“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” observed the genius & greatest
painters of all time, Leonardo DaVinci.
“We, who have so much, must do more to help those in need. And most of all,
we must live simply, so that others may simply live,” noted the American
actor and environmentalist, Edward Begley Jr. Mahatma Gandhi put it even
more simply when he instructed his countrymen thus: “Live simply so that
others may simply live.”
All over the place, we observe people saying and doing things in a
complicated way. The German-born poet, Charles Bukowski calls this the work
of the intellect. He says, “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard
way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” Charles Mingus, the
American jazz musician, composer and civil rights activist, put this
slightly differently when he said, “Making the simple complicated is
commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple – that’s
Bhagvad Gita, termed and accepted as the king of education, the most
secret of all secrets – by common men & philosophers world-wide – also
discusses this attribute at more than a couple of places. It lists
simplicity as a divine quality (in Verse 16.1) and a knowledge item (in
Verse 13.8). But, what is this simplicity? And, how should one go about
cultivating this sophisticated of all qualities?
Discussing knowledge (in Verse 13.8), divine qualities (in Verse 16.1) and
austerity of the mind (in Verse 17.16), the same Bhagavad gita offers an
answer to these questions. Accordingly, simplicity (or ‘aarjavam’ in
sanskrit) means – without diplomacy – one should be so straightforward that
he can disclose the truth even to an enemy. To cultivate this quality, it
recommends (in Verse 17.16) that the mind be devoid of duplicity (called
‘saumyatvam’ in sanskrit). And this, it says, is possible only when we
think of the welfare of all.
So, the secret is to keep the mind free from duplicity, placing others’
interests ahead of self. Experience and conditions come and go,
complications arise and fall away, but the simple man alone is loved and
remembered in the long run!