Success, failure and progress1
Fear and doubt are two self-styled friends of ours who want to accompany us to God's Palace of infinite Light and Delight. They tell us what we should do. Our fear tells us that we shall blame God. Our doubt tells us that we shall fail God. But this journey of ours is a long one. At a certain point along the way, our teeming fear and brooding doubt become tired and remain behind.
We also have two real friends: courage and faith. We have invited these two friends to accompany us on our Godward journey, and they have accepted our invitation. They tell us that they will give us what they have. Courage will give us inspiration; faith will give us aspiration. Courage will inundate our being with inspiration so that we can envision the highest Goal. Faith will inundate our being with aspiration so that we can reach our destined Goal.
From the spiritual point of view, what is failure? Failure is an experience which awakens us. What is success? Success is an experience which energises us to strive for a higher and greater success. And what is progress? Progress is an experience which illumines us and fulfils us.
Failure indicates our lack of adamantine determination. Success indicates our tremendous power of concentration. Progress indicates that the crown of God's Will is in us and for us.
In our day-to-day life, when we fail in something we feel that the whole world is lost. We find it extremely hard to bury our sad experience in oblivion. When we succeed, at times we are bloated with pride. We cherish this pride because of our ego. At times we exaggerate our achievement beyond imagination. At times we want to prove to the world that we have or we are something when, in the purest sense of the term, it is not true. We try to make others feel we are exceptional, but in the inner recesses of our heart we know that this is false. When we care for progress, we want to be only what God wants us to be. We do not want any appreciation whatsoever from the world. We do not want the world to overestimate or underestimate us; we want the world just to accept us.
In our outer life, we fail because we do not give proper value to our goal, to our achievement. We have to appreciate and admire the Goal. If we give it proper value, we are bound to succeed. After darkness, dawn appears. Now, while we are living in inner darkness, if wisdom brings inner dawn into our consciousness and we do not appreciate or accept the dawn, then the dawn is not going to remain in us. When we become sincerely spiritual, we give the utmost value to Light, to the effulgence of Light. Now we live in darkness, but we will not be always in darkness. We are now fast asleep, but we need not sleep forever. Provided we have an intense inner cry, provided we give value to our Goal, we shall most assuredly reach our Goal.
A sincere seeker has a peculiar way of spelling the word "sincere". The inner philosopher spells the word "sin-seer". Now, in our philosophy there is no such thing as sin. What Westerners call sin is actually imperfection, limitation and bondage. A sincere seeker is a seer, for he sees his imperfections, limitations and bondage. Once he is fully aware of his limitations and weaknesses, he has already taken one step forward towards his liberation from bondage. At that time his goal is no longer a far cry.
We shall not fail. On the strength of our inner cry, on the strength of our inner mounting flame, we shall succeed. What we have is our inner cry. What God has is His transcending, revealing, fulfilling Smile. When our ascending cry and God's descending Smile meet together, we reach the supreme Goal.
We shall not fail, we cannot fail. We shall succeed on the strength of our one-pointed devotion to our Inner Pilot. How do we acquire this one-pointed devotion? We can acquire one-pointed devotion only when we have peace of mind. How can we have peace of mind? We can have peace of mind only when we detach ourselves from the tempting world about us and dive deep within to see the root of the Reality-tree.
We shall not fail God because we know what we have and we know what God has for us. There is a saying that "God helps those who help themselves." Now, some people may ask, "If we know how to help ourselves, why do we need God's Help? Or, if God is kind enough to help us, then why does He want us to use our puny personal effort?" Here we have to know that God's task is to fill us with Light only when we have emptied ourselves of darkness. We have to empty our vessel, and then God will fill the vessel. We empty ourselves of the ignorance of millennia, and God enters into us and fills us with Light and Delight. If we do not play our role, how shall we satisfy God? God is playing His Cosmic Game and we are consciously following the spiritual life, consciously accepting His Cosmic Game and playing with Him. While consciously and devotedly playing the Cosmic Game, we offer what we have. God accepts our capacities, our achievements, our possessions, and He gives us His capacities, His achievements, His possessions. He gives us perfectly, eternally and unconditionally.
We shall not fail God because we love God and because God loves us. Love is oneness, inseparable oneness. When we sing the song of inseparable oneness, we cannot fail.
FFB 39. Humanities Lecture Hall, University of North Carolina, Asheville, North Carolina, 20 February 1974 — evening.↩