Symbols of the world's religions



Meher Baba

The opposites of failure and success need each other. There can be no success unless there is failure; and it is equally true that there can be no failure unless there is success. If one has never succeeded in a particular thing it is meaningless to style such attempts or their results as failure. In the same way, success is success only if there have been prior failures, either by that particular person or by others who tried in the same field.

Success and failure are generally measures, appreciated or suffered more in relation to what has been achieved in the same field by others, than in relation to a target which has been hit or missed. If it is usual for any person to do a particular thing, the doing of it is not to be regarded as a success, although it is success in the sense that what was planned has been achieved. In every worldly sphere there is bad, worse and worst, as well as good, better and best. There is a conscious or unconscious racing with each other, as well as a perception of that which is beyond all this racing. It is out of this racing that success or failure arises.

If success and failure become independent of their accentuation by the felt duality of others, they become something entirely different from what they generally are. The severity of their contrariety is very considerably mitigated and they gradually get amalgamated. For example, the persons who failed to reach the top of Everest before its first conqueror will be seen not to have failed but to have succeeded in getting near the peak, unless success happens to be a name not for the entire process of climbing but only for the last step which the first conqueror took.

The more our perception is free from clouding and the less vitiated it is by felt duality, the less contrariety or incompatibility exists between the extremes of opposites of experience. In the final undimmed perception there is neither success nor failure, for there is nothing to gain or lose. However, until this unfailing self-assurance is permanently established, one is inevitably encaged in the illusion of duality or relatively false values. Then there always are approximations towards a receding target; and these approximations may be called either partial failure or partial success, according to one's point of view. This also shows how every success implies a failure and every failure a success. The two opposites tread upon each other in the world of illusion. One who can withstand both success and failure with equanimity is nearing a truer appreciation of both; and for one who goes beyond the extremes or opposites, the question of withstanding either does not arise.

1958 © Sufism Reoriented, Inc.


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