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Add emotions into your thoughts
11th March, 1990
My dear Pranav,
Vinoba had his own way with words. Whatever work we do we must put our emotions into it. Otherwise, it becomes drudgery. He explains it this way. A currency note is a piece of paper, When you invest it, stamp it with the emblem, it becomes valuable. We must invest or stamp our emotions in our work to make it valuable (1).
What is an idol? It is a piece of stone or wood or metal. By putting my emotions into its sculpting, I make it an idol of God. I have made a piece of stone into God. Stone can be broken, but how can you break my emotion? That is the beauty of Idol worship. The moment I remove my emotions from the idol, it becomes again a piece of stone, metal or wood.
Whatever we do, we must do with feeling. If you give wages, you take the work and pay the money. It is an exchange. But if you give dakshina (offering), it has to be given with water as required by custom. Your action or work must also be made moist or tender with your emotions. Then alone it becomes an offering. It becomes more than just giving.
An approach, attitude or emotion towards your work makes all the difference, Vinoba explains it still further. Two people go to the bank of the river Ganga. The water of Ganga is H2O for one person. He takes a bath and cleans his body; he obtains from that bath only physical cleanliness. The other person while taking a bath in the same river imagines that this Ganga was born at the feet of Vishnu, passed through the hair of Siva hundreds of risis and munis have taken bath in it for hundreds of years. Many great events have taken place on its banks. I am bathing in such water of Ganga (which is only H2O for the other person). The other person not only gets cleaned physically but he reaches a higher level of thinking. He takes a bath along with this emotional cleansing. His mind also gets clean with his body. The same action gives different benefits to different people. This way, even a dirty bull takes a bath in the Ganga and gets an H2O benefit of physical cleaning, but he cannot get this higher satisfaction.
Vinoba thereafter says that when someone wears khadi, he not only satisfies his physical need of covering his body, but also keeps the home fires burning in many a poor weavers' houses. He helps them eat at least once a day. He wears enough khadi cloth with this emotional involvement. A woman who offers water to tulsi before eating is joining herself to the total living creation in the world. By her action she becomes aware of the ecosystem around her.
Vinoba explains a lot of rituals in this way and invests them with a deeper meaning. You can find more in such things when you think about them. This is the beauty of the sutras in Hindu thought.
As a Hindu, you are not bound by a book or a word. You can interpret words in your own way. That is why ideas have always remained totally free in India. Different philosophies and ideas have flourished together. All of them are right, from one view point or another.
With love,
L. N. Godbole