Aparigraha is one of the 5 Yamas described in Patanjali Yoga Sutras. The other 4 Yamas are Non-violence, Truthfulness, Non-stealing, and Continence.
Most of us know and try to practice the last four Yamas but Aparigraha has mostly escaped our attention.
According to Patanjali Yogasutras, ”With the constancy of aparigraha, a spiritual illumination of the how and why of motives and birth emerges.”
Aparigraha is one of the virtues in Jainism. It is also one of the five vows that both householders (Sravaka) and ascetics must observe.
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What is the meaning of Aparigraha?
To know this we have to understand what Parigraha is.
Parigraha means possessiveness, grasping or greediness.
Aparigraha is the opposite of Parigraha.
If you think deeply, this Parigraha is the cause of all the problems of the world. The problems we face at our individual level and at the global level at large. Our desire for more and more and our greed for more than what we need is the result of our Parigraha mindset.
Non-Violence, Non-Stealing, and Truthfulness we all believe are necessary virtues, but when it comes to Aparigraha we are neither aware nor believe the same is very important virtues in higher pursuit of life.
I had read the book Stuffocation a couple of years back. Very interesting read on how more and more stuff is making or life miserable. Another book which impressed me was The More of Less by Joshua Becker. Today in the western world, minimalism is in vogue. They are seeing the benefit of a minimalist life.
This all minimalist lifestyle concept is about living by the principles of Aparigraha which is deeply rooted in the Indian way of living. The more stuff we see around us is making us running after possessing the more. But in the process, we give up the precious time of human life.
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More stuff needs more money and more money needs more of our time which unfortunately is limited. Aren’t we spending our precious human life after our insatiable desire to own and possess more? Many of our possessions are mostly unwanted.
We all believe material possessions, give us happiness, but in reality, material possessions give us a headache. (Pause and think)
The benefit of Minimalism as described by the author of the book The more of less are:
- More time and energy (Managing lesser things)
- More money (Buying lesser things)
- More generosity (Extra money can help someone else who is in need)
- More freedom (No worry to work for unwanted possessions)
- Less stress (Obvious)
- Less distraction (Lesser things to manage)
- Less environmental impact (Lower production by producers)
- A better example for our kids (This is a great benefit)
- Less comparison (No social pressure to show off)
- More contentment (Lesser possessions means peaceful life)
The most important benefit I see is:
Fewer possessions and more time will make us awake to the spiritual side of the self. The whole or major part of our active human life is lost in earning money and possessing possessions. By the time we realise the purpose of human life was not to earn money till we die or become incompetent and aged, we have lived most of our lives.
Practicing Aparigraha as a way of life comes with huge spiritual benefits.
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This Aparigraha or Minimalist way of life is the only way to live in this otherwise noisy race we all are participating by chance or by choice.
Before the New Year 2020 (Samvat Year 2076) begins, make a plan to throw away /give up all the unwanted material possessions we have hoarded for years. & make a New Year resolution to live a life of a Minimalist (Practice Aparigraha) to the extent possible. This is going to be a life-changing resolution.
“A tomb now suffices him for whom the whole world was not sufficient.” Alexander, the Great
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