Life Is Action, Not Contemplation

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1.The end of man, said Carlyle long ago, is action and not thought, though it be ofthe noblest. Is it not logical, after all, that what man knows or thinks to be rightshould find expression in what he actually does? If we go on thinking andcontemplating about the rights and wrongs of a particular course of action and donothing practical, we might earn the reputation of being ivory-towerphilosophers, and that would be all. Total absorption with the thought processes,and continual weighing in mind of the pros and cons of a concrete step ormanifestation would bring little gain; it would be very much like a vain search forthe truth in a vacuum. Such a search is characteristic of saints and sages; it wouldill-become the citizens of today who have to fulfill a host of duties andresponsibilities. In modern life, man lives by actions, not by ideas, thoughthoughtless actions often prove dangerous and even disastrous. In the ultimateanalysis, mere contemplation signifies indolence, while activity indicates life andspeed, both of which ensure gains. In the divine account-books, Mahatma Gandhi warned us, only our actions are noted, not what we have read or what we have spoken or thought of. Man’s actions are the best interpreters of his thoughts; nothing else can be a sure index. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, eminent thinker and also, by common consent, a man of action, knew very well the near-fatal weakness of the Indian people. “Our chief defect”, he said, “is that we are more given to talking about things than to doing them.” Even though we are quite familiar with the theory of Karma, we are prone to believe that our destiny is already ordained, and written in our “kismet”. There are countless people in this country who just lie low, waiting for something to happen and also waiting for someone to give them food and succor. They believe that since they are also God’s creatures, the Almighty Himself would provide them the various means of...
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