Don’t let success go to your head – Satsangh Takeaways

This Saturday’s Satsangh was on verses 16 and 17 of Chapter 18. In these verses the importance of keeping a balanced head after achieving success is explained. It is also said that one should perform action without ego. Here’s a short summary of one of the key takeaways from my lecture today. I have also added the audio of the entire lecture, for those who might be interested..


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Listen to the Lecture

Here is the Music Player. You need to installl flash player to show this cool thing!

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Having defined the five factors of success, Krishna knows that we are smart human beings – after all he made us smart. Now that he has given us the “How to”. He knows that we would be able to bring together this powerful combination and achieve success. Now, he is telling us, don’t let the success go to your head.

In the olden times, people believed that there was a mountain called the ‘Sumeru which existed in heaven. It was also said that whenever there was any great emperor who has conquered the whole world, when he died, he could sign his name on the Sumeru Mountain for his great achievements.

Most kings are like that – the spend their lives trying to see what they can conquer. Once a friend asked me, “Do you know why Saddam invaded Kuwait?” I thought for some time and then asked, “Why?”. He said, when he was small, he had a Malayali baby sitter and all the time, she used to tell him, “Keep Quiet, Keep Ku-wait”!

Once, there was an emperor who had lived all his life in trying to conquer the entire world. When he died, he reached the gates of heaven. In those days, when men died, then their wives also died in the funeral pyre. So the king and all his wives were at the gate. At the gate, the gatekeeper stopped the wives from entering and the king was upset – he asked, “How can you stop my wives coming with me to see me signing my name on the sumeru mountain – a greatest accomplishment someone can reach!

The gatekeeper laughed and said, “O king I have been a gatekeeper all my life and my family and ancestors have all been gatekeepers here”. This is the rule of this place – only you can enter. The king had no choice but to enter alone. When he went to sign on the mountain, he was surprised! He thought he would be one of few people to sign, but found that the mountain was full of signatures and there was no room at all to add even one name. He felt glad his wives had not joined in to see this fate and he went back to the gatekeeper and said with disappointment, “I always thought that I would be one of few people to sign on the Sumeru mountain, but there are thousands of others who have signed before me. I feel humiliated! Where shall I sign now?”

The gatekeeper said, “There is an option. You can rub out one of the names and have yours in its place!” The king said, “What is the point, then one day somebody will rub out my name and will have his name on” “That is most likely to happen, but its up to you!” said the gatekeeper.

This is the failure of success in the material world – If we go around chasing so many goals that are driven by ego, all life long, we are trying to chase the “sumeru” mountain, looking to put our mark on it. When we reach that point then at best, we can put our name by wiping out another person’s name – by taking their spot. However, quite soon another person will come along to take our name as well.

Once there was an IPL match Chennai Super Kings Vs RCB Bangalore and the stadium was fully packed. A man makes his way to the seat right in the middle. He sits down, noticing that the seat next to him is empty. He leans over and asks his neighbor if someone will be sitting there. “No” says the neighbor. “The seat is empty.” “This is incredible,” said the man. “Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for this IPL match and not use it?” The neighbor says, “Well, actually, the seat belongs to me. I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first cricket match we haven’t been to together since we got married.” “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. That’s terrible… But couldn’t you find someone else, a friend or relative, or even a neighbor to take the seat?” The man shakes his head. “No,” he says. “They’re all at the funeral.
This is the irony of our lives. There is importance given to us only as long as we are there and that too it is we ourselves who give this importance. After a person is gone, more often than not, people forget about them and continue with their own lives!

When a person understands the temporary nature of our existence, then even the most successful person does not let success go to their heads. They have humility and understanding that our real purpose is to be an instrument of the Lord.

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