Why do so few people achieve the deepest dreams of their childhood? Why do so many people end up saying, "If only my boss...", "If only my health...", "If only my luck..."? The answer is simple. They lack one thing: passion.
In the second century BCE, a young Indian boy of age seven was told by an astrologer peering at his palms that he had not the required lines of education to become a scholar. The young boy went into the house, brought out a knife, drew it where the line should have been and asked the astrologer, "Now can you see the line?" The boy was Panini, who grew to become one of the greatest grammarians in the history of Sanskrit.
In Hinduism, karma theory is not a theory of bondage, as many construe, but liberation: As you sow, so shall you reap.
Imagine you are treading water at the centre of a flowing river. What is your destiny? Wherever the river ends up, of course. But what if you begin swimming towards either of the banks, or with greater effort, in the opposite direction against the current? Then almost any point along either bank of the entire river can become your destiny. You may even choose to step out of that river completely and walk upstream or plunge into an alternative river! Your fate is sealed only if you refuse to make any efforts to alter your course.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan repeats with emphasis many times in His Vachanamrut sermons that nothing is impossible with the human body if one is prepared to try hard enough, regularly enough and for long enough. It is here that the presence or absence of passion becomes the deciding factor. Passion is the substance that keeps people going, nourishing constant optimism, despite formidable obstructions in their path.
In a US school, a child who had no steady education because he came from an extremely poor background was once asked by his schoolteacher to write an essay about what he wanted to do and become when he grew up. He spent hours writing through the night - longer than any of his classmates- and drew a map of a 200 acre ranch with race track and stables, etc. It also incorporated a detailed diagram of a 4000 square feet mansion, plus a swimming pool. A week later his teacher returned his work marked: "F. See me after class." He was shocked and heart broken. "Why have you given me an F? This is my dream." The teacher explained, "Your essay isn't realistic. I want to save you from pain and frustration later in life. Write another essay and I'll give you a better grade." All night the boy struggled with the idea of changing or altering his dream to something else. The next day he returned to school and handed back the original essay. "Sir," he said, "You keep the F. I'm keeping my dream." That boy was none other than Marty Roberts who grew up to own a 200-acre ranch with a 4000 sq. ft mansion - precisely as he had dreamed.
In 1953, Yale University conducted a study of 1,500 boys and girls in Class 10. They were asked to write on a piece of paper what they wanted to do and become when they grew up. In 1973, Yale students tracked down these people to assess their achievements in comparison with the goals they had written down 20 years earlier. They found that the students who had written down their goals in great detail - only 3 percent - were so successful that they were earning more money than the other 97 percent put together!
Similar findings have been published in Daniel Goleman's best selling book Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. SAT scores have been found usually to contribute a maximum of only 20 percent to a person's final success. The other 80 percent is provided by one's EQ or "emotional quotient" which Goleman defines quite simply as one's personal character: qualities such as self-restraint, empathy, friendliness and enthusiasm.
The Upanishads beseech: "Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached." Become the sculptor of your own destiny. Trust yourself. Trust the sages. Trust God. The sky's the limit.