The Duty Bound Are Uplifted


http://www.deccanherald.com/content/609391/duty-bound-uplifted.html

It is not what we do, but how we do it that makes all the difference. Perhaps, this is the reason why, we are often counseled to work with passion, dedication and discipline if we hope to achieve success. This concept is also expounded as Karma Yoga by Lord Krishna in the Bhagvad Gita. Sage Dhaumya reiterates this tenet by narrating a story to the exiled Pandavas in the Mahabharata.

Once, Sage Kaushika sought alms of a housewife. She happened to be serving lunch to her husband. She requested the holy man to wait till she completed her job. The enraged Kaushika glared at her. The lady of the house told him very calmly that she was not the crane which was burnt down by the sage’s ire. Kaushika was taken aback. The lady had just referred to the incident that had happened on his way to her doorstep. A crane had relieved itself on the sage. It was burnt down to ashes in a moment when the sage had glowered at it. The sage who was proud of his yogic power could not figure out how the lady came to know what had transpired. When he could not contain his curiosity any longer he blurted out his question. The lady told him to meet the butcher Dharmavyadha to clear his doubt.

More surprise awaited Kaushika, when the butcher enquired whether the former had been sent by the lady especially when the sage could not figure out any medium of communication. The sage spelled out his confusion. The butcher gave him a long look, asked the sage to wait and slipped inside his shop. Apparently, he had to attend to the needs of his elderly parents. He emerged after a while and then told the sage that he was committed towards his duty just as the lady was committed towards her husband. The sincerity of purpose with which each of them carried out their duties bestowed them with a superior spiritual power. This in turn helped them to anticipate and understand the events that take place in and around their lives.

Kaushika was enlightened with a new dimension of knowledge. He realised the value of dignity of labour. He learned that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. He had indeed stumbled on a universal truth that being duty conscious can uplift our spirituality quotient.

Take a Minute to Smile and Say ThankYou


http://www.deccanherald.com/content/603953/take-minute-smile-say-thank.html

Stop before you rush off

Picture these episodes: The traditional tamboolam or the return gift is handed over to the guest when they leave a wedding. The material aspect of the conclusion is carried out, but how many hosts and guests actually tarry to have a moment’s conversation to express their feelings? The scenario is no different at parties and work lunches.

Considering the fact that so much of thought and effort has gone into the planning of these events, will it not be a graceful gesture to make eye contact and give a warm hug or a pat on the back before departing?

Always in a hurry

Passengers on a long air, road or rail journey end up getting fairly well-acquainted by the time they reach their destination. They break bread together and share space along with their opinions on random subjects. Sometimes they even confide their dreams and fears to the stranger who was hitherto unknown, but very few stop to exchange contact details or even say their goodbyes. Their haste to get off the vehicle and scoot off surpasses the courtesy that had been displayed thus long.

Children, who begin their day at the school in an organised assembly and form lines even when walking down the corridors during school hours, scamper out of school gates waving their hands in the air, not bidding adieu to anyone in particular.

How many of us wait for the credits to roll down completely before walking out of theatres? Don’t practitioners of yoga start rolling their mats even as the final instructions are being given by the coach?

One can count the number of students and patients who go back to thank their mentors and doctors who helped them out in the hour of need after their need is fulfilled.

Focus on endings as well

All these instances point out to one factor. It shows our sheer lack of knack in tying up loose ends. We Indians attach a lot of importance to beginnings. We identify auspicious days, hours and even moments to begin our novel enterprises. It is not just the weddings, functions, worship and festivities.

Most of us are very conscious about making a good beginning even for our regular day-to-day activities like travelling, filling forms, applying for jobs or examinations, going for a medical check-up, buying jewellery or furniture among other things.

A lot of effort goes into planning and executing our projects, be it a simple menu of home-cooked food, or organising a birthday party, presenting a paper at a seminar or attending a wedding.

How many times have we not stood patiently in queues to get what we want, sat in the corridors of hospitals, educational institutions and government offices to meet the person concerned to sort out our issues?

Then there are times when we wait for hours on the end to board a flight, wait for a rock concert to begin or peer through a telescope to see a rare alignment of planets. These instances highlight the fact that we are ready to give our best shot backed by patience, determination and rare endurance.

We genuinely believe that well begun is half done, therefore all the fuss about commencing activities with a prayer on our lips or a positive frame of mind is deemed warranted.
Nevertheless what fazes a third party onlooker is that we in the sub-continent fail in the art of giving a decent conclusion to our activities.

Be courteous

Of course, each one of us may have a valid excuse for doing what we do, the way we do it. Though there can be umpteen number of reasons to wind up unceremoniously, it is definitely not the done thing.

Is it really asking for too much when a person is required to spend a moment expressing his or her heartfelt thanks when he or she is the receiver? Does it hurt to hang on for a moment and smile or nod to show that we have arrived at the finish line of the meeting?
Will we not appreciate an attitude of gratitude or at least acknowledgement when we have worked hard on a venture?

A kind word goes a long way

The human psyche is very sensitive. Even the social media is aware of this dimension of human psychology. Perhaps that is the reason they have come up with variations of ‘like’ buttons which help us respond favourably and easily.

Even the bitterest soul will warm up towards a person who recognises his or hercontribution. Such being the case, a little appreciation or constructive criticism can go a long way in inspiring better endeavours. One can land fresh projects and customers can weave new relationships, navigate learning curves or very simply experience the satisfaction of a job well done when matters are given a fine and a conscious finish.

Those of us who have embraced the habit of drawing a shoddy closure to the various things must understand that a warm and courteous conclusion is actually a precursor to a new beginning.

Need of a Conscience Keeper Like Valmiki to Rama


http://www.deccanherald.com/content/422749/need-conscience-keeper-like-valmiki.html

Unconditional love is supreme.

It is the ability to love without being judgmental.The basis of this concept lies in the fact that no one is perfect; hence there is really no point in nitpicking. Unfair criticism can only lead to a lot of unpleasantness and sometimes bad blood making our lives onerous.

This certainly does not mean that we must lose our sense of discretion and adopt the love me, love my dog policy. We must garner enough moral courage and cultivate the ability play the conscience keeper of our loved ones.

Valmiki, the contemporary of the great king Rama, composed the Ramayana at the behest of Narada.

He was completely in awe of the righteous character of the principled king who steadfastly trod on the path of truth despite all odds. It was around this time he came across the abandoned pregnant wife of his hero. Despite being unattached at the personal level, he took the responsibility of Sita.

He offered her consolation, asylum and paternal care in his hermitage till she delivered her sons.

He took the initiative to bring up the royal scions of the Raghu clan.

In other words he was their much required friend, philosopher and guide. As they grew up he helped them excel in academics, martial arts and life skills. In addition he taught them to sing his magnum opus – The Ramayana, in the most scintillating manner.

He took care not to reveal that they were the off springs of the estranged royal couple.

When the king of Ayodhya announced the Ashwamedha Yagna, he made it a point to send the young sons of Rama to Ayodhya and sing the Ramayana to the public.

He was very sure that, sooner or later, the talent and the content of the recital by the twins would reach the ears of Rama and they would be summoned to perform in his royal presence.

Valmiki considered and projected Rama as a paragon of virtues and an epitome of all that is good and great.

Yet the sage did not deter from holding a mirror to his hero Rama and sensitise him to the pathos created after the aftermath of his righteous action of abandoning Sita in order to quell the loose talk triggered by a washer man in Ayodhya.  By doing so, he became instrumental in putting the spotlight on Rama’s undying love for Sita and reuniting the king with his sons over a course of events.