FailureUniversity of Cambridge; Cambridge, England
Riverside Lounge, University Centre
24 June 1974
It is said that the lecturer stands up, speaks up and shuts up. Here the seeker in me is standing up in order to offer his divine love to the audience. The seeker in me is speaking up in order to establish his spiritual oneness with the audience. And finally, the seeker in me will shut up when he finds that he has established his inner oneness with the aspiration of the audience.
I wish to speak on failure from the spiritual point of view. There is not a single human being on earth who does not feel that he is a failure. For his failure he blames many others: he blames the world, he blames his friends and acquaintances, he blames his enemies. But he finds it difficult to blame himself. Here we are all seekers, so we are all God-lovers. For true seekers, for God-lovers, for oneness-dreamers, there is no such thing as failure; there can be no failure. For earth-transformers, for God-fulfillers on earth there can be no failure.
There are two lives: the human life and the divine life. The human life sings the song of failure. The human life fails, but the divine life succeeds and proceeds. The divine life always succeeds and continuously proceeds. The human life fails precisely because it does not claim God's Eternity, Infinity and Immortality as its very own. The divine life succeeds precisely because it does claim God's Eternity, Infinity and Immortality as its very own. The divine life not only claims them, but also feels that it is always of Immortality and always for Eternity and Infinity.
The human in us binds; the divine in us expands. The human in us wants to wallow in the pleasures of the finite, at times unconsciously and at times consciously and deliberately. The divine in us wants to fly in the firmament of Freedom, Light and Bliss. The human in us and the divine in us both want happiness. Both feel that if they achieve happiness, then there can be no failure. But the human in us feels that happiness lies in sense-enjoyment or in pleasure- hunting, while the divine in us feels that happiness lies in aspiration, in realisation, in self-transcendence and in God-manifestation.
Aspiration is our inner cry to reach the highest pinnacle of Truth, Light and Bliss. Aspiration is the only key that can unlock God's Door. The very thing that is aspiration today, tomorrow is achievement. Achievement is self-conquest; self- conquest is self-mastery. Self-mastery and God-discovery are one and the same. In God-discovery, earth-transformation looms large; in earth's transformation, God's Satisfaction-Smile dawns.
Realisation is our conscious, constant and inseparable universal oneness. Self-transcendence is our ever-glowing and ever-expanding receptivity that lets us house God's infinite Truth, eternal Light and immortal Life. God-manifestation is our fulfilled promise. Before we entered into the world arena, we made a solemn promise to the Lord Supreme that we would manifest Him here on earth. When we manifest Him on earth, we fulfil our promise.
I wish to tell you an amusing incident about Oscar Wilde. Oscar Wilde once went to a party after seeing one of his plays. His friends asked him about the play. His reply was that the play was a success but the audience was a failure. In the Cosmic Game, we are playing with the Supreme. He has allotted a specific role to each of us. If we play our role satisfactorily, then that is our success. World- appreciation and world-admiration cannot elevate our consciousness. It is only in the expansion and heightening of our consciousness that we can see the Face of God and grow into the very Image of God.
In the spiritual life first we have to be awakened. Then we have to aspire and then we have to surrender our will to the Will of the Supreme. He who is awakened can never fail. He who aspires can never fail. He who surrenders his earth-bound will to the Heaven-free Will can never fail.
Quite often seekers of the Ultimate Truth are misunderstood by unaspiring people. Unaspiring people are very often loud and emphatic in their insistence that God-realisation is of no avail. Without the perfect knowledge of God one can easily exist: this is their discovery. Although they are not atheists, they do not care for the living God. But a seeker cries for the living God. Since we are all seekers, we are crying for a God who is living; at every moment we try to see Him, feel Him and talk to Him face to face. Unaspiring people put forth many tenuous arguments, but we offer them our compassion-smile for we know that they are totally mistaken. When these people become vociferous and supercilious, at that time we have to offer them our forgiveness-weapon. With our forgiveness-weapon we can conquer them in the inmost recesses of our aspiring heart. God is living, and He can also be living for us. What makes Him living for us? It is our inner cry, our aspiration. We can feel Him constantly. When? When the inner flame within us is constantly burning.
We are seekers, but we also work; we do dedicated service. When we work, we have to ask ourselves whether or not we work and serve devotedly, cheerfully and unconditionally. If we serve God in man devotedly, soulfully and unconditionally, then success is bound to dawn. Success we attain only through our dedicated service, only by offering our service with joy.
When we offer our success to mankind, we can offer our success as an inspiration, as something to increase the world's aspiration. But very often we offer our success to the world at large only for our own ego-aggrandisement. We want the world to appreciate our success and laud us to the skies. If we offer our success for ego-aggrandisement, we commit an Himalayan blunder. We are all cosmic players in God's divine Game. Let us play the Game the way it has been ordained by the Lord Supreme. Let us offer our success to the world in the right way, in the divine way. Otherwise, at the end of our journey, we shall miserably fail.
Just because we are seekers, we have to know that success is not our goal. Progress is our goal. Success is earth-bound. It is noticeable mostly in our vital life, the life that struggles and strikes and gets satisfaction when it notices an iota of success. In our life of aspiration, progress is of paramount importance. If we make progress, automatically we are succeeding in our aspiration, in our realisation, in our God-manifestation.
At every moment a seeker should feel that he is a murmuring and flowing river. Eventually he will enter into the vast sea of Knowledge, Light, Peace and Bliss. In this sea of infinite Peace, Light and Bliss, he will feel continuous progress. Today's achievement will be only tomorrow's starting point. A seeker is a divine climber: he climbs up the evolution-tree slowly, steadily and unerringly and reaches the Highest. But when he reaches the Highest, he comes to realise that this height is only the starting point for something still higher. He realises that he is growing into the ever-transcending Beyond.
When a seeker assimilates his realisation, he feels that there can be no failure. In his Heaven-life of aspiration and in his earth-life of self-dedication, his life becomes a life of continuous progress in God's manifestation on earth.