“Just see these greatly fortunate trees, whose lives are completely dedicated to the benefit of others. Even while tolerating the wind, rain, heat and snow, they protect us from these elements. Just see how these trees are maintaining every living entity! Their birth is successful. Their behavior is just like that of great personalities, for anyone who asks anything from a tree never goes away disappointed. These trees fulfill one’s desires with their leaves, flowers and fruits, their shade, roots, bark and wood, and also with their fragrance, sap, ashes, pulp and shoots.” (Lord Krishna, Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.22-31-34)

“It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.” (Lord Krishna, Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.22-35)

In the above verses, Lord Krishna explains what a successful life is. He uses trees as an example, but the principle of successful life applies to humans too. It is very interesting to note that the trees do not follow any religion, nor engage in any devotional service unto God like chanting, deity service, pujas and rituals. Still Lord Krishna, the supreme person, states that the trees are fortunate, and their birth is successful. This shows that doing our prescribed duties and serving others is bhakti (devotional service) unto Lord Krishna.

The Four Principles of Successful Life for Humans

First Principle

Follow one’s prescribed duties through life. The trees are doing their prescribed duty by standing in one place all their life.

  • A mother’s duty is to take care of the children for life.
  • A wife’s duty is to take care of the children, husband, and home for life.
  • A husband’s duty is to maintain the home and family for life.
  • The children’s duty is to study, marry and start a family, then take care of the elderly parents.
  • A soldier’s duty is to fight in wars when called upon by the government.
  • A doctor’s duty is to give medical aid to patients.
  • An accountant’s duty is to maintain proper financial records.

Second Principle

Share one’s belongings with others to help them. The trees provide fruits, leaves, flowers, shade, fire fuel, home building material, oxygen, filter the air, and homes to so many living beings. The trees give selfless service to others. They give but do not ask for anything in return.

  • We should use our time for the benefit of others like giving general help to others, visiting the sick etc…
  • We should donate our money for good causes like feeding the poor, and to those who are distributing knowledge.
  • We should use our energy for the benefit of others, like cooking and cleaning for others.
  • We should use our resources for the benefit of others, like using our possessions for the benefit of others.

Third Principle

Trust in God. The trees trust God, they are not disturbed in any situation, they just want to do their good duty to others till death.

  • We should accept the life we have been given.
  • We should live our life it to fulfill our duties which we have taken on ourselves.
  • We should realize that good will eventually prevail over evil.
  • We must face the difficulties and tackle them and not ignore them.

Fourth Principle

Set good examples for others to follow. The trees teach a good example on tolerance and selfless service to others.

  • The trees are better than many saintly people, because saints teach tolerance, but themselves cannot tolerate troubles. When offensive statements are made to them, they do not tolerate.  The saints do not help others with their troubles in life. They will visit those who give money and ignore those who are unable to give. They will take service from others but will not give service to others.
  • We should always set good examples for others to follow with our words, dress, eating habits, good treatment of others, service to others etc..
  • We should sacrifice our own wellbeing for the wellbeing of others. For example, instead of eating 10 samosas, eat 3 and give 7 to others.
  • We should be miserly for ourselves but very generous for others.
  • We should always be truthful. Never break vows or betray the trust others have in you.
  • We should never be self-centered; we should become the center for everyone.