When we have a feeling of failure instead of a failure of feeling, we have a success
Failure in any field, be it academics, sports or work, often makes us feel disappointed, rejected, unworthy even.
A similar distress may dog us when we encounter failure in our spiritual life, for example, due to our inability to stick to the expected spiritual standards. Yet failure in spiritual life, unlike failure in material life, is a success because we have experienced some feeling in relationship with Krishna. And the presence of feelings indicates that, at some level, we care for our Krishna connection. This valuing our devotional dimension is itself a significant step forward, especially when compared to the utter failure of feeling that characterizes most people – that probably characterized us too in the past.
For materialists whose hearts are like dead towards Krishna, they experience no feeling at all in relationship with Krishna. That failure of feeling is the lock that keeps them trapped in their godlessness, deprived of eternal life and love, which is what we all as immortal souls long for, whether we know it or not.
The ultimate success in spiritual life is not about living up to certain standards, but about learning to love Krishna. No doubt, when we love Krishna internally, that love expresses itself as a preference for and adherence to activities that please him. But the external alignment with devotional standards may take time due to the momentum of our past conditioning. If, however, we don’t let this lag dampen or squelch our devotional intention, then, as the Bhagavad-gita (09.30) indicates, we are still, in Krishna’s eyes, well-situated and headed towards devotional perfection, as the next verse (09.31) declares.
By letting Gita wisdom redefine our conceptions of failure and success, we can move closer to Krishna in both.
“Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.”