Om Sweet Om

Om Sweet Om

In the Water, Not of It


“Black Friday” — the day after
Thanksgiving, which officially kicks-off the Christmas shopping season
— doesn’t always bring out the best in human
beings. Adults start to behave like unruly children, shoving and fighting one another over that last flat screen TV or designer coat. At best its embarrassing; at worst, it can be deadly. Last year, a 34-year-old Walmart
employee was trampled to death after frenzied shoppers literally busted down the front doors of the store. But it didn’t end there. Police officers and EMTs who arrived to
perform CPR on the employee were stepped on and injured; even a
pregnant woman was trampled on.


What’s going on here? What is impelling this grotesque Darwinian push-or-be-pushed survival of the fittest at its ugliest?

The all-consuming quest for more and more stuff.

I’m as much of a shopper as the next guy
(probably more so, in fact). And I hardly lead the spartan lifestyle of
a cave-swelling monk; I have my fair share of possessions, and my own
struggles with being attached to them.

Still, Black Friday may be a good a time to sit back and to take stock of how much we’re possessed by our possessions.


Some Hindu wisdom to help put things in perspective:


not where you live or how much you possess; rather, it is how you live
and how much you are being possessed by your possessions. You can have
many things as long as you don’t get possessed. The minute you allow
them to possess you, you are doomed. A boat’s duty is to stay in the
water and carry people from one shore to the other shore. To do its
job, the boat must be in the water, but the minute the water is in the
boat, you sink. A multimillionaire may have numerous possessions but
may not be attached to them, while a sadhu may be attached to his own water pot. It is not the thing in itself that binds us, it is our attachment to things.

God bless you. OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.”

Sri Swami Satchidananda

  • Diana Spencer

    Wonderful blog & so true! Thanks for the inspiring words from Sri Swamiji. A further reminder and inspiration of much needed truth, especially during the holiday season and with all the shopping vibes in one’s face all over the place!

  • Your Name

    We can protect our health by avoiding over crowded places.There’s no place like home.

  • Anan E. Maus

    Thanks for the blog. Fun, uplifting and really conveying a very spiritual message through a caring and lighthearted spirit! Wonderful!
    I particularly like the funny cartoon.
    Yes, the mad rush is always pretty mad.
    I am not a fan of materialism or consumerism. However, one thing I would say is that spending time buying gifts for your loved ones is a reasonably innocent pursuit. I can think of a whole host of things that are far, far worse. So, in that sense, it is not so bad.
    Of course, if people get overly attached to possessions and value them more than people…it is a real horror show. So, of course, we have to maintain some level of renunciation and detachment from the material world.
    And, if we do, we can enter into these mundane activities with joy. And further, we can transform them and utilize them to good ends. Making a child happy with a little toy that they love doesn’t have to be a surrender to the material world, it can simply be an act of love.
    The material world is just a palette for us to paint our world as we choose. We can buy things to share with others and help create a loving community. There is nothing wrong with that. It is only the very rare individual who has the near superhuman ability to run off to a cave and spend their entire life in meditation. Most of us would go insane after a few months.
    Like it is said, “everything in moderation, including moderation.”
    There is a time to be spiritually very disciplined and austere. And there is a time to come down from the height of the tree and just share in the simple human experiences that become the field of spiritual love for others.

  • The Barking Unicorn, Denver, CO

    “Hold your hand fully open and perfectly still. A bird will alight to sing and enchant you. Begin to curl your fingers and the bird will fly away.
    “Care about good things with all your Heart, but do not try to possess them. Relish the wonders that come in every instant but do not Desire to keep them, because you cannot.”

  • Blue Mojito

    Mobarak Ho! As you might read from my name, I am lost at sea. What does Hindu scholarship and doctrine dicuss about the use of iconography for the everyday American? When I see motion picture and videos of India, I see many dance scenes, beautiful faces, and picturesque scenery. Can one get stuck in a music video motion picture and let the boat overflow with water. I need advice on how a Hindu society in India pulls this off and what I can do about the bombardment of hoochie goddesses and violent chauvanistic devis???

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