Insight into perseverance


As he sat there he saw an ant crawling up the cave wall with a particle of food. Each time the ant reached a certain height, it had to give up and start all over again. This went on nine times, and never once did it seem discouraged. Finally, on the tenth round it succeeded.

The conqueror realised his mistake and learned a profound lesson: that he too might succeed if he tried again. He, too, had met defeat nine times, but now that he had seen how the ant was determined to achieve its goal, he felt certain that he would also succeed if he tried again. This is just an illustration to show that persistence in large measure guarantees victory.

Another quality that Lord Krishna speaks of in the same verse of Gita is ?Sidhyasidhyornirvikaarah.? This means that one?s mind should stay balanced in success and failure. The mere fact that you have performed the duties entrusted to you should be satisfying. Although you must always keep the objective of your labour in view, you must not be overly concerned about what happens as a result of your efforts. If, for some reason, you do not accomplish a task that you had set your heart upon, you should not be broken-hearted about it.

Detachment means that you withdraw yourself from being emotionally attached to your work. But this does not mean that you develop cold indifference or cynicism towards it. Imagine a contractor saying, ?I?ll lay the foundation, but I don?t care whether the house is ever built or not.? That is not the point. If you were the contractor you should be eager to see the whole house erected. But even if earthquake or hurricane destroyed the house, you should remain calm and start over. One who behaves in this way is a sattvic performer of action.

In addition to keeping your mind calm and learning to bear criticism and disappointments, you must develop simplicity in your personality. If you have simplified your life, there will be fewer things to distract your mind. On the other hand, if you follow a complex lifestyle and have many possessions, then everything will distract your mind. People who are highly complexed are upset by the simplest things. Some of them even get upset if their knife is not placed on the dinning table correctly. If you have developed that kind of philosophy, perseverance will be impossible. You will always be constantly swept away by other people?s ideas and views.

Learn to watch your mind and not waste your mental energy over things that don?t matter in any way. Develop the art of simplifying difficult situations. You have a choice: you can either make a mountain of a molehill, or a molehill of a mountain. Such is the amazing capacity of the human mind. If you are persevering you do not let little things become big; you avoid complexities; you keep things simple.

When self-improvement becomes your goal, your perseverance is directed towards self-analysis, planning your life day by day in a harmonised way and seeing that your ego is curbed. Thus, you are led to a state in which you open the inner window of your heart. Once you discover deep within your heart the transcendental dimension, you become absolutely persevering and nothing can stop your movement towards self-realisation.

Swami Jyotirmayananda embraced ancient order of sanyasa in 1953 as a disciple of Swami Sivananda Maharaj of Rishikesh. For several years he taught at the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy and later moved to Florida and established an ashram, which is the centre of the Yoga Research Foundation.

Opinions expressed by ThinkNaturalToday contributors are their own. None of the facts and figures mentioned in the story have been created by ThinkNaturalToday. ThinkNaturalToday is not responsible for any factual errors. This article was first published in Joyful Living magazine, sister publication of

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