Enlightenment through work

A young Sannyâsin went to a forest; there he meditated, worshipped, and practiced Yoga for a long time. After years of hard work and practice, he was one day sitting under a tree, when some dry leaves fell upon his head. He looked up and saw a crow and a crane fighting on the top of the tree, which made him very angry. He said, “What! Dare you throw these dry leaves upon my head!” As with these words he angrily glanced at them, a flash of fire went out of his head — such was the Yogi’s power — and burnt the birds to ashes. He was very glad, almost overjoyed at this development of power — he could burn the crow and the crane by a look. After a time he had to go to the town to beg his bread. He went, stood at a door, and said, “Mother, give me food.” A voice came from inside the house, “Wait a little, my son.” The young man thought, “You wretched woman, how dare you make me wait! You do not know my power yet.” While he was thinking thus the voice came again: “Boy, don’t be thinking too much of yourself. Here is neither crow nor crane.” He was astonished; still he had to wait. At last the woman came, and he fell at her feet and said,“Mother, how did you know that?” She said, “My boy, I do not know your Yoga or your practices. I am a common everyday woman. I made you wait because my husband is ill, and I was nursing him. All my life I have struggled to do my duty. When I was unmarried, I did my duty to my parents; now that I am married, I do my duty to my husband; that is all the Yoga I practice. But by doing my duty I have become illumined; thus I could read your thoughts and know what you had done in the forest. If you want to know something higher than this, go to the market of such and such a town where you will find a Vyâdha (The lowest class of people in India who used to live as hunters and butchers.) who will tell you something that you will be very glad to learn.” The Sannyasin thought, “Why should I go to that town and to a Vyadha?” But after what he had seen, his mind opened a little, so he went. When he came near the town, he found the market and there saw, at a distance, a big fat Vyadha cutting meat with big knives, talking and bargaining with different people. The young man said, “Lord help me! Is this the man from whom I am going to learn? He is the incarnation of a demon, if he is anything.” In the meantime this man looked up and said, “O Swami, did that lady send you here? Take a seat until I have done my business.” The Sannyasin thought, “What comes to me here?” He took his seat; the man went on with his work, and after he had finished he took his money and said to the Sannyasin, “Come sir, come to my home.” On reaching home the Vyadha gave him a seat, saying, “Wait here,” and went into the house. He then washed his old father and mother, fed them, and did all he could to please them, after which he came to the Sannyasin and said, “Now, sir, you have come here to see me; what can I do for you?” The Sannyasin asked him a few questions about soul and about God, and the Vyadha gave him a lecture which forms a part of the Mahâbhârata, called the Vyâdha-Gitâ. When the Vyadha finished his teaching, the Sannyasin felt astonished. He said, “Why are you in that body? With such knowledge as yours why are you in a Vyadha’s body, and doing such filthy, ugly work?” “My son,” replied the Vyadha, “no duty is ugly, no duty is impure. My birth placed me in these circumstances and environments. In my boyhood I learnt the trade; I am unattached, and I try to do my duty well. I try to do my duty as a householder, and I try to do all I can to make my father and mother happy. I neither know your Yoga, nor have I become a Sannyasin, nor did I go out of the world into a forest; nevertheless, all that you have heard and seen has come to me through the unattached doing of the duty which belongs to my position.”

I found the above story very inspiring. It made so much sense to me why they say “Work is worship”. If we really do our duties(work) wholeheartedly whether as an employee, a daughter, a father, a husband , the delight  we get is just incomparable. It is said that  cobbler doing his work wholeheartedly gets more happiness  from his work than a CEO not taking care of his company and people. Its not the kind of work that matters but how we do it. There is always a reason why we are in a given situation. We cant change the situation(present) we are in but by doing our duties diligently we can definitely make our present and future better.

Disclaimer : The above story has been extracted from Swami Vivekanand’s teachings.

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15 Responses to Enlightenment through work

  1. Pandu says:

    Good post about work.I am sure it Inspire me towards my work and Change me a lot.

    Thank You Shweta…….

    Nice to see your new post soon.

    Reply to this comment

    shweta Gupta reply on October 31st, 2009 9:23 am:

    Thanks Pandu . I hope it inspires you :)

    Reply to this comment

  2. reza says:

    hi Shweta
    im an iranian student
    u have very beau tiful blog
    good luck my friend

    Reply to this comment

  3. chavan savita says:

    hey hi….
    Its a really nice and inspiring story…! And the best part is I read it when I needed it most…!

    Reply to this comment

    shweta Gupta reply on October 31st, 2009 9:24 am:

    Its indeed inspiring. I really loved this story. I am glad you loved it too.

    Reply to this comment

    vandana reply on June 30th, 2010 1:16 am:

    heyy shweta, this was very enlightening.i will take more interest in all my duties from now on.thanks keep writing

    Reply to this comment

  4. Raghav says:

    This is a good inspiring story! no second thought but i would like to flash a point ie how to know one’s duty? Does one’s duty depend on the profession is he/she doing?
    There is a lot of difference between the practical situations in the world and the stories or the incidents which happened in the Veda or Gita ..it’s really a dilemma for the people who really gonna practice.

    Thank you

    Reply to this comment

    shweta Gupta reply on November 2nd, 2009 8:58 am:

    Thanks Raghav. I think one’s duty depends on his/her work/situation in life. I think there is no specific right or wrong for that matter. What one thinks is right as per his conscience is right for him and he should do that.

    Reply to this comment

  5. Yuxi says:

    If we do our duties whole-heartedly, we will experience more joy than we can imagine by sitting there and moping about the mundaneness of life.
    I love the take on life you have. It is truly inspiring. From now on, I will make the process worth more than the result.

    Reply to this comment

  6. Namita says:

    Thank you shweta…

    Reply to this comment

  7. basavaraj says:

    Story is really inspiring.. At the end the things u said about-our present situations and future is really good.
    This is because I have one saying(or quote) in my orkut profile also. It just goes like this: ‘To learn from the past is good, but to live in the past is a waste. To plan for the future is good, but to live in it a waste. You are Happiest and most productive in life when you are living in the PRESENT’…

    Reply to this comment

  8. chandan says:

    Hi shewta thank you i needed this today, in fact i wrote my completed story as wanted the answer then deleted.keep writing as i read both article It just happened i was surfing about life beautiful i got connected to you
    Thank you god blees you

    please pray that i become a good human being
    As i find myself becoming Byee

    Reply to this comment

  9. shashi says:

    Excellent and very motivating. Gave me an insight into the words Work is worship.


    Reply to this comment

  10. santanu says:

    Thank you, its inspiring. i will try to change myself.

    Reply to this comment

  11. anonymous says:

    It makes sense to me too. I had studied a course in IITB, which was about the teachings of Patanjali (Yoga sutra), Swami Vivekananda, Vedas, Ancient darshanas (darshana => ancient school of thought) and more.

    This all highlighted the same thing: working according to our duties give us eternal and internal happiness, which cannot to obtained by any other means..

    Also this point is explained very nicely in Bhagvad Gita (Karmayog part).

    Best Regards
    Nice blog.. keep it up.. :)

    Reply to this comment

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