As human beings, all of us hanker to be appreciated and recognised though not all of us are fortunate enough. Biologically, all of us have the requisite faculties to make it big if we have the motivation and perspicacity to recognise the umpteen opportunities, often disguised as hard work. Destiny and one’s past Karma are definitely factors, but not beyond a point after which you can easily mould and make your own destiny. It is all up to us as to how determined and dedicated we are to leave our footprints on the sands of time.

We have all been favoured with the Almighty’s grace to be born as the most intelligent of all living beings. Still, we are all unique, endowed with distinctive capacities. Each one of us is said to be an axis of this world and we often feel perplexed noticing the entire world moving around us. Despite being unique, all of us are part of a larger matrix. Coming to the world to play our role as part of the larger cosmic plan, we need to do the same with due care and dedication. If we succeed doing the same, we not only contribute to our own spiritual evolution, but also to the enrichment of the cosmic intelligence. However, not all of us are capable enough to recognise our assigned task to make our mark.

Whatever be our vocation, avocation or position, we all have our share of opportunity to shine and be recognised in the society we live. Each and every one of us reaches different levels of fame, popularity and status. The recognition or importance could extend to one’s family, community, locality, village, city, state, country or the entire world. It could also be confined to one’s office, trade, profession, business, industry or a particular grouping.

Depending on the extent of a person’s ambition, she has the craving to be appreciated and recognised in the circle or sphere. One’s aspirational level is however predicated upon multiple factors including the level of one’s consciousness, one’s socio-educational background, and one’s received cultural and motivational capital.

Most people remain satisfied and happy in one’s own cocoon, without continually thinking of incremental upgrading one’s sphere of influence. But there will always remain some people who will not stop at any achievement or success. Like a fire is only aggravated with thew pouring of oil or butter into it, similarly our desires constantly keep multiplying pursuant to the satisfaction of one or the other desire. Man’s desire to further explore and extend oneself keeps growing after the satisfaction of his/her next desire. Endowed with boundless aspirational energy, s/he will not stop till one identifies with the entire cosmos by eventually merging into the Supreme Consciousness.

But we must realise the supreme truth that all this yearning for evanescent recognition or importance has no value as such but for helping us with our spiritual growth. After all, this fame or recognition has been found to be immaterial and irrelevant beyond a point. Our own Karma or actions in the past appear alien to us in the next lives because we don’t recognise the same. However, we do have an innate identification or affinity with particular deeds or thinking because of the permanent impressions grafted on our eternal consciousness. More than the status, fame or importance, it is the lessons learnt in each of the birth stations which is important to us as a spiritual being.

In fact, every position or situation is nothing but a facilitating stage for learning the right lessons for improving one’s Karma for one’s upward spiritual evolution. After all, the greatest of celebrities, the most famous or the most powerful movers and shakers of the world are also soon forgotten. So, any attachment or fascination for fleeting glory or fame during our temporary stay on this Blue Planet is not at all advisable. Most of us never pause to reflect on the relevance of our birth or assigned role in the entire scheme of things.

We should all try to do and be our best as long as we survive here. Time and again, it has been noticed that many of us, in our bid to race past others to attain that elusive power or importance stemming from either being a celebrity, a powerful political or business leader or the master of our profession, either never get the hang of the Cosmic Drama or simply lose the plot of the game.

Many religious scriptures including the Bhagavad Gita repeatedly say that whatever belongs to us today belonged to someone else yesterday and would belong to someone else tomorrow. When we are soon to be replaced and forgotten by others, why should we take the mundane ups and downs in our lives to our heart?

As per the Bhagavad Gita, we should keep on engaging in the everyday chores of our lives without ever thinking of the fruits of our actions. However, many have questioned this scriptural prescription on the plea that such an attitude would actually take away the primal zeal and motivation to move towards continual social, economic, cultural, educational, scientific and other enrichments of the human civilization. But against this diverse variety of creatures and living beings, it’s only the humans who are endowed with the logical and rational faculties. Again, only a minuscule minority from amongst the humans are capable enough to indulge in cerebral activities to uplift themselves spiritually.

On closer reflection, all of us have different periods of crests and troughs in our lives. Many of us take these temporary or periodic lows in their careers, personal or public life very negatively because of which they impede their spiritual evolution. A human life is very beautifully crafted by the Supreme Lord and He has a micro plan for each of us.

As they say, if things are happening our way, it is good. If the same is not happening our way, it is actually better as then it is happening God’s way. So, we should not feel depressed or down in the dumps during such occasional periods of lull or so-called unimportance. These are, actually, God’s way of making us stronger to face bigger challenges of life.

As Swami Vivekananda once said, “I asked for strength and God gave me difficulties to make me strong. I asked for wisdom and God gave me problems to solve. I asked for prosperity and God gave me brain and brawn to work. I asked for courage and God gave me danger to overcome. I asked for love and God gave me troubled people to help. I asked for favours and God gave me opportunities. I received nothing I wanted, but I received everything I needed”.

So, instead of looking at life’s adversities cynically, we should see the same in a different perspective. They are actually God’s way of preparing us for larger and bigger roles. Hence, we should not keep looking at the door which has been closed because by doing so, we lose the capability of viewing the many doors which are lying open for our exploration.

(To be concluded)

The writer is an IAS officer, presently posted as Commissioner of School Education, West Bengal. The views are personal and not the Government’s.