How Bhakti Yoga Can Bring Peace To Your Life When We Seem To Live In A World That’s Far From It.
These days it is really hard not to turn on the news and not hear of another atrocity that has occurred. People killing, torturing, and acts of terror are at the forefront of today’s daily events. It’s very hard not to be affected by it. I sometimes wonder if these incidents will ever end and I am saddened that these ‘acts’ are becoming more violent and horrific as time passes.
It is hard to know how these events affect us. Or if they change the way we continue to see the world, or the way we act towards others.
It is not uncommon to want to protect ourselves from the daily devastating occurrences by sinking into a place where we look for ways to make ourselves happy. This could be going to a movie, listening to music, going to our favorite restaurant or calling up that special someone – whatever it may be so that our lives, or our kid’s lives, or our family life remains intact. We do this to protect ourselves and the people we love from the disturbing events all around us. Usually we escape and take shelter in satisfying maybe 1 to 2 or even 3 senses in order to make ourselves ‘happy’, for example by going to a movie and enjoying a bag of popcorn, or to play a favorite song while enjoying a sugary snack.
What’s important to note here is that all the items listed are pleasuring our mind through the senses. But, rarely do we achieve an everlasting happiness from these things. They do make us happy for a short time so that we can forget or take our mind off of whatever stresses may be affecting us, but as we age, we must ask ourselves, ‘Is there something more that I can achieve in my lifetime that will truly satisfy me? Something more that serves a purpose to the reason I exist?’
When we turn to satisfy our senses we are conditioned under the illusion of the material world to think that these things will fulfill us. But what really occurs is; we tire of the song, the sugary snack has a negative affect on our health, or that person I used to call up doesn’t find me attractive anymore. And we may become more sad, angry or depressed. Not only is the world falling apart but so are the things we regularly turn to, to satisfy us for just a short time until they are over.
So what is the answer to this downward spiral? Yoga and Meditation. But not just any type of Yoga or meditation. A Yoga practice that provides true everlasting happiness. This is called bhakti yoga. Bhakti yoga directly satisfies our hearts by linking up our actions to serve the Supreme Being, as opposed to that of our senses.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami explains in THE BHAGAVAD GITA AS IT IS:
“One is under the spell of illusion when their own sense of satisfaction and peace is derived from satisfying the mind through the senses. One has to drive out the sense objects such as sound, touch, form, taste, and smell which are the clutches of illusory energy and whereby one cannot attain peace in the world. Everyone is anxious to attain peace, and in order to do this one has to understand that no one is greater than the Supreme Being. Men should offer everything to the Transcendental Service of the Lord. By doing this, one is engaged in Bhakti Yoga and can attain perfect peace. Bhakti yoga means to work in full consciousness of one’s relationship with the Supreme. Bhakti yoga brings one into spiritual life, everything depends on one’s practical performance of duties in Bhakti yoga which in turn helps one control the senses in every respect and conquer the influence of desire and anger. By situating one’s life in serving the Supreme Being instead of our own sense pleasures, one is able to achieve freedom by being engaged in devotional service and thus able to attain the highest perfection of life.”
If what I am saying is truly resonating with you and you are looking to find real peace and happiness, then why not incorporate the following form of bhakti yoga to your everyday life. It is one type of mantra meditation.
MANTRA: GAURANGA (pronounced Gor-ra-ang-ga)
NITAI-GAUR (pronounced Nee-tie-Gaur)
Sit down comfortably
Let your breathing become slow and deep.
Try to relax your body with each exhalation.
When you breathing is more relaxed, begin the meditation by saying GAURANGA, in your mind, as you inhale.
When you exhale say GAURANGA out loud.
Stretch out the sound so that it takes up the whole exhalation.
Repeat with NITAI-GAUR.
Practice 5 to 10 minutes. A great way to begin your day.
This is mantra meditation, a part of bhakti yoga. It is a very simple and ancient form of yoga. Instead of focusing the mind on temporary material forms of sense pleasures as explained above, focus your mind and senses on the spiritual sounds of the mantra.
When mantra meditation is practiced, the mind becomes restful, peaceful and satisfied. Mantras have a spiritually purifying effect on the mind and heart, because they are transcendental sound vibrations. The happiness this meditation brings us does not only give us a refuge from the stresses we face in the world, but is actually satisfying to us, the soul residing in this body, unlike the temporary happiness derived from trying to satisfy our senses
So….I would never want to deprive anyone a fun a night out at the movies with a bag of popcorn as I sometimes enjoy this pastime as well. Yet it is life changing to know that one can attain true peace and everlasting happiness when the movie is over and the popcorn is all gone by engaging in the bhakti yoga practice of mantra meditation.