Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s thoughts on Success and Freedom


Swami Satyananda says, “For success, just three ingredients are required: commitment, dedication and devotion to that which is beyond oneself”. Unless we are able to develop these three qualities in our life, we can never find satisfaction or fulfilment. Real success is not measured by status, monetary gain or any personal achievement, but by how much one is able to offer others in their time of need, for their upliftment and for the removal of their distress.

What makes us trapped is our illusion about self, our sense of individuality, of self importance, of ego-centricity, which blocks our vision of totality, of oneness with humanity and with the entire creation. Freedom is an understanding of oneself in relation to others, the part in relation to the whole. We will never be free until we learn to share with others. There are thousands of ways to share our knowledge, abilities, facilities, experience, faith, money, property, food, clothes, books, ideas.

It is not by accumulating and enriching ourselves that we become free. We become free by giving what we have to others. The different ways and forms of our sharing are the measure of our freedom, of our capacity to realise that divinity which resides in us and in all beings, sentient and insentient.

At the end of life, what will we have that is still ours? The only thing that will go with us will be our karmas, our deeds, whether positive or negative. That is why it is very important in this life to always be on the lookout for opportunities to give, to serve and to contribute something for the welfare and betterment of another. We must live to help and serve others and not ourselves. We must remove our limitations and develop a broader identity that encompasses the entire humanity. This is the way to attain happiness, fulfilment and transcendence, in this life and in the life to come. With every positive deed, we remove the shackles of ten years of negative deeds. We become brighter, healthier and more vital.

(The main message is gleaned from his article on ‘Yoga in the 21st Century’, International Yoga News, Miami, Florida, USA; Nov 2000)