To those living sensually, living simply seems simply boring
Simple living is a virtue lauded by thinkers since time immemorial. This virtue was mocked as primitive with the spread of the modern culture of lifestyle products, wherein people equated possession of state-of-the-art luxuries with success. While wealth has always been flaunted as a marker of success, most modern luxuries were unprecedented in the ecological destruction that went into making them.
Consequently, simplicity seems to have made a comeback of sorts, at least among environmentally conscious people. Two centuries of untrammelled industrialization and unfettered commercialization have devastated our ecosystem, thereby making a movement towards simplicity not just desirable but even essential. Simplicity offers the joys of calmness and clarity that come about when we are not constantly titillated by myriad sensual stimulations.
However, given the overall materialism of our age, many still believe that gratifying the senses is life’s prime necessity (Bhagavad-gita 16.11). For them, decreasing luxuries seems like an appallingly anti-progressive idea. Without constant sensual stimulation, they feel utterly bored, as if they have nothing to live for. That’s why, despite nominally acknowledging the importance of simplicity, many people prefer luxury for themselves whenever they can get it.
For simplicity to be seen as appealing, we need to revise our conception of progress to encompass spiritual evolution. Bhakti-yoga connects us with the supreme spiritual reality, the all-attractive Supreme Person, Krishna. Connection with him gives us a chance to relish far richer, deeper, sweeter stimulation than what is normally available at the worldly level. When we rejoice in such sublime spirituality, we evolve spiritually, thereby rising above sensuality. We choose simplicity without being gnawed by feelings of deprivation. And if we need some high-end facilities for fulfilling our social roles, our spiritual connection helps us use those things without becoming infatuated by them.
Thus, spirituality makes simplicity accessible and relishable.
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