(Click to enlarge photo of Srila Prabhupada and children, University of Buffalo, 1969)
"So there are chances of failure. There are chances of failure. Just like a great sage like Viśvāmitra Muni, he also failed, failed for the time being. But Kṛṣṇa says that this failure is not, I mean to say, unsuccessful. As we have sometimes the proverb, that 'Failure is the pillar of success,' so especially in the spiritual life, this failure is not discouraging. This failure is not discouraging.
So Kṛṣṇa says that 'Even one fails in completing his spiritual course, still, there is no loss on his part.' Pārtha naiva iha. Iha means in this world. Na amutra. Amutra means next world. Vināśas tasya vidyate: 'He will never vanquish.' Vināśas tasya vidyate, na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt: 'Anyone who takes this auspicious line of spiritual culture,' kaścid durgatiṁ tāta gacchati, 'he'll never fall down.' Yes. And why? Now,
prāpya puṇya-kṛtāṁ lokān
uṣitvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ
śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe
Abhijāyate. He says that this failure yogi... One who is successful, he enters into the kingdom of God. That is a different thing. But one who is a failed student, what happens to him? Now, prāpya puṇya-kṛtāṁ lokān: (BG 6.41) 'He enters into the planets where pious living entities are allowed to enter.' That means he gets into the higher planets. There are many planets within the universe, and the higher planets, there are more comforts, more duration of life, persons are more pious, religious, godly. As you make progress to the higher planets, these facilities are there, thousand times better than this planet. So Kṛṣṇa says that 'Even if he is failure, still, he goes to such planets where pious men are elevated.' Prāpya puṇya-kṛtāṁ lokān, and uṣitvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ. And he remains there for a long duration of time."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, New York, September 18, 1966)
"As in the material world sometimes failure is considered as a pillar of success, similarly in the spiritual order also the same principle can be applied. So don't be disappointed."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, July 31, 1969)
"If one could not proceed, it doesn't matter. Failure is the pillar of success. Then try. Again you shall try."
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Vrindavan, August 17, 1977)
Devotee: Failure is the pillar of success. But generally speaking, to paraphrase it, it means that we should learn from our mistakes.
Prabhupāda: Hmm. That is success. If we learn our failure and try to rectify it.
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Washington DC, July 5, 1976)
Devotee: What does it mean when they say that failure is the pillar of success?
Prabhupāda: Yes. For whom? Who is actually searching after success? Not for the fool. Anyone who is trying for attaining success, for him, failure is also success, because he's making progress.
(Srila Prabhupada Morning Walk, Paris, June 14, 1974)
"So don't be worried, do your best and success or failure does not matter. Krishna is absolute, so there is no such thing as success or failure in Krishna Consciousness, or in other words, there is no question of failure in Krishna Consciousness, whatever we do it is success. Whatever one may do in the material world, if he is even Rockefeller, it is all failure, defeat, because it will not exist beyond this body. He does not know that next life I may be dog or cat. But whatever service we can do for Krishna, even if somebody is not able to execute fully Krishna Consciousness, whatever amount of service he does it never goes in vain. It will eternally remain. And it will act. Even somebody does small amount of service, and not even very willingly, still, he is assured to get human body in next birth, and chance to execute some service further. So there is no question of failure in Krishna Consciousness. It is only success. Krishna says, My devotee is never vanquished. So we must try sincerely, that's all."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 15, 1968)