Monday 9 November 2020

Sadhana Diwas 2020

Mananeeya Sri Eknathji, the founder of Vivekananda Kendra - a spiritually oriented service organization - was born on 19 November 1914. Vivekananda Kendra celebrates this day as the Sadhana Diwas. 

The Pandemic situation prevails. There are many challenges. The need of the hour is to focus on enhancing our inner strength, reminding ourselves of the legacy that we have and marching towards our goal. That would be Sadhana for us in the coming 2 years. On the eve of Sadhana Diwas, let us look into it in three ways. 

Mananeeya Eknathji was a person who would take up challenges and transform every difficulty into an opportunity. Collecting money for the building of the grand memorial in 1960s was very difficult but Eknathji through one-rupee donation made it such a movement that the name of Vivekananda Rock Memorial reached all corners of our country. When Vivekananda Kendra was started, its name had reached before the Kendra Karyakarta could reach the place.

For a Karyakarta what is the Dayitva or what is the place of posting or the field of work is not important. Two basic works are important which a Karyakarta has to do in spite of place of Karyakshetra or Dayitva. One is whatever is the work, it should be done excellently. It should not be half hearted or just managing the show. We should not even say that we have to do it to the best of our ability. We should say that, ‘I would raise my ability to do the work outstandingly.’ As a team also our striving should be that we raise our capacity as a team to do the work superbly. That is where the Sadhana aspect comes in the picture - to improve our personal abilities, skills and secondly to improve our inner qualities to be an effective and harmonious part of the team. 

Why the qualities required for working in team are termed as inner qualities? Because working in team requires large heart to accommodate others, new entrants; it needs patience for the other team members, especially new team members to learn the norms of the organization and function within that; it needs subtle approach in communication to mould others; it needs humility to take feedback from elders, colleagues and even junior Karyakartas; it needs a sense of ‘we’ to appreciate and enjoy the success and progress of Karyakartas in the team; it needs Yajna Bhava that by the Ahuti from all only the Yagna would be successful; it needs merging of puny ‘I’ into ‘We’; it needs a sense of embarrassment (Lajja and Sankoch) to claim credit for any success even if your contribution is apparently more, but we know that even small nut-bolt is contributing for the movement of a big machine or a wheel, thus no one can take full credit for any work. 

Second thing which each Karyakarta has to do, irrespective of his dayitva or field of work, is to associate more and more new persons with organization, out of which some would blossom into a committed Karyakarta. This vision we must have as to whom we can reach, whom we should reach and how can we reach to associate them with the Kendra. Individually and team-wise, we should keep this in mind that the basic work is to do the work excellently, and should associate more and more persons whatever may be the work. This is what Eknathji did in whichever work he took up, in spite of difficulties, obstacles and complications. The story of Vivekananda Rock Memorial is testimony to it.

If we see from the legacy point of view, then the history of Vivekananda Kendra has been of challenge and response. The very existence of Vivekananda Rock Memorial is the example of - Accept the challenge; respond it with your Purushartha, then something grand gets created. Wherever there was challenge, we had taken it up. The Rural Development Project was started because the Missionaries, Jihadis and politics in the name of Dravid pride were destroying the cultural fabric of the society. Overnight, a village called Minakshipuram was converted to Islam. Whole country was shaken. That time Vivekananda Kendra took up the extensive rural development work with cultural thrust. Likewise, most of the projects of Kendra are a response to the challenge. Our collective Sadhana is we should respond to the present situation with all firmness, creativity and foresight so that what we have envisaged as the work of Kendra in 2022 would be achieved. 

Whenever there are curbs or restrictions for movement, then as our President Mananeeya Sri Balakrishnanji says, it is the time to travel within. This process should otherwise also be going on but in challenging situations it can be more powerfully done. This is a great Sadhana that we have to enrich ourselves in skills, abilities, conceptual clarity and attitude. And we have to also enrich ourselves as a team.  

The Sadhana of reducing the ego and expansion of consciousness is best done in the efforts of team-building. For the work at the new places, we have to build the teams. Mananeeya Parameswaranji in one of the Akhil Bharatiya Adhikari Baithak had explained this science of team-building very beautifully. The gist of it is: “We know the technique of team building at our level. Now we are thinking of the team building in new places. While expanding the team, some problems may arise. We should know how to solve it. Our ideas are much bigger and wider. For that we need more and more persons of better qualities. From crowd, create a group and from a group, a team is to be prepared. Group is more cohesive, durable and having clearer objectives than a crowd. Group agrees to disagree. But group is not stable and durable, not equally motivated. Group can split. But Team is cohesive, integrated, identified with each other. Team is like a living organism, it grows, expands and works in unison. This kind of team is the core of the organisation. Various levels of teams are to be created. This team is to be sustained by intimate and regular communications and contacts. No communication gaps. Communication gap leads to misunderstanding. There is a difference between Contact and Communication. Technology is a good servant but bad master. Hence utilize technology with care. For contact, like giving information etc. use technology like mobile, e-mails etc. but maximum inter – personal, informal and intimate contacts and communications to build teams. By contact through mobile you can create group but not a team. As a matter of fact, in a group, relationship is formal. Team is informal. Without informality team can not be formed. There should be deep inter-personal relationship. Ego, formalities should not come in-between. Heart to heart communication should be there with each other. Before Mahabharat war, Sanjay was sent to meet Pandavas. On returning he told Dhritarashtra what he saw while with Pandvas. He told : I saw Arjuna lying with his legs in the lap of Sri Krishna. Seeing this informal intimate relationship between Sri Krishna and Arjuna, Dhritarashtra said, 'Pandavas are invincible'. 

If we keep showing our superiority, expect others to treat us with respect and decorum then intimacy cannot be developed. You want to develop a team, do not stress on decorum, do not maintain distance. Make it informal. Create intimacy. Respect and love each other. Our activities should be more like a family than the organisation. It means so much sharing, interacting, respecting and accepting each other should be there. This type of team building should become a second nature of workers. Agenda is not necessary to meet each other. We should meet without agenda. That does not mean there should be no agenda in meetings. Agenda is necessary in meetings but even that should be covered informally. Cementing factor that will sail the agenda through to success is this informal talking with each other. It can come only if each team member tries to eliminate ego. Sri Aurobindo says:  ego may be necessary initially but at certain level, it is a stumbling block. Therefore, if you suppress ego it may boomerang. Hence enlarge your ego. Embrace everyone with your ego, feel one with them, accept them as your own.”

In our work we have to bring in new persons and slowly make them identified and befitting for Kendra work. Now this is Sadhana! A very great Sadhana. Generally, we expect others to change. But before changing others we have to change our ways of dealing with others. Mananeeya Parameswaranji explained this very beautifully: “If we try to change anyone he/she will resist. You be the change which you want to make in others. Very few will not respond to your sincere effort and patience. Swami Vivekananda consciously expanded his ego to the entire nation. Every agony of the team member is felt by the other members like the mother feeling the agony of her child. Hence team-building is a spiritual Sadhana. Three things are necessary - Put in a conscious and sincere effort, have a great patience and start with a change in yourself. 

Workers with talents, leadership quality and ready to sacrifice are required. Thus, we have to raise the level of team building effort. Great work is done by the people who created great teams. No single person however great can build great work all alone, teams need to be created. Great people create teams. After Sri Ramakrishna’s mahasamadhi, disciples of Sri Ramakrishna wanted to go here and there. But Swami Vivekananda had the vision and kept them as a team together. That team of sanyasins created Sri Ramakrishna Mission. Dr. Hedgewar with 5 people started RSS. He was an angry man. But for the sake of the team he changed himself. This is the most essential quality in team building. You have to bring the desired change in yourself first. For creating teams, we have to put our ego little behind, put people forward, enhance your capacity of motivating others, guide them but from behind. Credit should be given for success to the team and for failure leader should take the responsibility.” 

In the coming years our Sadhana is creating, expanding teams at all levels. Problems would come but we have to solve them in the interest of nation. As told by Mananeeya Eknathji in 'Sadhana of Service', few injunctions we should remember – not to blow the incidents out of proportions, if any one makes mistakes talk to him directly and not to make it an item of agenda, not to generalize the mistakes of any person etc. As advised by Mananeeya Eknathji we should have large belly to swallow. The organisations are built on the capacity of the workers to digest the hurts and humiliations, and the larger and forgiving hearts. Thus, on Sadhana Diwas let us contemplate on all these thoughts and prepare the minds of our all Karyakartas to undergo this Sadhana of team-building in which Mananeeya Eknathji was a master. Let us carry forward his legacy. 

Nivedita Raghunath Bhide

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