“O sinless one, certainly, how can any king accomplish his objectives if he doesn’t have such a messenger working for him?” (Shri Rama speaking to Lakshmana, Valmiki Ramayana, Kishkindha Kand, 3.34)
एवं विधो यस्य दूतो न भवेत्पार्थिवस्य तु।
सिद्ध्यन्ति हि कथं तस्य कार्याणां गतियोऽनघ
evaṃ vidho yasya dūto na bhavetpārthivasya tu।
siddhyanti hi kathaṃ tasya kāryāṇāṃ gatiyo’nagha
1. Between an employee and an employer
The employee wants to do the best for themselves. It is the open market. The recruiter helped in the process, in finding a potentially suitable fit. The salary issue is always a tricky one to maneuver. The overwhelming advice is to never reveal a number. You become pigeonholed, otherwise. The employer knows how high they can go, the number you will settle at.
On the other side sits the employer. They have a certain budget in their department; a certain expectation in regards to expenditures. Generally, they want to spend as little as possible on staffing. Get the most bang for your buck. Limit expenses in order to maximize profit.
2. Between a player and a team
Similar to the generic full-time employment scenario mentioned above, here the stakes are higher, as there is the brighter spotlight of public vision involved. The player is a free agent. They can go to any team they choose. They have their own demands. Maximize salary, for sure, but maybe get extra perks like a no-trade clause or guaranteed money up front.
The team will negotiate. They understand the going rate for a certain caliber of player on the open market, but they also don’t want to have regrets down the line. Sign someone to a long-term contract, only to have them turn out to be a bust later on. Then you are on the hook for the enormous salary, getting little to anything in return.
3. A lawyer and a firm
Similar to the dilemma independent contractors face in general, here the attorney could strike out on their own. Try to work independently, seeking clients for themselves. That involves more than just expertise with the law, however. Contacts. Networking. Marketing. Selling yourself in the best possible light.
The law firm has the appeal of steady work. A guaranteed salary. At a minimum you can earn this much. If you perform really well, maybe one day you will be made partner, and then get to share in the profits.
4. A doctor and a hospital
Another similar situation. The doctor could go into private practice. Try to build up a reliable base of patients. Maybe bring other doctors into the practice. This way the expenses could be shared. A big office, but a smaller share for the rent.
The local hospital may want their own doctors to remain as full-time staff. The potential here is to become head of one of the departments. Have direct input in the hospital’s philosophy, in how patients will be treated. Stay up to date with the latest innovations in treatment. The key is to offer enough incentives so that the doctors will want to limit or completely abandon their private practices.
5. Between nations
One nation has the labor and raw materials in abundant supply. The other nation has a large base of customers, who are wealthy enough to buy the resulting products in large numbers. There is an area for negotiation, but neither side wants to leave the table feeling they were taken advantage of. Engage in talks, threaten different measures as retaliation, see how the political climate is, and then maybe reach a deal in the end.
We conduct this review in order to highlight the abundance of opportunities for service in a material existence. As the Vedas teach that the temporary world of prakriti, the inferior energy, is a shadow copy of the superior realm, that which is never annihilated, there must be as much of a chance for service in spiritual life.
The key distinction is that the Supreme Personality of Godhead will always find work for us. There are no stipulations and there is no need to negotiate. Even if we approach Him as misers, wanting only to take, He will not outright reject the plea. The Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana and other sacred texts provide ample evidence of people enlisting in Bhagavan’s service, in a variety of ways.
The best servants are those who act without a personal interest. The ideal example is Shri Hanuman, who immediately made a positive impression on Bhagavan in their first meeting. Shri Rama, an avatara of the personal God, took note of Hanuman’s extraordinary abilities as minister, describing as such to the younger brother Lakshmana.
Hanuman did not negotiate. He did not promise to serve Rama only if the Supreme Lord would offer something in return. Even after accomplishing the most difficult work, with little assistance offered to him, Hanuman did not ask for a high position as a reward.
Instead, he stays in this world for as long as Rama’s glories are told. His recommendation is the most valuable, as proven during Vibhishana’s initial approach to the side of good. Wherever we find ourselves in life, whether high or low, we always have the chance to engage in meaningful service, such as with the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The best servant making,
Nothing for himself taking.
Ready over oceans to leap,
Eye on objective to keep.
Though highest praise to earn,
Nothing for himself in return.
Working still after Rama crowned,
Hanuman in this world found.
Categories: the five