I see it as a fundamental greatness.
But we have different measuring sticks. There are different kinds of successes to have in the world. One kind is to be a super power nation and take money and resources from lesser powers. But a definition of success that is so rooted in the world can only be temporary. As the saying goes: "You can't take it with you."
Look at the sage Yajnavalkya. He had a good, cushy life, but it felt empty to him. He decided to give up his material goods and go in search of a truth that does not die. He decided to divide his property among his two wives, but Maitreyi asked him whether wealth would make her immortal. He told her it would not. She said that she wanted whatever it was that he was giving up his wealth for. Whatever was so great that it would bring immortality. And so he took her with him.
To me, success is how peaceful you can be, how calm you can be, how well you can train and control your mind, your desires, your lusts.
In the west, we almost think of Gandhi as a God. His name is held in reverence as the absolute example of goodness. It seems that he is not as universally worshiped in India. I think people are somewhat more aware of his humanness, of his flaws. And certainly, he left a very difficult situation in his wake. It's impossible to know how things would have played out if he had not been murdered.
The problems associated with separating India and Pakistan were not his doing, though it became what seemed like the only solution. Gandhi really wanted everyone to be able to get along, for Hindus and Muslims to live in peace with one another. That dream is still a ways off.
But his methods did work. And he inspired all the greatest leaders of our times. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela for example. The unwavering conviction and dedication to peace is an unstoppable force. People may die in the process, but the vibration of goodness does not leave the world.
I found this article through Andrew Rosenthal, the same man who wrote the article about Jesus as an Ishta-Devata. He shared this on Facebook and it seems to me to describe really well just how effective peaceful resistance can be. When you are in a fight with someone, you want the rest of the world to see that you are the victim and to support you in wanting to take down the other side. It's very hard to get sympathy from anyone if you are cruel in the same way that the other side is cruel. Notice the part about the women refusing to move. It rerouted the Israeli army!
If you live striving to treat all others as yourself and to follow the principles laid out in Chapter 16, then consider yourself a success!
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 16, Opening:
Lord Krishna said: Fearlessness, purity of the inner psyche, perseverance in the yoga of Self-knowledge, charity, sense-restraint, sacrifice, study of the scriptures, austerity, honesty; nonviolence, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, equanimity, abstinence from malicious talk, compassion for all creatures, freedom from greed, gentleness, modesty, absence of fickleness, splendor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, absence of malice, and absence of pride-- these are some of the qualities of those endowed with divine virtues, O Arjuna. (16.01-03) Quoted from the translation here.