What provides fulfillment and what doesn’t

When we seek to do something worthwhile, we often compare what we are able to do with what others are doing. And if others are more talented than us or achieve more than us, we start feeling discouraged. Believing that whatever we are doing doesn’t count much, we become half-hearted in whatever we are doing and can’t do it as well as we could have. 

To prevent such self-sabotage, we need to remember that if we are looking outward for validation and glorification, we will never have enough of it. The more praise or fame we get, the more we will crave for it, leaving us dissatisfied no matter how much we achieve. Evidence of this are the many celebrities with manifold mental health problems. 

Gita wisdom helps us find inner satisfaction by explaining that we all are souls, who are parts of the all-attractive divine, Krishna (15.07). We all have different interests, abilities and temperaments. On the world stage, depending on how we are endowed, we all are called to do different things, some bigger, some smaller. And if we do what we can based on what we have in a mood of service to the Lord, we please him and that nourishes our soul at the deepest level, providing us a fulfillment that no amount of worldly recognition can ever provide. 

In the Ramayana, when a bridge across the ocean was being built, the parts played by a huge monkey and a tiny squirrel were different. Yet Rama was equally pleased with both. In the Mahabharata, each of the five Pandavas were differently gifted and played different parts in Krishna’s plan to establish dharma. Yet because they all were devoted to Krishna, they all found contentment. 

One-sentence summary:

Fulfillment depends on how well we play our part, not on how big our part is. 

Think it over:

  • Why doesn’t achievement provide fulfillment?
  • Why did Arjuna reject the standard kshatriya trajectory?
  • Give scriptural examples of what provides fulfillment. 

***

15.07: I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to dispel it even if I win a prosperous, unrivaled kingdom on earth with sovereignty like the demigods in heaven.

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2 Comments

  1. Fulfillment depends on how well we play our part, not on how big our part is.

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  2. Really, this was required by me at this point of time.
    Thank you for wisdom and helping me serve better.

    ys, jad

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