Less is more

An American tourist visited a renowned Jewish synagogue in Cochin, Kerala. He was received by its head, a gentle rabbi.

He invited him into his quarters, a single room, sparsely furnished.
After having a cup of tea, made in one corner of the room, the visitor asked his host, ‘Father, why do you live so simply? Where is your furniture? You do not even have a fan in this hot place.

You have no TV., refrigerator or telephone!’
The rabbi in turn asked, ‘My son, where are your things? How is it you are without them?’
‘Ah, but I am only a traveller!’

The rabbi replied with a smile,’ So am I, so am I. We are all travellers passing through!’
What a powerful message this anecdote contains! It reminds us that the biggest journey of all is the journey through life and in order to travel right we must travel light.
In other words, the secret of happiness lies in having and holding less. To quite a few, this will seem to be the philosophy of the absurd and the impossible.

Nevertheless it has merits and, what is more, works well in three important areas -- the material, the mental and the spiritual.

Let us consider them one by one, beginning with the material.
There is no denying that the human being is an acquisitive animal.
From birth to death, we busy ourselves gathering things.
We need them in order to live and what can be wrong with that?

The trouble starts when we collect more than we need. When we have some, we want more and when we have more, we want some more.

My friend who has a lovely garden told me of a conversation she had with her neighbour. This person suggested that she build a big block of apartments and make a great deal of money.

She could not understand or appreciate the fact that my friend loved her garden and had no desire to make more money.

Many of us are like her. We are so busy counting coins that we let the joy of living go past us. We let greed take over our lives.

Mental luggage too has a habit of overwhelming us. God, it is said, gave us memories so that we may have roses in December. Unfortunately we concentrate on collecting thorns.
A single hurtful remark can wipe out the friendship of years. Snubs and insults have a way of holding on to our minds like burrs. They rankle and destroy our peace of mind. Much better to let go of what is useless.

Forgive, ignore and let the ‘dead past bury its dead.’ This exercise releases you, allowing you to go forward into happier times.

Perhaps no topic is as sensitive as spiritual duties. There are so many creeds and so many leads, so many Gods and so many odds. But even here we can arrive at a plane of simplicity.

It was pointed out by a mere child, just ten years old. When her teacher pronounced that God is good, this little girl asked, ‘Can we say then that goodness is God?’
To my mind, this provides a wonderful solution to all vexing questions.

To show kindness, to be helpful and do all the good you can—which religion does not endorse this and how simpler can things become? It seems to me that if we take care of our deeds, salvation can well take care of itself.
To sum up, less is more. What more can one ask for?

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