How Important Is Material Success on the Path to Self-Realization?


Question to N. Hriman. I know that my highest goal is to know God, thats why im on this path. But respecting to my worldly life I feel completly lost, that I’m not good at anything or I’m not Smart enought. I have failed in everything in life (28), in all my jobs too and now I´m without one. How can I know what are my talents or natural habilities to direct my life in that way? Jaiguru

—Jeniffer , Colombia


Dear Jennifer,

How often did our guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, and many other saints, east and west, remind us that “God doesn’t mind our faults, only our inattention!” The one thing God does not possess is our love: our interest in knowing Him (Her etc)!

Yes, it’s true all of us want to be creatively engaged; appreciated; useful and serviceful. These are all attributes of our higher nature. But sometimes we need to develop non-attachment to even these worthwhile and helpful aspects of life (even a spiritual life!) as a part of our current karmic challenges.

How often have I, and others whom I know, have had similar fears or opinions of ourselves: unworthy, lacking in talent, seemingly a failure at everything I do. It’s simply NOT true. We simply haven’t find our stride. It’s been said, and Yogananda included, that all too often a person gives up in striving for a worthwhile goal JUST when his or her karma is about to shift.

Mostly we only have to persist with faith, even-mindedness, and a cheerful attitude of never giving up. Perhaps perseverance is a quality your soul wants you to develop. Faith in your own abilities: God-given, that is!

The deepest lesson of right action is “nishkam karma”: to act without attachment to success or failure, knowing that the true Doer of all action is God! Not an easy lesson. Here are some suggestions: (not all at once, but step by step)

1. Don’t give up! The right job or situation simply hasn’t arrived in your life. Have faith: in God; in yourself; and in right action when applying will power, intelligence and energy to whatever you do.

2. Give your intentions to a higher cause. Pray, “I want to succeed at what I do in order to serve God through others.” “I want to help others in a way that releases the hold of ego upon me.” Prayers of this type. (As opposed to “I want to make a lot of money; I want to get praise and appreciation…..I want to be a success…..that sort of thing)

3. When working, helping, studying………try to feel divine energy and intelligence flowing through you! Pray: “I want to be YOUR instrument; work through me to accomplish your will in all that I do.”

3. Use meditation, visualization and prayer to achieve the highest order whereby God is the Doer of all action. At this level you are not merely the instrument, but God now is the Doer AND the instrument!

And keep this, too, in mind: start from where you are……even IF you were to say to yourself, “I am not good at anything; I am not smart enough”…..etc……OK, then, if you MUST start at this point in order to be honest with yourself, then pray:

“Lord, I may not have the ability but YOU can do ANYTHING! So, WORK through me.” Your soul likes this attitude. But remember also that humility is NOT self-abasement, it is SELF-HONESTY. And truthfully, you have all the intelligence and skills of the universe at your disposal if you will tune into the power and presence of God and gurus to be their channel and to use their power as your own, which is, ultimately, God serving God, God alone, in the final analysis.

So, be of good cheer. Your troubles cannot last if you face them with a straight spine, a smile, and a “Can Do” attitude (“I can do or God can do or WE can do!”) ok?

Blessings and let’s stay in touch……….the adventure is an adventure of awakening!

Nayaswami Hriman