When your work becomes purposeful, it becomes prayer. When your work becomes prayer, you lose yourself in the work you are doing – and become the work itself!
Picture Courtesy: Internet
The other day, I was reading an interview that 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi gave the Times of India’s Nalin Mehta. Satyarthi told Mehta: “Pride, honours and awards don’t matter much to me personally. I am not a saint but I’m driven by spiritualism, not political theories or mere emotions.” Mehta then asks Satyarthi: “Please explain your spiritualism.” And Satyarthi replies: “I am not a religious person. I’ve not gone to a temple or mosque in the last 40 years. I don’t worship in temples because I worship children — by giving them freedom and childhood. They are the true faces of God and that is my strength.”
Satyarthi personifies the “work-becomes-prayer” paradigm. I can completely relate to what he is saying. Most people, in fact almost everyone, work to make a living. Hardly a few, of the world’s seven billion people, work to make another Life or work to make a difference to others’ lives. It is only when you immerse yourself in your work, without worrying about what’s in it for you, that your work becomes purposeful. That’s when it becomes prayer. And unless your work becomes prayer, you cannot create value. You cannot become the work itself. This is evident mostly in the field of art – as Osho, the Master, has famously said, “When the dancer becomes the dance, magic happens!” So, you see that magic when Federer or Tendulkar play, you see that magic when Birju Maharaj dances, when Ustad Zakir Hussain plays the tabla, when Amitabh Bachchan acts, when Asha Bhosle sings or when A R Rahman makes music. The same possibility, to excel and create value, exists in other vocations as well. When you pour yourself into your work, when you offer yourself and your work as an offering to the Universe – you don’t just work, you create value. This is what Satyarthi was explaining as his spiritualism. And what he has achieved, is imminently possible by each of us. We too can create value and make our work our prayer. What we need to do is to stop earning a living and simply live – doing what gives us joy and do it consistently and well.
Your work becoming your prayer does not mean that you will not faces hurdles in Life. Satyarthi too has faced a lot of challenges in his lifelong efforts to deal with child labor in India effectively. But when you work with a sense of purpose that drives you, you remain unfazed. That’s when, despite all odds, you will figure out ways to keep ploughing on. As Harivansh Rai Bachchan has said in his immortal poem, “lahron se dar kar nauka par nahi hoti, kosish karne walon ki kabhi har nahi hoti” meaning “by fearing the waves, a boat can never make progress, those who keep trying can never fail”.
Whatever you do, do it with a sense of purpose. Make your work and Life meaningful. Watch it become your prayer. And feel the magic, as Osho says, of the work becoming you and you becoming your work!