: "How are we wasting our energies?" Well, seeing and hearing bad things, speaking evil, thinking evil thoughts and doing evil deeds all waste our energy.

Swami says: “See good, Hear good, Speak good, Think good and Do good, this is the way to God”. So we can try to reflect on Swami’s message on how to make our life more meaningful by saving energy. Indians consider wealth as the Goddess Lakshmi. We must refrain from misusing money. By using our money wisely for good deeds, we can practice right conduct and maintain good qualities, thoughts and habits.

Now, let me tell you how one of Swami’s students demonstrated this. When swami was building the hospital, people sent in a lot of money. There was one boy who was too poor to offer him anything, although he wanted to. Then, an idea struck him. Instead of getting the dhobi to wash his clothes, he washed them himself saving a 100 rupees. He then sent it to Swami. Swami valued this money immensely as it was earned by self-sacrifice. This story demonstrates how the boy gave up a luxury to help Swami in his mission to provide better medical facilities in Puttaparthi.

“Desire less and help more” can be implemented in many areas of our daily lives. We just finished the Akhand Bhajans this weekend, which was praying for world peace. We can attain happiness and therefore feel peaceful if we have fewer desires. Then the world would become a better place to live in for everyone.

In two weeks, we will be celebrating Swami’s birthday. Swami is within each one of us and he has done so much for humanity. This is a good time to ask ourselves what we can offer Swami on his birthday that will make HIM happy.

To make the world a better a place, unitedly we can offer Swami our sadhana to desire less and help more which is the best gift we can give our loving Bhagawan.


Bro Nirupan Navaneethan
Group 4


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