WORK IS WORSHIP The general view is that work is done in the office, the factory or the fields and worship is done in a temple or a church or a mosque. The feeling is that we work to earn money and we worship to get the blessings of God. However, the proverb ‘Work is Worship’ combines the idea of work and worship. Work, the dictionary says, refers to physical or mental effort spent to produce or accomplish something. And the word ‘worship’ comes from the old English word ‘worth-ship’, which means giving worth to something. So when the wise ones said ‘work is worship’, they meant doing what we do with the sense of worthiness or respect.
When we understand that all work – big or small – is valuable and do it with reverence, then our work becomes worship. Work is worship, thus, speaks about the right attitude towards work. All great people accomplished noble deeds, discovered new things, invented new products only because of their right attitude towards work. Edison, for example, held a world record of 1093 patents for inventions. All these were possible because of his worshipful attitude towards his work. The mother at home works with the same attitude. Whether it is sweeping or cleaning the utensils or preparing food, she does it with love and care.
Cooking, cleaning, sweeping may be lowly tasks but the mother with her worshipful outlook towards work changes daily chores into joyful jobs. In the Mahabharata, the Pandavas performed a grand ceremony called ‘Rajasuya Yaga’. Kings were invited from all over the country to attend the function. Each member of the Pandava family was assigned some work. Lord Krishna was given the task of washing the feet of the guests who came to the ceremony. He, the great Lord Himself, washed the feet of the guests with His own hands and set a perfect example. Thus, it becomes clear that work done with the sense of worthiness or respect is worship.
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Meaning of ‘Work is Worship’: Every man is born with two hands and a mouth. It means God wants us to work. We have to work to satisfy our needs. When a man works sincerely, he gets success in life. When he works half-heartedly, he is bound to fail.
As is the case with work so is the case with worship. A worshipper worships with some aim in mind. He wants to be free from sufferings. He does not worry about the obstacles on the way. A worshipper can find God if he worships sincerely. A worker can succeed if he works honestly. So work and worship are similar in nature.
Discoveries and inventions: The man who works hard brings happiness to the earth. We have many immediate needs to meet. Man discovered fire to cook his food. He discovered clothes to protect himself against cold. He had no shelter. So, he built huts and houses. Man invented machines to produce things faster. Man kept on inventing one thing after another. He succeeded in his efforts only when he worked day in day out. Columbus discovered America, despite all difficulties. Marconi invented radio after devoting all his lifetime to it. So work and worship are of the same type.
Happiness: Both work and worship aim at ending sufferings. They try to create happiness on earth. Man invented machines. They are of different kinds and for different purposes. What we did with hands is now being done by machines. We do not have to work slowly and painfully. Machines work faster and better. All this shows the truth of the saying that “Work is Worship”. Man’s work aims at creating better and happier conditions in society. A worshipper wants to be free from want, hunger and sorrows. A man who works for improving the living conditions of human beings is also a worshipper.
Conclusion: But too much of everything is bad. “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”. So, we should both work and play. Where work is creating something for the benefit of society, it is worship. It is a blessing to mankind. But wicked work like starting war, looting people, black-marketing, smuggling, etc. is not worship. Work that is done for the welfare of human beings is worship.
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