What is Failure? What is Opportunity?
Introduction and Review
Blessed with a mantra from Rishi Durvasa, Mother Kunti evoked Surya Devatha and was given as the child with golden earrings, Karna. Karna grew up with foster parents and only learned of his true parentage right before the war. However, since Karna identified with the Kauravas, he fought the war against the Pandavas. It was too hard to unlearn that he wasn’t a Kaurava because he was too attached to being a Kaurava. If he wasn’t as attached, it would be easier to unlearn and internalize knowledge.
We are Prince Arjuna, in the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita, he is confused but he leaves the field content and free. If we don’t feel that, we are too attached to our name and form and unlearning becomes impossible.
In Chapter 5, Prince Arjuna asks, “As I act selflessly, what should I focus on?”
Lord Krishna responds that you must:
Let go of deservership (prasada-buddhi). Whatever comes, accept this cheerfully. How do you live with less deservership? By having less likes and dislikes.
Then, let go of doership (arpana-buddhi). Be more engaged in what you are doing, so you’re not concerned with the idea of who is doing. How do you practice having less doership? By making less excuses.
Question 16) What is doership? Forgetfulness.
17) Prince Arjuna’s Philosophical Question: (Chapter 6, Verse 37)
“When a man, though possessed of faith, is unable to control himself and his mind wanders away from YOGA, to what end does he, having failed to attain perfection in YOGA go, O Krishna?”
For those who are good people, incompleteness is when they do that which is wrong. For great people, incompleteness is when they compromise on what they know is right.
17) Lord Krishna’s Philosophical Answer: (Chapter 6, Verse 40)
“O Partha, neither in this world, nor in the next world is there destruction for him; none, verily, who strives to be good, O My son, ever comes to grief.”
For one who feels like their journey is incomplete, there is no incompleteness — not now, or in the future; not in this lifetime, nor the next. Any greatness you are engaged in is not wasted. The fruits, or results, of our actions are both in the future and in the present. Every day that we practice enlightenment, we are enlightening ourselves. Therefore, don’t postpone your happiness! Whatever you want to become, be that right now.
Nothing is destroyed. All that the mind has learned, all the ways that the mind has grown continues. We can only move forward. One who is engaged in kalyana (evoking egolessness) is someone who practices and will therefore become more courageous. If one is striving, one will never devolve. Keep moving forward.
Prince Arjuna asks: If my journey is incomplete, what will happen to me?
Lord Krishna shares: there is no incompleteness. This is a journey.
17) Practical Question and Answer: What is failure? Irrelevant.
Failure in the secular may be relevant, but in the sacred world, failure is irrelevant.
Reflection: How have you progressed on the path of self-development compared to who you were one, five, or even ten years ago?
Each of us knows who we were and who we are now. As one continues to engage in perpetual betterment, we become a better person.
18) Prince Arjuna’s Philosophical Question: (Chapter 6, Verse 38)
“Fallen from both, does he not, O mighty-armed, perish like a rent cloud, supportless and deluded in the path of BRAHMAN?”
If one is insincere in this journey, isn’t one like a piece of cloud, blown away by the wind?
18) Lord Krishna’s Philosophical Answer: (Chapter 6, Verse 41)
“Having attained to the worlds of the righteous, andhaving dwelt there for everlasting (long) years, he who had fallen from YOGA is born again in the house of the pure and the wealthy.”
Just as there is no gain without pain, there is no pain without gain! As you are engaged in goodness and responsibility, you are gaining — that is punya (purification of the inner world). If you engage in perpetual betterment today, you will sleep better tonight.
For one who has not reached enlightenment but is engaged in dharma, when the body dies, they are born in a home that is prosperous and pure. For those who are more evolved, they are born into a home where the people around them live by their intellects, not by their minds. That home’s purpose is for peace.
Prince Arjuna asks: If one is insincere, where will one be born?
Lord Krishna shares: For one who is engaged in Yoga, they are not insincere! They will be born into the home that is best for their evolution.
18) Practical Question and Answer: What is opportunity? All.
All that has happened to you, is happening to you, will happen to you, people coming into your life and leaving your life — all are an opportunity to follow the path of yoga.
Reflection: How is your current life your optimal circumstance for Self-realization?
Grow out of being an escapist and into an embrace-ist.
- Is it possible to let go of doership in selfish actions?
The word “selfish” is synonymous with doership. You cannot be engaged in arpana-buddhi and be selfish at the same time.
2. What are practical tips to not be afraid of failure?
The absolute response is to know your nature is Joy. You only fear that which is different: we are not afraid of failure, but of the sorrow that comes with failure. When you know our nature is Joy, then we are not afraid of anything because nothing can bring us sorrow.
Practically: prepare, reflect (make whatever you’re going to do sacred, as your dharma), engage (enjoy!), and practice (reconcile, learn from the experience).