What is Success? | How to be successful? | “Success is what you define it to be.” – Is it true?



Dictionaries define success as –


The accomplishment of an aim or purpose
The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status
A person or thing that achieves desired aims or attains fame, wealth, etc.
The good or bad outcome of an undertaking



It says - The accomplishment of an aim or purpose. My aim is to reach the office on time, and, I do reach on time. Am I to consider myself a successful person? 


It says - The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status. What amount of Fame (if can be measured), wealth or status can be considered a success? If a beggar sleeping on the roadside gets a job that can provide him a daily meal, a place to live and fresh clothes to wear – is a success for him, but, the same job for a multi-billionaire would mean nothing. A kid – might find the joy of success in completing a puzzle game or builder game, but for a grown-up adult, it returns no emotion. For a toddler learning to walk is a great achievement, which is applauded by every relative, but, he cannot carry that achievement throughout his life. It would be really ridiculous if in a job interview he addresses that one of his achievements is that he has learned to walk when he was a toddler!!

Many look at fame & glamor as the criteria for being successful. They “worship” film stars, sports stars, politicians as “Successful Personalities”. But meet any person who is too busy with their life, who doesn’t have time to waste in front of the Television, they might not even recognize these so-called “stars”.

The term Success and being Successful if analyzed without proper knowledge seems so contextual and personal that it is very difficult to come to a specific definition. Hence most of the books and websites say – Success is what you define it to be. But is it not vague?


Any machine or gadget we buy comes with an operational manual. It is being advised by the manufacturers that each and every user must read these manuals first. Users are really FREE to disregard the manual but there comes a warning. They might run into accidents or spoil their gadgets or even harm or kill themselves. We also have been provided a Manual to lead our life happily – Vedic Scriptures. We disregard the Vedas and that is why we run into so many problems. The current generation is so much worried about being Successful but they have no idea what is Success. They all land up with some vague concepts set some “aims” or “goals” of life (which keeps changing) and end up making their life more miserable. Many conveniently call these miseries “hard work”. Real Success should always be accompanied by Satisfaction & Happiness, not momentary happiness. Then what is a Real Success?


Be it a dictionary or any counselor or scriptures, all will be agreeing to a common definition of Success – Overcoming a problem. Now, what is the problem? Normally our perception is any distress or miseries we face or hurdles we encounter, we think them to be a problem. A few examples of problems can be a puzzle for kids, exams for students, promotion for an employee, votes for politicians, groceries for a homemaker, recipes for a chef, etc. Now as we have seen earlier a problem for a kid might be of least interest to any grown-up, the problem for a student would be of least interest to an employee. There was once an employee who, disappointed due to not being promoted for the seventh time and thus being rejected by the lady of his life, went to a cliff with a wine bottle in hand, for committing suicide. There he met another person who was sleeping there. Upon asking the reason, he came to know that this fellow had lost his home, entire family, relatives, his entire neighborhood in a Tsunami. Hence he sleeps on the cliff. Then he realized his problem was too petty to end his life. Thus our so-called miseries are very insignificant, they will come and go like season changes. 


As stated by Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita that

O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O son of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.

[Bhagavad Gita – 2.14 ]


These personal problems are like the common cold which is not a major concern for an intelligent person (even though the patient suffering might foolishly assume it to be) but a life-threatening disease like cancer is a real concern for the entire humanity. Similarly, a Real Problem is one that is common for everyone but with a solution not known to many. Real success would be to conquer these problems.



There are four major problems in each one of our life – Birth, Disease, Old Age and Death

Meet any counselors or go through any books or go to any top universities or any scientists – no one can give you any solution on how to overcome these Major Problems. Instead, they would divert our attention from these. The reason is, they themselves do not know the solution, because, they have not gone through the Manual of Life (Vedic Scriptures)


While modern science was blind about life in a womb until a few hundred years back, Srimad Bhagavatam, written thousands of years back, already has detailed information about the Human Embryo growth on a weekly interval span. Similarly, a mundane materialist celebrates the birth, but, they are unaware of the terrible pain, trauma and helplessness the soul is undergoing in the tender body when in the womb, which is again mentioned in great detail in Shrimad Bhagavatam [Canto 3; Chapter 31].


It would be easier to understand the pain and suffering undergone when one is in either of the above conditions. What is inconceivable to us is also said in scripture (Garuda Purana), when a person dies he suffers an unbearable pain of 42,000 scorpion bites. None of us want to be diseased, grow old or die. (This is the reason why we work hard and spend our money in gym & parlor to look young and lovely always, but fail.) After reading the pain of birth as described with great accuracy & details in Shrimad Bhagavatam, the intelligent amongst us, would not opt for that even.

It will be a REAL SUCCESS to overcome the aforesaid FOUR MAJOR PROBLEMS of our life – Birth, Disease, Old Age and Death.


Just imagine a life where we never have to take birth again, yet have our identity, never get diseased, never grow old and never die!!! Is it not what all of us want? 


Have you ever wondered why do all of us want this? Because we all are Sat-Chit-Ananda, we are eternal and blissful. We all want eternity and happiness. But we do not know how to get it. 


Because no one has taught us where to look for an answer. 


Instead, we were taught to disregard the Manual of life - Veda with an excuse for scientific advancement. It is stated in Bhagavad Gita, this material world is a place of miseries & is temporary in nature (duhkhalayam asasvatam), a place where everything has to perish; everyone has to die, starting from an insignificant bacteria to great demigods like Indra, Brahma everyone. Since we aim for is an eternity, this temporary world is not our place. 


But where to go? Scriptures, like Bhagavad Gita, give us an idea about a world that is eternal, where no one dies.

From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.

[Bhagavad Gita 8.16]


Because, apart from the fact that, Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He also says something that neither anyone else has said in past nor anyone else can say in the future

That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world.

[Bhagavad Gita 15.6]

After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.

[Bhagavad Gita 8.15 ]

This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.

[Bhagavad Gita 7.14]


For one who always remembers Me without deviation, I am easy to obtain, O son of Pṛthā, because of his constant engagement in devotional service.

[Bhagavad Gita 8.14]

He who meditates on Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Pārtha, is sure to reach Me..

[Bhagavad Gita 8.8]

Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me.

[Bhagavad Gita 9.25]

Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.

[Bhagavad Gita 9.34]

And whoever, at the end of his life, quits his body remembering Me alone at once attains My nature. Of this, there is no doubt.

[Bhagavad Gita 8.5]


How much ever we try to remember Krishna at the time of death, it will be very difficult, as we would be suffering a tremendous pain of 42,000 scorpion bites!! So from now only we need to practice calling him out. This will re-establish our forgotten sambandha or relationship with Krishna. This is done by chanting the Holy Name, Mahamantra - Greatest Mantra. 


Hare Krishna - Hare Krishna * Krishna Krishna Hare Hare *
Hare Rama - Hare Rama * Rama Rama Hare Hare.




The easiest way to reach Krishna and His abode of eternity, thus REAL SUCCESS in life can be summarized as -

i. Chanting His Holy Name (Mahamantra) 

ii. Surrendering unto Krishna 

iii. Always remembering Krishna without deviation

iv. Worshipping Krishna 

v. Being completely absorbed in Krishna


Let us pray to The Merciful Gaur Nitai that may each one of us get the intelligence to understand what Real Success means and become Really Successful in our life.


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