Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Full Effort is Full Victory

--by Eknath Easwaran (May 10, 2011)

Gandhi wanted so deeply to help the world that he dedicated his life to siphoning every trace of self-interest out of his heart and mind, leaving them pure, radiantly healthy, and free to love. It took him nearly twenty years to gain such control of his thinking process, but with every day of demanding effort he discovered a little more of the deep resources that are within us all: unassuming leadership, eloquence, and an endless capacity for selfless service.
When he was in South Africa, Gandhi sometimes would walk fifty miles a day and sleep only a few hours a night. Even into his seventies he wrote hundreds of letters every week; when his right hand got tired, he learned to write with his left. Once, while he was writing a letter, the lantern failed. Most of us would have quit and gone to bed, but Gandhi, aware of how much his reply meant to those who had written him, went outside and finished his correspondence by moonlight. That kind of drive gives a glimpse of the wellspring of vitality he tapped every day. If we were asked to live like this, we would say, "Impossible!" Gandhi would object, "Oh, no. It is possible, when your mind is flooded with love for all."
Late in Gandhi's life a Western journalist asked, "Mr. Gandhi, you've been working fifteen hours a day for fifty years. Don't you ever feel like taking a few weeks off and going for a vacation?" Gandhi laughed and said, "Why? I am always on vacation." Because he had no personal irons in the fire, no selfish concerns involved in his work, there was no conflict in his mind to drain his energy. He had just one overwhelming desire -- an ambition that, like a bonfire, had consumed all his passion. This world-famous figure, who could have been prime minister of India and one of the wealthiest men in Asia, declared he had no interest in becoming rich or famous. He wanted something far greater, he said: to become zero, to place all his talents, resources, time, and energy in a trust for the world.
"Full effort is full victory," said Gandhi. You need not be troubled if you have made mistakes, or if your ideal has slipped away. Just continue to give your best. If you fall, pick yourself up and march on. If you cannot run, walk. If you cannot walk, crawl. Nothing in life is more joyful or more thrilling. The effort alone brings a continuing wave of joy in which every personal problem, every suffering and humiliation, is forgotten.
--Eknath Eswaran

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Previous Reflections:

On May 7, 2011 Edit Lak wrote:


Thank You.  I am – we are truly blessed to read this passage, to remind us ‘we can’
My Sincerity is to life, for allowing this ‘self’ to be in this world.
My Persistence is to continue on and breathe for as long as I possibly can, and continue to learn such grace and intelligence each and every day, even if I get it wrong – I want to keep trying and trying to learn, and give!!!!! 
I want my wrongs to teach me the rights, and my rights to show me the wrongs,
So, I will persist each day to be the ‘i’ in life..
My Efforts – holds no effort, as this non-effort is my genuine desire, my hearts-felt desire to ‘Be’ and appreciative each moment that I get
Thank you. I am truly humbled and grateful
Thank you.

On May 7, 2011 Conrad wrote:

Eknath’s article was inspiring. It reminded me of  Buddha and Christ.
My young grandchildren are most on my mind. They are happy and peaceful as I want them to be. I often think how great it will be when I am with them.
My most persistent and sincere efforts seemed to be to understand everything and everyone. I am still mostly intellectual about most matters, yet deep down I know there is much more to healthy, peaceful living than intellectually understanding everything and everyone. I have come to understand that I do not understand, as I have come to accept uncertainty. Part of my problem remains that I want to be certain of my uncertainty.
I'm very impressed with William Penn's notion that "we will pass this way but once, and any good, therefore, that we may do, or any kindness that we may show, to any human being, let us do it now. Let us not defer nor neglected for we shall not pass this way again." I say that to myself every couple of days but I do not often practice it , nor do I practice the St. Francis of Assisi prayer which I also love.
It seemed that Gandhi practiced what St. Francis said: "Preach the gospel always – – use words if necessary." The gospel, as I understand it, preaches for us to be compassionate and kind to others and oneself.  I have 50 or 60 more paragraphs to say about this but I don't like to read long responses. These 50 or 60 more pages are part of my delusion of grandeur which Gandhi did not have. I say I would like to be no one, going nowhere, but I seem to enjoy the attention others give me when I say that. Thanks Viral and Nipun again for giving me the opportunity to say what I think and feel. You all have my gratitude. Warm and kind regards to everyone.

On May 7, 2011 Dhara wrote:
"In your own life, what are the most sincere and persistent efforts?"

Since my early teenage years, have been searching for answers to who is god and who am I and what is my life's purpose? I would say this is the area which I am the most dedicated to and put persistent efforts.  I have failed many times and feel discouraged however, b/c the drive is so strong internally, I learn to get up again and continue to seek.  I have come far from when I first started this journey.
One lesson that I learned across the way is that we must love our own self first before we can love anyone else.  I wish to love all but I must first start by loving me.

I also learned that whenever I am doing something that is coming from wihtin, it does not feel like work, it feels like "vacation".  Instead of draining me, it energizes me. 
And it really helps to be on this path and journey b/c of great friends and teachers.  :-)

On May 7, 2011 Anonymous wrote:

 What I was touched by is the sincere effort that Gandhiji made throughout his life to be a servant leader -- to be self less in service. When I look back and think about where I have been sincere and persistent, self less interest does not come to the top. It is more about getting approval, looking good and gaining self esteem. I worked on them for a very long time -- over 30 years and then something shifted in me. I realized that only way I can gain those things is to give to others what I really want. Finding ways to make others feel good around me, helping people to find their self confidence and self worth and getting people to discover their own genius struck me as ways to be in the world. Then the next struggle has been how to live in that shifted consciousness and not go back to my own needs. In this journey, I am realizing that fully being other centered might never happen, but if I can remember to touch people, move them to discover who they are and inspire them to go after their dreams and believe that they are bigger than who they think they are -- even once a week -- consistently -- then I would consider my life sincere and purposeful.

On May 8, 2011 madhur wrote:

 The passage is beautiful, today i understood what made Gandhiji so popular and obeyed, it was his unshaken selfless committment.

Earlier, I was doing things for gaining appreciation, success etc. however from last 1 year or so (due to more reading and interaction with CF group) i have had a shift in focus. It is about giving in many cases. I have seen this shift has enabled me to work more, remain happy without worrying about what i get, gain more respect and listening and remain focused and clear with confidence in most situations. This indeed is very powerful as i experienced first hand from my little day to day committments. It gives true happiness and self-truse is enhanced to a great degree.

Thankyou so much for posting this, as this small passage has great motivation embedded.

On May 8, 2011 Xiaoshan wrote:

"If you cannot run, walk. If you cannot walk, crawl."

On May 8, 2011 Ricky wrote:

To begin, there is so much more to us and our experience than the next news story, the gossip around town, who drives us nuts, what to wear today, what to do, where to shop, where our next vacation is, and all the activities surrounding the almighty dollar by getting ahead-being the best-competing and clawing our way to the top.  We are much more than our job description.  When we peel back all the layers of unconscious living, we rediscover our heart.  Within our heart we know what is true and necessary.  We are led to serve others for the higher good.  We are to connect to our passion, our Gifts, do our work, our action, and not be attached to the outcome.  Gandhi did exactly that.  When we are connected to what we know to be the truth about why we are here, we have tapped into the wellspring of boundless energy that is the Universe.  We wake each morning with purpose and vision.  We rest in the calm peace that comes with the deepest sense of gratitude.  Each encounter, each step, each conversation, each smile is heavenly and holistic.  We are guided by the Big S Self, our heart.  We express our Spirit which is Universal and connected to each Spirit within each heart, to everything around us, within us, and continue to nurture that with each breath.  While we are on this journey of our life, we are experiencing life and all it offers.  With this experience comes deeper understanding of what it is to ‘fail’, or make a ‘mistake’.  We may judge ourselves or others a ‘failure’ or by our ‘mistakes’, based on cultural norms and expectations, and when we do we suffer and cause suffering.  That can’t be what is true spiritually.  Each experience can offer Love, and we can live in Love in this effort.  The relationship we have with all sentient beings can be the expression of this Love.  Full effort is fully living.  Being present with the effort is life.  Putting down attachment to the outcome of such divine effort is the ultimate in moksha (liberation) and experiencing this deepest joy daily is ananda (bliss).  Therein lies full victory.        

On May 9, 2011 Charles wrote:

 I ran across this quote that I thought you’d like (you may well know it).  “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” --Mohandas Gandhi

On May 9, 2011 Somik Raha wrote:

This passage resonated with my understanding of the fundamental principle of the field of decision analysis - a decision cannot be judged from the outcome. The quality of the decision can only be determine by the kind of effort that goes into it. It is foolish to use the quality of the outcome (that is apparent to everyone) as a proxy for the quality of the decision, for if we knew the outcomes resulting from our actions, we wouldn't have decisions to make. And yet, this conflation is the oldest mistake in the book of humankind.

Easwaran's article also refers to the indefatigable life force, that can be experienced whenever we serve selflessly with love. We are connecting to something bigger than us that nourishes and takes us forward. We cannot satisfactorily answer why this is the case, or what is really happening, but we can certainly experience this lightness and strength. The experience is nothing like the explanations we may have for it. :)


On May 9, 2011 Edit Lak wrote:

I was led to thought by some readings;

That when we have been asked - What value or worth one holds?
We tend to reply and say ‘not much’ or ‘nothing’, as we tend to think in munity or possessions of worth;
Yet we forget out heart and mind is the highest form of self ‘worth’
For, if we conditionally ‘expect’ something from a little ‘giving’ - then we have never really given at all
For, if we presume a ‘self good’ will come out of a ‘noble deed’ - then we have not really given at all
If we assume our spirituality will bloom by giving - then we have not really lived..  as we have to also learn to recieve with humble hands...
Our greatest possession is ‘self’ and selflessly that’s what we should give, when we can,
without any thought or expectations in return, because any expectation ‘wanted’ places the ego in control, So who is really thinking then?
So ‘Bravo’ to those who try and give, without thought, whenever they can, or when the opportunity arises, without wanting anything in return.. That’s when you know you’re not walking alone – you have your amazing self ‘with you’ for company... And I would think, that is also a great effort in aim for Victory..

On May 9, 2011 anonymous wrote:

Please forgive my comment, for it is not meant to be disrespectful or hurtful to Mahatma Gandhi or anyone else. In fact, I have learnt a lot from Gandhiji in my life and have spent many years with Gandhians who are doing some beautiful work in the villages and slums of India. However, in my years around Gandhiji's teachings and Gandhian communities, I also feel a certain discomfort with the overly strong morality and rigor. The paradox is that rigor is both very nourishing and also very draining. One has to remember that all our bodies are made differently and be very sensitive and respectful to it. We also need to realize that we come from different conditioning and socio-cultural-economic backgrounds over our evolutionary cycle. Hence, it might be beautiful to feel inspired by someone's else love and integrity in life, but at the same time one should be very very aware that one is not "trying to become like someone." For there is nothing more nourishing then being TRUE to our own truth and nothing more draining then trying to ape someone. The greatest violence on ourselves is idealism. To live around "I should do this" or "I should be like that!"

On May 9, 2011 ummed wrote:

It is also my personal experience. I have been extremely fond of lines "karmanya vadi ka raste, ma falesu kada chane" means efforts is all, fruits besides the point. In other words "journey itself is joy"

Thanks Nipun for beautiful inspiring sharing

On May 9, 2011 Edit Lak wrote:


Don’t apologise. You have given the most beautiful part of yourself – Truth and your true journey in life
How great a gift is that - Thanks

On May 10, 2011 DR. Manpreet sandhu wrote:

Its very nice. all of us should learn from dis passage dat it is better to fight till d end whatever will b d result atleast we can proudly say dat 'yeah we fight'


On May 10, 2011 Anonymous wrote:

Most of my Indian friends despise Ghandi because he was responsible in great measure for the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan.  Most of my (informed) Jewish friends despise him because he was against resistance to the British occupation and against the creation of a homeland for the Jewish people.  (Apparently, he thought that 2000 years of life in the exile were not harsh enough.)  His legacy is that of misguided pacifism, defeatism, weakness and vacillation.  Naturally, Gaia-worshiping liberal elitists and progressives who feel that they have "transcended" the "confines" of traditioal life (nuclear family, patriotism to the nation-state) love Ghandi and his philosophy.

On May 10, 2011 DrAvrington wrote:

The Anonymous fellow above does bring up some very good points. I wish people would learn who and what Gandhi actually was and not the "politically correct" propaganda surrounding his persona especially his affiliation to the Nazis. Herr Hitler would send representatives of the Reich to India, Persia and the Middle East to learn their their faiths to revamp the Germanic Occult Aryan Thule. Of course this had lead to a terrible desaster to all Europe and the world. Gandhi, sadly, was a misguided Hindu that made the leap from the peaceful aspects of Hinduism with the lies and attrocities of misguided "egalitarian" Socialist ideal, not to mention the fellow had a fetish for playing with his own feces.  Paul Johnson has a very good little chapter on this fellow within his book "Modern Times".  I truly hope that people seek the entirety surrouding various personalities and not willy-nilly cater to that developed throughout the media.  Examples being Che Guevara or Yassir Arafat - who were misguided Communist/Islamic murderers who were too turned into something they were entirely not.  Regards SRA

On May 10, 2011 Harrison wrote:

i love reading this.

On May 10, 2011 Xiaoshan wrote:

"If you cannot run, walk. If you cannot walk, crawl." If you do not know what to do, sit, in silence.

On May 10, 2011 ashish bhusal wrote:

                                                       Inspiring person  in the world .. ........and  one  of the benevolence,altrustic ,philanthropy,,socail worker ,,,,,and of the best leader of the world.

While reading about the mohan karmachhanda gandi trasfomation  in to the'' gandhi''.  Igot real  meaning  of life ,and inspired to do for the other and shake for the coutry.

so  i deciced to form  a informal organisation with the motto  to help  the destitute.

On May 11, 2011 BCKMishra wrote:

It  is woderful to read any article on Gandhi Ji.He was full of stength and whoever reads about him gets inspired automatically.

On May 12, 2011 Dinesh wrote:

Below are some of the audio clips from the bay-area circle of sharing:

On May 13, 2011 g wrote:

Too true. I am so happy that someone else in this world believes this truth. It is hard to find someone to relate to. It is a blessing that I have read these words and they uplift my spirit.


On May 15, 2011 Ganoba wrote:

 Reading about gandhi (anyone for that matter) as described by his followers is inspirational reading as this is mostly mythology not facts.

living with gandhi is another matter altogether Kasturba, his wife, hiralal, his eldest son and many others had a tough time living with him.

He also could not win the cooperation of people like Ambedkar, jinnah,Subhash, nehru etc who thought differently about the issues of the time.