Eknath Ji: Mission personified through the art of management and perfection

A ship is safe at the shore, but it’s not made to stay on the coast only; the ship has to step into the sea to reach its destination. Similarly, this human life is like a sea where one has to move with a ‘Mission.’ Eknath Ranade, the founder of Vivekananda Kendra, embodies a purposeful life and the art of management. When Eknath Ji took the work of construction of the Vivekananda memorial at Kanyakumari, he used to hear from many people that ‘these works of memorials and monuments take decades to come, it will spoil your life.’ But Eknath Ji was firm and solid for the mission he chose.

Once Eknath Ji visited the shore of Kanyakumari with his friend Dr. Sujit Dhar, and while looking at the rock amid the sea, he asked him, ‘What you see there in the sea.’ ‘I can only see a rock in the sea,’ Dr. Sujit Dhar replied. Then Eknath Ji said, ‘I can see a grand memorial on the rock in the midst of the sea.’ For the mission to be accomplished, that kind of rock-solid determination, unflinching faith in oneself, and visualization must be. Eknath Ji used to say, “there is a difference between a pilgrim and a wanderer. Your pilgrimage only starts when you have purpose in life”.

Swami Vivekananda said, “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life; dream of it; think of it; live on that idea. Let the brain, the body, muscles, nerves, and every part of your body be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, and this is the way great spiritual giants are produced.” Living a purposeful life is living every second for that idea that wants tapas and karma, sadhana. A purpose only puts every word and action in one direction. Swami Vivekananda emphasized, “to pay as much attention to the means as to the end.” A systematic bent of mind, hunger for perfection, the art of management, and discipline are the means to achieve that purpose in life, which Eknath Ji exemplified throughout his life.

A purposeful life requires a systematic bent of mind where the whole life is to be systematized. A systematic bent of mind requires excellence, harmony, and work planning. Owing to their systematic bent of mind, great revolutionary Subhash Chandra Bose cleared the ICS examination at the age of 23 and rejected that within 6 months as it was not meaningful for the nation. A systematic bent of mind is free from everything external. Bal Gangadhar Tilak wrote the famous ‘Geeta Rahasya’ when he was in jail and not in a favorable environment. It was because the mind was systematized. A man with a systematic bent of mind will make a hundred mistakes if an ordinary man commits a thousand ones. When you live with a mission, you are not only required to do good things but to also choose between the good things. Eknath Ji used to say, ‘one must discriminate between good and good things. This discrimination requires willingness and determination.

The word management is significant when managing people or works in this modern world. Instead, management is not only managing people or work; it is a life that is first to be addressed. An organized life will produce supervised work and results also. Eknath Ji’s whole life is a perfect personification of the art of management. When many hurdles came between permission to build a rock memorial from the state and central government, almost everyone was against the memorial at Kanyakumari. Eknath Ji converted all problems into opportunities. Eknath Ji collected the signatures of “323 MPs only within 3 days across all political parties”, which compelled governments to permit the memorial at Kanyakumari. Every state government at that time contributed 1 Lakh rupees to the rock memorial.

Mission also requires a vision to be followed. Eknath Ji did everything with a mission through a concept behind that. His management was with perfection, and perfection was managed with vision. Once when it comes to installing the statue of Swami Vivekananda on the memorial. It was common to think of a meditative posture statue of Swami Ji as Swami Vivekananda found his mission of life there. But Eknath Ji had a vision behind this; also, he suggested a standing and moving posture of Swami Vivekananda. His thought behind this was that the statue should inspire and motivate his countrymen for the regeneration of the nation. So, a managed approach is required to do organized things.

Eknath Ji said, “when a man finds the mission of his life, he is reborn.” Life begins when the mission is found. Until then, only a ‘ moment-to-moment life’ wastes precious time. So, it is good to fix a mission in the morning of life as you do not know when the evening comes.

Writer– Satish Kumar, is the Vibhag Yuva Pramukh of Vivekananda Kendra Kanyakumari and a postgraduate in Commerce from the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi.

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