Secret of Success
Sri Swami Sivananda
This article is from the book Self-Realisation.
What is real success in life? Is it material prosperity and thriving on well in this world with plenty of money and children or something else? Success is of two kinds, viz., worldly success and spiritual success. If you are in good affluent circumstances, if you have everything that this world can give you, this is worldly success. This alone will not suffice, because this world is imperfect. You must have success in the path of realisation as well. Then only will you have complete or perfect success.
What are the ways of attaining real and lasting success in life? It is easy to preach to twenty than to become one of the twenties in following the dictates. An ounce of practice is thousand times better than tons of theories. Now come to the solid field of practice. Become a practical Yogi of this world and the world beyond. Then alone will material and spiritual success ever attend on you.
Life is of two kinds, viz., life in matter and life in Atma or spirit of pure consciousness. Biologist and psychologist hold that life consists of thinking, feeling, knowing, willing, digestion, excretion, circulation, respiration, etc. This kind of life is not everlasting. This is attended with dangers, pain, fear, cares and anxieties, worries, exertion, sin, birth and death with their concomitant evils, viz., old age, disease, etc. Therefore sages, Seers, Rishis, prophets and saints, who have realised the inner self by discipline of the mind and the organs by Tyaga (renunciation) and Tapas (austerities), by Vairagya (dispassion) and Abhyasa (spiritual practice), by leading a life of self-denial, self-sacrifice, and self-abnegation have empathetically, without a shadow of doubt–like Amlaka fruits in their hands–declared that a life in the Atman or pure spirit alone can bring everlasting peace, infinite bliss and supreme joy, eternal satisfaction and immortality. They have prescribed various definite methods for self-realisation according to diverse temperaments, capacity, and taste of individuals. Those who have implicit faith in their teachings, in the Vedas and in the words of the Guru (spiritual preceptor) march fearlessly to the field of spirituality or truth and obtain freedom or salvation or perfection. This is the real goal of human life. This is the highest aim or purpose of human life. Self-realisation is your highest duty.
All these does not mean that your life in the physical plane is absolutely to be ignored. Matter is the expression of God (Brahman) for his own Leela. Matter and spirit are inseparable, like heat and fire, cold and ice, flower and fragrance; power and the possessor of power, are one. Brahman and Maya are inseparable and one. A life in the physical plane is a definite preparation for the eternal life in Brahman. World is your best teacher. The five elements are your Gurus. Nature is your mother and director. Prakriti (Mother Nature) is your silent master. World is the best training ground for the development of various divine virtues, such as mercy, forgiveness, patience, tolerance, universal love, generosity, nobility, courage, magnanimity, patience, strong will, etc. World is an arena for fighting with the diabolical nature and for expressing the Divinity from within. The central teaching of Gita and Yoga Vasishtha is that one should realise one’s self by remaining in the world. Be in the world, but be out of the world. Behave like the water on the lotus leaf. Give up the lower Asuric nature which consists of selfishness, lust, greed, anger, hatred and jealousy. Assert the Divine Nature, a life of mental renunciation and self-sacrifice.
Science and religion, politics and religion are inseparable. They always go hand in hand. Politics prepares the ground for the reception of the spiritual seed. If there is no economic independence, if there is no freedom and peace in country, how can the spiritual seed be sown in the land? How can dissemination of knowledge be made to the children of the land? How can prophets bring home to the minds of the people the subtle philosophical truths and facts when there is absolute chaos in the country, when their minds are perturbed and when they have not got sufficient food, clothing and other auxiliaries of life. The mind can receive the teachings of the sages only when it is beyond cares and anxieties and when everything for Sadhana is fixed up.
Rajas like Janaka were looking after the Sadhus and Sannyasins in the days of yore very carefully. Rishis had to be protected with plenty of cows and fruits in their Ashram to carry on nicely in their Sadhana. This was an important duty of all Rajas of old. They had to pay a very heavy penalty before God if they were negligent in the above affairs. They could not escape from the immutable law of God. Scriptures speak that a Raja is an Amsa of God and Lord Vishnu and that he is the real protector of the people. He is really an embodiment of Lord Vishnu. A portion of the Tapas of all the religious people goes to him if he administers true justice and if he looks after the spiritual people very carefully. He gains great spiritual strength and peace of mind, if he has good Sadhus and Mahatmas in his land, by taking recourse to their Satsanga. If a beautiful ideal Ashram for Brahmacharins, Vanaprasthis and Sannyasins with isolated Kutias in a solitary place with all the requisite convenience and a good library is established in every state, it will be a blessing for the state and for the world at large. Time and money spent in foreign travels is a sheer waste, if you really want peace of mind. If we really want lasting peace, and real happiness, every one of us should close our eyes, withdraw our senses and Indriyas and mind and plunge deep into the perennial Atmic spring within. Let us all tap the fountain of bliss and unalloyed felicity. Then alone supreme satisfaction will come.
If the householders observe the rules of life laid down in the scriptures, there is absolutely no necessity for so many Sannyasins in these days. It is only just because the householders are failing to observe the injunctions of the Shastras or the code of Manu, there are many blunders in the daily conduct of the householders. It is only to save the householders that Sannyasins grew up in our country, to lead a life of truth and sincerity so as to enable the householder lead a similar life by copying them. This is the real value of Satsanga with great men.
A close study of the observation and revelation of science brings a man nearer to God. Who gave the power to the electrons? What is that power that has combined four parts of Nitrogen and one part of Oxygen? What is the intelligence which moves nature? Can scientific inventions really make man happy? What has science done to us all these days? All scientific knowledge is mere husk when compared with the knowledge of the Self. Brahma Vidya is Para Vidya; All sciences are founded on the knowledge of the Atma. Man is growing more and more restless as his wants and requirements go on increasing with the advancement of science.
The only remedy for improving this deplorable state of man from all ills of modern scientific inventions is to go back to nature and natural thinking and natural living. We will have to adopt simple living and high thinking of our forefathers. Lead a simple natural life. Wear simple clothing. Walk daily; give up cinema and novel reading; eat simple food. Lead a hard and laborious life. Be ever self-reliant. Reduce your wants. Be ever straightforward. Ever strive to control the Indriyas or the senses. Develop noble qualities. Take recourse to the company of wise men. Remember God. Sing His Name. Feel His divine presence. Think aright. Speak truth. And act righteously. Learn how to lead divine life while remaining in the world. Serve society with Atmabhav. This is the best way for your salvation. You will have success in every walk of life and undertaking. Keep this master key with you and open the chambers of Elysian Bliss.
Truth cannot give pain to anyone. Truth alone can triumph. Truth alone can bring lasting happiness. We should live in truth only. Man is an embodiment of truth. You live and have your very being dissolving your mind and body in Truth. Realise the ultimate truth. It is very difficult to get a human birth. Having got it, you cannot afford to waste a minute, as time is ever fleeting. Become a successful man in your life’s career and become a godman right from now and this very second. This is my fervent prayer. All glory and joy be unto thee. Rest in thy Sat-Chit-Ananda Swaroopa.