Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Gospel of Non-Possession: Part II

Gandhi continues speaking on non-possession.

The highest fulfillment of religion...requires a giving up of all possession. Having ascertained the law of our being, we must set about reducing it to practice to the extent of our capacity and no further. That is the middle way.
Golden Rule
The golden resolutely to refuse to have what the millions cannot. This ability to refuse will not descend upon us all of a sudden. The first thing is to cultivate the mental attitude that will not have possessions or facilities denied to millions, and the next immediate thing is to re-arrange our lives as fast as possible in accordance with that mentality.
Love and exclusive possession can never go together. Theoretically, where there is perfect love, there must be perfect non-possession. The body is our last possession. So, a man can only exercise perfect love and be completely dispossessed if he is prepared to embrace death and renounce his body for the sake of human service.
But that is true in theory only. In actual life we can hardly exercise perfect love, for the body as possession will always remain imperfect and it will always be his part to try to be perfect. So that perfection in love or non-possession will remain an unattainable ideal as long as we are alive, but towards which we must ceaselessly strive.
Jesus, Mohamed, Buddha, Nanak, Kabir, Chaitanya, Shankara, Dayanand, Ramakrishna were men who exercised an immense influence over and moulded the character of thousands of men. The world is the richer for their having lived in it. And they were all men who deliberately embraced poverty as their log....In so far as we have made the modern materialistic craze our goal, so far are we going downhill in the path of progress.
How heavy is the toll of sins and wrongs that wealth, power and prestige exact from man!
To take something from another without his permission is theft of course. But it is also theft to use a thing for a purpose different from the one intended by the lender or to use it for a period longer than that which has been fixed with him. The profound truth upon which this observance is based is that God never creates more than what is strictly needed for the moment. Therefore, whoever appropriates more than the minimum that is really necessary for him is guilty of theft.
Secret of Life
Renounce all and dedicate it to God and then live. The right of living is thus derived from renunciation. It does not say, 'When all do their part of the work, I too will do it.' It says,' Don't bother about others, do your job first and leave the rest to Him.'
You may have occasion to possess or use material things, but the secret of life lies in never missing them.
The secret of happy life lies in renunciation. Renunciation is life. Indulgence spells death. Therefore, everyone has a right and should desire to live 125 years while performing service without an eye on result. Such life must be wholly and solely dedicated to service. Renunciation made for the sake of such service is an ineffable joy of which none can deprive one, because that nectar springs from within and sustains life. In this there can be no room for worry or impatience. Without this joy, long life is impossible and would not be worth while even if possible.
This does not mean that, if one has wealth, it should be thrown away and wife and children should be turned out of doors. It simply means that one must give up attachment of these things and dedicate one's all to God and make use of His gifts to serve Him only.

Have a sunny day. Fine Art and Jewelry.


Michelle Gartner said...

This is a good post- I have a rule for selling vintage jewelry0 it is roughly... "Do NOT fall in love with the merchandise!"

People ask me about my jewelry collection all the time since I go through at least 1,000 misc pieces of jewelry a month and I own probably less then a dozen pieces... they are always surprised. I value time and time spent with my family!

Liz said...

Your jewelry is beautifuland your blog is wonderful.

Laura Winslow Godsil said...

Thanks for your comments Liz and michelle.