15. “I’ll lose my ambition and won’t be successful."
People often appreciate our spiritual interest at first, but when involvement grows, commitment deepens and priorities change, that’s when the alarm bells start ringing! They welcome the morality and values that spirituality brings, but also develop a fear that we may become too detached from the world, lose our drive for success and renounce all ambitions for a prosperous future. Can spirituality, philosophy and reflection make us so ‘otherworldly’ that we fail to harness the potential for success in the here and now?
It’s not that spiritualists lose the drive to succeed, but rather they redefine what constitutes success. Because the upgraded goals don’t tally with people’s stereotyped notions of achievement, it’s assumed that spiritualists have retired from the race for success. In reality, they’ve re-invested their energy in something far more exciting, fulfilling and life-changing. Spiritualists let go of material ambitions not because they are faint-hearted, but because they are firmly determined. They turn away from those sought-after success symbols not because those things are too hard to obtain, but because they’re too insignificant. Spiritualists widen their vision of success beyond their own achievements, selflessly empowering and serving everyone around them. They deepen their vision of success by seeking it on the most profound spiritual level.
In Chapter Fifteen, Krishna offers an entire paradigm shift of the world before us. Employing the metaphor of a reflected banyan tree, He explains how this world is simply a mirror image of the real form, the spiritual world which is situated in another dimension. How can you find substance in a reflection, shadow, or photocopy of the original? Spiritualists turn away from the ephemeral success of this world and turn their attention towards success of a different nature.
Srila Prabhupada was a mendicant, and also a wildly successful spiritual entrepreneur! When he arrived in America, he described the forty rupees he had with him as “A few hours spending money in New York City.” Upon departing this world, ISKCON had grown to a worldwide organisation boasting hundreds of properties and unimaginable revenues. When he left India he had one disciple, by 1977 he had 5000. When he left India he had no temple established, after tirelessly traveling for 11 years he managed to open 108. When he left India it was his first time visiting foreign lands. Later, by the grace of Krishna, he circled the globe 14 times. Wherever there is Krishna and His sincere devotee, there will certainly be opulence and victory.
When CNN documented the top ten wildly successful people who activated their careers after the age of fifty, they included Srila Prabhupada in that elite list. What could be more ambitious than trying to trigger a revolution of consciousness so people can flourish on all levels – physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. Srila Prabhupada’s story is living proof that spiritualists can make the biggest impact, achieve the most astounding things and leave a lasting legacy for generations to come. They’re not shooting stars, but rather effulgent moons which bring spiritual light to a dark world.
“This is the most confidential part of the Vedic scriptures, O sinless one, and it is disclosed now by Me. Whoever understands this will become wise, and his endeavours will know perfection.” (Bhagavad-Gita 15.20)
15.7 – The struggle of the spirit soul in this world.
15.8 – The desires and activities of this life create one’s next life.