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This BASAVA JAYANTHI: Let’s be ‘MINDFUL’ in Work
Vindya V Rai
(Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Abhaya Hospital, Bengaluru)
“Kayakave Kailasa” meaning “work itself is divine heaven/ work is worship”
- Basavanna (1105-1167 CE)
On this day of Basava Jayanthi, it is worthwhile remembering Basavanna’s teachings and philosophy and its relevance in our psychological wellbeing. Basavanna was a religious reformer and mystic. He advocated the formless ultimate reality and not idol worship in temples. He was the one to establish a spiritual democracy “Anubhava Mantapa” and to give practical solutions to various problems mankind was going through at his times. Basavanna propagated that through hard work and endurance one can attain salvation (true peace and bliss). He preached that no profession should be regarded as menial and should be regarded with utmost dedication. When one is totally involved in his kayaka (work) and aware of what he is doing, it’s equivalent to worshipping God in his true form. Engaging in work in this manner needs focused awareness or in other words it demands one to be ‘mindful’ in his/her engagement. As Basavanna’s teachings imply, when we understand dedicating ourselves to kayaka makes us closer to the Almighty or the ‘ultimate source of energy’, its effortless to have this kind of focus and awareness in work. This age-old concept of dedicated awareness is very closely linked to modern day “mindfulness practice”. Mindfulness is the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment. It is advocated as an integral part of different forms of psychotherapies recommended for healthy coping, anger control as well as mental disorders.
Benefits of being mindful in our engagement have also been widely spoken about in various religious traditions like Hinduism (from Bhagavad Gita’s discussions of Yoga to Vedic meditation) and Buddhism (mindfulness as first step to enlightenment). Integration of science and mindfulness has popularized mindfulness among the secular institutions of west. Mindfulness has grown into a useful tool in positive psychology and known to enhance one’s wellbeing, positivism and self-growth. By mindfully engaging in our duties, we can avoid dwelling in negativity of life and be more adaptive. Going in the traditional lines of ‘Work is Worship’, it carries a special significance in these troubled times that we presently face, when each of our dedicated duties in the respective field can help take us through this crisis ‘together’. This day thus becomes another milestone of opportunity to rejuvenate ourselves through his teachings. Let us be ‘mindful’ this Basava Jayanthi to celebrate and honor Basavanna, so that we can fulfill our vocations with excellence and joy, now and ever.