Friday, July 28, 2017

Award yourself

On a recent outbound official trip organized by my employer, there as usual was a cultural night, an award ceremony, presentations by leaders, good food and fun trips. We, all the employees, look forward to it every year with enthusiasm. It is an event to meet people from all over the country, across functions, share experiences etc. The most interesting part of this outbound, which deserves a blogpost even after two months, is the award session.

Awards are given out for best performers who walk thru the crowd proudly and collect it, and come down the stage feeling heart bulging with success. This singular event has different types of impacts on different category of employees. The first one is the awardee. As it is supposed to be, it will be very motivating for him/her. It will be a lure for the other 'almost there' category of employees for doubling up performance next year. There is a third category, who does not take it very seriously and happily drinking the free wine and it is another ordinary evening for them. There is a fourth category, where I fall. The ones who become sad or envious or thoughtful or a mix of many other emotions.

Let us call this feeling 'gloomy' for the moment. This gloomy feeling, arises in me, not only in award sessions like this. It comes when there are disparities in life, in general. Disparities in promotions, disparities in CTCs, disparities in infrastructure of workstations, disparities in the living standards of colleagues, and many more. And the underlying tenet of this gloominess, is my value system which says no two human beings can be compared and no life is even a tad more important than the other.

Analysis of this value system for my own benefit:

Is anyone more important than the other?

In this game of daily life, if we are attached to materials, or even if we are not, we are invariably working towards sustenance of human lives, in various forms. All of us. Starting from the person who jumps into the manhole to clean the underground drainage system, to the MD of a company which produces garments for him, to the guy in the gas station who fills the MD's car with gas for him to go to office and review the profits, to the farmer who makes food for all of these, I can go on and on. In this deeply interconnected world, who is important and who deserves praise? Can anyone perform alone without this support system? Is it not one collective job of human sustenance and nothing else, that the earth and all the people in it are working for? Having said that, the question comes to awards for an individual for high performance. Does it makes sense? To my mind, it clearly does not.

Contributions - Low or High?

There can be low and high contributors to this sustenance game. I have planted 100 trees and contributed to the sustenance. Does that make me eligible for an award? To my mind, again it does not. If there are contributions to the sustenance support system, it is out of the things drawn out of the same system. So where is the merit?

Who qualifies for award -  Let us hear from Lord Krishna himself:

The only person qualifying for the award is the one who knows that, he is drawing things conscioulsy out of the sustenance support system (he calls it Yagna in the 3rd Chapter) and gives back things consciously to the same system. The fact that he draws more or gives more, does not really matter as long as he knows that it is for and of the system. That's what Krishna says.

Would like to quote from Gita on the above event:

3.5 of Gita: Karyate hyavasah karma sarvah prakruti jair gunaih - All beings do the karma helplessly as per their nature - All beings include the boss, the employee, the MD, the manhole guy and the gas station guy

3.9 of Gita: Yajnartharth karmanonyatra Lokoyam karma bhandanah - All actions you do which are not contributing to the Yajna, bounds you to this world - Which means though the awardee gets award s/he is still bounded unless he realizes that he is only drawing something from the Yagna or the sustenance support system and it is a privilege to be returned graciously.

If this knowledge goes deep inside, then every action and every word in our day to day life is an award which we bestow upon ourselves.

Written at 1:28 AM 28th July 2017, Colombo.