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Thread: Approaching Materials?

  1. #1
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    Question Approaching Materials?

    Namaste all,

    I present an interesting question for your consideration today. Please note my use of the word ''materials'' and not ''materialism'' in the title. I will attempt to explain my question as clearly as possible, feel free to ask if you do not understand.

    I often wonder about the correct way of approaching materials in a modern context (i.e. current time cycle, the grihasta path, surrounded by people whose lives are largely based on accumulation, maintenance and showcasing of materials - and also the existing economic and social conditioning).

    I am aware of scriptural reference/philosophy about mastering desire and the effect of materials [good and bad], and therefore I do not ask for any replies centering on those principles. I seek practical answers on how YOU personally deal with approaching materials, and what you do in various situations where you are required to indulge in materials, interact with materials, and so on.

    Again I know I am susceptible to replies along the lines of [stop creating a duality between interaction with materials and correct spiritual conduct, perhaps karma yoga reccomendations, and various other manifestations of beautiful hindu philosophy]. As mentioned prior; in this particular thread I would only be interested in such philosophy if it is attached with a practical example or your personal experience.

    The reason? Currently I want to understand this issue from a simple micro level, with practical solutions for the short-term. I am already on my way of attempting to resonate with and follow higher philosophy with discipline. That takes time. Who knows when it will click, or when I'll start advancing with more speed. It is working beautifully but in the meantime I need to sharpen other tools in my arsenal to fend off ''down-moments'' or moments of ''confusion/delusion'' with accuracy. I hope that makes sense.

    It is currently very interesting for me, As a young man; increasingly the paradigms that present themselves in daily life baffle me. Should I feel guilty if I have more than the next person even if I'm trying my best to help? Should I strive for a bigger house, a good car, or to surround myself with materials that create comfort for my family? Even if I'm detached from them all? If I decide to pursue these am I wrong?

    The above situations are particularly complex because I have my own unorthodox opinion on how the economic system has been manipulated through a false imposition of scarcity over the years. If you're interested in knowing about my opinion on that you can read it here:
    http://econimind.com/how-real-is-scarcity/

    If my son says dad we should get a bigger house! Just for comfort purposes, should I teach him that this is incorrect or support him? If my wife asks for a level of material comfort beyond what I feel necessary, then what?

    Having a phenomenal interest in business, how do I accumulate money in a dharmic manner, how do I stay detached from it? How do I completely avoid chances of dilution into incorrect thought patterns?

    These are all just example questions. I know that desires are never-ending and that there is no end to this madness or these questions.
    I can answer these questions when it comes to the bigger picture, which is what we largely deal with here, I want to understand this on a more immediate level. How do you approach materials?

  2. #2

    Re: Approaching Materials?

    Namaste IC,

    I may not take your question in entirety, but will like to point to a key aspect.

    "Business" the word has its root in Sanskrit viś (literally, "all"). Viśpati means businessman. Vaiśya means the Vedic Varna of business people (supported by the other three, the original Varna-s).

    In Veda, Lord Agni is called the Viśpati among all gods - because he is the master of all activities, he is therefore called "The Lord of Homes". Keeping/ worshipping of fire in our homes is more than symbolic.

    Therefore, the point is, Dharma is meant to be exercised. Dharma flows towards overcoming scarcity - of Dharma. Prosperity, progress, etc, naturally follow.

    A scenario of over-feeding or creating scarcity is in opposition to the above said.
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

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    Re: Approaching Materials?

    Namaste friend Ji,

    I am not a scholar.We have wise members here who will give good answers for your questions.

    I just hope that you are not reading philosophical literature meant for Sanyasins.IMHO you are thinking too much.Just be calm and do your Sadhana.



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    Re: Approaching Materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalicharan Tuvij View Post
    Namaste IC,

    I may not take your question in entirety, but will like to point to a key aspect.

    "Business" the word has its root in Sanskrit viś (literally, "all"). Viśpati means businessman. Vaiśya means the Vedic Varna of business people (supported by the other three, the original Varna-s).

    In Veda, Lord Agni is called the Viśpati among all gods - because he is the master of all activities, he is therefore called "The Lord of Homes". Keeping/ worshipping of fire in our homes is more than symbolic.

    Therefore, the point is, Dharma is meant to be exercised. Dharma flows towards overcoming scarcity - of Dharma. Prosperity, progress, etc, naturally follow.

    A scenario of over-feeding or creating scarcity is in opposition to the above said.
    Namaste,

    Very interesting. That helped me sharpen my context on a few things. Thankyou.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ram11 View Post
    Namaste friend Ji,

    I am not a scholar.We have wise members here who will give good answers for your questions.

    I just hope that you are not reading philosophical literature meant for Sanyasins.IMHO you are thinking too much.Just be calm and do your Sadhana.


    Namaste,

    I am indeed interested in what our fellow members have to say. In terms of Sanyasins I do attempt to discriminate philosophy where and when necessary.

    Unnecessary grasping that beyond the human intellect? Probably so. Though my relentless intensity for learning more than necessary doesn't reflect a state of anxiousness; infact quite the opposite
    As mentioned the point of this thread is to attempt to reduce the gradient of issues I know I will face Sadhana or no Sadhana; and don't worry I have reached these conclusions after much breathing and relaxation
    Thanks for the gentle reminder I shall of course continue..

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    Re: Approaching Materials?

    It is a very good question, Icy. I too face such questions from time to time. In my own experience, I would definitely give preference to the acquisition of material wealth and comfort, but make sure they are within dharmic means. For example, if I am a Software Engineer, then I see there is no harm in striving to become a Project Manager, and enjoy the added pay, comfort, and status that comes along with it. But what is more important is that, when I know I cannot reach that level for some reason, not to pine for it. This is my approach to life. Ofcourse I would love to live in a mansion, and there is no harm in desiring for one, IF one can afford to earn that money dharmically and it is within one's capacity and reach.

    But more importantly what I feel is needed in today's society is *not to glorify materials and status*. This is so unfair to those that do not have it. When in a mix of peoples that vary in social status, comfort level, intellectual level, never speak anything about yourself (myself) so that I neither put down some involuntarily nor I risk being mistaken for flaunting what I have. I see that this virtue is lacking in many people. They openly show their admiration for material success and its associated status, etc. Such people have always brought down on my existing morals - over the long run, I see myself giving into such beliefs and rather fighting for my own acceptance, if I do not possess such virtues admired by others. The best way to tackle such a situation is to keep as far away from it as possible.

    Best wishes and good luck!
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

  6. #6

    Re: Approaching Materials?

    Namaste,

    Let's say, for an example, I am sitting here with one hundred light bulbs,
    also one hundred chocolate bars, and one hundred bandages.
    I enjoy being able to see at night; I enjoy the taste of chocolate; and I enjoy preventing a cut from bleeding.

    Do I keep all these light bulbs, chocolates, and bandages, so that I or my
    family will not lack these things for a long while?

    Do I sell some of them? Do I give some of them away?

    What would you suggest that I do, Icy?

    JAI MATA DI
    || जय माता की ||

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    Re: Approaching Materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by Viraja View Post
    It is a very good question, Icy. I too face such questions from time to time. In my own experience, I would definitely give preference to the acquisition of material wealth and comfort, but make sure they are within dharmic means. For example, if I am a Software Engineer, then I see there is no harm in striving to become a Project Manager, and enjoy the added pay, comfort, and status that comes along with it. But what is more important is that, when I know I cannot reach that level for some reason, not to pine for it. This is my approach to life. Ofcourse I would love to live in a mansion, and there is no harm in desiring for one, IF one can afford to earn that money dharmically and it is within one's capacity and reach.

    But more importantly what I feel is needed in today's society is *not to glorify materials and status*. This is so unfair to those that do not have it. When in a mix of peoples that vary in social status, comfort level, intellectual level, never speak anything about yourself (myself) so that I neither put down some involuntarily nor I risk being mistaken for flaunting what I have. I see that this virtue is lacking in many people. They openly show their admiration for material success and its associated status, etc. Such people have always brought down on my existing morals - over the long run, I see myself giving into such beliefs and rather fighting for my own acceptance, if I do not possess such virtues admired by others. The best way to tackle such a situation is to keep as far away from it as possible.

    Best wishes and good luck!
    Namaste Viraja,

    You make perfect sense. Very practical also. What you have broken-down is very close to my own mindset; however it still feels incomplete. I am not trying to comprehend that which is beyond the intellect, but I do feel something worth comprehending is missing.

    Quote Originally Posted by JaiMaaDurga View Post
    Namaste,

    Let's say, for an example, I am sitting here with one hundred light bulbs,
    also one hundred chocolate bars, and one hundred bandages.
    I enjoy being able to see at night; I enjoy the taste of chocolate; and I enjoy preventing a cut from bleeding.

    Do I keep all these light bulbs, chocolates, and bandages, so that I or my
    family will not lack these things for a long while?

    Do I sell some of them? Do I give some of them away?

    What would you suggest that I do, Icy?

    JAI MATA DI
    Namaste JMD,

    I would be tempted to give you a ideological answer, but the truth is it depends on the individuals perspective. Not to mention we rarely follow what we deem as the correct path due to the caving-in of constant external factors such as peer pressure, social conditioning, psychological constraints, and so on. What did you expect me to say?

    Jai Mata Di!

  8. #8

    Re: Approaching Materials?

    Namaste Icy,

    You have answered your own question- yet one thing remains:
    regardless of intention or preparation, each totality of circumstance must be met "as it is": no more, no less. If one pauses to take out the paintbrush to adjust, then one is lost.

    With your predilection for cutting knots, you will be fine

    JAI MATA DI
    || जय माता की ||

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    Re: Approaching Materials?

    Quote Originally Posted by JaiMaaDurga View Post
    Namaste Icy,

    You have answered your own question- yet one thing remains:
    regardless of intention or preparation, each totality of circumstance must be met "as it is": no more, no less. If one pauses to take out the paintbrush to adjust, then one is lost.

    With your predilection for cutting knots, you will be fine

    JAI MATA DI
    Namaste,
    A very apt answer. I shall continue going with the flow to the best of my ability; but I remain unsatiated. I suppose only a guru could carve out more concrete guidelines.
    Either way I am still interested to know of other members opinion.

  10. #10

    Re: Approaching Materials?

    Namaste,

    Quote Originally Posted by IcyCosmic View Post
    I often wonder about the correct way of approaching materials in a modern context (i.e. current time cycle, the grihasta path, surrounded by people whose lives are largely based on accumulation, maintenance and showcasing of materials - and also the existing economic and social conditioning).
    OK.
    Keynote: "approaching materials" in contrast to "dissociation from materials".

    I am aware of scriptural reference/philosophy about mastering desire and the effect of materials [good and bad], and therefore I do not ask for any replies centering on those principles. I seek practical answers on how YOU personally deal with approaching materials, and what you do in various situations where you are required to indulge in materials, interact with materials, and so on.
    My approach is typically to get max out of the material in the min time. And then use that "yield" to later create "more material" than was present earlier. That is, observe, learn, extract, reapply, expand. In the word "Prithvi", prith means "expand". So that is a given (the mandate to expansion); the rest is purushartha.

    Again I know I am susceptible to replies along the lines of [stop creating a duality between interaction with materials and correct spiritual conduct, perhaps karma yoga reccomendations, and various other manifestations of beautiful hindu philosophy]. As mentioned prior; in this particular thread I would only be interested in such philosophy if it is attached with a practical example or your personal experience.
    By spiritual conduct, 'course, you mean the steps: observe, learn and extract. But that leaves out: to reapply and to expand. Larger the base is, the greater the scope for reaching out even higher (Sri Aravind's words). In terms of the individual (when does "moksha" happen?), and also in terms of the contribution towards the progress of society.
    For example, at personal level, at homes and such, the material we use is solely for our own advancement (spiritual in the end), and the material that we use at workspace is meant for the advancement of society at large - even there the progress is ultimately of consciousness even though achieved by the "expansion of the possibilities of the material". If one understands these two, he will not waste his time.
    The reason? Currently I want to understand this issue from a simple micro level, with practical solutions for the short-term. I am already on my way of attempting to resonate with and follow higher philosophy with discipline. That takes time. Who knows when it will click, or when I'll start advancing with more speed. It is working beautifully but in the meantime I need to sharpen other tools in my arsenal to fend off ''down-moments'' or moments of ''confusion/delusion'' with accuracy. I hope that makes sense.
    If we are only into observe, learn and extract, and don't think/ know about reapply and expand, then basically we are waiting for our next births when we will be getting "better (expanded) personalities" as a result of the past karma.

    The whole 9th mandala of the RgVeda talks about the flow of Immortality - of Soma - which is from remotest of the realms to finally ending in the material; result? Expansion, Amaratva.

    It is currently very interesting for me, As a young man; increasingly the paradigms that present themselves in daily life baffle me. Should I feel guilty if I have more than the next person even if I'm trying my best to help? Should I strive for a bigger house, a good car, or to surround myself with materials that create comfort for my family? Even if I'm detached from them all? If I decide to pursue these am I wrong?
    The bank balance is one of the indicators (not the only ones though) of the amount of "extraction" that has been done by the individual. So instead of feeling sorry or embarrassed, one should be proud of his accomplishment, and again try to "reapply" the "extraction" to get even more "expanded" results.
    So giving alms to a beggar may be thought of as flimsy by someone who knows that his work is doing a better job at alleviating in a more systematic manner the poverty of the beggar (though not directly visible).

    The above situations are particularly complex because I have my own unorthodox opinion on how the economic system has been manipulated through a false imposition of scarcity over the years. If you're interested in knowing about my opinion on that you can read it here:
    http://econimind.com/how-real-is-scarcity/
    These are very nicely put thoughts, and certainly has the hallmarks of a Hindu. Some issues raised there are very fundamental. For many big industrialists (heirs of rich parents, mainly) they have no idea, neither talent, about how to invest their money. So in their case their bank balances are not accumulated purushartha but only a way to control poor humans. So they end up trying extract more from the material (and also poor beings) with the aim in mind to not give anything away. But this is not how humanity progresses, so the stupid in the end end up losing all their money to intelligent people. Some other rich people are smarter: they use their money as investment in intelligent people's ideas (inventions, patents, etc); even under this model Prithvi expands.
    The problem before a civilised society is to reduce waste of time in letting stupid rich people survive for longer.
    If my son says dad we should get a bigger house! Just for comfort purposes, should I teach him that this is incorrect or support him? If my wife asks for a level of material comfort beyond what I feel necessary, then what?
    The present house is the father's purushartha, not of son's. Let him see that, and also your future vision wherein you intend to "expand" it further in what way. Of course if you continue to be successful, you will end up being a king, and the world will also rejoice with you because it is Dharmically (eternally) done. On the question of wife, I guess she needs to be an equal partner in the venture.
    Having a phenomenal interest in business, how do I accumulate money in a dharmic manner, how do I stay detached from it? How do I completely avoid chances of dilution into incorrect thought patterns?
    Apart from said earlier, the point is to compete with the rest - apply yourself, use your "extraction" - your vision your body your acquired powers to the best - make a dash.

    These are all just example questions. I know that desires are never-ending and that there is no end to this madness or these questions.
    I can answer these questions when it comes to the bigger picture, which is what we largely deal with here, I want to understand this on a more immediate level. How do you approach materials?
    Beyond this, as you have correctly said, requires the personal touch of a Guru. But I never had any, and yo, I'm kinda okay..

    KT
    Things to remember:

    1. Life = yajña
    2. Depth of Āstika knowledge is directly proportional
    to the richness of Sanskrit it is written in
    3. Āstika = Bhārata ("east") / Ārya ("west")
    4. Varṇa = tripartite division of Vedic polity
    5. r = c. x²
    where,
    r = realisation
    constant c = intelligence
    variable x = bhakti

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