Today we live in a world of opportunities. One just needs to reach out and grab from a plethora of choices that lie in front of us. The world is filled with such people who have been successful in different fields. Right from great thinkers, innovators, tech wizards, professional athletes, CFOs, CEOs, and the like, all the way to our sadhus like Thyagaraja Swami and Ramana Maharshi who have been successful in seeing/realizing God first hand.
The lives of all these people serve as great inspirations for all of us. The paths to success of all the great tech wizards and innovators and the quality of lives they lead right now are something many of us aspire to achieve. Both materialistic luxuries like posh sprawling houses, lavish and comfortable lifestyles, and the more esoteric joys of life like enjoying what they do. On the other hand, all these great sadhus are in the pinnacle of peace that one gets upon realizing God. We all know about the great joy and uninterrupted bliss that one gets upon attaining atma sakshatkaram, similarly, we also know about the happiness and joy that Meera Bai enjoyed when sang to her Giridhari. Such stories of success, both worldly and pertaining to sadhus, are plenty.
Every time we listen to such a story, we too dream of hopefully leading such a life one day. We too want to live like some of the most successful people in the world, or we too want to lose ourselves in bhakti as Swami Thyagaraja did. However, to be successful at anything – worldly or spiritual – this interest alone will not suffice. It needs some key qualities, which when put together, will enable success.
The first one is the ability to take a step back and assess our capability or eligibility for it. To explain it better, one cannot suddenly at the age of 50 decide to become a professional football player, simply because his body would not be able to handle it. Similarly given today’s context one cannot decide that he is going to start to perform tapas to attain God, again not because the path is flawed or incorrect but simply because one does not have the ability or the time to be able to successfully attain the fruits of tapas. And thus, after taking all this into account, we too realize that like Bhagavan Vyasa said, “kalau kalmasha chittAnAm, pApadravyOpajIvinAm, vidhikriyAvihInAnAm, gatih govinda kIrtanam.” (In this Kali Yuga, where the mind is impure, and the living is earned through sinful means,
and where living by prescribed rules is difficult, the only way to liberation is singing the Holy Name of Govinda!)
We realize that for us, the only path to Bhagavan is the path of nama kirtan (chanting God’s Name).
Once we set an achievable target, the next step is effort. Efforts in the right direction are paramount to success. If one wants to be a successful entrepreneur, one must from very early on start to develop the relevant skills and shape his/her abilities accordingly. And similarly, if one wants to achieve success when following the path of bhakti we must follow the steps described by Swami Prahlada in Srimad Bhagavatam (shravaNam – listening to Bhagavan’s stories, kIrtanam – singing His Names and glories, and so forth).
While efforts are principal, what elevates it is passion. Passion is what makes our efforts sustainable. A passion for the subject we are studying, in the path we are following and a passion to attain its goal. When following the path of bhakti, rather than only mechanically performing shravanam, kirtanam, etc., it is very important to start developing an interest in it and start enjoying doing it. It is the only passion that will keep laziness at bay.
The final ingredient in the recipe for success in this world is that factor of luck. To explain it better, to succeed at anything in life one must be fortunate to get the opportunity to do so. When it comes to attaining God, this ‘opportunity’ factor is nothing but Guru Krupa (the Guru’s grace) which is the final and key enabler of success.
With these four in place – capability, efforts, passion, and Guru Krupa – success in anything, worldly or otherwise is just a matter of time.
For more information, visit Godivinity.org