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Simplicity In Hindu Religion – Meaning – Significance

Sri Shankara explains arjava as simplicity (saralata) or the absence of crookedness. True simplicity entails tallying one’s words with one’s thought. Simplicity thus goes much deeper than our dress or habits. Perfect alignment in thought, word and deed constitute true simplicity.

Sant Dnyaneshwar elaborates on arjava a little more. In his celebrated commentary on the Gita, called Jnaneshwari, he gives the following meanings for arjava:

Favouring all equally without likes or dislikes: As a corollary, this amounts to loving all equally.

Not making any distinction of ‘mine’ or ‘of others’: Lack of simplicity arises primarily from selfishness and a feeling of ‘I’ and ‘mine’ that characterize human life. How can we get rid of our ‘I’ and ‘mine’? Certainly it is not easy to give up this sense of ‘unripe ego’ all of a sudden.

An upright mental attitude: According to Jnaneshwar, an upright person does not bear grudge against anyone. His mental attitude is straight like the sweep of the wind and he is free from desire and doubt. He does not hold his mind on a leash, nor does he leave it absolutely free. An aspirant, however, needs to keep his mind on a leash for a long time, till it is sufficiently trained and purified and begins to act as his true friend.

A disciplined sensory system: His sense organs are pure and free from deceit. The undisciplined mind and the senses act as our enemy and deceive us into sense pleasure, making us believe as if that is the goal of life. With his senses controlled, a man of Knowledge does not let his senses deceive him. For Arjuna Sri Krishna prescribed sense control as the preliminary discipline to get rid of desires.