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Question : What is success? What do you mean by a successful person?
Speaker : Let us try to understand this. Look at the statement carefully. When I say, “I want success,” what am I saying? If I want success, then surely I do not…..
Listener : Understand.
Speaker : If I want success, then surely I am not successful right now. Remember: all success that you want is success in future. When you say that you want success, then you mean that at some point in the time ahead, you will get something which will make you feel successful. Am I right? That is how you think.
By wanting success, you have already declared yourself to be a failure right now. Have you not? You are saying, (pointing at present) “This is where I am. I am unsuccessful and this is where I want to be in the future” (pointing at the future direction). “If I get there I will be successful.”
We do not know what this point is (future), where does it lie, whether you will get there or not. All that is uncertain. But what is certain is that you have labeled yourself to be a failure right now. How many of you want to declare that right now I am a failure? How many of you are interested in doing that? “Right now I am a nobody, an unworthy being, a failure”; how many of you want to say that?
(Silence, no reply)
But then how many of you want success?
(All listeners raise their hands)
All of you want success without understanding what ‘success’ means. To want success is to say that I am a failure. “I will be successful but I am a…”
Listeners : Failure.
Speaker : Failure. Now is that a pleasant state of mind to live in? And the more hungry and thirsty for success you are; the bigger a failure you have declared yourself in the present. Now, where are you living, in the future or in the present?
Listeners : In the present.
Speaker : How can you live joyfully after declaring yourself to be a failure in the present? That is the reason why we are so bored, why our faces are often so lost, why we keep feeling frustrated and tensed. It is because we have labeled ourselves to be a ‘failure’, and it doesn’t feel good. How will you feel writing down ten times in your copy, ‘I am a failure, I am a laggard, I am unsuccessful’? How many of you will feel bad?
(All listeners raise their hands)
Speaker : But do you feel bad writing down, “I want success”? You will not feel bad because you do not understand what you are saying. You do not look at it carefully. Remember, you have the power to understand, but you do not use that power. Is the power of any use if I do not apply it? Is the medicine of any use if I do not eat it? Are my eyes of any use if I do not open them? Is my mind of any use if I do not use it?
How many of us really use the mind? We do not. So the diamond is there but we have forgotten that it is to be used. We are running after success, without understanding what this race means. You are good, already good, and when you realize this, the present moment itself changes into the future.
Time is like a continuously flowing river. In the present moment if you are good, if you are fine, if you are attentive, then the future will take care of itself.
Most of us are very afraid of the future, afraid of the examinations, afraid of unemployment, afraid of what we call as ‘challenges of life’. Everybody is telling you that life is a great challenge, come to us and we will prepare you to face that challenge. So you are afraid. Deep within a fear has taken roots that life is bad. “I must fight life, I must be successful.”
Life is not bad; it can become very bad if we live like an idiot. Otherwise, life is beautiful, very beautiful. You have not come here to suffer. Life is enjoyable, but only if you live to your potential. All of us have great potential. Life will become a suffering if we do not live to that potential. And living to that potential is very easy.
Do not think that any great effort is needed; just little simple attention, some understanding, opening of the eyes, looking at our daily lives. Only that much is needed, and everything will be alright. Leave the future, forget future, forget success; success will come by itself, the future will take care of itself, just be successful right now.
What does it mean to be successful right now?
‘To be successful right now’ means to be in love with life. It means, “I am joyful, I am celebrating. I do not require two or four festivals in the entire year. Every day is a festival for me, life is a big party for me, and I am successful right now.”
You know what is the most important thing about life?
If you feel rich, life gives you more and more. And if you feel poor, life gives you nothing. Life does not know any pity. Those who are already rich and those who are already celebrating, life gives them more and more reasons to celebrate. And those who are hungry and thirsty, life keeps them more and more hungry and thirsty.
Hungry and thirsty for what? Success. Life says, “You want to run after success? Now keep running your entire life.” Those who say that I am already successful, life gives them more and more joy, more and more reasons to celebrate, more and more enjoyment. Every day is Holi, every night is Diwali for them.
We wait for Diwali to come. Let Diwali come. Do not say that I am preparing for Diwali. Don’t prepare, the moment is right now, the party is right now. Today is the festival, don’t wait for a New Year to come. Don’t say that we will celebrate only on New Year’s Eve. How can I say ‘I love you’ today, Valentine’s Day is still so many months away?
Don’t wait. We keep waiting for success, for everything. This is the moment when you are alive. If you are listening, listen fully. In fact, listening fully is itself a celebration. Those who are listening deeply, they know what I am saying. You listen fully and there is a feeling of completeness, there is a feeling of celebration.
When you go out after this session is over, look at the sky, look fully at the sky. Don’t just look at it this way, “Oh! Yet another day, another type of sky, it has been raining since two months, what is new today?” There is something new today, you are alive today, that is what is new. Every moment is new. Living every moment is the celebration of life. Do not miss it. Have you ever looked closely at the trees in your campus? Or have you just said, “Oh! There are so many trees everywhere; there are few more trees in the campus”?
I ask you that do you even look closely at the face of your parents. Or you just say, “Same mummy, same papa, same home; what is there to look at”? Do you really look at them, do you really look at their face and do you really look into their eyes? Do you find time to talk to them, connect to them deeply, intimately, or is it just a routine sort of living? Do you really find time to have a heart to heart conversation with them?
That is what partying is all about, that is what celebration is all about. Do not wait for a particular day. “That particular day I will talk to my mother.” Which particular day? “When I will get the degree, then I will go and show that to my mother, that today I am successful.” Mother is there with you today itself, but you are waiting for the day when you will be successful. “I will become a good son of my father only on the day when I get a good job, and when I get a good job then I will be successful.” No, don’t wait
After you attend today’s session, go and tell them that today was a great day, that you enjoyed. Why wait for the day of placement? That I will go and talk to my parents on that day. Today is a great day, tomorrow is a great day, and day after tomorrow will be a great day. Every day is a great day, provided you live it. If you do not live it, then everyday is a dead day.
So who is a successful person?
Everybody has a potential to be successful right now. But you are successful right now only if you are fully alive right now, fully awake right now, fully attentive right now.
Not when you are sleeping, not when you are gossiping, not when you are distracted; then you are missing the party. Do not live at the surface, go deep into it. Do you really know your friends well, seriously? There would be so many of us who would not be fully or deeply acquainted with their friends, even with their best of friends. You may hang around with your friend, have fun with him, joke around with him, but do you really know him? Do you really know yourself? To know anybody else, you have to first know…
Speaker: In coming months you will do an activity named – ‘Who am I?’ Watch out. In fact, don’t even wait for this activity, otherwise again you will be looking towards the future. ‘Who am I?’ is simple enough. Look at your daily life: how you enter the college, how you sit in the sessions, how you take your meals, what do you do in the evening, how do you spend your nights, how busy are you on the phone, what do you talk about on the phone, how you harass your boyfriend or girlfriend, how you are jealous and insecure, how you waste your time, how you miss out on opportunities, how you don’t dance when it is the time to dance. How many of you dance fully, freely?
(Few listeners raise their hands)
What about the rest? “Sir, we watch. Good people don’t dance and sing. Let others dance and we will watch.” Can’t dance and you ask me that how can you be successful? You cannot dance and you are going after success. Seriously?
When you come to enact role plays, see how inhibited you are. And you are asking for success. This moment is rotten and you are asking for success in the future. Take care of this moment. The rottenness of this moment will not go away by dreaming of the future. If I am sick right now, then when should I take the medicine, right now or in the future? Do it right now. Dance today, enjoy today, learn today and read today. Do not dream about the future.
Dreams are a good escape. They mean that I will not do it today and it will happen sometime later. Do not dream, live. We are talking of opening our eyes. Dreams mean that your eyes are closed. Do not dream, live. But that is scary. Some of you are already afraid. “What is this man talking? Living, that is the most dangerous thing. We can be hurt.”
What is the danger in living?
Understand this: you can die. There is safety in death, because you cannot die fully. Once you are dead; you cannot die. But living is so dangerous. Why? There is a danger of death, it can happen any time. That is why we are afraid to live. So, that is our logic in life. Do not live because living can lead to death.
Die right now, so that you don’t have to die again. Become dead today. Living is dangerous because living means that you can die anytime.
What kind of mind do we have that is always looking at success? You cannot walk straight, you cannot talk straight. When the moment comes, you cannot speak. When the occasion comes, you do not enjoy, and you are talking about success in the future. Do you understand?
Right now! Be successful right now!
Excerpted from a ‘Shabd-Yog’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session video: Success is the fullness of this moment || Acharya Prashant (2013)
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