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Whose life is considered successful?
When an operation is done on a patient, the relatives are very anxious to know whether it was a success and whether the patient will survive for more years. But hardly ever do people check their own lives - whether they achieved something substantial by living. Wealth, beauty, fame and followers, position and power - ail come and go. According to the verdict of the scriptures, one's life is considered successful only if one has utilized it in Krishna consciousness - hearing about the Lord, speaking about the Lord or rendering some service to the Lord. In one of his meetings with a leading Mumbai businessman, Srila Prabhupada told him, "In the ledger of your life, all the time that you spent in relation to Krishna is profit. All the time you spent for yourself is loss. Now you decide how much profit have you made in your life and whether your life was worth living." Living a long life or having affluent facilities for sense gratification is not considered success by the wise. Even the trees live thousands of years and animals enjoy eating, sleeping and sex life. Hence a life devoid of Krishna consciousness is considered no better than the life of any animal and thus such a life is considered unsuccessful.
Sripada Shankaracharya lived only 32 years. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lived only 48 years. Jesus Christ lived only 32 years. But the contribution that these great saints left behind is now a guiding light for millions. The six Goswamis of Vrindavan lived usnder trees and hardly ate any food, but the literatures that they have left behind carry a whole Krishna conscious culture that can be practised by any sincere practitioner in any part of the world for all time to come. In fact there are devotees worldwide whose lives are guided by these principles of devotional service. Therefore one's life is considered successful only based on the quality of living.