Question: This is my junior year in high school and like most kids in school, this has been my hardest year. The following question keeps coming back to me.
I work hard and I don’t get the results that I want. Do I beat myself up for it and get the results I want for the next time or do I just leave it up to fate? Or for example do I plan that I want to do certain things so I get into the college of my desire or do I just leave it up to fate or Krishna’s mercy? Because I have noticed that when I don’t pay attention to the results I have no motivation to achieve and work hard.
Answer by Romapada Swami: Thanks for presenting in such a clear manner this core question, in applying the teachings of Bhagavad-gita to very practical aspects of life like your current academic studies.
Please know that this very same application principle arises in every single aspect of our lives, as we mature in age. Best to learn this principle clearly, as early in life as possible. In turn, as the complexities of life unfold before us, the very same principle can be enhanced and developed through application, step by step through the course of our lives.
Bhakti teaches us to transfer our attachments from the temporary to the eternal Supreme Person, Krishna via rendering of loving service to please and to satisfy Him.
Read B.G,9.27. Cultivate the consciousness of doing your studies in such a way that you are wanting Krishna to smile at your effort, which you are presenting as an offering to Him. When making this offering, the actual results (your grades in an exam, or your report card, or your GPA, etc.) are fully up to him. Krishna is “the ability in man.”
When you bake a cake for your mother or father or a friend on their birthday, will you pay attention to the details of how you mix the ingredients together, such that the cake looks attractive and the taste matches theirs? Will you choose a particular type of cake you know they particularly like — maybe something very different and particularly healthy perhaps? Will your endeavor be focused on getting a result which will be pleasing to and appreciated by them?
Endeavor to please Krishna in all that you do in life, including your studies.
“Beating yourself up” if the results do not meet your expectations is clearly within the lower modes of nature, and will NOT at all guarantee better grades in your next exam!
Nor does Bhakti teach that you must leave things to fate.
You have painted for yourself a false dilemma, as a result of leaving devotion to Krishna off the option list.
In life, we can always do better, yes? Next, where does ability come from? The source of everything, Krishna, is where ability to do better comes from. Next, how to best encourage Krishna to decorate you with increased ability? Answer: When Krishna sees you are striving for one purpose only, to serve and to please Him, you can expect His mercy to flow, in whatever manner or form He decides.
Think of Mother Yasoda binding Krishna. Only when Krishna extended His Kripa-Sakti were Mother Yasoda’s efforts successful in binding Krishna.
There are so many scriptural examples that teach us this very same lesson.
Bhakti teaches that your Dept is the Service Department, and Krishna’s Dept is the Results Dept. You do your services to your maximum capacity in full Krishna Consciousness, striving all the while to make the best possible offering to Krishna, while simultaneously understanding that the Results are in fact fully up to Krishna.
Cultivation of this principle in all that you do is the art of living in Krishna Consciousness.