(Notes from the talk given by Swamiji Adhyatmananda Saraswati, Chinmaya Mission for Balavihar Children in Dombivli, Mumbai on 28th June 2009. These notes are written the way Swamiji spoke to the children)
We will start with a story of a competition held once in a village…a competition of cutting the rice crop. If you have seen how the rice crop is cut, you can see that it requires a lot of speed and not much intelligence is required.
This story is taking place in a village where two expert farmers, Mr. A and Mr. C, are competing with each other. They are given a large piece of land full of rice farms. Mr. A gets the left portion of the land and Mr. C gets the right part. Both of them are well prepared for the competition. Children, after I finish the story, you all should declare who is the winner.
Mr. A starts at 7 am and continuously works till 5 pm without even resting for a minute. Mr. C starts at 7 am and works till 9:30 am. Then he goes back to his hut and comes out and again starts working from 10 am till noon. He again takes a break of half an hour and continues working in the same way till 5 pm. Now, children, you decide who is the winner.
Few children declared Mr. A as the winner because he is a hard worker and didn’t waste his time. Majority of the children said Mr. C is the winner because he must have (Each one started to give a different reason):
- Conserved his energy by taking breaks.
- Sharpened his knife during his breaks which increased his speed and reduced his strain.
- Had food which gave him extra energy to perform better.
- Taken small naps to freshen up.
- Reviewed his performance at regular intervals so that he could get to know how better he should perform.
After all these reasons, everyone was convinced that taking breaks improves efficiency and hence Mr. C must have been the winner.
Swamiji continued – So, we can conclude, “There is nothing wrong in taking breaks”. My dear children, this is my first request to all of you. Always keep this in mind. Take breaks at regular intervals to perform better. In a survey conducted and studied, it was found out that after studying a subject continuously for 40-60 minutes, a student’s efficiency drops. While studying, try to change the subject that you are studying after every hour. Take breaks at regular intervals is very important but more important is how you use your break time. If you spend the breaks watching TV or playing computer games, then no doubt it will entertain you, but unknowingly it will take away much of your energy that can be used for studying. Allot different time for your games and utilize the BREAK TIME to do some hobby like singing, drawing, painting, gardening, craft, enjoying nature, trees, birds, etc. If you don’t take breaks, your system will break down. Always keep this in mind even after you grow up. How you do things today will transform your character. Have you every thought why Sunday is a holiday? Why do we have summer vacations? It is for the same reason – Take a break.
My second request to you is – Have a goal. Man has got the privilege to lead a life. In case of animals, life leads them. For us, to lead a life, we need to have a goal or target to aim at. And the target should be the maximum. The higher the goal, the more we take the effort to jump higher. If you are 4 feet tall and want to take something that is 7 feet high, you may jump and get it. But imagine a goal 10 feet high. You will jump but might not get it. Still, the effort taken for jumping this time will be definitely higher than what was done earlier even though the goal is not achieved.
Have you ever wondered why some cars have a longer life than the ones those were manufactured along with it? It depends on the driver who is using the car, it depends on the roads, it depends on the quality of petrol used, etc. God gave all of us the same body, mind and intellect. How we make use of it will determine how good life we can lead. There is a saying, “God gifted us with many talents. What we do of it is a gift back to God”.
So now, you have a goal. You sit in your car and drive fast to reach your goal. But if you travel in the opposite direction of the desired goal, the faster you travel the faster you get away from your goal. Hence, it is very important to review your position while traveling towards your goal. Keep looking at the map and see if you are traveling in the right direction. Speed does not matter as much as direction does.
Our goal and the path are the two things that determine our future. Keeping this in mind, let us all lead a purposeful life.