How Much is Enough?

Triumph_T_110_650_cc_1954

 

“You can never have enough” seems to be what everyone thinks nowadays.

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It is a legitimate ambition to covet the latest electronic gadgets, or buy the fastest bikes. It is the ‘in thing’ to wear clothes with international labels, and to go on holidays abroad.

Day in and day out, the models in the advertisements on television  sing and dance and brainwash us into thinking that we are ‘nothing’, if we do not buy the products which they are selling.  And the list of products which we ‘just have to buy’ keeps getting longer and longer.

It has become so very important to buy the products shown in the advertisements. Particularly if one doesn’t want to be labelled as the ‘uncle’ type, or ‘uncool’!

Why shouldn’t we buy them- if we can afford to, that is. And if we can’t- well then, we’ll just have to find a way to afford to!

And that is where the problem starts.

Youngsters who can’t afford these fashionable products are finding ways to obtain money to buy them.

Incidents of youngsters stealing from relatives or neighbours,  take place all too frequently nowadays. There have been cases of people resorting to violence to raise money.

This morning’s newspaper brought the shocking news report about the kidnapping and subsequent killing of a five-year-old boy in Pashan, Pune.

The five-year-old boy — son of a scientist couple working at the DRDO labs in Pashan — was allegedly abducted and later found murdered on Sunday night.

Police have arrested a 19-year-old hotel management student and detained a 15-year-old school boy who hatched the plan for what police described as “quick money”.

Apparently, the 19-year-old wanted money to buy a costly bike, and thought that kidnapping the young boy and then demanding a ransom, would be an easy way of getting it.

The plan went horribly wrong and the boy was killed.

It is difficult not to feel that as a society, we are going terribly wrong somewhere.

Is it really a good thing to want more and more and more?

Perhaps it is time to think less about ‘what’ we want to obtain, and more about ‘how’ we intend to obtain it?

I  remember a Subhaashit which goes as follows-

अकृत्वा परसंतापमगत्वा खलमन्दिरम् |

अनुत्सृज्य सतां वर्त्म, यत्स्वल्पमपि तद्बहु ||

Without causing any pain to others [अकृत्वा परसंतापम्],

without going to any wicked person’s house [अगत्वा खलमन्दिरम्] [with a request/ to beg],

without leaving the path of virtuous persons [अनुत्सृज्य सतां वर्त्म],

even whatever little is obtained [यत्स्वल्पमपि] should be considered ample [तद्बहु].

So perhaps this Subhaashit provides the answer to the question of ‘how much is enough?’

Whatever we can get without causing pain to others is- or perhaps it would be better to say, should be–  enough!

What do you think?

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32 thoughts on “How Much is Enough?”

    1. So true, over-consumption is the norm today. We do not stop to think about those who have to struggle just to obtain the basic necessities of life.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  1. WOrld is becoming a very scary place, One is always worried when kids are out of house or doing something on their own .. GOd knows where we are heading and What is going to be the resolution to all this chaos.. I read it too the news at pune the little boy killed and also how a girl was taken away ..

    Sad sad times we live in

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    1. The kidnapping for ransom, and later killing of the little boy- such a tragedy! Is a bike more valuable than a life? 😦

      I hope we realize before it is too late that so much materialism is destroying our ‘human-ness’.

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      1. I know mam, but destroying is wrong word , it has destroyed already ..

        How are we going ot come back from this I wonder ..

        For the sake of money if kids are doing this , then imagine what the next generation will be capable of doing

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        1. It is certainly a sad situation, but we can still hope. It is up to the young generation itself to take the initiative to improve things.

          And I am sure there are youngsters who will do so. Even here in the ‘blogosphere’ I read blogs written by young people [like yourself] who do not blindly follow the trends, but think for themselves. 🙂

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  2. Times have changed.If parents can afford to provide these goodies to their children ,then there is no issue.If they can’t,they must speak to the children logic.
    What canine sy about those who get carried away by Ads but not by their parents advise?

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    1. Yes, I agree, if parents can afford, then there is no problem.

      The thing is, we, as a society, give so much importance to these material things that youngsters are determined to get them. And they do not care how they get them. 😦

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  3. These are bleak, bad times. True, rampant consumerism is driving many to cut their coats according to others’ clothes, and in many cases, others’ throats. I don’t want to knock open the lid of the stinking cauldron of “haves and have-nots”. Apparently, the length of the ladder is mind-boggling. Yet, one must learn to be content with the bread one gets to eat deservedly.

    These are not the times for the serene Subhaashit quoted by you. “शठे शाठयम समाचरेत ” is the need of the hour.

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    1. Yes, but the problem is to identify the scoundrels.

      Are they the parents/ teachers who do not teach values to children? Are they the corporates- hard-selling their products? Are they the so-called leaders in society from whom youngsters learn that dishonesty & crime do pay?

      I think the mentality of people in society in general must change, for the situation to change for the better. But how to bring that about- that is a difficult undertaking indeed….

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  4. We are living in a market-driven society where the manufacturer rules. In a mindless race, more and more absurd and expensive things are manufactured and a market created by ads that peddle a lifestyle. The gullible fall prey to these and then as you have pointed out, they look for unholy ways to acquire them. It is getting scarier by the day.

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    1. Yes, as you say, the gullible fall prey to this aggressive marketing. And then they turn to crime.

      As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I think that the mentality of people in society has to change, for the situation to change. Our whole outlook has to change. But how can we make that happen? It certainly will not be easy……

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  5. There is no harm in being ambitious or aspiring for better things, but one should work hard for that,no short cuts in life…and yes if one can be satisfied with little, no harm in that, it would rather bring lot of peace and happiness to him.

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    1. Yes, I agree, Renu, one should not seek shortcuts. It’s not a problem if we are ambitious, provided that we are prepared to work to get whatever we want.
      I hope more youngsters realize this.

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  6. Missed this post…

    Yes it is scary.. the parents and the society needs to be blamed. If we as parents succumb to temptations, how can one expect the children to be any different. Our nation sets an example by appointing criminals and sends wrong signal to our youth. Even if you rob it is fine as long as the money washes away the taint. Our advertisements keep enticing youth and they want to get everything by any means. Society shuns those who dont.
    Many say Gandhiji is irrelevant for this age.. but it is this society which needs Gandhiji views evermore. Else we shall see many more join the throng of such youngsters and even they get caught they never repent.

    Loved youe header too.. reminds me of Kerala 🙂

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    1. Yes, parents do have to share some of the blame for the way today’s youngsters think and behave. And a society which gives so much importance to consumerism is to blame too.

      The picture for the header was clicked on a trip to West Bengal. Some parts of WB are very similar to Kerala. 🙂

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  7. That was a very sad case. When such a tragedy strikes we get to know. There must be plenty of cases where lives are ruined chasing unrealistic dreams. The best way is not to be impulsive when it comes to succumbing to desires. Sleeping over desires and dreams, helps us come to a realistic understanding of our needs.

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    1. Yes, not being impulsive is a good way to curb desires. But it is probably difficult for youngsters to understand this!

      Welcome to the blog, and thanks for commenting!

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  8. Hi, A timely post to remind us all, how blind consumerism can destroy all that is good and worthy in our lives.This is happening all over the world. The problem is in our county law enforcement is very lax.
    BTW thanks for the lovely comment on my blog.

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    1. Yes, blind consumerism is changing our lives for the worse. Youngsters are ready to do anything to keep up with their peers, in terms of possessing whatever is trending at the time. 😦

      Welcome to the blog!

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  9. By being scared of ‘moral policing’ we have, in the process, stopped teaching moral values. This is a very costly miss. We have changed the very meaning of freedom and personal liberty. Now privacy has come to mean ‘watching porn by a 14 years old’. As a society, we Indians suffer from an inferiority-complex and we are trying to out-Americanize even Americans. Now only God can save us !

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  10. Not only youngsters, we are all under this spell – the urge to acquire all the latest gadgets. The free gifts of life no more make us happy and we seek it in such items. Money is never sufficient, we are never sated, and contentment remains a mirage.

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    1. Yes, the craze for the ‘latest’ gadgets, etc. is not limited to youngsters. And very often adults spend their hard earned money on these things, instead of on necessities.

      It’s shocking, though, to see the lengths to which youngsters can go to acquire what is in fashion. 😦

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  11. This terrible incident of a child being kidnapped and killed for the sake of a buying a costly bike is shocking!
    And for this to happen in our land of Bharat is tragic!
    Simple living and high thinking was the guideline given by parents to children.
    Parents lived an exemplary life and honesty,dignity and impeccable character were the qualities that mattered.A man was judged by what he was and not by what he had!Today the tables have turned and “to get the good things of life by hook or by crook” has become the norm.
    This way of thinking was alien to our DHARMIC society which believed in doing one’s duty.
    Our Bharatiya Samskriti was one of “living with the minimum” and accommodating everyone and being content-SANTOSHAM.
    Western materialism has completely drained our minds of our ancient wisdom.Our mothers of today have to “show the way” by practicing the virtues of self-control, sacrifice and giving right instruction to children.Once a mother she has to sacrifice her ‘wants’ and put her family and children above everything.
    An Indian mother was the epitome and personification of self-sacrifice and so too fathers and the Gurus!
    That was the reason why we believed Matridevo bhavah,Pitradevo bhavah & Achaaryadevo bhavah!
    With all this modern education and material betterment we are not becoming any better but are losing our humane qualities of honesty,truthfulness and compassion.
    Men,women and youngsters are running berserk with this newly-found ‘immoral’ freedom to get what one wants at any cost.
    We have to reverse this degeneration and nip it now or our society will be doomed.

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    1. ‘Western materialism has completely drained our minds of our ancient wisdom’

      Yes, I agree that we have forgotten the wisdom of our past.

      I don’t think that there is anything wrong in adopting what is beneficial to us from the west. But we should not blindly accept everything from western cultures.

      And while we should discard those harmful customs from our past like sati , there are so many traditions which are beneficial to society. Why discard those too?

      As for freedom- today we tend to forget that freedom comes with responsibilities, too!

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