The explanation of this Sutra means that, a yogi/yogini see things clearly as they do not accumulate unnecessary material possessions. There is less clutter in their thoughts thus leading them to have a good clarity.
Aparigraha is one of the five ethical principles under ‘Yama’ written in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It simply means leading a life of simplicity, consuming only daily basic necessities instead of being extravagant. Desires are addictive and endless. If we take time to reflect on what we intend to buy, we will know if it is really necessary or not.
When I grew up, my family belonged to a middle class family with inherited landed property with all the income on a monthly basis was enough for food and our education. There was no luxury of buying any things at all. But ironically we were very content and joyful. We did gardening. There were many yielding trees and plants at my home like coconut, guava, lemon, gooseberry, mango, pumpkin, bottle guard, tomatoes, green chillies, moringa, spinach etc. There is a sense of satisfaction with very little things around because they are so valuable. The more choices we have, their value becomes unclear.
Fast-forward to present, even today I lead a very simple life in terms of materialistic possessions. Initially, when I earned my own money, I did purchase a few little things. There has been a desire in childhood days that if I had my own money, I can buy things I wanted. But then soon after the purchase, I regretted because I really did not need them. All the sufferings come with the attachment that we hold whether it is with material possessions or with a person. For now, when I turn around the house, there are only art materials here and there. They are necessary for my profession. If we were to evacuate the place we live in, we should be able to leave without any second thought. The less we own materials, the more free we feel.
That is my living room and also my art studio. There are no cushions and extra furniture, thus easy to clean up the space. Aparigraha not only means getting rid of unwanted possessions, it also means having simple diet and having non-attachment with the people we meet and the outcome of our profession. We feel free when we let go of the end results we would get out of our work. My meal has been very simple throughout my life. Every morning, I either eat idli or ghee dosa for all the 365 days in a year and every afternoon, I have curd rice with some vegetables or pickle. For the dinner it is anything simple like upma, vegetable pulao or tomato rice etc. Weekly one meal, I buy outside from subway to take a break from the kitchen.
I have influenced many of my friends to keep their home simple and buy only necessities. We can preach to others only when we ourselves follow those. Just by consuming less we feel lighter and free of chaos. In my professional field, I used to get attached to my students. Recently, I feel that I have grown in that part too by letting go and going with the flow. All that we know are not permanent in nature. Even the academic knowledge keeps changing time to time.
Currently, there are many aspects that I am aspiring to achieve and pushing myself too hard. I need to differentiate aspirations and greediness to achieve certain goals. I need to relax and let go. Ask myself if they are really what I need to do. Everything falls into its place when we take things easily.