High Living and High Thinking

Veerendra Jaitly
CEO: C_cube Consultants

‘Simple Living and High Thinking’ is what we have been taught since our childhood days. My parents also told me this and so did my teachers. And I have actually tried to follow this dictum throughout my life. Or I can put it this way too that being from a middle class family, there was no other alternative but to believe in Simple Living.

And having been fed with a strong doze of ideals of the freedom fighters like Subhash, Gandhi, Savarkar, Bhagat Singh and the likes of Ashfaq Ullah, I always strongly believed in High Thinking.

I never had too many of materialistic desires.Swami Vivekananda became my role model and so ‘Simple Living and High Thinking’ became my mantra in life. Simple living meant wearing ordinary clothes: simple pant and shirt or Kurta Payjama, having ordinary simple meals preferably at home or at simple restaurants. Even staying in a small place even though one could afford a much bigger palace. Generally it means, restricting oneself only to the basic necessities of life and foregoing all the luxuries of life. They eat to live and not live to eat. They do enjoy their food with all the sweets but they don’t show off their money.

They follow what Saint Kabir said: “Oh God! Just give me that much which is just sufficient to support my family. I should not remain hungry and a hermit who comes to my house should also not go hungry.”

साईं इतना दीजिये,
जामें कुटम्ब समाये
मैं भी भूखा न रहूूँ,
साधु न भूखा जाये

Saint Kabir was an epitome of simplicity and a spiritual Guru of exceptional wisdom whose couplets and Bhajans are quoted even today. We all salute such great saints who were so near to God.

Let us look at the second part of our topic: ‘High Thinking’. That means no negative thinking but thinking positively about others. It also means thinking of society, thinking of our nation and in fact the whole humanity. It means the thought process to rid this world of the problems it is facing. It means thinking to improve oneself and do well in every respect and thinking to improve the lot of others with a selfless attitude. It is having great ideals before oneself and following them too.

High thinking means spending time and attempting to bring about changes in society, which are possible for the betterment of the mankind. High Thinking is a great quality. Serious sessions of high thinking leads to realization of many new aspects of life. The more we think, the more we realize. When Newton saw the apple falling, he went into serious thinking and came out with the ‘Law of Gravitation’. The world has progressed since time immemorial and we can see how there has been great improvement in the standard of living of mankind and all this has been due to the great thinkers this world has produced. 

Just imagine the contribution of Rishi Patanjali who gave the science of Yoga to the mankind. Thinking differs from person to person and that is the reason that different people may have different and diverse opinions. Though facts and truths can’t be changed but because of our conditioning of minds, different people may think in different ways.

Optimists and pessimists, both are thinkers. But they are two different types of thinkers. Optimists hope for the best whereas pessimists always think the negative aspect of everything. As matured people, we must respect the thinking of others even if you don’t agree with the other person. And even if there is a debate about what is right and what is wrong thinking, let that be in a respectful and courteous manner. Imposing your thinking on others through force or allurement also needs to be discouraged.

Modern revolutions like E-mail, Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Ola Cabs and many more are the results of collaborative and collective thinking of very high levels followed by systematic experimentation, planning and execution.

Now comes my question: ‘If I replace Simple Living with High Living: What is the problem?’ Why can’t you enjoy life, the way you want? Why can’t you live a HiFi life? Why can’t you use the latest electronic gizmos, wear branded clothes and visit good and even expensive restaurants if you can afford? I feel it is high time that we realize that there is nothing wrong if some people believe in High Living along with High Thinking. It is their right.

The definition of luxury keeps changing with time and place. The air conditioner at home in India was a luxury 30 years back. Today, it is a necessity in the scorching heat of Northern India or other hot places of the world. There is nothing wrong in having expensive bikes and cars if you can afford it and at the same time you can believe in High Thinking and you spend a %age of your income for the people who are less privileged than you are.

Yes, there are a lot many people who believe in ‘High Living and Selfish Thinking’. They think about themselves and their family only. Their world is limited to the four walls of their home. They have neither time, nor money for the society. But for the members of their own family, they can spend any amount of time or money. They will be lavish in spending on themselves but if even a fraction of their mobile bill has to be donated for a noble cause like a contribution to an old age home or an orphanage, they will find ten excuses, why it should not be done.

“Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.” -Will Rogers

Such people with selfish thinking and selfish attitude will go to any extent to earn more and more money even through unethical manners. Such people are a blot on the society, a parasite for the mankind. These people go to the extent of even exploiting the weaker sections of the society and junior employees of their own organizations for their own greed. ‘Me and My Family is the Mantra of their Life.’

Keeping the modern times in mind and the materialistic world in which we are living, we can always pray to God to give us the strength, intellect and the capability to earn more and more and in plenty and also bless us with the benevolent and philanthropic attitude to serve the society where we live in and the nation and the humanity.

There are umpteen number of examples, the worldwide these days, where the billionaires have pledged a good portion of their assets for the cause of the society. None of them has opted to stay in a hermitage or on the Himalayas after renunciation of everything they had. They continue to live their luxurious life and at the same time are willing to visit the remote areas of Bihar or Bengal or to some remote African villages to do their service to the humanity.

They are living examples of ‘High Living and High Thinking’. If some people sacrifice even the very basic luxuries and follow ‘Simple Living and High Thinking’ and devote their life fully, my salute goes to them.

Dwarka Parichay feel honoured to have Mr. Veerendra K Jaitly on advisory panel.

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