Do your Duty

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Do your Duty

In my school I read a story "Sanyansi" (The Hermit). The video version of this story written by famed Hindi writer Sudarshan may be accessed here.

The story starts with the main protagonist ,Paalu, leading a carefree life loafing around with the boys in his village. At the age of 33, he gets married to a pretty girl, leaves aside all loafing and gets completely engrossed in his wife. After a few years, they are blessed with a child. Unfortunately, his wife died a couple of years later. The grief of having lost his beloved wife caused Paalu to lose all the interest in worldly affairs. Handing over his son to his brother to take care of, Paalu renounces the world and goes to the Himalayas to perform penance. He becomes a world famous hermit but still somehow, he wasn't able to find peace even in Himalayas as if something was burning within him. Eventually, he sought help of his Guru (spiritual master). His Guru advises him to visit his village once. When Paalu comes to his village he is appalled to see the pathetic way in which his brother was raising his son. Paalu realized the unfulfilled duty which was the cause of his unrest. He gives up sanyas (renunciation) and takes back the ownership of his son.

This story is not very different from the story of Buddha who renounced the world at the age of 29 leaving his wife Yaśodharā behind on the day of birth of his son. In fact, Buddha did realize that the birth of a son is a hindrance to his path of enlightenment. He names his son Rahula meaning a fetter on the path to enlightenment. Many years later Buddha meets his son and wife. Eventually Rahula follows his father and becomes a monk while his mother becomes a nun.

The moral of the two stories above is that there is no escaping from one’s duty. In our everyday life we perform so many duties – that of a son in family, of a worker in office, of a mother at home and so on. Our duties change with time. We have different duties at different stages of live. If one is avoiding or procrastinating one's duties then eventually reality will catch up. Unless one has fulfilled one’s obligations there is no peace.

One needs to perform one's duty with sincerity. In his speech to the graduating Harvard MBA class of 2012, Prof Deepak Malhotra talks about not being a thief. He defines thief as anyone who takes home more money than the value which he/she delivers - In essence those who are not performing their duties sincerely. Eventually the guilt of not performing one’s duty will catch on. No matter how much money one has made,one will not have peace. One can invent all sorts of facades – go to the Himalayas, travel the world, long vacation but nothing will help unless one has performed your duties and obligations satisfactorily.

In conclusion, one must not run away from one’s duties. There are different duties at different stages of life. One should not take more duties than one can perform. But if you did, be sincere and deliver!

Part 1: Do your Duty

Part 2: What is your duty?

#Gyanalogy #Duty #Wisdom #Thief #Gyan #Wisdom

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January 8, 2020 4:53 pm

[…] week I wrote about doing one's duty. An interesting question came from Rastra Kunwar- How do you know what your duty is? This […]

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June 27, 2020 12:10 am

[…] We want to have a taste, we want to feel good but what is good? Good is when we do things well enough to make them run well – developing human knowledge and helping others– but without causing damage to anything including ourselves. Too much sugar might ruin one’s teeth, too much salt might ruin one’s kidneys. In life there are so many things whose effect is much more complex than the simple effect of sugar and salt. Excessive pursuit of one’s passion without taking rest or breaks can lead one to physical or mental health problems, diseases which… Read more »