Wednesday, February 18, 2009


While paging through Sunday's The New York Times Magazine, I came across a pictorial spread about Yves St. Laurent's collection of important furniture and decorative and fine art. It will be sold soon at a charity auction, and some designers were asked to comment on the collection - which is expected to fetch nearly $400 million.

Seeing the images - he had so many paintings they were even mounted on doors - made me feel claustrophobic, and I vowed to continue my quest to get rid of stuff.

* * *

Yesterday I called Dreyfus, to tell him that President Obama said "Namaste" at least twice while signing the stimulus plan (Dreyfus said this word so many times, with such vigor and enthusiasm, during the move that he finally got a rather sharp reaction out of me).

Dreyfus told me that Mahatma Gandhi's personal belongings will soon be sold at auction in New York City.

"What possessions?" I asked. "He only had, like, three things."

That's right, said Dreyfus. Turns out they're auctioning off his spectacles, a pocket watch, sandals, a bowl and a plate. All of the items were given as gifts to other people* while he was still alive. The whole lot is expected to fetch £30,000 ($42,000) - and there are many in India who want to bring them back home.

Dreyfus, who is a hoarder like me, concluded the call by saying, "That's the way to go - to have nothing."

He's right.

It's not easy.

But as the Bhagavad-Gita says, What is poison in the beginning becomes nectar in the end.


*According to this website, Gandhi’s earthly possessions could be counted on two hands: His two dinner bowls, wooden fork and spoon, the famous porcelain monkeys, his diary, prayer book, watch, spittoon, letter openers and two pair of sandals.

1 comment:

  1. well, there are more than a few of his possessions in the Gandhi museum in Madurai if it can be believed -- sandals, glasses, books, etc.

    and also the dhoti he wore when he as assassinated, with blood stains.

    one of my favorite places to find peace in crazy Madurai.