Downsizing – Minimalism- Aparigraha
October 2019 I was in Canada to spend few days with my son and I met one local Canadian lady. While conversation she told me that she is downsizing. First I thought she is talking about health (LoL) but later she explained that she was having big house and lot of materialistic possessions but as her children grew they left for study or job and finally only couple remained. So they have moved to small house and sold of non-needed possessions. Since I was also sailing in similar boat, the idea of downsizing appealed me. In india also the couple in 50+ is going through similar situation. Big house, many vehicles, lot of furniture and goods and rarely being used.
Then while searching on google and talking to my son I came to know that even in young generation there is a trend of minimalism. Don’t own assets. Keep minimum. More liquid funds and more liquid investments. Enjoy life with minimum possessions. Even they don’t want to own spouse and child (LoL).
While studying philosophies I came to know that this is not something new. Our scriptures are full of this wisdom. In Ashtang yog of Patanjali first limb is Yama and 5th principle of Yama is APRIGRAHA (non-possessiveness).
अहिंसासत्यास्तेय ब्रह्मचर्यापरिग्रहाः यमाः ॥३०॥ Non-violence, Non-falsehood, Non-stealing, Non-cheating (celibacy, chastity), and Non-possessiveness are the five Yamas. (30)
— Patanjali, Yoga Sutra 2.30
अपरिग्रहस्थैर्ये जन्मकथंतासंबोधः ॥३९॥ With constancy of aparigraha, a spiritual illumination of the how and why of motives and birth emerges. (39)
— Patanjali, Yoga Sutra 2.39
In Jainism APARIGRAHA is one of the 5 vows for ascetic as well as person in family.
प्रकरण ११ अपरिग्रहसूत्र – Precepts On Non-Possessiveness from SAMANSUTTAM
१४॰ संगनिमित्तं मारइ, भणइ अलीअं करेइ चोरिक्कं।
सेवइ मेहुण मुच्छं, अप्परिमाणं कुणइ जीवो।।१।।
हिंसा, झूठ, चोरी करे, परिग्रह कारण जान।
काम वासना या नशा, जीव बँधा है मान॥१.११.१.१४०॥
जीव परिग्रह के निमित्त हिंसा करता है, झूठ बोलता है, चोरी करता है, मैथुन का सेवन करता है। इस प्रकार परिग्रह सभी पापों की जड़ है।
Owing to attachment, a person commits violence, tells lies, commits theft, indulges in sex and develops a will for unlimited hoarding. Lust of possession constitutes the root cause of all the five-vices(140)
So as per Jainism possessiveness or greediness is cause of all other sins. Jainism explains possessiveness in further details as follow:
Attachment of possessiveness is of two kinds; internal and external. The internal possessiveness is of fourteen kinds (1) wrong belief, (2) Sexual desire for women, (3) Sexual desire for man, (4) Sexual desire for both, (5) Laughter, (6) Liking, (7) Disliking, (8) Grief, ( 9) Fear, (10) Disgust, (11) Anger, (12) Pride, (13) Deceit and (14) Greed. The external possessions are ten: (1) Fields, (2) Houses, (3) Wealth and food-grains, (4) Stock of house-hold goods. (5) Utensils, (6) male or female slaves (7) Animals, (8) Vehicles, (9) Beddings and (10) Seats. (143-144)
The above is said by Mahavira 2500 years so some may be relevant some may not be but point is this gives a guidance that why and how we can downsize, internally as well as externally and lead more blissful life.
5 tips for Downsizing :
1) Make a list of most essentials, essentials, comfort and useless things.
2) Fix a limit for every thing like one house, 2 cars, 20 dresses etc and maintain your possessions within those limits.
3) Down sizing don’t mean that you live with uncomfort or don’t enjoy the life. Living with happiness and fearlessness shall be the main goal.
4) The process of downsizing shall be slow and not painful. Rather it shall give happiness.
5) Inner downsizing is more essentials. Giving away anger, ego, illusion and greed.