Victory and defeat are the two sides of the same coin. Victory comes out of defeat and defeat can be turned into victory. These two sides of the same coin are moments that become synonymous with the game called life. Perfected under the tutelage of Bhagawan with value oriented education, the students from Sri Sathya Sai University should definitely having a broader perspective about sports and the game called life. Read on Sri Dharmesh Pandya’s prize winning essay conducted for Sri Sathya Sai Students in 1990, as published in Sanathana Sarathi.


Many a great thinker, scholar and philosopher have attempted to comprehend the true nature of human life. Some, like Shakespeare, have stated that the world is but a stage, where the men and women are players. Others have said that "the sole purpose of human birth is to achieve God." Nevertheless, all these different views highlight one important aspect of human existence, viz., that man, in order to achieve anything, has to endeavour ceaselessly, no matter what walk of life he may be in. It is this basic truth of life which the popular adage, "Life is a Game: Play it", attempts to convey to us.

One may ask: why is it that life has been compared to a game? The answer lies in the fact that life, like a game, is filled with uncertainty. A writer once observed that "uncertainty is the only certain thing in human existence." Man has to learn primarily to accept and live with this uncertainty. The journey of life can be compared to a "ride in a roller-coaster", with all its ups and downs, and man must be able to derive joy and happiness even from this.

Just as in a game, the result of the contest, whether a team or an individual will be victorious or otherwise, lies beyond the knowledge of the players, so also in life, the results of the actions and efforts of men are tainted with the element of uncertainty. However, a good player is one who does not get disheartened at the thought of losing, but puts forth his best effort to achieve the goal. When he fails, he does not give up but keeps on trying till he achieves success. This principle holds good for life at large also. A good human being is one who never shuns failure, but strives ceaselessly to achieve his goal, believing in the dictum that the "edifice of success stands on the pillars of failure."

Defeat and Victory

Another important facet of any game is that there can be only one victor and therefore necessarily one or more losers. It is necessary for any sportsman to bear defeat with the same dignity as he would have borne his victory. To lose a game is not as shameful as to lose it unsportingly. So also in life, if a man is dogged by failure inspite of his best efforts, he should learn to accept that failure with dignity and honour. His greatness would lie in his ability to learn from each failure and use the experience to ensure victory in the future.

In order to live his life fully, man should realise that life is in many ways similar to a game which he must play to the best of his ability and in the right spirit. It is only when man adopts this attitude towards life that he would be bestowed with happiness and joy throughout his life. It is this attitude which will endow him with the moral courage to face all difficulties and trials in life.

Rudyard Kipling, in his memorable poem "IF", brings out the idea that life is a game which should be played in the right spirit, when he says:

"If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And—which is more—you'll be a Man, my son!"

Truly life is a game and he is a man who realises this and plays it according to the rules and without concern for victory or defeat.

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