The Power of Conviction
We should always lead our life with the following spirits: I am agni (fire); wisdom, effulgence, motion, a leader and a commander. Agnirasmi janmana jatavedah (Rgveda-3.26.7) It means, the fire of sankalpa – conviction is always ignited in my heart, and the path of my life is always illuminated.
The greatest pleasure and challenge in life is in accomplishing the task that people often said ‘You cannot do it.’ Hence, one should attempt to achieve the set goal with conviction and determination.
Relaxation is nothing but replacing one work with another. In fact, leisure is considered a taboo. An inspirational illustration:
Once there was a contest between two wood-cutters regarding wood-cutting abilities. It was decided the wood-cutter who chopped the maximum amount of wood in eight hours, would be declared the winner. The first wood-cutter began to chop wood continuously without a pause, whereas the second wood-cutter rested for five minutes after every two hours and resumed the chopping. The first wood-cutter, having observed the second wood-cutter’s pattern of chopping of wood, accelerated his pace and thought ‘I will rest only once and that too for only ten minutes in the alloted quota of eight hours. As I am cutting at a much faster pace and also taking rest for only ten minutes as compared to the twenty minutes of the other person, I am surely going to be the winner.’ The contest came to an end and the second wood-cutter was declared the winner.
“How could he be the winner?” thought the first wood-cutter and having approached the second one asked, “You were cutting leisurely with breaks, that too with enjoyment, how did you then manage to chop more wood than me?” “Whenever I took pause, I was actually sharpening my axe and was relaxing a bit as well and hence was able to cut more wood”, the second person said in reply. The first person was now able to understand that relaxtion does not mean complete abstinence from actions, rather taking up different work in between the same action is ‘relaxation’.
Unhampered by obstacles, without yielding in the face of difficulties and undeterred by the criticism of others, one should march ahead continuously with the sole aim of reaching the goal: Caraiveti-caraiveti, caran vai madhu vindati.
The courage to take the first step is enough to begin the journey of a thousand miles. Journey of thousand miles starts with a single step and ends with a single step.
Do not hesitate to be a part of any great objective or resolution, notwithstanding, if that objective or resolution had germinated in your bosom or in the tranquil mind of any divine soul, because it is meant for the betterment of everyone and everyone includes each and every individual of the world.
Sankalpa (determination) is that which either culminates into the objective or ends in death. There is no ‘alternative’ to ‘determination’.
A determined person who has resolute belief in his chosen objective, can alter the flow of history.
A person living for a great objective and divine resolution never tires, nor does he sit idle in dejection. He assiduously and tirelessly puts in tremendous efforts and struggles hard to achieve the goal. Those people who accept defeat are the unlucky ones who are not committed to any great purpose and sacred resolve. The following excerpt from the life of Mahamana Madanamohana Malaviya showcases the power of determination:
Madanamohana Malaviya once went to Hyderabad to raise funds needed to the establish the Kasi Hindu Visvavidyalaya. He presented the detailed scheme of the unversity to the Nijama of Hydrabad and also requested him to support the cause by contributing financially for its completion. To his surprise, the Nijama clearly turned down the request of giving any financial assistance for the university.
Malaviyaji walked out onto the road from there. He saw the funeral procession of a hindu setha (an extremely wealthy businessman), where people were showering money on that dead man. Some people, including small children, were busy in gathering the money scattered here and there on the road. Malaviya ji joined them and began collecting money. Everybody watched him with astonishment, untill somebody from the crowd gathered enough courage and asked Malaviya ji, “Your highness! what are you doing?”
“I have taken a pledge not to return empty handed from any of the places that I visit without raising any fund. The Nijama didn’t support me, and that is the reason why I thought it would be wise enough to collect some money from funeral for the fulfillment of my pledge,” the mahamand replied with enthusiasm.
This incident came to the Nijama’s notice and he was embarrassed. He called up Malavlyaji and provided him with funds for the university. Malaviya ji later earned famous epithet as a royal beggar for his resolute determination.
Giving up hope even before attempting something tantamount to accepting defeat before attaining victory. Hence, always strive in life.
Rsi’s have coined the term Isvariya-yojana (the scheme of the Supreme soul)- for all those incidents that occur in the path of attaining the divine and lofty goal, and have used the term ‘vipanta buddhi ka pariqama’ (consequence of a diseased intellect)- for all those unfavourable incidents that occur with those persons who compromise on their resolutions. Man alone, not the supreme soul, is responsible for his own fate. God has regulated us to abandon everything else and to be firm in our resolutions.’
There are many shortcuts for achieving materialistic success, but there is no shortcut for attaining spiritual awakening. Spiritual success can be achieved only, when we follow the path of honesty, gratitude and intense perseverance with strong and firm determination to achieve it.
(Excerpted from the book Divine Transformation: Building Blocks for Englightened Life, Ideal Nation & Peaceful World by Acharya Balakrishna)