APARIGRAHA by Shalini M. Rao.
Aparigraha is the tendency to accumulate possessions. Most people buy new clothes, furniture etc., but are not willing to let go the old or even give away mainly due to strong attachments, until the cupboards are overflowing. In India, in the olden days, in the joint families there was bare minimum furniture and the clothes were passed on to younger siblings and extended family members. Even a small house looked spacious and could accommodate many people. Today most homes are filled with furniture and a large array of decorative items. Even a three bedroom house cannot seem to accommodate as the occupants would not want to vacate or share their rooms. Even when the home is small one should have a big heart to enjoy sharing. The habit of accumulation starts in the early childhood when children start collecting sea shells, marbles, stamps and trinkets and they hide it in a safe place so that their parents do not throw them away as rubbish even though the parents too are in the accumulation made.
As the child grows he throws away the pebbles and toys and moves on to more expensive computer games and gadgetry. This goes on throughout their life. The more the money power more expensive become the acquisitions. There is no end to it as no one realizes that these material objects are not permanent, neither is life itself. One should have a reality check now and then to shuffle out what is not needed at that time.
It is said that Alexander the Great conquered a lot of kingdoms in his life time. But at his death bed he told his ministers that when his body is taken in procession to the burial ground his empty palms should be kept open to the sky so that everybody realizes that, in spite of all his conquests, he could not take any of his wealth or possessions when he departed!
Published in the February 2010 edition of Yoga & Total Health Magazine.