This article is shared by SP Sharma
In certain circumstances I happened to take certain vows, which later proved essential requirements for advancement in spirituality. The following situations were created in my personal life for this reason.
Between the age of 20 and 24 I was always in debt for various reasons as I was the only one earning a living in a family of four persons. The last case was when I took a loan of Rs. 500 from a friend on the occasion of my marriage in May 1969. After my marriage I got a regular job of Rs. 250 a month out of which I could pay only Rs. 50 a month to my friend. But he wanted the whole amount in just 2 installments of Rs. 250 each, which was not possible for me. He made me change my mind to the extent that I took a vow of never taking a loan again, and I prayed to God to support me in this endeavour. Thereafter for more than 2 months I did double duty and earned more than double pay. Thus, I was able to clear my debt. Naturally, thereafter I managed economically and adopted a wise saying – ‘simple living and high thinking’. It helped me in limiting my luxuries to the bare minimum.
My second vow is related to adopting non-physical love, say platonic love. In my teens I considered that physical love is allowed only between married partners. A married man (and a woman likewise) with limited sex demand is considered a celibate. God saved me by showing examples of unmarried ones who earned wrath from society for their illegal physical relations. For this reason wise people have advised not to remain in a lonely place even with close relatives of the opposite sex.
In 1964 prices of foodgrains skyrocketed more than double. I took a vow to avoid dinner at home. But it could not be followed strictly so I reduced the quantity of food in both meals, keeping it just sufficient for my sustenance. Thereafter also, I followed a necessary diet as I was not going to be a body-builder. In the Indian Yoga system one should eat only for sustenance of ones body and to be able to perform ones duties.
In 1957, during my childhood, my elderly neighbour gave me some money to buy postcards for him. That was the time when an Indian Rupee containing 64 paise was made to contain 100 paise (a changeover to the decimal system). Because of that conversion, with the given amount 25 postcards could be purchased in the new system. However, according to the old system one would have gotten only 24 postcards and I did so, saving 3 new paise, which I spent on chocolate for myself. Back home, I handed over 24 cards but the neighbour expected 25 cards. He became angry and wanted to go to the post office and question the concerned person there. Sensing the awkward situation I requested him not to go there, promising that I would manage it. Then I asked my mother to give me 3 paise. I bought one more card and handed it over to the neighbour. I had to take a vow not to indulge in such cunning. It shrinks our heart and puts our mind in a dreaded situation.
Some more similar events made me take certain vows, which helped me in attaining peace of mind, for my own well-being. Unless there is peace of mind one cannot progress in spirituality.
SP Sharma, India