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Non-Possession Is Really A Part Of The Principle Of Non-Stealing

The principle of non-possession is really a part of the principle of non-stealing. Just as one must not receive, so also one must not possess anything that one does not really need. It would be a breach of this principle to possess unnecessary foodstuffs, clothing or furniture. For example, one must not keep a chair that one can do without. In observing this principle one is led to a progressive simplification of one’s own life.

Non-observance of this principle leads to inequality in society. The rich have a superfluous store of things which they do not need, while millions starve to death for want of those very things that are neglected and wasted by the rich. No one would be in want if each retained only that which he genuinely needs, and all would live in contentment.

From the point of view of pure Truth, the body too is a possession. We thus arrive at the ideal of total renunciation and learn to use the body for the purpose of service. So service becomes the stuff of life. We eat and drink and even sleep for the sake of service alone. Such an attitude of mind brings about real happiness and peace in society.

Peace requires self-purification and self-purification requires ethical discipline.