Last week, we read about the importance of practice. Now let us know and understand the real value of practice in human life. Practice makes you perfect is actually a wrong perception. It can never make you perfect, it can only make you progress, which means it will make you better than what you presently are.
At one point of time, you will know that you no longer have any obstacles because of the discipline you hold for practice. Above all, once you know that you are the best in what you are doing, you will have self-respect for your own self, which means you will not be disturbed by others’ opinion about you.
You will not only know that you are the best in what you are doing, but you will make sure you practice to be the best in what you are doing. The magical feeling of respecting your own self and not be disturbed by others’ opinion is achieved only by the powerful discipline called practice.
Let me share a beautiful incident from the Mahabharata which will throw light on the power and need of practice. After the war, the Yadavas came to meet their friend Lord Krishna. When they were about to leave, Krishna requests Arjuna to safeguard them till they return to their land as there were dangers of dacoits attacking them in the middle of their journey.
Arjuna, being a strong warrior, felt this task to be very trivial for which Krishna could have assigned some soldiers. He proudly said that he had won the Kurukshetra war and defeated the mighty Karna. Krishna rebuked him saying, “Remember Karna”. He then told him that every job has its own value and that he need not advise Krishna on his work. He also pointed out that every action on this earth is done by Krishna through human beings. Finally, Arjuna accepted his words and decided to go with the Yadavas.
As expected, they were attacked by dacoits and Arjuna realised that he needed to protect the Yadavas and started fighting. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to overpower them even with his mightiest weapon, Gandiva. He tried his best but the dacoits seemed stronger than him. At one point, he realised that even with all his efforts, none of his arrows were hitting the dacoits. They kept fighting even stronger and the place turned into a battlefield. This news reached Krishna and he went and fought against them and finally let the Yadavas reach their land safely.
After this incident, Arjuna was confused at his own skill and questioned Krishna. He was not able to accept the failure of his powers that he is known for. Krishna then explained that the dacoits came to know about his capability at the first shot of his arrow itself. “Had they known you as the invincible Arjuna, they would have backed out from the attack. But the first arrow you shot showed them the quality of your skill,” Krishna said. He then reminded him of his words about daily discipline told in the Bhagavad Gita during the Kurukshetra war.
He told him that “Nithya karma” is not something we do for the future. It’s rather the preparation in the present to make sure we always have a better future. It’s a discipline we do to hold our power to face the future and not to be a failure. “Nithya karma” is not to achieve success, but to make sure to not be a failure in the future.
He then said that Karna was gifted with the most powerful weapon called Vijayadhanush which made him unbeatable. He never fought a war; still, he used to keep practising his skills daily. On the other hand, Arjuna who was given the most powerful bow called Gandiva from Brahma, failed to practise his skills thinking that no one can defeat him. Lord Krishna then explained, “You need to practise the skills you possess in order to hold on to the blessings given by God.” Therefore practice is important. Remember Karna. This is not just told to Arjuna but this is for every one of us to remember Karna and to hold on to practice.
Till the last moment of your breath, treat yourself as a student and keep practising the skill you already have. It may be a thing as small and simple as cooking or drawing. Still, keep practising it daily, not to win anyone but for the joy of knowing that you will always be better than what you used to be. Even with simple things, the power of practice will someday make you a great person more than you ever imagine.
So, it’s not the knowledge alone that will give you power but the power of practice will give you the power to transform your life in every aspect. Knowledge without practice can never be a power; it can only be a burden. Practice won’t make you perfect, it makes you progress.
Wishing you and your family a new year full of unstoppable success and happiness in every aspect of life.
—Atmayogi Shri Aasaanji Aham Brahmasmi !
Atmayogi Shri Aasaanji is a non-religious, contemporary Spiritual Master and the founder of the Atmayoga Foundation (Institute for Inner-Science and Self-Transformation) www.atmayoga.in