Significance of performing any activity for its own sake

Significance of performing any activity for its own sake

We are living in a competitive world. We not only want to do well for ourselves, we also want to be acknowledged for the same. Hence it is no wonder that it is the carrot at the end of the stick which motivates us to do our best.

All of us who are willing to plough in sincere hard work expect to be validated. Despite being aware of Lord Krishna’s advice, “Do your duty without expectations of benefits,” we find it difficult to put it into practice. It is interesting to note that we are not alone in being guilty of this human foible.

An Upakatha of the Ramayana says that when Valmiki finished writing the Ramayana, he deemed it fit to be shown to Narada, who had inspired him to write the story of Rama. Accordingly, Narada, heard Valmiki out and remarked that it was good, but Hanuman’s was better.

When Valmiki heard this comment, he felt compelled to read Hanuman’s Ramayana. He set out to reach Hanuman who had isolated himself at a Kadalivana, not far from Ayodhya to pursue his penance.

There, the poet got to read the most exquisitely worded poetry set in impeccable grammar and meter and its contents seemed to be straight from the heart and very sincere etched on seven broad plantain leaves. Valmiki burst into tears on reading the work.

Hanuman was puzzled by the poet’s reaction. “Is it so bad?” asked Hanuman for which Valmiki sobbed away as he said that Hanuman’s work was so good that he feared that people may not prefer to read his version of Rama’s tale.

On hearing this, Hanuman shredded the leaves much to the shock of Valmiki. Hanuman said, “You need your Ramayana more than mine. You wrote your Ramayana so that the world remembers Valmiki, I wrote the Ramayana so that I remember and celebrate every lofty deed of Ram.”

At that moment, Valmiki realised how he had been consumed by desire for validation through his work instead of using it as a medium to liberate himself.

This anecdote reiterates the significance of performing any activity for its own sake, rather than for the sake of the possible returns of our investment by way of our time and efforts. In other words, if a deed is executed with utmost sincerity, it will definitely not go unnoticed.Indeed, the world remembers Valmiki and his Ramayana to this day.

There are a hundred thousand versions of the grand epic, which vary in terms of presentation and content, but none of the versions discounts importance and the role of Rama Bhakta Hanuman.