The fourth principle to practice, is non-indulgence. Life is meant for enjoyment, but sometimes in the process of enjoyment, we lose ourselves. We become controlled by the objects of pleasure. Let me retain my control and freedom whenever I am enjoying things. There is a statement which says, ‘May you eat food; let food not eat you. May you drink something, let not that drink you.’ Sometimes when I am at a dining table and the food is delicious, food starts eating me. I know what my stomach can handle, but sometimes I lose control. I go in for a second helping, a third helping, a fourth helping and so on. In the process I become controlled by food.
We also get addicted to pleasure. Everything is there to be enjoyed, but the enjoyment becomes a blessing only if we can retain our freedom and not lose it in the process of enjoyment. For many years I never drank tea. When I started working in a factory, I saw that many others were sitting and enjoying drinking tea. To be with them, I also started drinking tea — one cup in the morning, one cup in the afternoon, and one cup whenever somebody visited me, and so on. Soon I was drinking 5 to 6 cups of tea a day. One morning when I did not get my cup of tea at the usual time, I found that I had a severe headache. I had a stomach upset and threw up. I realized that I had become addicted to tea. No more was I drinking the tea; it was drinking me! Similarly, when I start smoking, the cigarette soon starts smoking me. When I cannot do without something, it means that I am controlled by it; that I have lost my freedom to it. So when we enjoy the object, let us retain our freedom and our control by not getting addicted to the object. I do what is conducive to my well-being, in moderation, and in keeping with a certain discipline. I thus maintain my freedom. This is freedom from indulgence.