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You can be a religious man, a spiritual man, but to impart religion and spirituality to others and watch their progress in cultural edification is vastly subtle, and to work therein, the individuals must have special qualifications.
Cultural work is by its nature creative work which demands a response from that for which it is created. The true 'sevak' (dedicated worker) should not expect recognition of his work from either the people or from his own organization. To hope for patronage from the public is futile because it is in the nature of his work that no one will patronize and very few will understand him. But once the public does recognize the cultural worker they will lay enough adulation at his feet even to the point of destroying him. Either way, the cultural worker faces a hazard.
You, the worker, must be capable of surviving both neglect and appreciation.
That itself is a great 'tapascharya' (austerity) and this capacity you can discover in yourself only when you fall in love with the work and not with the persons or institution. This is called 'fanaticism', but without its bad odour. You do your work with fervor because you are convinced that it is 'the thing to be done'. You do it not necessarily for your sake, not necessarily for your country's sake, or that of your community, but you do it out of a strong conviction that must be done, and not to do it will be an agony. If that feeling has not come in you, you can all be labelled only as 'sevaks', you cannot work effectively in the field of culture.
For this reason, though we have many great souls and great leaders of thought, very few have been able to achieve anything or leave a mark on the cultural life of the country. Mighty men they may be. They could start schools and hospitals, but to leave the country at the end of their lives at least one inch more supreme in its cultural and moral life, one should be made up of sterner material. Ordinary mortals with their sentimental emotions, with all their weaknesses and passions cannot achieve it. The cultural leader may not even look like a hero, but his dynamism will come from the self-sufficiency within himself, from the conviction of his goal and his program to achieve it.
To be continued
About the author
Swami Chinmayananda the great master's lectures were an outpour of wisdom. He introduced the Geetha Gnana Yagna. He wrote a lot of books on spirituality, commentaries to Vedantic texts, children books etc. He then started spreading His teachings globally.....