The Inescapable Destiny of Man

When God created man and woman and placed them in the Garden of Eden, everything was perfect, complete and beautiful. There was nothing found wanting by the first man and woman because God Himself had made everything ready for them to exist there with total joy, happiness and contentment without any worry, tension or trouble. Adam and Eve were not required to do anything there to gain or earn to sustain themselves because God Himself had given everything free of cost for them to have and enjoy to their hearts’ content without any restrictions. However, there was one thing which they were debarred from doing – they were debarred from eating the fruits of the tree situated in the middle of the garden.  

So when Adam and Eve rebelled against God by eating the forbidden fruit, God had no other option but to chase them away from the beautiful garden. And as He chased them away, God cursed them by saying that from then onwards, the man would have to toil, labor, work and sweat to feed his stomach because he and his wife had fail to realize the magnitude of the love, freedom, power and wonder that was made available to them in the garden. Yes, they miserably failed to value the unimaginable love, compassion, purpose, plan and power of God. Thus with the proclamation of God that they now had to work, toil and labor to stay alive began the destiny of man with the concept, idea and practice of what we call ‘Work’.  

‘Work’ is intrinsically linked to the very survival of man and his society. Besides, it is work that determines the status, standard and worth of a man in his society. Work may assume different forms and nature in keeping with time, society, environment and climate. Works that were once considered as very vital and basic have today taken a backseat due to the advancement made in the field of science and technology. The advent of machines into the arena has indeed made very easy and simple many works that once required immense energy, power, strategy and multiple numbers of laborers. The advancement made in the field of science, technology, methodology and techniques has today altogether turned upside down the very nature and colour of many works. With advancements made in the field of science and technology, work is assuming a more mental nature rather than a physical one. In the olden times, everything was done by the bare hands of men and through his sweat and labor. But today machines, technology and the human mind are slowly altering this idea and practice of ‘Work’.  

After God set the condition that man has to sweat and labor to keep himself alive, work somehow took centre-stage in the life of man and his society. If a man wants to eat, he has to go out and search for food because food will not come to him. This was perhaps the first work of man. As men evolved into societies and assumed social, economic and political obligations, the nature and number of works also multiplied.  

Yes, the importance and the implications that ‘Work’ has in our lives can neither be overlooked nor denied. It is our earnings through work that we sustain ourselves because nothing comes free in our material-driven society. It is also our work which determines our status in the society. A person cannot do everything but I believe there is always something which one can do. There are jobs which everybody wants to do but which cannot be done by everybody. Some people are born with special talents and inclinations to do special and extraordinary things.  

To live a life of honor and respect and a life that is fruitful and prolific, one needs to cultivate the right attitude towards this very indispensable matter of survival and society called ‘Work’. Today many Nagas do not take pride in the work they do. Our forefathers not only believed in the idea of ‘Dignity of Labor’ but also demonstrated it everyday to their children through their lives and lifestyles. Our forefathers (though ignorant, primitive and illiterate) knew that it was a shame to eat without working. They did not depend on others to do their work for them. Rather they happily carried out all their daily chores that were necessary for their survival.  

But what has become of the present day Nagas? We say we are unemployed; we say the government cannot give us job; we say we are qualified but cannot find work and then we spend the whole day watching television, playing computer games and touching mobile handsets. Can we expect a fruitful and productive society out of such people? Certainly not! Many Naga parents spend their whole lifetimes and earnings rearing and educating their children in the hope that they would one day become responsible citizens and make contributions to the society. But today the children of many such parents are sitting idle at home surviving on the meager pensions of their old retired parents because they think there is no work. But even though they are surviving on the meager pensions of their old parents, they still want to use the latest handsets and drive the latest cars. Never for a moment do they bother to think what might be going through the hearts and minds of their hapless parents. And if you ask them why they are in such a frustrating situation, they would be quick to blame the government, their upbringing, their parents and everything and anything that they can think of. In this way they become more and more of a liability everyday to the society in general and their near and dear ones in particular. This scenario is making many aged and hapless parents go early to their graves with a heavy heart because their children upon whom they spent all their lives and earnings could not become an asset for them and the society.  

Now in the beginning when God Himself had declared that we have to work to survive and thrive in this world, there is no way through which we can escape from this destiny. So I believe many Nagas need to view this concept and practice of work through new lenses. When we say work, many Nagas take it to mean government jobs. But as we all know, our government is no longer in a position to give jobs to all educated ones like in the past where a bachelor degree was enough to make one sit in a chair and drive an NLG vehicle. The time has now come for us to explore new areas and new possibilities. In doing this, we should steadfastly hold on to the fundamental virtues like hard-work, patience, realizing one’s strength and weakness, dignity of labour, learning to do one’s own work with one’s own hands rather than depending on others, learning to start small instead of expecting big and instant profit, learning to bounce back even in the midst of loss, defeat, misfortune and discouragement etc, learning to make optimum use of one’s times, learning to endure and invest in the things that really matter rather than spending on and pursuing temporary profits and meaningless glamour and learning to have an unflinching faith in the almighty.  

Yes, if someone wants to live a life that is honorable, admirable, respectable, fruitful and productive and that can leave an impressive legacy on his children, society and posterity, one has to stand up and confront the idea and practice of work rather than trying to run away from it by citing this and that reason. A true man is one who is able to stand on his own feet and feed himself and his family and make contributions to his society. Yes, everybody needs parental support and providence during their formative years. But you can be a true man only if you learn to come out of your parents’ shadow and learn to face and confront the society with the true fighting spirit rather than being a burden and liability on your ageing parents and family. Your parents will happily go to their graves with a contented heart if they see that you are an asset and not a liability to the society. What is required of you is to read between the lines and learn to identify the spots and areas where you think you can find something to invest your time, energy and resources to make a living for yourself. I think God has already equipped you with that. Only if you would just look around with a clean, enthusiastic and vigorous heart you will find that there are countless opportunities which you can call work. Even if you are unable to find something that can give you instant currency notes, there are still many opportunities through which you can spread happiness or make a difference in your life and also in others’ lives, so one can begin with engaging in these because these non-remunerative works can be used as training grounds and stepping stones for remunerative works.  

If you cannot do what you like have got to learn to like what you do … because attitude also plays its part on our lives. It is said that “seeing is believing” but the opposite “believing is seeing” can also turn out to be true. Yes, you have to first believe something before you can see it. If you are not working or engaged in any productive activity, you are providing a playground to the devil to play his games on you because an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. So if you are not working but still eating out of others’ plates and others’ wealth, remember that you have become an insult to God because you are denying your God-assigned destiny to work and eat and therefore you have no honour, no respect and you are a shame and a burden to your family and society….