Aparigraha – The Art of What is Needed
By Paul Dallaghan
“It is not the receiver who is blessed but rather the giver.” Swami Vivekananda
I have always loved this quote as it highlights a very great truth which if understood can really refine how we develop as individuals and grow within a practice of yoga.
The essence of it is a lack of, or at least a reduction in, selfish behavior. The mental attitude is not one of “what am I going to get, what can I get or I really want that”, but rather no interest to acquire and keep. There is a stronger urge to give and share, use things as needed and be willing to let them go when done.
Also in this statement of Swamiji’s is a reversal of a strong inborn pattern which compels us to hold on to things, to ask for things and to want more things. Just by giving freely, especially of things that are actually of value to us, we unravel a pattern formed over millennia that has held us back from our own development. When you do so, not once but now as a new “habit”, you can literally feel the shift right through your nervous system.
This gets at the heart of “aparigraha”. To break down its literal meaning we find three components; first is “graha” which means to grab or take, second is “pari” which means from all sides and lastly is “a” which negates it adding a “non”. So we come up with a meaning of not taking more than is needed, non-acceptance, non-accumulation; all part of the development of an attitude of detachment or non-dependence.
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