Failure is no disaster; failure to try is

The fear of failure often gnaws us whenever we contemplate any challenging endeavor. The same applies to the prospect of spiritual life, wherein, to attain the success of eternal spiritual happiness, we face the formidable challenge of sacrificing many worldly pleasures.

On behalf of those with such apprehensions, Arjuna asks Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita (06.37, 06.38, 06.39) about the fate of the unsuccessful yogi (yogac-calita).  Krishna (06.40) replies reassuringly that the endeavor for spiritual advancement is eminently auspicious (kalyana-krt), and those who strive for it never meet with misfortune, either in this life nor the next. The subsequent verses of the Gita outline the probable post-mortem trajectories of seekers who fail to consummate their spiritual quests.

If they still have a residue of strong sensual desires, then they are provided prolonged residence in heavenly regions, wherein they can within a religious framework abundantly gratify those residual desires (06.41). If, on the other hand, they just need more purification to enter transcendence, then they are provided birth in the families of advanced spiritualists (06.42), where they can imbibe spirituality with their mother’s milk and thereby stride swiftly towards the finishing line. Either way, their latent spiritual inclinations (06.44: purva-abhyasa) mystically attract them towards transcendence till they finally achieve complete success (06.45: samsiddhas).

In contrast, those who fail to do any kind of sacrifice to connect with transcendence (04.31: ayajnasya) court disaster – their insatiable sensual desires torment them throughout this life and the karmic misdeeds done to gratify them bring grievous consequences in the next.

Thus, there is no failure in spiritual life – what seems from this life’s perspective a disaster is actually a building block for success in a future life. The only failure, then, is the cowardly failure to not even try on the path on which there is no failure.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 04 Text 31

"O best of the Kuru dynasty, without sacrifice one can never live happily on this planet or in this life: what then of the next?"


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  1. The only failure, then, is the cowardly failure to not even try on the path on which there is no failure.

    Very inspiring statement.
    Thank you Prabhuji.

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  2. It’s very inspiring me to practice spiritual life by reading the above text even if i fail sometimes to follow regulative principles as srila prabhupada given us.

    Yrs servent,

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