The Vision Of A New Society ► 28 ►Need for an Efficient Life-Style

Posted: 02.11.2019

Man does activities. He acts with the help of his body, speech and mind. The Jain philosophy uses the term yoga for them. Yoga has been described as "the functioning of the mind, the speech and the body.[1]"According to the definition given in the Gita, "efficiency in work is yoga. Man cannot help doing some activity or the other. He keeps on doing something or the other. He cannot stop acting. It has been said that a person cannot be without doing something even for a moment.[2]

Action may be spontaneous or contemplated. Sponta­neous action happens by itself. It requires no thinking. The fly flies all day long and the fish always swims. The mosquito keeps hovering. If a sparrow sits before a mirror, it keeps on fighting. That fight is with none else but its own reflection, because taking that reflection as another bird, it goes on striking it with its beak. Even if the beak begins to bleed, the fight does not stop. There is no question of any efficiency in such actions. The question of efficiency arises only when an action is contemplated and is done with a sense of discretion.

 

Efficient Person is neither Bound nor Free[3]

A person acting with efficiency is called competent. It is said that a competent person is not bound nor is he free. Here, the word competence is indicative of dispassion. For that, there is no prescribed alternative, no limit nor any restriction. Being above restriction does not imply that there is no discrimination between what should and should not be done. Such people never do anything that should not be done. From this point of view, it has been said that they are not free either. There is a great deal of difference between the jobs done efficiently and those done inefficiently. An incompetent person has no control over himself. That is why he needs to be regulated by an organization or some outside agency. A competent person is restricted by self-discipline. Therefore, any outside control becomes meaningless in his case.

 

How is Efficiency Acquired

Awareness about four types of mental functions appears relevant in the context of efficiency. Ashritanishvitamati[4]is said to be of four kinds: anttpattiki, vainayiki, Karmiki and parinimiki.

Autpattiki: The sudden dewing of knowledge about any subject unseen or unheard is the function of the Autpattiki mind.

Vainayiki: Vinay means formal training. The faculty of mind resulting from that training is called the vainayiki faculty of the mind.

Karmiki: Karma here means the practice. Efficiency in the art of learning acquired through continuous practice is called the Karmiki faculty of the mind.

Parinmiki: The faculty of mind acquired through the experiences gathered with the advancing age is called the parinimiki faculty of the mind.

The four kinds of mental faculties mentioned above are related to efficiency. The dexterity and efficiency in any action which comes through continuous practice along is called an efficient action.

 

Three Exorcists in a City

An epidemic spread in a particular city. The epi­demic spread so fast that people started dying every day. Hundreds of people died. The physicians and the vaidyas were treating the disease as best as they could. But their treatment was not effective. All the citizens were ex­tremely worried about this unexpected calamity. The King was worried the most.
Around that time, three exorcists visited the city. They said, "We can contain this epidemic." The King called them to his royal court. One of the exorcists claimed, "I have mastered a mantra which has brought a particular evil spirit under my spell. That spirit roams in the city in a beautiful garb. Whenever anyone admires its beauty, that spirit is enraged and that person is destroyed. But any person, who stands calmly when the spirit is sighted, is cured of the disease. The King dismissed that exorcist, because anyone would be tempted to look at the spirit that moved in a beautiful garb.

The second exorcist said, "Oh, King, I have done sadhana for a long time. Attracted by my sadhana, a spirit lives with me. That spirit can really work wonders. It goes round the city assuming a grotesque form. If anyone makes fun of that spirit or shows contempt, that person's head splits into seven pieces. Anyone who admires and worships that spirit, that person is cured of his illness." The King thought that the children are bound to make fun of that grotesque form. It would not be good sense to write off the future generation while trying to eradicate the epidemic. Therefore, he did not give the chance to the second exorcist also.

Then the third exorcist presented himself before the King. He said, "Oh, King, the spirit that has come under the spell of my sadhana is extraordinary. That spirit moves in the city assuming the ugliest form. Whether someone shows contempt or curses, throws stones or ridicules, or does something else, that spirit remains undisturbed. It cures people of their illness by a mere glance. The King permitted that exorcist to carry out his experiment.

As the exorcist recited the mantra, the spirit appeared and moved in the city as the King ordered. The citizens looked at that spirit and were cured of their illness. The King installed that spirit in his city. The King ordered that the spirit should be worshipped on a particular day every year. Only he who remains the same in all situations is worshipped and honoured.

All the three spirits of this story were capable of curing the illness. But only the third spirit got the chance to the third spirit because it functioned with efficiency. Without causing harm to anyone, it freed the city from that calamity. Had the same thing been done by those other two spirits, innumerable families would have been ruined? Hence, whether the work to be done is big or small, important or ordinary, the importance of efficiency cannot be disregarded.

 

Now No More[5]

Efficiency is not related to any one particular field, or to any particular time or situation. The definition of efficiency changes according to the matter, area of operation, time and situation. In the field of spiritualism or religion, that person is considered efficient who is calm, steady unto himself, free from anger, lust, greed, etc. and who has a pure lustre. One's sins are wiped out by a mere contact with such people. This can be seen in the following stanza.

"Sins are wiped out by the Darshan of the Tirthankaras in the same manner as water disappearing through the porous hands.[6]"

In the field of sadhana, efficiency is related to keeping away from the actions that are not to be done. If the sadhaka become efficient the moment he take his first step in the path of sadhana, nothing more remains to be done. Even though there may be a strong craving to do sadhana, the mind may be resolved and the journey in that direction may be already begun, it still takes time to fully bring oneself under control. There may be fifty persons doing sadhana. They cannot proceed at the same pace in spite of being with the same guru and having the same atmosphere. All the five fingers of the hand are not alike. In the same way, all sadhakas cannot be the same. One ascetic can become a kevali.[7]Another ascetic may not be able to attain pure knowledge even after the sadhana spread over several births. In that situation, the mini­mum requirement for efficiency is to tell himself, "I shall not do from now on what I have been so far doing out of negligence.[8]"

The sadhaka thinks that he was negligent because his sense of discretion had not been awakened. But if after the awakening of the sense of discretion, he still continues to be negligent, what is the advantage of his efficiency? Repenting for one's past wrongs and alertness towards the future constitute the process of the develop­ment of efficiency.

 

Better Late than Never

Some people wonder how it would be possible to do the work in old age which was not done during adoles­cence or youth. This is negative thinking in my view. One acquires efficiency in work through practice. If success comes with the final blow, it does not mean that the earlier blows were all in vain. It is the last drop of water that fills the water-pot. But before that, the earlier drops are absolutely necessary. Therefore, thinking about what could not be done in the past means being frustrated.

Sometimes it also happens that we are not able to pay attention even to an important work. All this time no attention was paid to it. Even now there is time and why should it be wasted? One can always begin when the realization dawns. With this dictum in mind, it is necessary to keep the lamp of endeavour burning. Those who do not keep this in mind are not alert and they waste a very big part of their lives. My advice to such people is that "What is gone is gone, keep what is left.[9]" Life can be meaningful even with whatever time is left. It has been said, "Bad times can change even with the late harvest.[10]It did not rain during the peak monsoon months. The farmer was disappointed. When it rained at the far end of the season, he did not till his land. His friends convinced him and his hopes were revived. He showed the seeds and had such a rich harvest that his fate completely changed. Those who acquire efficiency even at the last stage of their lives can achieve a great deal.

 

The Way to Acquire Efficiency

Man would have to determine his own norms with regard to his ideas about efficiency. How the learning, money and power are put to use? The answer to this question is found in a well-known Sanskrit sloka:

An evil person uses his learning in arguments and controversies. He becomes arrogant after acquiring wealth and after acquiring power he hurts other people. But scholar who is gentle, exchanges his knowledge with others. A noble person disburses his wealth for the development of the society and the nation, and uses his power for protecting someone or the other.[11]

If a noble person and an evil person are characterised by efficiency and inefficiency, then that definition becomes clear. After understanding that definition, every sensible person would wish to become efficient. There is one direction which he can take. It is the direction of prekshadhyan. He who has started following the path of mediation has already taken the first step in the direction of acquiring efficiency. He, who follows the path of meditation, changes his thinking, changes his behaviour and becomes instrumental in the change in others. The result of such a change gives silent respiration to the individual who realizes that efficiency is necessary not only in one's work but also in his style of living.

Footnotes:
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