Monday, 30 January 2017

Half-hearted Endeavours

There's a beautiful story in Zen Buddhism. Once upon a time, there were two friends. Though they were very close friends, they were just opposite to each other in their belief in god. One was a believer, who OCCASIONALLY remembered god, the other one was a hardcore non-believer, who unfailingly criticised, cursed and condemned god. One day both died in an accident and after death, they appeared before god. God sent the staunch non-believer to a higher level of heaven and the believer to a lower level of heaven.

This surprised the believer no end. He asked god, why He sent him to a lower heaven despite having faith in Him and what made Him send his non-believer friend to a higher heaven? God laughed and said, 'I sent your lifelong atheist friend to a higher heaven because he RELIGIOUSLY cursed me without missing a day. You're being sent to a lower heaven because you OCCASIONALLY believed. Though your friend cursed me throughout his life, he was steadfast in cursing me. You believed, but not all the time. 
The moral of the story is that whatever one does, if he/she does that with unfailing and undiminished sincerity, it's actually a quality. You should therefore be very focussed on whatever you do. God doesn't like anything done in a casual manner. Even if you curse Him, curse with complete conviction. God doesn't like half-hearted endeavours. This is applicable to our lives as well. A well-finished approach helps us scale the heights of success and an unfinished and unsure attitude takes us nowhere.

Half-hearted attempts in life are not just frowned upon by some cosmic power, they are disapproved of by people on earth as well. 'Pour one's heart out' is a beautiful phrase in English that connotes an attitude and approach of complete immersion. 'Doob ja samandar mein 'gar gauhar paane hon tujhe' (Dive into the deep sea, if you are in search of pearls). Anything done with dedication, devotion and dourness, will eventually be fruitful. 'Aadhi koshishein naakaam hoti hain/Poori koshishein kaamyaab hoti hain' (Half attempts often fail but dedicated endeavours yield results). Human life is a saga of endeavours failed or succeeded.

When Sir Stafford Cripps came to India with his Cripps Mission during the Second World War, he first met Mahatma Gandhi and his spontaneous reaction was, ' Here's a man who does everything wholeheartedly and leaves nothing incomplete.' This is the very essence of life and greatness: Leaving nothing incomplete and doing everything with a consummate sense of commitment. Fractured intentions lead you nowhere. Akbar Ilahabadi poetically said, 'Jo bhi karo dil se karo/ koi shak ho toh na karo' (Whatever you do, do wholeheartedly/If you've any doubt, you had better not do that). An invaluable piece of advice, I must say. 

                                  ----Sumit Paul


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