Solace and Hope in dealing with Set-backs and Disappointments in our daily lives

It is inevitable that in our daily lives we will experience disappointment. Maybe it will be as a result of a promotion, or an appointment, which did not materialise leaving us feeling down and hopeless. It is during these unsettled times that I read the following article and become optimistic again.


Extracted from the book “Wings of Fire”. An autobiography of A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Professor of Technology and Societal Transformation, Anna University, Chennai; on 25 July 2002 he was sworn in as the 11th President of India. Mr Kalam had finished 9th from a batch of 25 officers for Commissioning in the Indian Air Force. He was terribly disappointed and disillusioned. At this point he found himself in Rishikesh. “I bathed in the Ganga and revelled in the purity of its water. Then, I walked to the Sivananda Ashram situated a little way up the hill. I could feel intense vibrations when I entered. I saw a large number of sadhus seated all around in a state of trance. I had read that sadhus were psychic people, people who know things intuitively and, in my dejected mood, I sought answers to the doubts that troubled me.

I met Swami Sivananda, a man who looked like a Buddha, wearing a snow-white dhoti and wooden slippers. He had an olive complexion and black, piercing eyes. I was struck by his irresistible, almost child-like smile and gracious manner. I introduced myself to the Swamiji. My Muslim name aroused no reaction in him. Before I could speak any further, he enquired about the source of my sorrow. He offered no explanation of how he knew that I was sad and I did not ask. I told him about my unsuccessful attempt to join the Indian Air Force and my longcherished desire to fly. He smiled, washing away all my anxiety almost instantly. Then he said in a feeble, but very deep voice, Desire, when it stems from the heart and spirit, when it is pure and intense, possesses awesome electromagnetic energy. This energy is released into the ether each night, as the mind falls into the sleep state.

Each morning it returns to the conscious state reinforced with the cosmic currents. That which has been imaged will surely and certainly be manifested. You can rely, young man, upon this ageless promise as surely as you can rely upon the eternally unbroken promise of sunrise… and of Spring. ‘ When the student is ready, the teacher will appear How true! Here was the teacher to show the way to a student who had nearly gone astray. ‘Accept your destiny and go ahead with your life. You are not destined to become an Air Force pilot. What you are destined to become is not revealed now but it is predetermined. Forget this failure, as it was essential to lead you to your destined path. Search, instead, for the true purpose of your existence.

Become one with yourself, my son! Surrender yourself to the wish of God,’ Swamiji said.”