April 30, 2013 Comments Off on Self-effort

Question: What then is the scope of self-effort in human life?

Poojya Swamiji’s Answer: This question had occupied the thinkers and philosophers from time to time. The subject `Providence versus self-effort’ has been the basis of many philosophical discussions. Seekers and devotees are equally strong in holding each to be paramount-

Providence as well as self-effort.

When one surrenders to the Providence, does he become a non-acting individual? Hanuman is the best example. With an attitude of absolute surrender to Lord Rama, he set himself out of Lanka – a venture that was impossible for Rama himself, at least in the way Hanuman undertook. Did the exclusive devotional surrender of Hanuman made him idle or extraordinarily active? Surrender and reliance make one capable of such unique and exemplary action that others cannot even think of.

So do not equate surrender with inaction. And even in the pursuit of surrender, what strives and achieves is verily the human effort – the commitment of mind and intellect.

Any event or creation in the visible world always follows some movement or effort. And in the human world, is there anything created other than by human effort, individual or collective endeavour? The home, articles of use, food items, dress, educational centers and so many other items of our individual and community life, all are made by specific efforts and endeavours on our part. Where is then the question of sparing our effort?

It is this indispensable effort of mankind that becomes facile, natural and unobstructed by fostering the note of surrender. In truth `surrender’ is a sublime psychological orientation which when accompanies human effort, makes mankind’s progress more and more effective and harmonious with Nature.

Question: Can human effort flourish equally effectively even without surrender?

Poojya Swamiji’s Answer: Yes; but the mind and intelligence must acquire the same virtues and qualities as will arise from surrender. Confidence, composure, simplicity, acceptance, clarity and the like, when graces one’s personality, self-effort will become equally effective. There are instances where great exponents clarify this point unambiguously.

God is not particular that you should single Him out for honouring. He does not look for your recognition. It is enough if you are able to recognize your own worth well and employ it wholeheartedly. Your worth is His own partial worth. You may doubt its truth, but He will not. The need to posit a `creator’ arises only for those who do not recognize Creation AS IT IS.

Whether it is with surrender to a Superior Source or with reliance on yourself, the qualities and virtues leading to excellence must be acquired, preserved and displayed. In secular life or in spiritual pursuit, it is these qualities and their application that verily matter. – Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha [This is a correspondence with Poojya Swamiji published in the May-Jun 1993 issue of Vicharasetu](c) Narayanashrama Tapovanam, 2008
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