(1 Nov '02)
Darling Children, life consists of two things: first to perform actions and second to reap the results thereof. If we cultivate the right attitude with which we have to perform actions and the right attitude with which we have to experience the results of those actions, our lives will become full of peace and bliss.
It is seen that what we expect, often does not take place, and what we may never expect, often does take place. It is because the obtainment of the results of our actions depends on several factors besides our effort.
Only if all the factors are fulfilled, will the result come according to our expectation. However, the only thing that we have control over is how to perform the actions.
Therefore what we can do is to perform actions to the best of our ability and not worry about the results. That is why Lord Krishna advises in the Bhagavad Gita to perform actions without expectation of results. It doesn’t mean that one should work without accepting the wages. If we are able to perform actions without being preoccupied with the benefits, we will be able to discharge our duties efficiently. And their results will come to us, naturally.
Even if a student writes the examination very well, if the professor who evaluates the papers or the clerk who records the marks is not careful enough, he will not receive the desired marks. One student studied very well and wrote the examination to his utmost satisfaction. He was expecting first rank. However when the results were published he had just secured a pass. Still he was not despondent. He asked for a re-evaluation of his papers. In the re-evaluation he was awarded first rank. How did this happen? On enquiry it was found that the professor who evaluated his papers originally was in a disturbed state of mind at that time, because his wife had eloped with someone. That is why Amma said even if we perform our actions very well the results will depend upon many other factors which are not in our control. Our success is determined by several factors over which we have no power.
Even if a person crosses a road very carefully, there is a chance that some vehicle driven recklessly may knock him down. This shows that in order for all the factors governing the results of our actions to be fulfilled positively, we need to have the grace of God. The easiest way to receive this grace is that we perform all our actions as a worship of God. If we look upon all our actions as worship of God, then we will be careful to perform them in the best way possible.
In worship we will offer only the best things to God. We will never offer a rotten fruit or withered flowers to God. We will never use unclean utensils while we are performing the worship. Similarly, if we make every action of ours a worship of God, then we will be able to perform only good actions. Eventually all our actions will become noble and selfless and we will refrain from evil actions, as they are not fit to be offered to God.
The most important attitude a worshipper should have is humility. If we make our actions a worship, we will never become egoistic. Even if we attain success, we will take it as the grace of God and not as a proof of our merit. For whatever we get after the puja is the prasad of the Lord. We should continue to keep the attitude of humility even after the result is obtained. After worship we will not be concerned about the defects of the prasad, but will accept it as a blessing from the Lord. If we have to meet with failure, we will accept that also as the prasad of the Lord.
That doesn’t mean that after failure we should sit indolent, accepting it as the will of God. If there is a possibility for success, we should try again. Even after sincere effort, if we again meet with failure, we should accept it as the will of God. If we accept success as the grace of God and failure as His will, we will neither become elated in success nor go to pieces in failure. We will not be lost in self pity if we can accept even failure as the will of God. We should be able to accept even failure as a necessary experience that we have to undergo at a particular time for our growth. We should feel happy that our prarabdha (results of past actions we must reap in this lifetime) is over. We should look upon it as a lesson and learn from it so that we can advance in our lives.
If we have proper discrimination, we will be able to transform any situation in our life to our benefit. The right attitude towards action will liberate us from boredom and bondage. If our attitude is right, we will be able to perform our duties with diligence and enthusiasm. When this is coupled with the grace of God, success will certainly be ours. Whatever be the case, we should not despair. God is always with those who put forth effort sincerely with the right attitude. Success also belongs to them.