Career Ambition, Small Desires, and the Spiritual Path


Can we be ambitious in pursuits like our career, money-making etc. if we’re on the spiritual path? Also, If I’m on the spiritual path, is it wrong buy little things which you want but do not need?

—Kana Yuhi, India


Dear Kana,

As Krishna teaches in the Bhagavad Gita, we must act in this world. Suppression avails us nothing. See if you can link your ambitions and legitimate desires to the sailboat of your soul. If by success you can, for example, help others; if by success, your spiritual quest can be enabled; if by your success you can assist the divine work of God and gurus….these are ways that we pledge our actions to the service of the divine.

At the same time, do also pray to know God’s will, and to be open to it in case what is best for you takes a different form.

As to the desire for small things, do not be concerned for now. A practice my teacher, Swami Kriyananda, advised for this desire is to also buy things for other people (not only yourself) or to help a worthy cause or needy person.

In these ways, we will gradually purify our desires while avoiding the tendency to suppress them. “Even a leaf I accept,” Krishna says when offered with devotion. Do all things that are right and proper as an act of devotion. With grace and purification, you will experience that the Doer of all deeds is the Lord and you will be free.

May the Light of wisdom shine upon you!
Nayaswami Hriman