Review and revise.
Analyse and then act. These are essential ingredients for success.
By indentifying faults and correcting them, progress is made.
But often, ego and other baser instincts blur our vision. Our
self-centred actions are judged with a self-promoting bias.
So, if we want to achieve our aims, we must stand back and focus
on our faults.
"What is my fault? Sanjay, tell me! What's my mistake?"
On the eighteenth and final day of the Mahabharat War, a mortally
wounded Duryodhan breaks the eerie silence of the battlefield with
these words of self-pity.
Shocked by the critical wounds inflicted on his master, Sanjay is
"Tell me Sanjay," Duryodhan continues, "What have I
done wrong? I've carried out all my duties, studied the scriptures,
performed sacrifices, made donations.... And yes, I may be dying,
but nobody has had such a dignified death as this!"
Even on his death bed, Duryodhan is unable to know the mistakes which
have ruined his life. In these final moments, he is searching for
ways to pin the blame for the Great War on the Pandavas. But, it is
all in vain, for history tells a different story - it was Duryodhan
who instigated the attempts to kill the Pandavas; it was Duryodhan
who craved and plotted to see the Pandavas penniless; and it was Duryodhan
who refused to part with even a needle-tip size area of the land which
rightfully belonged to the Pandavas. And now he asks, "What have
I done wrong?"
All he can see at this time are the roses of noble deeds he performed,
but he does not see the underlying thorns of misdeeds - thorns which
had punctured his happiness throughout his life. It was these thorns
which made him unable to tolerate any good that happened to the Pandavas
and made his life miserable. But he never thought to remove those
painful thorns and enjoy the roses.
Duryodhan's question is not only confined to him alone. It is an eternal
question. One that is equally applicable today and tomorrow, simply
because every person, to a great or lesser extent, believes that he
is free of blame for anything which goes wrong.
Students blame teachers for their poor results; children blame parents
and parents blame children for family discord; while workers blame
the management and the management blames the worker. Everyone is blaming
each other, but nobody is prepared to shoulder the blame. Nobody is
prepared to search within for their faults. And nobody is bold enough
to admit their mistakes and do something about them. This is the reason
for the misery which plagues our lives.
In any industrial production process, a quality controller is on hand
to ensure that the product being manufactured is upto standard. It
is his responsibility to ensure that faulty goods are rejected and
only the perfect products are packed for sale. Without this step,
a company's reputation is likely to suffer. The same is true in life.
By failing to assess our faults within, and by not taking appropriate
measures to correct them, we are unable to live at peace with the
Hence, it is essential that we regularly pause and ask ourselves,
"What are my faults? And what can I do to correct them."
Only then can progress be made. This habit of introspection is important
in every aspect of life. Consider a team - in football, cricket, baseball
or any other sport - which performs below standard. Only by analysing
and accepting their mistakes can individual players and the team as
a whole improve. To help a player improve, the first necessity is
for him to analyse his own performance and his own strengths and weaknesses.
The second requirement is a good manager who gives constructive criticism.
Shriji Maharaj has pinpointed these principles as the route to spiritual
In Vach. Gad. I-6, Shriji Maharaj says, "One who has a good discriminating
sense will increasingly realise his own drawbacks...and if God or
His holy sadhu speak harshly to him, he believes it to be for his
Again in Vach. Gad. I-16, Shriji Maharaj emphasizes this technique,
"A devotee of God who is able to discriminate between the real
and imaginary, identifies his own faults and overcomes them...and
whatever advice God and His holy sadhu give is accepted as true."
By applying this technique, faults are eradicated and progress is
The Selling Game
If real progress is desired, then introspection, admission of faults
and steps for their correction are essential.
In the intensely competitive consumer market, companies which adopt
a self-critical review policy succeed and progress rapidly. Those
who believe, "no consumer is wrong," or "if anything
is wrong, it is wrong with me," or "you can always improve"
will be more capable of meeting their customers' demands and so increase
Likewise, on the spiritual front, regular and frequent introspection
is vital. Shriji Maharaj says in Vach. Gad. I-38, "A devotee
should analyse his mind to assess how much attachment he has for God
and how much attachment he has for material pleasures. By doing this
every year, he can slowly eradicate any outstanding desires for material
In Vach. Sarangpur-18, a question is asked to Shriji Maharaj, "If
a person is troubled by anger and other vicious instincts, can they
be eradicated?" In reply, Shriji Maharaj says, "A businessman
keeps a regular account of all transactions. Similarly, if a person
keeps regular track of his baser instincts and evaluates the changes
that have occurred since entering Satsang, then all his vicious instincts
will be eliminated."
Until one reflects within, the intensity with which baser instincts
have taken a controlling grip in one's life will not be realised.
If one does not stop to reflect, one's actions will lead one away
Jiva Khachar, the uncle of Dada Khachar, was intensely jealous of
his nephew. This clouded his perception of Shriji Maharaj and led
to his fall from Satsang.
Faiba of Macchiav had tremendous love for Shriji Maharaj, but her
stubbornness became a barrier to spiritual progress.
Allaiya Khachar's ego hindered him, and prevented him from fulfilling
his spiritual potential.
In all these examples, failure to introspect and failure to identify
one's faults were the root cause of the problem.
Learning from Swamishri
While Swamishri was in America, recovering after his bypass operation,
the sadhus read from the scriptures at meal times. On Swamishri's
penultimate day in America, the final chapter of the Bhaktachintamani
was being read. Swamishri asked Prabuddhamuni Swami if there were
any sweet items which could be distributed as prasad to those present
in celebration of the conclusion of the Bhaktachintamani recital.
But there was nothing suitable. Prabuddhmuni Swami said, "I was
going to make some shiro, but I became so pre-occupied with the routine
work that I forgot." Swamishri commented, "It's my fault,
I should have reminded you earlier."
Such a trivial matter, yet Swamishri was quick to take the responsibility.
Successful people rapidly assess the situation, admit their mistakes
and plan for improvement. Taking responsibility of oneself means to
accept and correct one's mistakes.
The key to the doorway of success lies within. But one has to search
there to find it. A Chinese philosopher has said,
"If you treat people with love and are subjected to enmity, search
If you selflessly help people and are greeted with non-cooperation,
If you treat people with respect and are subjected to hostility, search
In fact, in any activity which does not bring the desired results,
So the answer to the age-old question, "What is my fault?"
has only one answer - "That I cannot see my own faults is my
And the only way to correct this is through constant introspection
and humble prayer to God.