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Failure is the pillar of success

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Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

As we have sometimes the proverb, that "Failure is the pillar of success," so especially in the spiritual life, this failure is not discouraging.
Lecture on BG 6.40-43 -- New York, September 18, 1966:

Now, there is a story. There are many stories. One of them I am citing. It is very interesting. Viśvāmitra Muni. Viśvāmitra Muni, he was a great king, kṣatriya, but his priest, Vasiṣṭha Muni, he had great spiritual power. So he renounced his kingdom. He wanted to advance. He was kingly, royal order, but still, he wanted to advance in the spiritual orders. So he adopted yoga process, meditation. That time it was possible for adopting this process, yoga process. So he was meditating in such a way that the Indra, who was the king of heaven, he thought that "This man is trying to occupy my post." As there is competition... This is also... Heaven means that is also material world. So this competition—no businessman wants an another businessman go ahead. He wants to cut down. Competition of price, quality. Similarly, that Indra, he thought that "This man is so strongly meditating, it may be that I may be deposed and he come to my seat." Then he arranged one of his society girls, Menakā, to go there and allure this muni. So when Menakā approached that ṛṣi, Viśvāmitra Ṛṣi, he was meditating. And simply by the sound of her bangles, he could understand, "There is some woman." And as soon as he saw there was heavenly, celestial beauty, he was captivated. Then there was a result, that a great... Śakuntalā. Perhaps some of you may know. There is a book made by Kālidāsa, Śakuntalā. This Śakuntalā is supposed to be the most beautiful girl in the world, and she was born by this combination of Viśvāmitra Muni and Menakā.

So when this girl was born, then Viśvāmitra thought, "Oh, I was advancing in my spiritual culture, and again I have been entrapped." So he was going out. At the same time his wife Menakā brought this girl before her, and little child is always attractive. She showed that "Oh, you have got such a nice girl, such beautiful girl, and you are going away? No, no. You should take care." So there is a picture, very nice. That is a very famous picture. That Menakā is showing Viśvāmitra Muni the girl, and the muni is like that, "No more show me." Yes. There is a picture. That is... Then he went away. So there are chances of failure. There are chances of failure. Just like a great sage like Viśvāmitra Muni, he also failed, failed for the time being. But Kṛṣṇa says that this failure is not, I mean to say, unsuccessful. As we have sometimes the proverb, that "Failure is the pillar of success," so especially in the spiritual life, this failure is not discouraging. This failure is not discouraging.

So Kṛṣṇa says that "Even one fails in completing his spiritual course, still, there is no loss on his part." Pārtha naiva iha. Iha means in this world. Na amutra. Amutra means next world. Vināśas tasya vidyate: "He will never vanquish." Vināśas tasya vidyate, na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt: "Anyone who takes this auspicious line of spiritual culture," kaścid durgatiṁ tāta gacchati, "he'll never fall down." Yes. And why? Now,

prāpya puṇya-kṛtāṁ lokān
uṣitvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ
śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe
yoga-bhraṣṭo 'bhijāyate
(BG 6.41)

Abhijāyate. He says that this failure yogi... One who is successful, he enters into the kingdom of God. That is a different thing. But one who is a failed student, what happens to him? Now, prāpya puṇya-kṛtāṁ lokān: (BG 6.41) "He enters into the planets where pious living entities are allowed to enter." That means he gets into the higher planets. There are many planets within the universe, and the higher planets, there are more comforts, more duration of life, persons are more pious, religious, godly. As you make progress to the higher planets, these facilities are there, thousand times better than this planet. So Kṛṣṇa says that "Even if he is failure, still, he goes to such planets where pious men are elevated." Prāpya puṇya-kṛtāṁ lokān, and uṣitvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ (BG 6.41). And he remains there for a long duration of time.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1974 Conversations and Morning Walks

Yes. For whom? Who is actually searching after success? Not for the fool. Anyone who is trying for attaining success, for him, failure is also success because he's making progress.
Morning Walk -- June 14, 1974, Paris:

Guru-gaurāṅga: They say one man's food is another man's poison. So perhaps this process isn't practical for everyone.

Prabhupāda: Yes. So you take the poison and die. Because you do not understand easily, better you take poison and die.

Paramahaṁsa: What does it mean when they say that failure is the pillar of success?

Prabhupāda: Yes. For whom? Who is actually searching after success? Not for the fool. Anyone who is trying for attaining success, for him, failure is also success because he's making progress. Harer nāma harer nāma... (CC Adi 17.21). God says, "Many ways." That's all right. But why does He says that "If you want to know Me perfectly, and without any doubt, then this is the process, bhakti"? Other processes are there but by those processes you cannot understand. Just like practically, call anyone, so-called yogis, so-called jñānīs, they'll not understand Kṛṣṇa. They'll not understand Kṛṣṇa. So all other paths that are recommended, by those paths you cannot understand God perfectly and without any doubt. Therefore God says clearly, bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ: (BG 18.55) "Actually, what I am, that can be understood by bhakti-yoga." Other systems, you'll... I explained that last night. That is partial understanding. That is not full understanding.

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

Hmm. That is success. If we learn our failure and try to rectify it.
Conversation with Prof. Saligram and Dr. Sukla -- July 5, 1976, Washington, D.C.:

Devotee: Is it true or not true that Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta said that failure is the pillar of success and (indistinct)?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: I don't know exactly if Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda has used this saying....

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Failure is the pillar of success. But generally speaking, to paraphrase it, it means that we should learn from our mistakes.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. That is success. If we learn our failure and try to rectify it, that is (indistinct).

1977 Conversations and Morning Walks

So remain as gṛhastha and render your service. There is no harm. If one could not proceed, it doesn't matter. Failure is the pillar of success. Then try. Again you shall try.
Room Conversation With Madhudvisa and others -- August 17, 1977, Vrndavana:

Prabhupāda: It doesn't matter. Live like gṛhastha, but don't leave. So where you are staying now?

Madhudviṣa: I just came from Hawaii.

Prabhupāda: Where is your wife?

Madhudviṣa: She's there. I just had a baby boy.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Madhudviṣa: I just had a son.

Prabhupāda: That's nice.

Madhudviṣa: I called him Abhay. I hope that's all right.

Prabhupāda: So remain as gṛhastha and render your service. There is no harm. If one could not proceed, it doesn't matter. Failure is the pillar of success. Then try. Again you shall try.

Correspondence

1969 Correspondence

As in the material world sometimes failure is considered as a pillar of success, similarly in the spiritual order also the same principle can be applied. So don't be disappointed.
Letter to Gurudasa -- Los Angeles 31 July, 1969:

I am in due receipt of your letter of July 28, 1969, and I could not understand from your half-finished letter whether Rathayatra Ceremony was performed according to a subdued program. But I could understand that you are immersed in great confusion on account of the wheels giving way just after starting. I have received one letter from Syamasundara dated July 25th in which it is stated that the magnitude of the Ratha was double than the one you had in San Francisco. So such a heavy structure was not properly attended as to its weight and the wheels which could carry such huge weight. I think it was a mistake of engineering calculation. The load was heavier than the wheels could carry. So there is no question of being disappointed. I have not received any detailed information either from you or from the others, but even if the Festival was not properly performed, you should not be discouraged. As in the material world sometimes failure is considered as a pillar of success, similarly in the spiritual order also the same principle can be applied. So don't be disappointed. Maybe Krishna's desire is something higher in this connection. If the Rathayatra has not been performed, you can postpone it to be performed on the Janmastami Festival. There is no harm if you postpone the function to a later date, and the public will appreciate it. You consult amongst yourselves without being discouraged and patiently work for its being performed one month later. There is no harm.

Facts about "Failure is the pillar of success"RDF feed
Compiled byPanna + and Visnu Murti +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entry23 December 8 +
Date of last entry7 December 13 +
Total quotes
Total quotes by sectionBG: 0 +, SB: 0 +, CC: 0 +, OB: 0 +, Lec: 1 +, Conv: 3 + and Let: 1 +