Perseverance Overcomes Mountains


The Call Beyond
15 Apr 2020

Rome was not built in a day. The long time that it takes to do anything of lasting value is itself a deterrent. On top of that, the journey from start to finish is not smooth. There are roadblocks and traffic jams, which test one’s patience. Hence, the one quality needed to reach the goal in a long journey is to go on, no matter how long it takes. That is perseverance.

Life is a long journey, but long and short are relative. One lifetime is only a small part of a much longer journey of the soul. How we muster the perseverance to keep coming back to this difficult world again and again for thousands of lives is mind-boggling, but we need not bother our mind with it. What concerns us is primarily the present life, its purpose, and how to fulfill it. In the simplest of terms, the purpose of life is to change, to change for the better. Since there is always room for improvement, changing for the better gives us enough work for a lifetime. The work is further complicated by at least two factors. First, what is genuinely good can be quite different from what seems good. Secondly, what is clearly evil can be quite tempting. To know what is genuinely good we need guidance. To reject what is clearly evil, we need a strong will power. The ultimate resource for meeting both these needs is our divine essence, the soul. The soul is so effectively hidden from ordinary powers of perception that to discover it we need a Guru. A Guru is necessary, but not sufficient. For the Guru’s guidance and Grace to work, we need a sincere aspiration that is intense but calm and above all, persistent. To have an aspiration that persists no matter what, we have to persevere. Perseverance is a powerful tool. With perseverance, Edison invented a bulb after ‘failing’ about a thousand times; he never thought he failed, he used to say that he had learnt a thousand ways that did not work. The Mother calls this attitude “a kind of inner good humour which helps you not to get discouraged, not to become sad, and to face all difficulties with a smile.” With perseverance, we can also discover the inner bulb that will take us from the darkness of ignorance towards the Light of Knowledge, tamaso maa jyotirgamaya.