Thursday, April 28, 2011

We must develop and use our God-given talents in service


I truly believe that in every lifetime God gives every single one of us a unique set of talents. To be more precise, they are some of our eternal talents that we are endowed with due to being His parts and parcels and that at different times shine through our material coverings more than others. I am convinced that we have a duty to develop and use those talents in the service of God and our fellow sentient beings. 

Wasting our short lives following other people's paths is tragic. We may be diligent and expert lawyers, accountants, dentists, labourers, or managers but if we dread going to work every day and get no satisfaction (and it's not due to other factors), something is not right. We spend most of our active life at work (paid or otherwise) and it is imperative that we follow our true calling. As Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita: "One's righteous duty imperfectly done is better than another's duty done perfectly; by performing actions predicated by own's nature one does not incur sinful reactions." (BG 18.47). I believe it is very important for all affectionate guardians to encourage those in their care to develop the talents gifted to them according to their specific natures in this lifetime. 

Of course, many occupational activities are hard to perform, especially at the beginning, and we must be careful not to confuse this necessary austerity with being wrong for the job. That is also explained in the Gita: "That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness. That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion [Serg SKd: 'passionate' in this case means careless, hasty, unenlightened and egotistical]. And that happiness which is blind to self-realization, which is delusion from beginning to end and which arises from sleep, laziness and illusion is said to be of the nature of ignorance." (BG 18.37-39) What is good for us may sometimes taste like poison in the beginning, but becomes like nectar later on. 

And here's another deep one to contemplate: "You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty." (BG 2.47) The essence: doing one's duty as a service, feeling oneself to be the instrument rather than the doer, without feeling entitled to the results of one's actions. Many people reported that adopting this mentality makes an amazing difference in life and yes, paradoxically the results can be remarkable. 

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