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Vedas 109 - Human Being and Work - A Vedic Perspective - 10July 2021

Vedas 109 – Human beings and Work – A Vedic Perspective - 10 July 2021

All human beings have taken birth to discharge their karmic duties and responsibilities. In other words, they do work according to their aptitude and capabilities.

But what is work? Current literature does not provide any answers.

The Vedic sages define work as: “Every activity or work is the conversion or transformation of an entity from one form to another.”

Let us take some examples like cooking and gardening.

Cooking: Raw materials in the form of raw rice, vegetables, water etc. converted to “edible dishes”. Form of cooked food is different from form of its ingredients. A form of physical energy like cooking gas or electricity is also needed.

Gardening: In gardening, the nature forces of soil, water and atmosphere make the flowers grow.

What is the role of "cook" or "gardener" in these activities?

Clearly, cook cannot take credit for the conversion of the “raw rice” and “water” into the edible “fluffy cooked rice”. This is really “a power of nature”, an “inherent power” or “self-law” of raw rice defined by the Sanskrit word, “svadha”, which denotes its power from within. In other words, “raw rice” is converted to “fluffy edible cooked rice” due to really the power of nature. Contribution of human effort (that of cook) is limited to mixing of the ingredients in correct proportions, timing of heating, stirring etc. The human effort is essential and important but it is ‘miniscule’ compared with the role played by the powers of nature.

In gardening also, the human effort is necessary but ‘miniscule’ compared to the role of cosmic powers.

It is safe to say that “every human activity is the result of collaboration of the cosmic powers and the human being”. The contribution of the human being is miniscule, though important and crucial. Veda emphasizes the importance of the effort put forth by the individual. The sages realized that “any work done consciously by a human being acknowledging the assistance of the cosmic powers results in a degree of perfection which increases as we increase the power of consciousness. Any lack of harmony in the work is due to our inability to secure the help of one or more cosmic powers; our arrogance and inertia are the causes of disharmony which leads to shoddy work.

We have heard the adages: “Work is its own reward”; “Do work for work’s sake” etc.
The Vedic sages went far beyond: “The performance of any task consciously acknowledging the roles of the cosmic powers yields a “delight” also, known as the “delight of the work”.

All creative persons (musicians, writers, artistic performers and similar others) when they complete the task have noticed “this delight” and feel happy. This ‘delight’ or happiness has nothing to do with the monetary rewards or other tangible values from their creative work. The Vedas call this as “Soma”. Vedic sages state that we should do every work consciously to generate this “Soma-delight”. And we must offer this “Soma-delight” back to the cosmic powers for their help in the task. The cosmic powers in turn increase the effectiveness of collaboration in all the tasks of the human being – which in turn help the human being to complete tasks with greater levels of perfection. Eventually, all round perfection is the result.

Any human creative activity (aiming to improve the quality levels) has primarily three components or stages:
(i) Thought and its Formation (The activity starts with “an idea”)
(ii) Will Power and its works (To carry out the “idea”, will-power and other accessories of force at a psychological level are required)
(iii) Love and its harmonizing (Activity reaches a certain degree of perfection only if there is love and its harmonizing aspects).

These three “human activity components” are connected with their three “divine” counterparts known as “Knowledge (‘sat’), Force (‘chit’) and Delight (‘ananda’).

The word “divine” implies: “no limitations” AND “act harmoniously”.

Our aim is to exalt our “human activities” to the “divine level”.

The Vedas show how all human beings can raise their 'human activities' to 'divine level' and obtain higher levels of perfection in whatever tasks they perform. We will see the details in the next post, Vedas 110.
 
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