When it comes to success or excelling in any service to the Lord, there are several factors. It should not be viewed by its partial reasons for success. Success is a result of several factors. Krishna Himself says in the Bhagavad Gita that there are five factors for accomplishment of any action. They are:
1. Starting point or where you are before you start the work (Current reality or place of action), 2. Doer, 3. Instruments of action (body and senses), 4. Endeavor or the series of actions leading to the result, 5. Super soul or Daivam – higher sanction.
Let us apply these five factors to the example you have raised – collection service. Let us say two new devotees leave for collection in the morning. One has no past experience of sales or convincing. The other devotee before joining was a sales representative trained by his company on how to convince, etc., or say he has exposure or association in the past in his family life of sales or convincing customers.
- The starting point for one new devotee is different from the starting point for the other devotee. (place of action is different)
- Doer – The willingness of the self (enthusiasm) to perform this service to the Lord may be slightly different for both.
- The instruments – body and senses or the yantra is different for two devotees. One yantra may have a natural inborn skill to communicate well and other may not be a good communicator, etc.
- Endeavor or series of action that has to be performed to reach the target from where you are now.
- Usually ‘intelligence’ determines the direction of the endeavor. Intelligence is a factor of karma which is released by kala or daivam or Supersoul which is the most crucial factor. The right kind of intelligence is very crucial to succeed. In the case of a devotee in devotional service, Krishna makes a statement, “I maintain what you have and provide what you lack”. This means if there is anything lacking in the other four factors (except the 2nd factor of doer’s voluntary enthusiasm) He will fill it up to the extent He wishes and wills to alter your karmic assets to accomplish the task at hand. All these add up to the result. Of these factors, to determine how much of each of these factors have been altered by the Supersoul’s mercy is very difficult to ascertain.
Though your goal maybe to collect for Krishna, Krishna’s goal for you may be not just that. He may want to take you through hard work with no result to teach you that you are not doer. He may want you to learn to seek intelligence or direction from Guru and Krishna while performing the service. He may want you to learn to be humble. He may want you to be equal at the face of success or failure. Like these hundreds of objectives Krishna as Chaitya-Guru has for you when you do devotional service. And it is different for each devotee. So we have to do our prescribed duty to the best of our ability and leave the final results to Krishna.
What is doing one’s best? If, you, as the performer are not enthusiastic to go through the endeavor (cesta) depending on Krishna for intelligence (daivam) and success then you cannot say that you have done your best. Enthusiasm to perform or serve is 100% your contribution. All others, Krishna will provide if you lack, if He wills so. You alone can increase enthusiasm by inspiration from association of the spirit of devotional service from one’s spiritual master and also spirit of other enthusiastic devotees. Hence this kind of comparison of one devotee to other devotee does not make spiritual sense as long as both put in their best effort which no devotee ever thinks he has put in his best. A devotee can at the most say I try to do the best and not that I tried my best.