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Always Remember God When Working

Sri Krishna advised Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita to ‘Remember Me and fight.’ Sri Ramakrishna illustrated this with the example of a tortoise that moves about in water but has its thoughts on the bank, where her eggs are lying. A second example he gave was that of a man with toothache. Though busy with activities, his mind always dwells on the pain. In practical terms this means working with our whole being, conscious of a reality transcending our body and mind, and not letting the mind flit from thought to thought during work. Swami Vivekananda calls this ‘self-conscious activity’ and recommends it for rousing the hidden powers of the Self.

God is the Prime-mover of all actions and He Himself unceasingly works without motive. Being of the nature of God in our true Self, selfishly arrogating to ourselves the fruits of actions cannot conduce to the manifestation of the divine powers potential in us. Mentally offering to God the fruits of work is the way to deification of work; it insulates the worker from the good or bad effects of work. ‘Every work is associated with some defect or other even as fire is enveloped by smoke,’ says Bhagavan in the Gita.

The Chandogya Upanishad mentions three important factors to make work effective and strengthening: knowledge, faith and meditative awareness. Daiva can be taken to be the fourth essential to effectivity. We assume that a cause ‘A’ always leads to an effect ‘B’. Mystics tell us that ‘one cause-one effect’ is not true; it is a malobservation. Numerous factors influence the outcome in any situation. Each effect is the product of a multiplicity of causes. It is impossible to locate all of them with our limited intellect. Nor can we determine the resultant of all the causes. Daiva, divinity or, better still, the divine will, is that unknown cause that specifies the final resultant. God’s will is always just, never arbitrary. He knows and therefore allows things to happen according to the  resultant. He never makes a mistake; only in our ignorance we think He is unjust if things do not happen as we wished. Hence wisdom consists in our accepting God’s will unreservedly in all situations.

Source - Prabuddha Bharata December 2004 Editorial (excerpts)