Published in IJCP January 2024
Guest Editorial
My Work is for a King
January 11, 2024 | Sanjay Kalra, Jubbin Jacob, Bharti Kalra
Internal Medicine Public health


My work is for a King”.

The motto of Dame Edith Brown, this phrase adorns the walls of Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, India, the institution that she founded over 125 years ago (Fig. 1).

Figure 1.

What does this statement mean, and what does it convey to health professionals? The same sentence can mean different things, in an individual-specific and situation-specific manner. For one, it may mean submitting one’s work as an offering to a higher authority on earth, e.g., a supervisor or boss. For another, it may suggest that every work is being done for a spiritual leader or ‘guru’. Irrespective of the person and place involved, however, “My work is for a King” shares the concept of finding joy and satisfaction in one’s profession and work.


A traditional Multani (Saraiki) blessing states: “May you never sit idle”.1

While this is meant as a blessing, a prayer for a “full and joyful” life, the person at the receiving end may have his or her own opinion about work. One may view work as drudgery, or as punishment. Overworked doctors and nurses, whether at junior, mid-career or senior level, will have a rational excuse to explain their viewpoint. However, such thought process has no benefit. In fact, thinking about work as an unwanted chore leads to negativity, and kickstarts a vicious cycle of self-pity and deprecation. These feelings may be magnified by the not-so-insignificant social demands of patients and the public.

Dame Edith Brown offers a way out of this self-defeatist quagmire. “My work is for a King” reminds us that whatever work we do should be viewed as a service or offering to a higher authority, to our Creator. God may be present in any form, and can appear disguised as a humble patient. If we accept this concept, suddenly our attitude towards work will change. Once we view God in every patient we encountered, we will begin treating him or her as such.

Now, every clinical, administrative, public health or academic challenge appears as an opportunity to serve our “King” or Creator. A challenging case, or a complex academic question, should be treated like an arduous pilgrimage or a difficult religious fast, and approached with expectant optimism. If one welcomes these oppor­tunities with joy, a positive feedback mechanism or virtuous cycle of satisfaction and happiness will automatically be set in motion.


The concept of working for a King holds relevance for each and every person on earth. Once we internalize this concept, our quality of work, as well as quality of life, automatically improve.

Dame Edith Brown’s ideology was inspired by The Holy Bible. However, similar philosophy is followed by other spiritual scriptures as well.2-4

…it is not advisable to abandon a prescribed duty…

Bhagavad Gita 18:7

…do perform your allotted duty; for action is superior to inaction.

Bhagavad Gita 3:8

Man will not get anything unless he works hard.

—Surah al-Najm, 53:39

(One who works is the friend of Allah, and one who does not work is considered, by Allah, to be His enemy.)

“Verily, Allah loves that when anyone of you does something he does it perfectly.”

—Al Bukhari

Rabindranath Tagore, the national poet of India, summed this eloquently:5

I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.


We, the authors, admit that we sometimes consider routine clinical work as nonsatisfying and nongratifying. We then remind ourselves of Dame Edith Brown’s words and lo and behold, our work becomes joy.


  1. Kalra S, Unnikrishnan AG. Our journal: Arjuna’s choice, Eklavya’s voice. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2016;20(1):3-4.
  2. Srimad Bhagavad Gorakhpur: Gita Press; 2009.
  3. Effort and Available at: Last accessed November 19, 2023.
  4. 3 Aspects of the Islamic Work Ethic. Available at: Last accessed November 19, 2023.
  5. Rabindranath Tagore. Available at: Last accessed November 19, 2023.