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Prekshadhyan - An Introduction: [08] Working Proficiency

Published: 20.04.2007
Updated: 29.11.2012

Working Proficiency

The purpose of work

It is not obligatory to work. What makes it obligatory is sits necessity. We work as much as is necessary. Work in itself has no meaning. Man works according to his needs. Work is dependent on the purpose in view. Once the purpose is achieved the work comes to an end. There is a saying (even a dull-witted man does not work without a purpose). Purpose is important for any activity. What is our purpose? It is to fulfil the basic needs of life - food, clothing, shelter, education, medical aid etc. Work grows with the growth of needs.

Work is Skill

Industrial and business expansion has taken place in modern times. Thousands of workers found work. With it arose the question of work proficiency. But discussion about proficiency in working is nothing new. It existed in ancient times too. What is, however, significant is the meaning we give to the word proficiency. Proficiency in working harms physical health, it is not proper. Today, work and activities have multiplied to the extent that physical health is being adversely affected. Even greater harm is being caused to mental and emotional health. Proficiency is something, which does good but no harm. It should not be like an allopathic drug, which cures one disease but in the process gives birth to ten new ones. It should have no side effects or reactions leading to a new disease. Skilled or efficient treatment cures the disease without creating a new complication. Modern man is certainly more proficient in working, but the increase in work proficiency has been accompanied by increased disorganization of the mind.

Everything Within Limits

Indian thought has from time to time addressed itself to defining limits to dharma (discharge of duty), artha (acquirement of wealth), kama (gratification) and moksha (final emancipation) - the four basic aims of human existence. It has been said that gratification, which comes in the way of earing wealth, is undesirable; acquiring wealth, which prevents grantification, is also bad. Again, both artha and kama turn degrading if they stand in the way of practising the discharge of duty and keeping the soul pure.

Another Aspect

We shall have to consider many aspects while discussing skill or proficiency. Does increase in proficiency affect health? Is it not giving rise to increased mental deflection, craziness and insanity? If that is the case, it cannot be called competence or proficiency. A nation may boast of developed working proficiency leading to that nation's domination of the world market. So far so good. But look at another aspect. The development and domination have been accompanied by an increase in suicides and divorces besides increased mortality and widespread insomnia. Shall we recognize it as a true increase in working proficiency? Things have to be balanced, so that with the increase in working proficiency, there must be a simultaneous and proportionate increase in physical and mental health.

The Concept Of Development

Modern concept of development and working proficiency are simply confined to material aspects. All other dimensions of the mind have been relegated to a secondary position. In fact, mental awareness has lost almost all its value. No one minds mental degradation. It is insisted that material development should have no bars. The stress is on multi-story buildings, latest cars, speedier airplanes, spacecraft and building cities in the oceans and in outer space. Development and proficiency are increasing in all directions, but, alas, no attention is being paid to making a better man. Today's man is anguished and perturbed beyond imagination. But it causes no concern. If at all, one feels worried about it, one resorts to tranquillisers and other pills, weakening the mental state all the more. Such a concept of development is difficult to understand.

The Real Criterion Is Emotional Health

Proficiency in work is not possible in the absence of emotional health. There is no parameter whereby emotional health may be judged but it can be tested through an individual's behaviour. Behaviourally, four criteria of emotional health can be laid down peace of mind, polite behaviour, steady behaviour and contentment. We can assess proficiency in work by observing the increase or decrease in the above four characteristics. Is proficiency increasing mental unrest, is it obstructing polite behaviour, is it agitating the mind or making it unsteady and is it making one conceited and devious and insatiably greedy? If so, the so-called proficiency is counter-productive.

What, after all, is the purpose of proficiency? Everything is being done to make man happy, but in reality, he is disintegrating. Our work and activities are unavailing and meaningless. Therefore, the first definition of work proficiency is that it does not obstruct, impede and adversely affect any other aspect of life.

Thinking, Deciding And Implementing

Let us consider the means of proficiency. For it a proper strategy of work will have to be prepared. Whatever the work, it should be done in a planned manner. Lenin gave a fine principle of work proficiency-there should be no hiatus between deliberation, decision and its implementation. There should be harmony among all the three. A thought comes today, a decision about it is taken a year thereafter and it is implemented five years later - this should not happen. It has been called dirghasutrata in Sanskrit literature. A Sanskrit tale illustrates it. A few scholars were invited to dinner. They were served vermicelli. One of the scholars was reminded of the maxim (that which is long and dilatory is destroyed). Since the vermicelli is long and not straight, it should not be eaten. From it follows the conclusion that one who goes on thinking without coming to a decision meets with total failure. Time takes a heavy toll in this case.

Where Has The Milk Gone?

A cow's capacity to yield milk diminished. From five kilos it came down to one kilo. The owner thought that there would be a marriage in the family in a month and at that time some fifty kilos of milk would be needed. He thought of stopping milking the cow so that on the occasion of the marriage, he could get full fifty kilos of milk from out of the cow. He implemented his thought and stopped milking the cow. When the wedding day came, he started milking it but not a drop came out. He wondered where all the milk had gone. Obviously time had sucked it away.

Postponing a piece of work instead of doing it at the right time results in courting failure. Proficiency of work requires following two important principles: There should not be long gaps between thinking, deciding and implementing, and nothing should be done impetuously, with unthinking hastiness.

Developing Concentration.

If we look at the above matter in the context of prekshadhyan, the first principle of proficiency of work is development of concentration. In fact the word dhyan itself implies development of concentration. The second principle is freeing the mind of all thoughts-attaining the state beyond the mind. First of all we should learn to stick to a point, to get engrossed in the thing under consideration, to direct all mental energy to the task in hand, to remove the gap between the work and the mind on the one hand and between the work and the world of emotions on the other. Anger and conceit spoil the work. Conscientious efforts with inner resolution should inform the work. Total dedication is a pre requisite to proficiency of work.

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Anger
  2. Artha
  3. Conceit
  4. Concentration
  5. Dharma
  6. Dhyan
  7. Kama
  8. Moksha
  9. Prekshadhyan
  10. Sanskrit
  11. Soul
  12. Space
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