Monday, May 01, 2006

Success in Life

Success in Life

There was a talk on "What is Success in Life?" by Swami Dayananda Saraswathi yesterday at K.L.N. Prasad Auditorium, Hyderabad. I will try to articulate the 40-minute speech here. The learned and well-versed Swamiji laced his speech with characteristic humour and made it sound quite down-to-earth. Though I felt he could have avoided unnecessary swipes at other religions, as my uncle said after the speech, "Somebody needs to protect Hinduism too". Maybe it's true. I am thinking.

The Chief Guest of the evening, Hon'ble Justice L. Narasimha Reddy tried interpreting the topic in his way and gave his ideas on it. He said, "Success is something that is achieved on meeting Goals. An individual fixes a goal before starting out and at the end if he has achieved whatever he had set for himself, then success is achieved." Fair enough we thought. We applauded.

Then Swamiji began.

What is Success? You have a desire. You achieve it. If the means of achieving that desire are within the confines of Dharma, then it is a success. That's all. That's why you need people like hon'ble Justice! [Pointing to the chief guest of the day!Audience is impressed. Laughter all around. Appluase follows!]

In life, we play multiple roles. A father, an employee, a son, etc. There are homes in which "Father is coming" is announced as if some ghost is coming. And as if on cue, the children rush into their rooms hiding from their father. Everybody is running to take shelter somewhere. The only person to come out is 'the dog' of the house! Ah! What a success! [Audience is in splits! Applause follows!] In some cases, even the dog runs for shelter! [More laughter, more applause!] With the tail in between its legs! [Laughter! Applause!]

There are some religions where it is preached, "Don't have any desires. Be desire-less. The state of desireless-ness is happiness. Between the fulfilment of one desire and the beginning of another desire is defined as happiness."

Don't have any desires is like saying,"You are having an headache? Cut off your head!". Ha! Ha! Ha!

Now you laughed. What desire did you fulfill you tell me?! You were happy, you laughed. Sometimes, happiness can also be achieved by not fulfilling any desire.

Have desires. It is healthy to have desires. If you have desire you will experience failure. You will learn how to come out of it. You will grow as a person. But make sure the means to achieve your desire is within the confines of Dharma.

We, human beings, have two things to do. We have to survive, and take care of ourselves to follow Dharma. Because there are predators all around. Be careful. They are waiting to prey on you.

But we have one more thing to do. "Make-up". If we don't have hair, we do some farming on our head to help hair growth. If we have some hair left, then we need to comb it from one side to another. If we have to hear a swamiji speak we need to comb our hair, put on a good dress and come. So, that means we have three things to do. Survive, take care and make-up! [Audience is almost on the floor laughing!]

What is Dharma you might ask. The Dharma being referred to here is Samanya Dharma. Lord Krishna has said, "I manifest myself in the form of desire in you. I am desire". But before that he says, "I manifest myself in you as Samanya Dharma".

What is Samanya Dharma? In order to have a desire you need to examine if it falls under the confines of Samanya Dharma. It is something like the "Law of Gravitation" that a baby monkey knows. Have you ever seen a Mother monkey tell it's baby monkey, "See, you will need to hold on to me tightly. Otherwise gravitation will pull you down and you will fall". Have you ever seen a baby monkey ask, "What is gravitation?"!

Similar to the knowledge of gravitation to a monkey, is the Samanya Dharma to a Hindu. Why is it called "Samanya"? Because it is "Samana" to all. "Samana" means common to all. It exists in everybody. In Hinduism, ends does not justify means. Never. The means have to be as righteous as the end being achieved.

Finally, success is following Dharma to achieve a desire.
[Applause! Applause! Applause!]


Blogger shark said...

A good speech indeed!
The best part of hinduism is that it lets "you" decide what path you want to take....
You pay for your own deeds... No other religion gives you this kind of freedom:)

Though there are those orthodox-superstitious traditions (which I feel is more twisted and turned to suit various needs of people), but the beauty of it is you can choose to follow or not to follow.....:)

4:01 PM  
Blogger Swahilya said...

Thank you Adi. Interesting.

4:34 AM  
Blogger Has to be me said...

Thanks for sharing & writing abt the speech. The monkey's eg was just too good. Nice read.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Parvati said...

The speech inspires while entertaining us with its humour!

10:37 PM  
Blogger Darius said...

I'm limited in my knowledge of Buddhism, but I think it's more specifically the end of something approximating selfish desire that is taught. Don't remember all the items in the Eightfold Path, but "Right Effort," for example, would imply desire.

Here is perhaps a bit of a quandry: what of people who set goals, do their very best to achieve them, but encounter such adversities in life that they cannot?

Surely they are failures in a one way; but is there also a sense in which they are not failures?

4:54 PM  
Blogger mysorean said...

The option of choosing has been a result of the constant compromise between technology and tradition!

Thanks! It's a pleasure!

has to be me:
Thanks! Even I liked that example! He was talking about "Conscience" I guess. Right?!

Agree totally! It was inspiring as well as humourous!

I don't know about Buddhism. But in Hinduism, the Gita states, "Do your work and don't expect the fruit of the work". Maybe it is also referring to the concept of "Right Effort".

Maybe when you talk about having put in enough efforts, maybe time was not enough to achieve the desire. Something must have failed. Or maybe not achieving the desire is what God had willed!

5:05 AM  
Blogger mysorean said...

Just noticed that there were too many "maybe"s in the reply to Darius' comment! Maybe, it was meant to be! LOL!

5:07 AM  
Blogger Trespasser said...

Interesting post or lecture.

4:11 PM  
Blogger வேதா said...

i have never come across such a simple definition for sucess in life:) a good one.

8:59 PM  
Blogger gayathri said...

an excellent speech and a good post indeed :)
keep sharing these stuffs in the blogs..

11:54 PM  
Blogger Darius said...

ADI: I think I take your point... Maybe it was an accidental critque of the very concept of "destiny" in any form! Unless it was an accident destined to happen...

Sorry all. I seem to be a confused westerner lost among Buddhism and Hinduism. The latter I'm greatly ignorant of, the former somewhat. Went to a highly regarded divinity school in the US, but was disappointed that it barely touched on eastern religions.

Personally, I'm sort of a subversive Christian who doesn't believe any of the dogma. Of course a lot of Christians would say I'm no Christian, to which I'd say basically I'm not too concerned with labels.

But destiny - there's a bad concept! (Hope this isn't central to Hinduism. A lot of Christians go for it too though.)

How do you know it's God's will? Because it happened! Seems to me that any form of destiny can never be demonstrated, just defined.

1:50 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

The speach, of course is wonderful. But I feel it is incomplete. Who have the full form of the speach?

While Swamiji says about the samana, I think Shark is saying Hinduism says each have a freedom to take the path. Either ways justify the end or not?

3:08 AM  
Blogger Ganesh said...

wow wonderful
looks I have been missing some excellent post.

thanks Adi

1:44 PM  

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