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The source of all excellence || On Vivekachudamani (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
8 min
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Questioner (Q): I have a question related to work. You shared an inspiring story of Guru Kabir and his profession. I want to have the same level of inspiration and energy in my profession. Your teaching has helped me to understand a lot about my concept of work and getting the basics right. Please guide me on how to deal with procrastination and low self-image resulting in lack of confidence. How to work like Krishna?

Acharya Prashant (AP): No, this is not what I said. Kabir is fundamentally devoted to the Truth, and in your question you are talking only of the profession. You are asking, “I want to have the same level of inspiration and energy in my profession as Kabir had.” You are saying that you want to deal with procrastination, low self-esteem, and lack of confidence, and you are asking how to work like Krishna. How to work like Krishna? Be like Krishna. You cannot try to emulate the work of a Krishna without firstly being Krishna.

At the center of Kabir’s life is not his weaving but Rama. At the center of Krishna’s life is neither Kurukshetra, nor Arjuna, nor Radha, nor Rukmini, not even Gita. At the center of Krishna is Kṛṣṇatva , the essential Krishna. Kabir is Rama’s first. The profession etc. are secondary; they come way later. But because Kabir belongs to Rama, so there is a particular quality in his work as well. And without even mentioning Rama, you want to excel in your work; that won’t happen.

Kabir excels in his work because first of all he is devoted to something beyond work. Are you devoted to something beyond work? If you are devoted to something beyond work, then you will not procrastinate work. If you are devoted to something beyond work, then you won’t have a low self-image and low confidence at your workplace.

The secret of Kabir does not lie in his skill as a weaver; it lies in Rama. Because Kabir is with Rama continuously, there is something extraordinary about his weaving. He is so immersed in his weaving that even his utterances, his songs, his verses contain numerous references to the loom, to the cloth, to the yarn, to the dye, to the colors, to the weavers. Now work is not a task, a chore; now work is not something that he bears. Kabir is weaving and singing; obviously he is not looking at the clock to strike 6 p.m. He is weaving and singing, and he might weave and sing all night. The weaving has been made facile by the singing, and the singing is occurring because there is Rama in Kabir’s heart.

Professional success will keep eluding you till you have Rama. So bad! Let me qualify this: even professional success will keep eluding you till you have Rama.

So, Rama has penetrated all spheres of man’s activity; it is not only about how good you are in the temple. So, Rama obviously is the boss of the temple, and you also reluctantly agree that without Rama you cannot be good at your home. So, Rama was the boss at the temple, Rama was the dictator at the house, and I am bringing you more bad news: Rama has infiltrated your office also! Without Rama, you cannot excel even at your workplace. Too bad. Now, where will you go?

Without Rama, you look like a fool in the temple. Without Rama, you get so much suffering in your house. Without Rama, you can’t excel on the sports field. Without Rama, you can’t accomplish anything in your laboratory. And without Rama, you cannot even make a good PowerPoint presentation to your client. You have no place to hide now. Run for cover—you won’t get any!

It’s not merely rhetoric, please understand. When you stand in front of a client and make an important presentation, what is it that makes you go weak in the knees? Expectations, greed. And there is only one solution to greed—Rama. You try to feel like a champion, but in front of your boss you discover that you have feet of clay; the champion comes crumbling down. Rama, and Rama alone, can be the strength in your feet. Without Rama, you can’t do anything nicely. You can’t fly a jet properly, you can’t sweep the floor properly, you can’t be a good prime minister. You can’t be a good anything.

Rama is inevitable. To the ego, Rama is a necessary evil. Rama is not out of date. Rama did not die in Ayodhya. We come and die; Rama doesn’t. Without Him, you can’t even move your feet properly. And if you can’t move your feet properly, just acknowledge that you are a brat trying to rebel against his father, Rama.

Rama is the source of all excellence. All excellence—Kabir’s excellence, Krishna’s excellence, the excellence of an astronaut, the excellence of a deep-sea diver, the excellence of a tailor, the excellence of a swimmer, the excellence of a professional, whatever. If you don’t have excellence in what you do, it is because you have been disloyal to Rama.

Who is Rama? The most attractive one. And you are saying your problem is procrastination. Can you procrastinate the one who is greatly attractive? If you are able to procrastinate, it only shows that you don’t have something in your life that is extremely compelling. You cannot postpone that which overpowers you, and only Rama can overpower you.

You are saying you are short of confidence. Confidence is such a shallow thing to ask for. The ones who have faith laugh at confidence. Do you have faith? Then you have talked of low self-esteem. As long as you are somebody who can be esteemed—you know what it is to esteem? ‘Esteem’ and ‘estimation’ come from the same root. To esteem is to measure. As long as you are somebody measurable, your measurement will be tiny. All measurements can be expressed in numbers, and all numbers are smaller than a lot of other numbers, so they are tiny.

Pick any number. Are there more numbers bigger than it, or are there more numbers smaller than it? Start from zero. All material starts from zero, right? Pick any number. Now, tell me, are there more numbers bigger than it, or more numbers smaller than it? We are talking mathematics for a change.

Q: It depends on the number.

AP: It depends on the number? Seriously? Pick any number. Are there more numbers bigger than it or more numbers smaller than it?

(Listeners give multiple answers incoherently and the speaker covers his face with his hands)

Next Sunday we will have a class in mathematics!

(Laughter)

There would always be more numbers bigger than any number if you are starting from zero. If the negative scale is not allowed, then there would always be more numbers bigger than even the biggest number you can imagine, because when you go back, you have to stop at zero, and when you go ahead, you don’t have to stop anywhere; you can move till infinity.

So, there would always be more numbers bigger than any number, which means that whenever you will esteem yourself or measure yourself, you will end up with low self-esteem; you will find that there are many more who are bigger than you. Which means that low self-esteem can be treated only by becoming one with the Immeasurable. The One who is infinite, immense, beyond numbers, can’t be measured.

We have people with small measures, we have people of large measures, and both will suffer from low self-esteem. It doesn’t matter what your number is—the number is small. What is your number? Don’t bother to tell me. It’s a small number. What is your number? How does it matter? It’s a small number. And all your life is full of stuff that can be measured in numbers, and therefore you always keep feeling small and small and small. Every number is so small.

Be one with the innumerable One, the immeasurable One, and the name of that is Rama. Only then can your low self-confidence be healed.

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