Work Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Well

Every task worth doing is worth doing well. If there is a sense of understanding and involvement in our activities, whatever they may be, the result will be commendable.

The story of how the great epic Mahabharata was written enumerates this idea substantially.

When Veda Vyasa decided to compose Mahabharata, he realised that it would become a very tedious process for him to write out everything by himself. It was likely to obstruct his flow of thought and creativity. So, he decided to have a scribe to take down his verses without any errors. He felt Lord Ganesha would suit his needs perfectly.

Vinayaka heard him out patiently and said he was willing to assist Veda Vyasa by taking down the dictation, provided Vyasa abided by his condition. He specified that the dictation should be continuous without any intermission. The moment the dictation stopped even for a while, Ekadanta would drop the job and go his way. Vyasa understood the calibre of Gajanana. He could not afford to lose a scribe like him. Nevertheless, writing poetry in Sanskrit was no easy task. It had a lot of parameters to be followed. Apart from the story line, the syntax, grammar, Rhetoric (Alankara) and Meter (Chandas), the phonetic innuendos had to be attended to. Though he was a scholar and had mastery over the art of writing poetry, he knew he had to pause every now and then to formulate his ideas coherently.

After analysing the situation, he said he accepted Ganesha’s precondition but Ganesha also should not take down anything without fully understanding the substance of what he wrote. Ganesha accepted the challenge. Soon, the session of dictation began.

Sometimes Vyasa dictated a dozen or so verses in a spree, and his scribe etched out every syllable that came from his lips, without a single error on the palm leaves.

Whenever Vyasa felt that he needed some respite, he composed complicated verses with more than one level of meaning, which set Ganesha thinking. Vyasa made use of this time to work on other verses mentally.

Thus, one of the greatest epics of humankind consisting of tens and thousands of stanzas in a highly elevated manner was composed in this unique manner.

A mundane process like taking down a dictation is transformed into a thought-provoking one which expects concentration and application of mind. So, the next time you happen to be engaging yourself in any activity, invest your best effort and time and notice the qualitative difference in the outcome of work that works.

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