The life of action1

One day, a young man came to his Master with a problem. He had to make a decision, but he was not sure which course to take, and he was all the time changing his mind. “What should I do, Master?” he asked.

The Master said, “This moment you want to do something and the next moment you don’t want to do that very thing. But I wish to tell you that by doing a particular thing or not doing it you are not going to solve your problems. If you say that you won’t do something, you are creating problems for yourself; and if you say that you will do it, you are again creating problems for yourself.”

The disciple asked, “Then what should I do? Either I have to do a particular thing or not do that thing.”

The Master replied, “If you are doing something, then feel that God is doing it in and through you. If you decide not to do something, then feel that it is God who is not doing that thing. Always feel that, while you are going forward, God is working in and through you, and while you are going backward, He is also doing the same.”

“But Master,” the disciple said, “sometimes when I do something, I feel that instead of going forward and upward, I am going backward and downward. And since I don’t know what is the right thing to do, I don’t do anything.”

The Master said, “You have to feel that you are like a carpenter’s saw. When it goes forward, it cuts; and when it returns to the starting point, again it cuts. In your spiritual life also, when you go upward, feel that you are going up to realise God; and when you come down, feel that you are coming down to manifest God. At every moment feel that you are standing in front of a tree. When you climb up, feel that you are going to realise; and when you climb down, feel that you are going to manifest. So whether you are going up or going down, you are always acting.

“But you have to know if it is the Will of God for you to go up or down. And even if you do not know what is the Will of God, it is better that you act than not act, for action is infinitely superior to non-action. If you act, you will get the capacity for more action. If you do something wrong today, then tomorrow or the day after tomorrow you will have the capacity to do the right thing. But if you don’t act at all because you are afraid of making a mistake, then you won’t do anything either today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, and you will lose the strength ever to act.

“So if you don’t know what is right, the second best thing is to use your inspiration and aspiration to do what you feel is best. If it is not the right thing, God will sympathise with you and show His Compassion because you tried, although you didn’t know what the right thing was. Just because you tried to do the right thing according to your own understanding, God will give you more opportunity and more capacity to do the right thing eventually.

“So, my son, always act! The life of action is infinitely better than the life of non-action. You may not walk along the right road, but if you do not want to walk along any road at all, what can God do? My theory is to be like a carpenter’s saw, going forward and backward. Go forward to realise and come back to manifest. Climb up the tree, get the fruits and bring them down to share with fellow seekers. That is the right way to please God in God’s own Way.”

  1. GIM 76. 18 January 1979

Sri Chinmoy, Great Indian meals: divinely delicious and supremely nourishing, part 4.First published by Agni Press in 1979.

This is the 378th book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.


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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book Great Indian meals: divinely delicious and supremely nourishing, part 4, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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