One Cannot Fail in the Quest for God
“In this path (of yoga action) there is no danger of “unfinished business,” nor are there latent within it the opposite, canceling effects of duality. Even a little practice of this religion will free one from dire fears and colossal sufferings (which are inherent in the unceasing cycles of death and rebirth).” ~Krishna to Arjuna, Bhagavad Gita, 2:40
It is important to realize that in yoga practice as well, of course, as in any sincere search for God (the one Self, beyond all duality), there is no wasted effort, and no karmic rebound. There is, in other words, no “catch” to seeking God.
With any other effort, no matter how glorious the consequences, it is always legitimate to ask, “What’s wrong with it?” Only with the divine search is the answer a resounding, “Nothing’s wrong!”
Even to fail in this quest brings only good karma.
Nothing on Earth Brings Lasting Fulfillment
Think of other fulfillments in life. Fame? One famous man said: “I enjoyed fame at first, but it wasn’t long before it turned to ashes. Now it means nothing to me.”
Money? Howard Hughes, the wealthiest man in the world at the time he lived, was asked if he’d found happiness. Hughes responded in bitter tones, “No, I can’t say I’ve found happiness.”
Human love? What a compromise is the most beautiful love story with infinite, divine love, which the soul experiences at the end of its search for God!
Power? Joseph Stalin, the all-powerful dictator of Russia’s Soviet Union, was virtually mad toward the end of his life, fearing that everyone around him wanted to encompass his destruction.
Knowledge? Look at the dry faces, the furrowed brows, the bent shoulders of people who have pursued intellectual knowledge all their lives. Hear the brittleness in their voices!
No, nothing on earth brings lasting fulfillment. And even if a few people seem to have found fulfillment for a time, none would say what they’ve attained is the summon bonum of life.
The Only Worthwhile Goal of All Human Striving
In only one field does perfect unanimity exists: in the search for God, and especially in those who have found Him. In every religion, in every country, in every people, those who have found God are in complete agreement: This is the goal of all human striving.
Without exception, those who have found Him have willingly accepted any persecution—even painful death—to bring this realization to their fellowman. God, they know, is the only worthwhile goal in life.
Later on in the Gita, Krishna answers beautifully, in words full of hope, the question put to him by Arjuna: “What happens to those who fail?” Already in the present stanza, Krishna is saying: “No effort on the path to God is ever wasted.”
This is not to say that there cannot be wrong practices in the service of God. When people practice yoga (or other forms of religion) with wrong or self-serving motives—whether to develop spiritual powers, or to obtain control over others—they must pay the karmic price, for they have devoted their energies to dualistic ends, and must accept the consequences of pitting their own energies against the energies of others.
When there is pure longing for truth and God, however, this stanza of the Gita offers a shining reassurance for everyone.
Excerpted from The Essence of the Bhagavad Gita by Paramhansa Yogananda
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