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Divinity Is The Most Important Factor In Work

Divinity is the most important factor in work. Being conscious of it calls for spiritual discipline. That discipline is not something reserved for the evening of one’s life. The earlier one makes it a part of life, the better for one’s inner growth. Sri Ramakrishna taught his devotees, ‘Do your duty with one hand and with the other hold to God. After the duty is over, you will hold to God with both hands.’ Work becomes a spiritual discipline if divine factor is not lost sight of.

In our prayers to God we ask for many things not knowing whether they will really benefit us. We seek what is pleasant (preyas) instead of what is beneficial (shreyas). We might foolishly ask for a wrong boon and, well, it might be granted too. Says Holy Mother, ‘How little intelligence a man possesses! He may want one thing, but asks for another. He starts to mould an image of Shiva and often ends by making the likeness of a monkey! It is therefore best to surrender all desires at the feet of God. Let Him do whatever is best for us.’ This is an echo of a prayer from the Mahanarayana Upanishad: ‘Yadbhadrao tanma asuva; Bring to me what is beneficial.’

This precious surrender to the Divine is the most important spiritual aspect.

Taking divine into account does not imply or justify lack of effort, sloth or slovenliness. A true sense of surrender is possible only when one has fully exhausted one’s physical and mental resources. Sri Ramakrishna illustrates this with the parable of a bird on the mast of a moving ship that flew in all the four directions in search of land and finally settled on the mast of the ship, finding no sign of land anywhere. A worker who is conscious of daiva tries to be sattvic, free from attachment and egotism. He is endowed with fortitude, enthusiasm for work and even-mindedness — attributes of a sattvic worker described in the Gita.

Work done in this spirit is meant to free man from the anxiety and tension concomitant with attachment to the result of action.

Repeatedly offering to God one’s own body and mind and the fruits of work leads to purification of mind, by freeing the buddhi from the hold of desires. This mental purification is basic to any meaningful spiritual endeavour. God happily accepts whatever we offer Him as long as it is laced with purity and devotion: ‘Whoever offers Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water — I accept that devoted offering of the pure in heart.’

Sri Krishna defines yoga as equanimity. (Bhagavad Gita 2.48) And equanimity signifies viewing alike the dualities of life: pleasure and pain, gain and loss, victory and defeat. (Bhagavad Gita 2.38) A mind that depends on God for the outcome of work is free from anxiety and better equipped to brave the vicissitudes of life.