Monday 27 May 2024


 – P. Parameswaran JI (Yuva Bharati, 50th Year Special Commemorative Volume, Nov. 2007)



Our Shastras and Acharyas have always held that the fulfilment of any objective or the successful attainment of any goal, big or small, depends upon the confluence of two factors (i) sincere and wholehearted effort from our side and (ii) the grace of God. Without either of the two, the outcome is bound to be utter failure or chaotic and confused. We must fix the goal clearly and unambiguously before us and focus our single-minded attention and pour out all our efforts for its achievement. That is the first part. Having done that in a prayerful attitude, we offer it at the feet of the Divine and rest assured that the rest will be taken care of by His grace. Without putting forth our best efforts, it is idle and futile to expect the Divine to do everything for us. It is not only sheer fatalism, but also a sin against ourselves and God. On the other hand, to imagine that our personal or collective efforts, by themselves, irrespective of the Divine factor, can achieve anything and everything is equally baseless. "Evam purusha karena vinaa daivam na siddhyati. Daive purusha kare cha karma siddhih vyavasthitaa." The final and decisive factor is, of course, the Divine grace.


Whether the grace is conditional or unconditional is a matter into which, it is not necessary to go at this point. It is enough to understand that it is a decisive factor for which we have to pray and wait. It has been the experience and the authoritative statement of realised souls that Divine grace is present always and everywhere. Only we have to open up ourselves in a mood of humble receptivity after having done everything that is within our power.


In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord has declared that there are five factors, when combined together, bring about the successful culmination of every work. The foundations, the worker, the various instruments of action and the different activities and, finally, the invisible factor, which is described as Divine destiny. "Adhishthaanam tathaa kartaa karanam cha pruthagvidham, vividhaascha pruthakcheshtaa daivam chaivaatra panchamam." It is clear that, out of these five, only one is beyond our control. It gives us an assurance and a certitude that the major portion of the responsibility for achieving the goal is bestowed on us and that only when we discharge our responsibilities to the fullest extent can we hope the fifth invisible factor to operate in our favour. So, in every human activity, either personal or collective, the first part, namely, total and committed effort of the highest quality offered in the spirit of worship to the Divine, is the prerequisite that we have to fulfil.


Swami Vivekananda in his famous lecture on, "Work and its Secret" has put this idea in a slightly different manner. Swamiji says that the success in any work is entirely dependent upon the importance we give to the means leading to the goal. Once the means are perfect, Swamiji says that the goal is bound to be realised. Paying single-minded attention to the means and pursuing it without fault or failure is the sure means to achieve the goal. It again means that the major portion of responsibility remains with the worker and the quality of his work. It is seen as what has been stated in the Bhagavad Gita, that "yoga is skill in action" that will lead to the attainment of the final result.

So, we can rest almost assured that first of all we as Karyakartas, have to perfect ourselves by acquiring the skill, the spirit of yoga, all the required knowledge and wisdom, courage and conviction, commitment and consecration to carry out the work to its logical end and having done that, we may safely presume that the Lord will take care of the rest. We, as the perfected instrument, is the crucial factor.


One of our Subhashitas tells us that "The final fulfilment of an action depends not so much on the accessories but on the manliness of the actor Kriya siddhih sattve bhavati mahataam, nopakarane" and that is mostly within us, either inborn or cultivated with perseverance and determination. Karna, one of the most colourful characters in the Mahabharata who was low-born and therefore, ridiculed by many, retorted with a memorable and powerful reply- "The clan in which I am born was decided by destiny. But, my manliness is my own creation "Daivaayattam kule janmah, Madaayattam tu pourusham". This again confirms the fact that it is upto an earnest and committed worker to acquire the competence for the successful achievement of the chosen ideal.


The ideas stated above have been part of our traditional wisdom and has been the guiding principle of our way of life. There is a unique concept evolved in our country which is denoted by the word "Purushartha". It is one of the fundamental principles of our social philosophy. The term Purushartha has many dimensions. One among them is "human effort', "manliness", "valour" etc. It is considered a great virtue and distinct mark of all human being worth the name. It is not necessarily gender specific. It is an essential quality of any human beings irrespective of whether man or woman. Every human being is expected to achieve success in life by following his Swadharma to the best of his ability and thus contribute to the society. If one falls short of this standard, he is not worthy of being called a man at all. Docility and passivity, lethargy and laziness, dependence on others even for one's primary needs is, like a parasite, totally condemnable. Exertion and excellence are recommended, not only to earn one's bread and maintain one's family is what is expected of a true man. A householder must also earn name and fame, wealth and prosperity and all round success in life. Such a man alone is alive. Otherwise he is dead even when alive. It is needless to say that a society or a nation comprising of individuals of this caliber will be strong and powerful, enlightened and prosperous - a leading nation in its own right. It is when the number of such people dwindles that the nation becomes weak and enslaved by aggressors. It is the sense of Purushartha coupled with love for the country that enables a nation to hold its flag of freedom aloft.


Purushartha has a wider social connotation also. The term denotes the plan and purpose of human life anywhere anytime. According to Hindu Shastras, there are four objectives to be pursued by a human being worth the name. They are Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. These are called the four Purusharthas. Together, they embrace the entire field of human life. Successful pursuit of these four objects of life as prescribed by the Shastra ultimately leads to total fulfilment of one's earthly existence. No one is exempt from this obligation, whatever be his stature or station in life. These are universally applicable without exception. Individually and collectively, they constitute the warp and woof of Hindu social life. They give a clear direction to life not only for the individual but also for the family, society and the nation. Among the four, Dharma is the fundamental to all. All the other three are based on the foundation of Dharma and should be followed accordingly. Artha deals with economics and politics and everything related to these. These conducted on the basis of Dharma ensures creation of abundant wealth, proper distribution and produces an environment where the fruits of an ordered and prosperous life would be enjoyed by all the members of the society. That is called Kama. Artha and Kama are necessary and desirable. They are restrained only by Dharma. These three Purusharthas properly followed ultimately lead to a situation where Moksha, the final goal of life, Parama Purushartha becomes smoothly achievable to those who are fit for it. Moksha is liberation from the shackles of ego and selfishness.


It is experiencing oneness with all beings humans and also sub-humans, compassion and concern for one and all, willingness to care and share equally. That state is described as "Sarva Bhuta Hite Ratah". A society where such highly evolved souls cast their benign influence is bound to be a model and a blessing for all humanity. It was the evolution of such a society that Hindu Dharma envisaged. Such a state of affairs is the nearest equivalent to "Satya Yuga". Our Rishis and their later day descendants firmly believed that Bharat had a duty and mission to provide such a model for the rest of humanity.


What conclusions do we draw from what all has been said above about Purusharthas? What practical guidance do we derive to help us in our day-today as well as overall life, especially for a Karyakarta of Vivekananda Kendra? Pursuit of Purusharthas constitutes the essence of a meaningful life of any human being and places him on a high pedestal in the evolutionary scale. They differentiate him from the animals, who also have very many things in common with the man. A Kendra worker whose life is a continuous dedication for a cause, which, he is convinced, is the greatest and the noblest, then it goes without saying that he must faithfully and strictly follow the path of Purushartha in his life. He must not deviate even for a moment from the path dictated by the principle of Purushartha. Continuous and dedicated effort, untiring and ceaseless, undeflected by success or failure, undaunted by difficulties and dangers, should characterise the life of a true Karyakarta. The qualities of a Sattvik Karyakarta, as defined in the Bhagavad Gita and recommended by Mananeeya Eknathji Ranade (Mukta sango anaham vadi, dhrutyutsaha samanvitah, siddhyasiddhyornirvikarah, karta satvika uchyate) should be an unerring guideline for him. The goal has been clearly settled, the means towards that has been marked out and, then, he has to pursue it, knowing fully well that the path is difficult and is as sharp as the razor's edge. He has examples of Shreshtha Purushas to inspire him who preceded him in the same path with unswerving devotion and tenacity. The Karyakarta should demonstrate to himself and others that he can also set worthy examples for his successors to emulate.


Purusharthas lead to success. Success is our goal. Our concept of success is not the present-day concept of a successful career for oneself. It is both material and spiritual - Samutkarsha and Nishshreyasa. Spiritual is the ultimate reality and the goal to be realised. But, it does not stand in contradiction with material success or decent affluence. A society or a country becomes great only when material development provides a sound base for spiritual advancement. Individually and collectively, the nation should achieve material prosperity and spiritual enlightenment. Everyone has a contribution to make. Kendra worker is no exception. But, he has to understand that success is not to be achieved at any cost by any means. Understanding of Purusharthas makes him realise that Dharma should be the basis to achieve success and excellence. This is essential to remember, because, in the globalised world in which we live where cut-throat competition is the law, Dharma is the casuality. One grows at the expenses of the other elbowing the other out of existence. It is the law of the fish where the smaller fish is eaten by the bigger one. Purusharthas do not permit it. Each one has to succeed on the basis of his Swadharma in cooperation with his fellow beings, not by pulling them down, or devouring them. Nature has provided enough space for all to succeed by dint of hardwork. There is enough space at the top for people to climb by strenuous effort in a manner which is absolutely Dharmic. Here the famous verse becomes relevant.


"Heights by great men reached and kept; Were not attained by sudden flight; They while their companions slept; Were toiling upwards in the night".


Such dedicated and strenuous work in whichever field is called 'Tapas' in the Hindu vocabulary.


Each one should succeed, not for his or her own sake, but for the sake of the Mother. Mother wants success in every sphere, all round success. It is true that Bharat's greatness, distinction and special destiny is in the field of spirituality. She has to lead the world by giving the message of spiritual enlightenment. But then no one will listen to spiritual sermons unless and until the requisite qualifications are in possession. They are the credentials for acceptance. India is free since 60 years. She has made enviable progress in many ways. Her children have proved their worth by taking on threatening challenges and successfully facing menacing situations. But, there are many pit-falls and lacunae in the way we have progressed. The glaring omission of which we are guilty is that we have not taken care to evolve according to our own law of growth, our own Swadharma. We have been trying to ape other countries and cultures, neglecting and forgetting, even ridiculing our own. Had we been vigilant right from the time of our independence, we would have chosen the path of Purusharthas, both as individual and national ideal. Instead of going after foreign ideologies like socialism, communism or capitalism, we would have pursued the uniquely Bharatiya way of life based on the concept of "Chaturvidha Purusharthas". Any student of comparative philosophy will know that this is the only scientific way of building up a well-balanced and purposeful social life even personal life. Ours is the only society which has evolved a comprehensive and well integrated system for a happy and contented life for one and all. While others are continuously making experiments with defective systems, without a proper understanding of the ultimate truth and thereby creating instability, disturbance and conflict all around, India has laid the foundation and fixed the goal for man to pursue that is the raison d'etre of our immortality. Independent India should have picked up the thread and marched forward by building up a society based on the concept of Purusharthas. That is precisely what Swami Vivekananda meant by the term 'Nation-building'. As we know, Kendra has taken up the task of "Man-making and Nation-building" accordingly. The challenge before us is to put into practice this grand vision. That is the Purushartha before us. That is our commitment not only for ourselves, but for all humanity. "Krunavanto Vishwam Aryam".


The goal that we have set before us is indeed very lofty and fascinating like the Himalayan peaks. The way to achieve it is through the pursuit of Purusharthas. There is no beaten track for us to follow. The highways laid down by our ancestors have been covered over by wild growths. Times have changed beyond recognition. New patterns and paradigms have evolved over the centuries. Old values have been forgotten and replaced by new and alien ones. Totally different imported values have caught the imagination of the people. The challenge before us is how, under the radically different situation, to adopt the concept of Purusharthas and successfully apply the same for the creation of a model which will be relevant today. No individual or group of individuals, however competent, can achieve this mighty and challenging task. The secret of success lies in our understanding that only through hardwork by committed and competent workers over a period of time can the change become possible. It is rightly said that in Kaliyuga, the key word for success is Organisation. Organisation is the cumulative effect of sustained effort made by the dedicated workers with clarity of vision and well defined goal. Each one has to devote time and energy in a systematic and disciplined manner with determination not to rest until the final goal is reached. In an organisation, there should be no shirker of responsibility. Pregnant words like "Bhishma Pratijna", "Bhageeratha Prayatna", "Sugreevajna" etc. are terminologies which stir us from the bottom and make us give our best to the great task we have gladly and willingly undertaken.


That is the sense and essence of the term Purusharthas for a Kendra worker.

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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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