Do you know what changed Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s life after his failure?

“Defeat the defeatist tendency” are the words from a monk which changed Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam’s life after his greatest failure.

“Motivation is temporary and inspiration is permanent because motivation passes away after some time, while inspiration stays for the lifetime.”

The lines proves true in respect of the real life story of Dr. Abdul Kalam which is also penned down in his book #WingsOfFire.

The mentor who changed Dr. Kalam’s life is none other than Rishikesh Swami Sivananda who was born at Pathamadai in Tirunelveli district, but settled in Rishikesh.

Kalam was fond of flying high since his childhood and wanted to become a pilot. He took up aeronautical engineering and graduated in 1957. Kalam applied to the Air Force and completed his interview at the Air Force Selection Board at Dehradun in 1958. Out of 24 applicants, eight were to be shortlisted but after four days of difficult tasks, nine were selected — the ninth being Kalam. Since the Air Force wanted only eight, Kalam was left out.

A highly dejected Kalam decided to take a bus to Delhi via Rishikesh and Haridwar. At Rishikesh, some intuitive force made him take a dip in the River Ganges, and spotted an ashram. Kalam sat at the last row as Swami Sivananda, the founder of the ashram, was giving a discourse on Bhagavad Gita.

After his speech, the Swami chose two persons from the audience to ask questions and Kalam was one of them. In his book Wings of Fire, the former President recorded the moment — I introduced myself to Swamiji. My Muslim name aroused no reaction in him. Before I could speak any further, he enquired about the source of my sorrow.

In a deep voice, the Swami said, “Accept your destiny and go ahead with your life… 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,” the Swamiji said.

Further, quoting ‘Bhagavad Gita’, the Swami recalled the advice of Lord Krishna to Arjuna when the latter was afraid of fighting in the Kurukshetra war — “Defeat the defeatist tendency.” That is a great message. The mantra “Defeat the defeatist tendency” is always with me and it comes to me whenever I’m in trouble, he wrote.

Originally Published at: Indian Express

Kalam was really a great source of Inspiration and his teachings will last forever inspiring the future generations.

Some of his greatest inspiring teachings are:

  • To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.
  • Excellence is a continuous process and not an accident.
  • Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.
  • Life is a difficult game. You can win it only by retaining your birthright to be a person.
  • One of the very important characteristics of a student is to question. Let the students ask questions.
  • Life is a difficult game. You can win it only by retaining your birthright to be a person.
  • Unless India stands up to the world, no one will respect us. In this world, fear has no place. Only strength respects strength.
  • You have to dream before your dreams can come true.
  • Don’t take rest after your first victory because if you fail in second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck.
  • If you want to shine like a sun. First burn like a sun.
  • It is very easy to defeat someone, but it is very hard to win someone
  • Thinking should become your capital asset, no matter whatever ups and downs you come across in your life.
  • Without your involvement you can’t succeed. With your involvement you can’t fail.
  • Dream transforms in to thoughts. And thoughts result in action.
  • For great men, religion is a way of making friends; small people make religion a fighting tool.
  • Success is when your signature changes into an autograph.

Kalam Sir you will always stay in our memories and ignite a bulb of inspiration in the coming generations for the centuries.

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