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Importance Of Doing Work with Shraddha

Usually translated as ‘faith’ for want of a better word, shraddha signifies a special mindset. It is a self-propelling force in us that keeps us riveted to the task in hand till its completion. Swami Vivekananda gives an example to clarify the point: What will be the mindset of a thief adjacent to whose room is a room full of gold? He will keep thinking about how to break the separating wall and acquire the gold. He will not rest till he accomplishes the task. The force that eggs him on despite obstacles is what is called shraddha. Some striking implications of shraddha become evident from this example.

First, a man endowed with shraddha has an ideal, which goads him on to action till its attainment and endows him with the strength to overcome all obstacles in the way. The ideal of human life is Self-realization. Swami Vivekananda begins his lectures on karma yoga by saying, ‘The goal of mankind is knowledge. That is the one ideal placed before us by Eastern philosophy. Pleasure is not the goal of man, but knowledge (emphasis added).’ Second, a man with shraddha will not need supervision for his work. Third, quality. He will set his own lofty standard for work and will strain every nerve to accomplish it. Fourth, accountability. Such a worker is more accountable to his higher Self. His accountability to the organization is a matter of course. Fifth, enthusiasm. A worker endowed with shraddha does not let mental restless influence the quality of his work. He is endowed with fortitude and enthusiasm, two important traits of a sattvic worker outlined in the Bhagavad Gita.

Swami Vivekananda never tired of exhorting people to have shraddha, burning faith in themselves, in their real, divine nature: ‘The history of the world is the history of a few men who had faith in themselves. That faith calls out the divinity within. You can do anything. You fail only when you do not strive sufficiently to manifest infinite power.

Source – excerpts from editorial of Prabuddha Bharata September 2004 issue.