Concentration

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Tarun was always unhappy, because he was fed up with his studies. His favourite pass time was day dreaming. He would sit on his study desk, with his books open in front of him, but his mind would wander from friends, to foes, to food, to films, to games, to holidays and so on. He lacked concentration, so he could never hold his mind onto the subject that he was supposed to be studying. One day his father asked him, “Son, what would you like to be when you grow up?” He answered, “I don’t know father, I never thought about it.”

“Well,” said father, “Today wherever you go, look around at different people working in different vocations and try to plan your future.”

That afternoon the doorbell rang and Tarun opened the door to a carpenter. His father had called him to repair a window that had broken in the storm last week. Tarun watched the carpenter with fascination as the latter sawed and nailed the wood together. Tarun asked, “Please, can I hammer the nails in?” “Sure, try your hand,” beamed the carpenter. Tarun hammered in a nail and then went into a reverie… He was making …masterpieces of furniture in teak and mahogany. How grand those armchairs looked! Till … “Ooow!” he yelled! He had banged his thumb with the hammer! He mumbled “Sorry,” and went outside, nursing his swollen thumb.

In the evening they went to the temple. New idols of Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Vishnu were being installed. How beautiful they looked! The sculptor was fixing the pedestal as many people looked on in awe! Tarun asked the sculptor, “Will you teach me how to make statues?” “Why not!” said the sculptor. “Here, take this stone and try to cut a straight line through it with my chisel and hammer.” Tarun started excitedly. He placed the stone between his feet and carefully wielded the chisel and hammer.

…Soon he was transported into a world of exquisite marble statues that he had sculpted. But the day-dream came to a rude halt as the chisel went into his heel, causing it to bleed. Tarun yelped in pain, like an injured puppy.

He eyed the temple priest’s large belly and thought to himself, “Surely I can become a priest. All that these people have to do is to offer food to the Lord and shake the bell. And they get so many nice things to eat in return.” So, he went up to the priest and asked “Panditji, can I work with you?” “Of course,” said the fat Brahmin. “I shall give you a book of the shalokas that you need to recite for yajnas, prayers, offerings, fasts, festivals etc. You shall have to report to me at 5 a.m. in the morning after having completed your morning ablutions…”

Poor Tarun, there was no respite in any profession. How on earth could he possibly learn all those mantras? He could not concentrate on the answers in his science book. What should he do? Concentration was required for being a carpenter or a sculptor or even a temple priest.

Just then he heard his father, “Hey Tarun! Have you thought about what I asked you?”
“Yes father,” said Tarun earnestly.
“I’m going to be a good student.”
Sure! If you are a good student, any vocation is good for you. If you are a hardworking person and can work in earnest, you can master any trade!

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