Austerity Liberates
    Published in: The Pioneer
    Category: Spirituality
    Dated: 6/6/2009
This is a story of a boy who was very austere and serious in behaviour. He was born in a remote village, and his parents were poor. Children in his village had to cross a river to go to their school. This boy, who was very keen on getting himself education, would not miss a single day of school. Even in the morning soon season he would swim the river to go to school.

One day the river was in spate but the boy was swimming to cross it to reach school. A boat pulled up next to him and the boatman called out and said, “Why don’t you get in the boat?” The boy replied, “I have no money.” “Come on boy. I sometimes allow beggars free of charges,” said the boatman laughing derisively. This boy ignored him; he had too much self-respect.

After graduating from school, he went to Kashi Vidyapeet for further studies. After that, he spent sometime with a famous society doing social service. Subsequently, he entered politics and was imprisoned several times by the British.

After India became independent, he continued in politics. Ultimately, it he made it to the Union Government. He surprised everyone by resigning his post citing moral responsibility for a railway accident – he was the Railway Minister at that time. But he continued to work hard and finally he became the Prime Minister of the country. In his tenure as the Prime Minister, he was faced with a war with Pakistan. He showed grit and determination and brought the war to a successful conclusion in India’s favour.

As you may have already guessed, the person I have written about is Lal Bahadur Shastri. He died while he was still the Prime Minister of India. He did not leave much personal wealth behind. Nonetheless, his life should serve as a model for upholding moral principle.

We must realize that human life is meant for making spiritual progress, which brings true satisfaction, and is not for indulging in sense pleasures, which are momentary and ephemeral. One can make spiritual progress through austerity. However, austerity requires discipline, determination, patience. One needs to be in state of good mental and physical health to parctise austerity and austerity in turn contributes to good health.

Therefore, let us practise austerity like Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri did; we can reap all kinds of dividends, including liberation, through it.
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