A one man enterprise: 75 year old Sayaji Rao a lean and sinewy man is a regular feature in our society. Always attired in a simple dress sporting a traditional Gandhi cap he goes around different societies on his bicycle. His job is to sharpen household knives, tools and garden implements with a grinding wheel mounted firmly One man eterprise close-upon his trusted bicycle. The One man enterprisecharges are meagre and customers never ever need to haggle as house wives know him to be a principled and honest man. Sayaji earns just enough for his daily needs and maybe a little more.

I once asked him why doesn’t he retire and live with his sons. He replied that till he has strength in his limbs he will continue to work as that’s what keeps him healthy – no medicines no hospitals. He sleeps well and is always content with his lot.

‘To labour is to pray’ ~ Motto of the Benedictines

This one man enterprise makes us believe that a man can lead a life in peace and harmony with few wants. Yet we have scores of examples of great companies going bankrupt due to their CEO’s becoming victims of greed and avarice and were even put behind bars. Not only were these top executives shamed but thousands of their employees became jobless overnight and their innocent families suffered too.

‘There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed’ ~ Mahatma Gandhi

A lovely comment from a guest is reproduced as a postscript:

I had an ‘encounter’ with Sayaji today as I needed to have some knives sharpened.
I watched him work on his wheel, fitted on his cycle. What dedication & expertise.
A simple soul with a profound message for humanity. RLS

Thanks Roshan 🙂


About Dilip

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are music and growing culinary herbs. Love to play golf and do yoga regularly. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

41 responses »

  1. Shanti Baku says:

    A wonderful example ♡


  2. Alisha Vishwakarma says:

    Amazing story and strong lesson……Absolutely agree with the message.


  3. Sometimes I think simple soul means real soul. Thanks for thoughtful post.


  4. Dear Sir

    It is an amazing post and has a great lesson behind this post :
    – Always honest towards your work
    – Never lose hope in bad times
    – Think Positive Do Positive
    – Job Satisfaction
    – Job Expertise
    – Be Strong (mentally)

    Simply Amazing and good example of HONESTY.



  5. renu says:

    I truely respect only such people who know how to live in dignity…


  6. Celeste says:

    Thank you for this post!


  7. Patty B says:

    An inspiring story.


  8. Lovely post and totally agree about how a man can life a content life with a few wants and needs.


  9. Madhu says:

    A remarkable man worthy of our respect! But such people are increasingly relics from a time that was more principled and when there was dignity in labour Dilip. Today every single person wants to get rich quick without expending any energy!! Globalisation and excessive exposure to media has given us that much.


    • Dilip says:

      True very true Madhu such people are indeed rare. But if we do come across them they are easily identifiable – only if we ourselves are in a state of mindfulness. Isn’t it?
      Kind regards 🙂


  10. shreejacob says:

    Lovely post Dilip…and very true. A lot of times our greed can come from a void we need to fill…if we only realized that within us is the key that would fill that void which we look so hard on the outside to fill!


  11. suhas says:

    The person has been a familiar figure in & around S V. But I must compliment you on your observation and for picking up a dedicated, honest Karma Yogi.

    I am reminded of a saying,” Honour & shame from no occasion rise;
    Act well thy part, there all the honour lies”


  12. K Sriram says:

    Dear Sir,

    I guess it may be classic chicken and egg, but i think it is his contentment that leads to him being honest with everything he does and his approach to his work is just reflective of his inner contentment…

    the idea is that the motives are what drive our behavior that issue forth as action / work etc and hence motives are the ‘prime movers’ of the way we live… So being rooted in contentment as the motive every one of us can lead simple lives and be better contributors to society …. This one man enterprise is not contributing through its knife sharpening services, but by just being around He is inspiring every person who comes in contact with him, which is the real service he is providing!

    Why do we do what we do? Why do we have preferences of certain things over others? Why we are the who we are?

    Westerners have woken up to the why finally – for if you look at western literature on self development they are replete with HOW & WHAT – How to do this, how to be successful in 10 days, or What is success or such…Simon Sinek is one voice from the west who is evangelizing the Why – http://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action.html
    he has also started the Why university…

    Here again they fall short … it is not the Why that drives action, it is the Who behind the Why… Hence the primary question (the fountainhead of all our motives & actions) is the classic ‘Who am I’ ! The answer to this question is what drives the one man enterprise as much as the president of united states….!

    Sayaji Rao’s answer perhaps is – I am the permanence – and hence there is contentment and so his way of life….

    Our Masters through various experiments found that we could get to the Who from either direction – directly starting at WHO AM I or starting from the exterior outpost of what will make me happy, how will i make myself happy, why i need to be happy & finally to the who – and hence prescribed codes of living – simplicity; no hankering after stuff; reducing wants & desires; being satisfied with what is; feeling blessed with what is; etc.. so that this external hankering will stop leading to inner contentment & joy!…

    Thanks to Sayajis of the world we KNOW that the science of living as propounded by our masters is not utopian but a practical reality and makes us feel embarrassed that a simple person without the so called ‘resources’ that we command, can live so blissfully, what is our excuse to NOT live like him?


    PS – great to note that your perseverance has paid; so looking forward to The BLOG!!


    • Dilip says:

      Ah ha Sriram that’s a wonderful response this guy as Suhas (above) puts it is a “Karm Yogi”. Watching him work and listening to him answering my questions was a revelation. It kept me thinking what was so different and striking about him?

      Yes this mans demeanor and behavior was that of a man free of ego.

      BTW my blog yeah I finally got it back 🙂



  13. i Know so many who have upon retirement lost their health and ability to be more mobile as they loose interest with the world… Since my Husband has retired, He says he now wonders how he found time to go to work, He is so busy..
    A wonderful story.. Many thanks for sharing..
    have a wonderful Week


  14. janineyork says:

    What a wonderful story and lesson. I totally agree with the message. Greed is destroying the earth and the souls that inhabit it. If people would search to multiply what is inside their hearts and not their bank accounts what a different world we would live in.


    • dilipnaidu says:

      Yes this story of an ordinary man is a living example of how the removal of greed and wants can make us content. And yes I agree it is always good to look for love and within our heart rather than worry about our bank account.

      Thank you 🙂


  15. I had an encounter with Sayaji today as I needed some knives sharpened.
    I watched him work on his wheel, fitted on his cycle. What dedication & experties.
    A simple soul with a profound message for humanity. RLS


  16. ladyfi says:

    What a lovely story of a truly content man.


  17. Binky says:

    Unfortunately in our modern society, no one ever seems to be satisfied with what they have anymore. They always want more. More justice, peace, contentment, and equality are things we need more of. Most of us do not need more stuff.


  18. seeker says:

    I agree with the Benedictines. I incorporate play with work. It’s much easier to work when I am playing.


  19. I agree completely with your title, Dilip, and this man is wise in his choice.
    Thank you for this beautiful post!


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