Is being great the greatest joy?

In the current day-and-age, practically everyone wants to make it to the top. It is practically in every field – education, career, politics, entertainment and social media. Dream job, dream salary, dream vacation, dream house and dream spouse are often the prominent objects of meditation and longing. Being great has become synonymous with being successful. Being great has become synonymous with being happy.

Becoming great is difficult and not joyful

In today’s age of globalization and social media, competition has increased manifold. Climbing to the top is not only tough but tiring and sometimes traumatizing. The competition is cut-throat, ruthless and insurmountable. It is not and never an easy ride. Everyone cannot make it and cannot make it in every field. One can be rich but not beautiful. One can be intelligent but not rich. No one can become all-attractive and impress everyone for all the time. Many may aspire to achieve this status. Owing to the inherent limitations and imperfections in us, this achievement only remains an aspiration.

Great people are not always joyful

Being on the top does not immune one from all sorts of pain and bestow unlimited varieties of pleasure. Like everyone, they are also prone to ill health, old age and dualities of weather and environment. They are also prone to vices, emotional outbursts and relationship problems. When one is great, the stakes are high – a slight inattention, mistake can cause a great disaster. There is always pressure to keep up pace and grow. There is always fear of losing the position at the top (BG 16.13-15). One has to constantly endeavor to keep the competition at bay. Competition always keeps increasing and is ever dynamic. It is one challenge to climb to the top and it is another challenge to remain on the top.

Getting the real joy

Bhagavad Gita (8.15) describes the world we live in as a world of limitation and duality. This applies irrespective of whether one is on the top or bottom of the society. This nature of the world cannot be altered by advances in technology and economics. The way out is to become aware of our real identity as a spiritual being. Based on the spiritual identity, we can act in such a way that we constructively contribute to the harmony and holistic progress of the society as per our ability and inclination. Such a life based on selflessness and spirituality offers lasting fulfilment and joy amidst the trials and tribulations of the external world and irrespective of the type of position and amount of capacity to contribute.