Unseen Passage: Concentration

We have but one method of acquiring knowledge. From the lowest man to the highest yogi, all have to use the same method, and that method, is called concentration. The chemist who works in his laboratory concentrates all the powers of his mind, brings them into one focus and throws them on the elements, and the elements stand analysed, and thus his knowledge comes. The astronomer also concentrates the powers of his mind and brings them into one focus and then throws them on to objects through his telescope and stars and systems roll forward and give up their secrets to him. So it is in every case—with the professor in his chair, the students and his books—with every man who is working to know.

The more this power of concentration is, the more is the knowledge acquired, because this is the one and the only method of acquiring it. Even the lowest shoeblack, if he pays more concentration, will polish shoes better, the cook with his concentration will focus all his attention on the work in hand and will cook a better meal. In making money or in worshipping God, or in doing anything, the stronger the power of concentration, the better will be that work done.

Even though concentration is the key to acquiring knowledge—Concentration itself is not easy to attain. It is a skill that can be developed only through a lot of patience and practice. He who masters it is real ‘yogi’. To control our senses and to gather all our awareness into one focus is by no means an easy task. Life itself is complex and there are invariably several issues vying for our attention which makes it even more difficult to focus on only one thing. Even if we try to concentrate fully on the work in hand, our subconscious mind is scattered in varied directions and soon drags our conscious mind along, without even our realizing it. It therefore requires a lot of discipline, will power and self-control to focus or concentrate.

However, the effort is worth it and pays rich dividends in the form of accomplishment of our goals. This is the one call, the one knock which opens the gate of nature, and lets out floods of light.

Answer any four of the following questions:

  1. What is the pre-requisite for acquiring knowledge?
  2. What examples of professionals, who use their powers of concentration are cited in the passage?
  3. In your opinion, how does concentration help to acquire knowledge?
  4. Why is concentration so difficult to attain?
  5. List some qualities essential to attain concentration?
  6. ‘Acquire’ is a verb. Give the noun form of this verb
    1. acquiring
    2. acquirement
    3. acquisition
    4. acquire
  7. Which word in the passage means ‘unchangingly’?
    1. invariably
    2. varied
    3. vying
    4. various
  8. Find from the passage the antonym of ‘gathered’:
    1. directions
    2. concentrate
    3. focus
    4. scattered
  9. Yoga is a practice that combines meditation, deep breathing and stretching exercises. What is a person who performs yoga called?
    1. yogi
    2. ascetic
    3. hermit
    4. meditator
  10. The passage deals with methods of:
    1. acquiring knowledge
    2. being a yogi
    3. meditation
    4. concentration


  1. Concentration and complete focus on the task is the pre-requisite for acquiring knowledge. It is the one and only method by which this goal can be accomplished.
  2. Every professional, seeking to enhance his knowledge needs to concentrate. For instance, a chemist has to focus all his attention on the elements in order to analyse them and an astronomer studies the celestial objects through his telescope and observes them very keenly to unfold the secrets of nature.
  3. Human mind has immense powers and is capable of understanding complex natural phenomena, decoding secrets, comprehending and designing. Concentration aids learning as it enables the individual to use his mind to its fullest potential.
  4. Concentration is extremely difficult to attain as there are numerous distractions that compel an individual to think of several things while performing a task and thus the mind drifts away from focus.
  5. To attain concentration, one needs to have a lot of patience and practice, discipline, will power and self control to focus.
  6. acquisition
  7. invariably
  8. scattered
  9. yogi
  10. concentration

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