Skill in Action-3

The following post is based on Acharya Shree’s book karya kaushal ke sootra

One of the most important principles of skill in action is emotional balance. I once came across a book written by a professor of Harvard University – “Emotional Intelligence”. The author performed many surveys and experiments and concluded that the ones with less educational qualification but a high level of emotional balance are heads of organisations. While highly educated people who have a low level of emotional balance are the ones working under the former.

This means education is just one parameter. In addition to intelligence, one’s emotional intelligence is also considered while hiring.

If one’s emotions are too volatile, neither anybody can stay near them nor they can stay near anyone. There is no question of skillful work when one’s emotions are volatile. The most conducive state is when one is able to work along with others and others are able to work along with them.

The kingdom of emotions is huge. We’ll focus on a few aspects. The first principle of emotional intelligence is the development of endurance or tolerance. Only one who knows how to bear with others can be skillful in his actions. Only he can take others along with him/her. The one who cannot endure can neither walk himself nor can he take others along with him.

One day, Acharya Tulsi said – Nobody has to endure as much as the Acharya. A skillful Acharya (ie the head of munis) is one who has kshamta (ie ability), mamta (ie mine-ness), and samta( ie equanimity). One must have endurance, love, and a neutral view point while working to become an acharya.

The one who cannot tolerate people who are near him and people below his position, he cannot be skillful. In the camps of Prekshadhyan,  tolerance is contemplated after meditation sessions. Through contemplation, tolerance can be developed. Some people have a natural ability to tolerate while some don’t. But, with practice, the ability to tolerate can be developed.

A person who has learnt to tolerate is indeed very skillful. He knows when to speak and when not to speak. For instance if a colleague or family member is angry, at that time one must keep silence and must be able to tolerate the other person’s anger. If instead one also reacts in anger, the situation can worsen.

The second quality we must inculcate within ourselves is that of the ability to adjust. Once I was sitting in a room where a window was being installed. The labourer would make a latch, try fitting it, and if that din’t fit, would keep making efforts through wood cutting. I observed – so many efforts need to be put in order to fit a non-existent thing. For a living being to fit in, the difficulty level is more. But, if one knows how to adjust or harmonize, they can stay with two more people and even a hundred. The ability to establish harmony is an important key for emotional intelligence.

The third important quality is focus. A scientist wrote 900 scientific papers. But, could not complete even one. Somebody commented – if he had completed even one paper, he could have been a great scientist of his times.

Many people face the same difficulty. One day, they say they’ll start this business and after few days, they change their mind and venture on to another. One cannot be skillful when one is not focused. If we take one problem and invest months to solve it, eventually the problem will be solved.

The question is, how does one develop focus?

The practice of  prekshadhyan which includes the practice of deergha shwaas results in an increase in focus. After attending meditation camps, one must gauge their degree of focus. Has it improved or not? Results should be measures. Efforts alone do not hold any meaning.

There has been a worldwide reflection on the principles of skillful work. Many principles have come into the picture. We must take them into account as well. What we get out of practising Prekshadhyan is also important. Reaping the benefits of the practice can help us immensely to become skillful in our behaviour and work.




Skill In Action-2

(Following post is based on Acharya Shree’s book, karya kaushal ka sootra)

There are different facets of life. Attending to a single facet does not bring fulfilment. For a sense of fulfilment, one must attend to several dimensions, which can be compartmentalised into : spiritual progress and development of worldly skills.

A human being possesses skill- that is the second aspect of life. Through meditation, one’s spiritual dimension grows. This is the main result of meditation. However, meditation also leads to the development of worldly skills. If despite practicing meditation one sees no development in worldly skills, then one must realize that there is some lack in their practice.

A man is a societal being: he lives in a society which has various units. Family is a unit. Organisation is a unit. Nation is a unit. All of these units are a societal. He lives in all of them – is related to all of them. When one lives in a society, the question of behaviour comes into being. A t the level of soul, there is no expectation of behaviour. But, at the level of relationships, the question arises- how one should behave with each other and whatever we’re doing, how do we do it with skill?

The first principle of skillful behaviour is – change of perspective – development of a many sided perspective. Anekant is instrumental when interacting with the world. Therefore, Acharya Siddhsen writes in sanmati tark , without anekant, even worldly interactions don’t work.When our point of view is just one-sided, our interactions in the world don’t work.

In the context of skillful work, two principles of anekant must be taken into consideration: inter-dependence and adjustment. A skillful person is one who understands expectations. A manager, director needs the contribution of many people. If he doesn’t know the principle of inter-dependence, then he cannot perform his duty well. We’re all inter-dependent. Without a helper, the central authority cannot work.

A muni approached acharya Kalugani and exclaimed-  Gurudev, this muni says that he does’nt need me. His holiness Kalugani, asked for that muni and told him- my work does not happen without a sadhu. You may not need him, but I need him. I cannot separate him.

If we experience that we need a particular individual, our behaviour towards them will also be nice.

The struggle between mill workers and labourers is because of the limited perception of mill owners. They want to boost their profits by giving less to labourers. This one-sided view point results into the exploitation of labourers. A skilled person is one who achieves his and other’s means, both.

The second principle is adjustment. Due to differences in viewpoints, there are fights or struggles. When there are differences in viewpoints, no work can be done. At such moments, the principle of adjustment must be applied. One should be as skilled as the potter who learnt to establish adjustment.

The potter had two girls. One girl was married to a farmer and the other was married to a potter. Some time later, he went to see both the girls. First, he went to meet the girl whose husband made pots. He asked her, how is everything going? She said-everything is fine but a problem has come our way. The pots are drying and the clouds have arrived. If the rains come, all the pots will be damaged. Please pray that the clouds don’t rain! The potter went to his second daughter and asked her about her life. She replied – everything is fine but it has been a while since the rains have come. If they don’t come, we won’t get a good harvest! Please pray for me that the rains come soon.

Both daughters wanted opposite things. The potter was an intelligent man. He called both the girls and said – “if the rains come, her fields will yield crops and your pots will be damaged. If the rains don’t come, her pots will dry up and your field won’t yield anything. So, if the rains do come, you, the farmer’s wife, must give half the yield of your field to your sister. And if the rains don’t come, you, the potter’s wife, must give half of the pots to your sister.”

In the world, opposites exist. Everything has a different quality. And thus, the existence of opposites is natural. Establishing adjustment amidst opposites is a trait of the skillful one.