Worldly Success Versus Spiritual Success


The Americans, the Japanese, The French, The Dutch, The British and so on do not believe in God and still they are rich (mainly financially) and living a luxurious life without chanting or taking the name of God. Then why to chant? Above mentioned people don’t believe and chant in God..still they are successful. So why chant it all?

—Yogesh Nimkar, India


Dear Yogesh,

My goodness. Perhaps you should travel to these countries. There are many devout lovers of God in these so-called “rich” nations. Moreover, there are many poor in these countries, and while “luxury” is a relative term, few would consider themselves as living in luxury.

Is “material success” an indication of God’s favor? Many tend to think so. “To those to whom I give much (material wealth), I do not give my Self,” says Divine Mother. As Satan tempted Jesus Christ with dominion and riches of this world, but Jesus rejected this in favor of love for God, never think that worldly success indicates spiritual favor.

One can rule an empire and never know God. At the same time, like Krishna and Rama, one can rule an empire and know God. Do you see? It is all a matter of consciousness. Those who, through greed and only self-effort for the sake of self, acquire riches and success find that their hard-won gains become tasteless — and are taken away by death if not by the world itself, hungry with envy and greed.

Those who, at the behest of the divine will, acquire worldly success and do so with non-attachment, devotion, and a desire to do the will of God and dharma, receive the only riches there really are: God’s bliss and love.

Do chant God’s name. Maybe poverty or lack is God’s way of testing souls with the question: “What do you really want? Me, or my gifts?” Or, maybe by past life lack of self-effort or squandering material good, a life of lack must be experienced.

The worldly power and wealth of certain nations are the product of their karma, meaning their effort. On the surface, such things never last. Consider the empires of history, East and West, which are gone to dust. God’s creation is immense and immensely complex. To judge the book of creation by its cover is to mistake the Spirit behind all appearances.

Be of good cheer. Besides, India and the Orient are rapidly catching up by their own efforts. May India not lose her spiritual power and heritage, lest she too find the bitter taste of material success without God-consciousness.

The people of the rich countries of the West can never know peace until we seek peace within. This world is God’s dream. Let us play our parts, rich or poor, big or small with grace and joy!

Nayaswami Hriman