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Date Posted: 14:16
Author: ketch - 31 Jul 2001
Subject: Re: Simplicity, Luxury and Attachment
In reply to: Eponymous - 30 Jul 2001 's message, "Simplicity, Luxury and Attachment" on 14:14

The issue of the meaning of attachment and nonattachment is probably best dealt with separately in another thread.

Comparisons with the global average living space are ridiculous as you well know. By such comparisons virtually every American could be said to be living in luxury. It is not realistic to imply that it is possible to live, work and run a worldwide organisation from a space of only 40 sq feet.

The house which Daya Mata allegedly lives in is not simply a home, but a retreat which has to serve also as an office from which Daya Mata can perform her wide ranging duties. She may well need to hold meetings there, and possibly hold receptions in the house. Part of the house is almost certainly given over as a private chapel/meditation room. If having a private chapel is considered a luxury, I have to say that in SRF it certainly is not so. Yogananda recommended that every one of his followers should try if possible to have a separate room set aside for meditation and worship.

Please show us which vows Daya Mata has supposedly broken. Show us the wording of these vows and the spirit in which they were made. No-one here seems to know what those vows were. Your equating simplicity with poverty seems a rather dubious statement of opinion to me.

Please explain how you know what conditions other monastics who have taken the same vows live in. According to this newspaper article nuns acting as servants to Sri Daya Mata and her sister live in the house next door, presumably in similar accomodation. Other monastics live in houses outside the Mount Washington grounds. As I have pointed out even those who live at Mount Washington enjoy facilities such as tennis courts, and expansive well maintained gardens which could be considered as luxuries. Therefore it seems unlikely to me that the monstics vow to renounce all luxury.

Furthermore what constitutes living in luxury would have to be considered in the context of lifestyle rather than just accomodation and facilities available. For example for most people having servants living next door would probably be a luxury, but for someone with a heavy workload, it may be essential to have people available to act as secretary, chauffer, typist etc.

I know of one "guru" who lives in a multi-million dollar home in Malibu, with private jet and yacht. According to reports of former followers he spends his days relaxing by his private swimming pool, and holds regular parties for his rich friends while doing little or nothing for his followers whose money enables him to maintain this lifestyle. I would certainly consider this to be living in luxury at his devotees expense.

If it can be shown that Daya Mata also lives a life of leisure similar to the person mentioned in the paragraph above then I would be inclined to question the way that donations to SRF are being used. However I have not seen any evidence that she does. The only suggestion is that she uses a house which would probably be beyond the means of most people (though quite modest compared to what SRF's could afford if she really wanted to live in luxury). If the volume of her writings is anything to go by she seems to spend her days working quite hard for SRF. As well as her books and magazine articles she replies to many devotees letters personally, and offers counselling to the monastics. She has a huge workload as the head of a worldwide organisation, and seems to play an active role in running the organisation. Given her workload at an age when most people would have retired long ago, even if she lived in a palace she would hardly have time to take advantage of the luxury there. One can certainly live in luxurious surroundings but still follow an austere lifestyle.

BTW, Roman Catholic monks are required to take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

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