Monday, February 01, 2010

Success Depends On Effort

We have all heard the story of The Tortoise and the Hare. Though very slow-moving, the tortoise ultimately wins the race, because he never stops going.

The hare runs swiftly, but is over-confident of himself. So sure is he that the tortoise can never overtake him, that he decides to take a nap midway through the race. He later wakes up to find that the tortoise has won the race.

Even though the hare has the ability to win, he loses the race because he does not make the effort to win.

In an earlier post we saw a similar sentiment expressed in this Subhaashit-

उद्यमेन हि सिध्यन्ति कार्याणि न मनोरथैः l
न हि सुप्तस्य सिंहस्य प्रविशन्ति मुखे मृगाः ll
(If any work is to be accomplished, strong efforts are required.(We cannot achieve an aim) merely by desiring its completion.
Prey will not enter a sleeping lion's mouth on their own. )

The following Subhaashit too, extols the benefits of steady efforts.
योजनानां सहस्रं तु शनैर्गच्छेत् पिपीलिका l
अगच्छन् वैनतेयोऽपि पदमेकं न गच्छति ll
The (lowly) ant (पिपीलिका) may walk slowly (शनैर्गच्छेत्), but it covers thousands of miles (योजनानां सहस्रं).

But even (if he is capable) an immobile eagle (अगच्छन् वैनतेयोऽपि) will not travel (न गच्छति) even a step (पदमेकं).

[ one Yojana (योजन) is approx. 9 miles].

The ant has both determination and the will to make steady efforts. That is why despite being very small, it is able to travel long distances.

वैनतेय (Vainateya) is the powerful eagle mentioned in the Mahabharata- son of Kasyapa Rishi and Vinata.

The eagle is a symbol of speed and energy. However if he does not exert himself, the eagle will stay where he is and not advance even a step forward.

Mere capacity for valour or strength is meaningless if efforts are not simultaneously made.


Vinod_Sharma said...

Pearls of practical wisdom these. simply but profoundly put.

manju said...

Vinodji- Sorry, I'm very late in responding to your comment-
Yes there is a lot of practical wisdom in these Subhaashits.

Renu said...

I really enjoy these there any book where I can read them?

manju said...

Renu- I usually refer to भर्तृहरीकृत सार्थ नीतिशतक and a couple of school level books on Subhaashits. But the translations are in Marathi. I think you could get the नीतिशतक with translations in any Indian language, though.

There are a few good online sites with translations in English-
1. Subhashitani
2. Practical Sanskrit

manju said...

Renu- There is also a good online dictionary for Spoken Sanskrit- the meanings of words are given in an uncomplicated way-
spoken sanskrit dictionary

Renu said...

Thank you Manju! I seriously want to read something like this, but I will get the book, reading online is little difficult to me:)