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By Dr. Nandkishore Rathi | Updated on Jul 31, 2023

Last week, I was searching for the dictionary meaning 'passion'. The first one, in most of the sources, was 'sufferings of Lord Jesus' during Crucifixion. I was bit shocked. Other meaning was 'intense, strong or uncontrollable feelings'.

I also came across an image of a flower called 'passion flower'. I got to know why it is named so. The flower compares to Lord Jesus's Crucifixion. Jesus had 10 disciples without Peter & Judas (exactly 10 petals/sepals in the flower), had a crown of thorns on his head when crucified (double row of filaments in the flower), had 5 wounds on his body, and 3 nails were used while Crucified (see other parts of the flower in the pic above).

So, if passion means suffering, then why do people say 'we should identify and follow our passion while choosing a career/profession? Does it mean that we should 'suffer? I would like to put it little differently. Some 'sufferings' literally are huge pain. No one wants them; e.g. suffering due to health issues, hunger, poverty etc. On the other hand, some 'sufferings' are intentionally embraced or chosen; e.g. a boxer likes Mohd. Ali practicing boxing for hours till he fells down, or a researcher like Edison, struggling to find answers to research-questions through multiple rounds of experiments, trials-errors, and data crunching till they are satisfied.

The second type of 'suffering' described above is a positive one, because you are willing to go through the pain of intense efforts to meet your uncontrollable desire for a particular dream or satisfy your curiosity. You are getting a sense of fulfillment through this. It is no less than attaining a high level of spiritual experience where the body, mind and spirit get aligned in one direction for a bigger purpose.

Putting this in context; people who choose their work with a purpose much bigger than just earning money, experience this state of mind. They understand themselves (values, talents, behaviours etc), and choose an activity (work) that is close to their heart. They dream big in terms of their contribution and in terms of larger social impact. They work on it like a mission.

They suffer on account of various obstacles and challenges during this journey, but they don't want to give up. They fell but rise again. They fail but finally succeed. In such cases, passion is the 'intense feeling' that one cannot control because one feels so connected with it.

Lord Jesus or Lord Ram went through so much pain (passion) because they wanted to give some message to mankind in the larger interest. They could have chosen the path of 'non-suffering (comfort zone)' but they chose to suffer (follow their passion) for a bigger cause. They never repented for their decision because it was a conscious decision. It was call of the heart. One becomes God (of some activity or work), when he/she pursues it in an area of his/her intellectual or emotional connect.

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