Saturday 4 May 2024

At Her Lotus Feet - SHRADDHA

 – Dr. M. Lakshmi Kumari (Yuva Bharati, Special Commemorative Volume, 1982, Oct)

I f there is one factor, adherence to which can transform the simplest of lives into a model of excellence, it is the quality of Shraddha. Shraddha, which has its beginning in carefulness, attentiveness and concentration passing through conviction and dedication finds its lasting fulfilment in the ultimate faith which determines one's character.

Faith in goodness, faith in the eternal values of human life which differentiate man from an animal, faith in one's innate strength and conviction to adhere to what is good and reject what is bad-all these are the byproducts of Shraddha. In the 17th chapter of the Gita, Krishna declares: "A man is made up of his faith; he verily is what his faith is". Like the cohesive force which holds together the particles in an atom, the atoms in a molecule, molecules in a compound, so does Shraddha hold a man together, a family jointedly, a society harmoniously, a nation integrated and the entire universe as a whole.

What happens in the absence of this Shraddha? Again we can find the answer from the Gita. "Sacrifices, charities and penances performed indifferently without concentration and faith, are useless both for this world and the next". Herein lies the clue, how even good actions turn out bad results and bring disharmony and chaos within and without.

When an action is done without concentration and faith, the threefold personality which we bring into play in doing any action, act at variance with each other, creating considerable 'error of parallax'; the mind pulling in one direction, the intellect in another and the body in a third direction. Where is harmony in such an action? On the contrary, when Sbraddba dominates, there is a harmonious blending of all the faculties and actions also turn to be harmonious and pleasing. When a wife prepares a meal for her husband, what makes it delicious is not the ingredients added but the love, faith and concentration with which she prepares it. When a mother feeds her child, even with the coarsest of foods, the joy that emanates is not of taste but of love and total identification. Behind every successful career, business enterprises or achievement, stand hand in hand concentration, faith and discipline. Today, our whole life is transfused with a certain indifference. We have no faith in ourselves nor in any of the systems working around us. We have neither any power of concentration nor any application to the job at hand. We are indifferent to studies, indifferent to our duties, indifferent to our civic and national responsibilities, indifferent to finer sentiments and delicate human relationships. The whole nation gives a 'don't care' look at every phase of its life and activities, a colossal indifference which has started eating out the very vitals of our social fabric, making our lives dull and lustreless.

The excellence that can be achieved through Shraddha has been amply demonstrated in the lives of our Great Men. Gandhiji, when spinning thread from his charka, used to spin fine unbroken continuous lengths of it while it was not easy for others to achieve this excellence. When asked about it, his reply was "As I spin, my whole being is there". That is the efficacy of Shraddha.

Where are we to start from?

"Small courtesies, acts of kindness, small considerations, habitually practised in our social intercourse, give a greater charm to the character than the display of great talents and accomplishments". Swami Vivekananda used to say: "Let Nachiketa's Shraddha enter into your heart". To quote him further: "This Shraddba must enter into you. Whatever of material power you see manifested by the Western races, is the outcome of this Shraddha, because they believe in their muscles, and if you believe in your spirit, how much more will it work!

This Shraddha is what I want, and what all of us here want, this faith in ourselves, and before you, is the great task to get that faith. Give up the awful disease that is creeping into our national blood, that idea of ridiculing everything, that loss of seriousness. Give that up. Be strong and have this Shraddha, and everything else is bound to follow".

-- Let's perform our duty by casting our vote in favour of the national interest.
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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

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