Failure fails, Success fails

Birthday of John Ruskin

EVERYBODY KNOWS THERE IS SUFFERING. We pretend that it is not, but pretensions are pretensions. Only very stupid people can pretend for long. The more intelligent you are, the sooner the recognition comes that life is fleeting, it is just a soap-bubble. And that too full of suffering! Have you not suffered? But what keeps you alive then? If life is such a suffering, why don’t you collapse? Why do you go on and on? What keeps you going on? Hope.

The hope is there like the horizon waiting ahead. It says, “Up to now life has been suffering, but that has not to be the case for ever. Tomorrow things will be better. With this woman you are suffering; with another woman things will be better. With this job you are not happy; with another job you will be happy. With this rotten car you are feeling miserable, but there are beautiful cars; you can have a better one. With this much money, of course, how can one be happy? But money can be earned.” Just being nobody you are feeling that life has no meaning — become somebody and life will start giving meaning and colour. These hopes go on and on pulling you, somehow keeping you together. Hope is the glue that keeps you together: otherwise, you will fall into pieces.

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And what I am saying is not speculation. Just look into your life and you will see the truth of it. What is keeping you together? It is not life that is keeping you together; life has been hitting you hard from every nook and corner — from every direction life is hammering you. It is hope. Hope functions like a buffer. The shocks of life are absorbed by hope, and one goes on living and waiting for the tomorrow. And the tomorrow never comes. And whatsoever comes is never that which you had been hoping for. You go on thinking that everybody else is happy EXCEPT YOU — and that is the situation of everybody else too. They think you are happy. It is a mutual deception. The grass is always greener on the other side of the hedge. And so is the case with your neighbour too: he thinks the grass is greener in your lawn.

People go on pretending to others that they are happy. They have to, otherwise it will be so impossible to live a single moment. Deep down they are suffering and they are full of tears, and on the surface they go on maintaining a smile. But that smile becomes a poisonous phenomenon. You see everybody else smile and you see everybody so happy that you think, “Only I am suffering. If I do a little more work, if I work a little harder, if I become a little more aggressive in my ambitions, I will reach. Look! — others have reached. Somebody has become the prime minister, somebody has become the president — I can also work it out. I still have life left.” This is the whole game that goes on.

Somebody asked George Bernard Shaw, “What is politics?

And George Bernard Shaw said, “The king of the mountain game. One kid gets atop a big pile of dirt and the others try to displace him — that’s politics.”

The one who has reached somewhere pretends that he has attained. Nothing has been attained. But now he has to save his face too, otherwise people will say, “Then what have you been doing? If nothing has been attained by becoming the president of a country and you have devoted your whole life for it, how stupid you have been!” So when a person becomes the president of a country, he goes on smiling, and he goes on pretending that whatsoever he wanted he has achieved. This is just a face-saving device. Deep down he knows all has failed; deep down he knows now there is no hope. But what is the point of saying it to people? — because they will laugh and they will think you are stupid. And they will think, “Your whole life you worked for this position, for this power, and now you have arrived and you say, you have attained nothing — so your whole life has been a wastage?”

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Nobody wants to see it, that “My whole life has been a wastage” — it goes against the ego. So those who arrive on those big piles of dirt, who reach atop, they start declaring that they have attained.

In life there is no attainment; there cannot be. That is not the nature of life. Life fails, it fails utterly. Whether you fail or succeed makes no difference — the failure is the same. Those who fail, certainly they fail; but those who succeed, they ALSO fail, and in the same proportion. To see this is of great import. A great thinker, Ruskin, has said that in life there are only two disappointments: to desire a thing and not to get it, and to desire a thing and to get it. Only two disappointments. If you don’t get it, certainly you are disappointed. But if you get it, then too you are disappointed — because whatsoever you were hoping is not attained through it. It is something else. That hope was YOUR projection; it was not reality.

It is like you saw a coloured stone shining in the morning sun and you thought, “This is a kohinoor!” and you rushed. Not only you — many rushed; the whole town became involved in it. And the more people got involved the more you thought, “There must be something in it. When so many people are rushing towards it, there must be something in it! because so many people can’t be wrong.” Remember always: so many people can’t be right! It is very rarely that a person is right; so many people can’t be right. Whenever you see a crowd going to some place, forget all about it; just drop the idea. So many people can’t be right. The majority consists of very very mediocre people. But one starts believing in the crowd…So many people believing in it — there must be something in it. You must have been wrong thinking that it is a lie. Accidentally you must have stumbled upon a truth, otherwise so many people can’t believe in it. So many people rushing towards a coloured stone on the street in the morning sun, and all are thinking that it is a diamond, a very valuable diamond. But when you reach… if you don’t reach, of course you suffer. You will always carry the wound. If you reach, then it is just a coloured stone then too you suffer.

Failure fails, success fails too. To see this is to let hope evaporate. It does not matter whether you die rich or poor. It does not matter whether you die as a sinner or a saint. It does not matter whether you die well-known or unknown, famous or notorious. Death comes and destroys everything. Death is very democratic; it does not believe in hierarchies. It does not bother whether the person was a peon or a prime minister. It simply comes! and dust falls into dust and disappears. It won’t help you in any way that you are rich; it won’t help you in any way that you are famous; it won’t help you in any way that you are a great emperor, this or that. If you can see it while you are alive, then something is possible — something which is beyond life and death.


This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune. 

Discourse Series:

Take It Easy, Vol 1

Chapter #13
Chapter title: Daruma, the Cat and the Ladle
23 April 1978 am in Buddha Hall


Osho has spoken on eminent poets and writers like Byron, Coleridge, D.H. Lawrence, Ghalib, Heinrich Heine, John Ruskin, Kahlil Gibran, Kalidas, Keats, Leo Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Milton, Oscar Wilde, Rabindranath Tagore, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Rumi, Rudyard Kipling, Shakespeare, Shelley, William Blake, Wordsworth and many more in His discourses. Some of these can be referred to in the following books/discourses:

  1. The Book of Wisdom
  2. The Sword and The Lotus
  3. Returning to the Source
  4. Light on the Path
  5. The Secret
  6. The Hidden Splendor
  7. The New Dawn
  8. Beyond Enlightenment
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1 Comment

  • Ranjan Agarwal
    Ranjan Agarwal
    Posted September 20, 2023 7:58 am 0Likes

    right way.

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