I happened to stumble upon Swami Dayananda Saraswathi’s Speech on ‘Choice’. No it is not meta physical / spiritual alone, It is practical advice to a well known problem. I transcribed the talk, so that impatient (I know a few good gentlemen) may skip read it and might listen to the whole talk if some part of the speech strikes a chord with them and pull them in. The talk is ~9 minutes and it is well worth your time in Gold.
We have this choice, Either
- You like what you do or
- You do what you like.
We all want to do what do we like. The problem is, it is not easy to do what we like. We find ourselves in situations where you have to do what if you have a choice, you wouldn’t like to do. Everybody’s life is fraught with situations where one is goaded to do (compelled to do) and one does not find a choice.
Even if I do what I like It doesn’t take time for me develop a dislike for it. And naturally so what I do becomes monotonous, what was once challenging is no more challenging because I do it with ease. I have done it so much again and again, it doesn’t give me any challenge, therefore I don’t feel alive when I do things. And much less it does not give me any kind of satisfaction, and therefore I have to give it up and choose something else which I like, and in an affluent society that it is easy perhaps.
But then, it becomes a kind of a so a (may be ‘you become a’ is what he meant to say) person very nomadic in your profession. So you do and you do not like and you move to another place, do something else and again to another place, to another place and another place do something else. So you become professionally also nomadic.
And one thing about a nomad is that a nomad never grows. A nomad cannot grow. And only thing a nomad sees is if anything is difficult he moves to another place. A nomad never grows. He never develops roots and a nomad is always a survivor, a survivor cannot make anything great.
So its very very enticive to think that I have to do what i like. But that’s not the truth in life. Therefore I have only now the other side is open.
If I have to be happy being what I am, only one thing I can do now. What (is that)? Learn to like whatever that you do. Whatever that you do. Whatever it is I should be able to like and that means I have discovered a certain freedom in myself.
You don’t need to grow if you have to do always what you like. But you need to grow you need to have a bigger picture. You have to be a different person if you got to like what you do. To like what I do is to like myself as person. If I like myself as a person, love myself as a person then anything I do I can like. It can be anything. Whatever be the job that I have to do I enjoy doing it because, I enjoy myself being what I am. That means I need to have a bigger picture. A bigger picture of my self, bigger picture of what I am about do this in this life this world.
That bigger picture is what the Gita gives you. The 4th chapter especially talks about this big picture, which is what we call ‘gnanam’. There is a great praise of knowledge and the chapter itself is called ‘gnana karma sanyasa’. ~ means with knowledge you are free. You are not free from karma, you cannot be. But you can be free even while doing karma. You can be free while doing karma. If you think that you will become free from karma there is no chance. You can be free in doing exactly what you like, that is not possible either. Neither from activity you can be free, nor you are free enough to do only what you like. It is not there in anybody’s life. Even gods have to like what they do. If Indra has a job to do, he better likes it. Otherwise he will be miserable. If Vayu, Varuna and Agni have a job to do they better like what they do, otherwise they will be miserable like many of us.
Therefore one has to discover that that freedom centered on oneself that makes the person enjoy himself / herself and thereby enjoy whatever that one does. Do you have a choice in knowing this now, that you don’t have a choice. You don’t have a choice, you have to know and you will know.
Credits where they are due:
Welcome to Karma Yoga!