Rasika Manjari dasi
The Joy In Sorrow
We’ve all met sorrow. And we will likely meet it again, and again and probably a few times more after that.
Khalil Ghibran, the celebrated Lebanese poet has said “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain”.
It stands to reason that you would become more sensitive to happiness if there was a lot of unhappiness in your life.
This is of course if we choose is to grow through our experiences rather than be devastated by them.
This is usually a process and can take some time - lifetimes in fact.
But it doesn’t have to.
I interpret Khalil Ghibran’s words through the framework of Bhakti Yoga philosophy which has a very interesting approach to sorrow.
The philosophy explains how sorrow is inevitable in life, just like happiness is.
Both happiness and sorrow come and go at different times and you really don’t have too much control over what, when or how often that is.
The trick is not to topple over one way or the other in response to either one.
To neither become intoxicated by the dizzying heights of material happiness, or drown in the despair of misfortune or sorrow is the key.
Sounds easy, but I know and you know, that it’s not.
It’s actually very challenging to stay equipoised in both - to appreciate what both happiness and sorrow bring, either joy or lessons, but not be controlled by them.
However ultimately remaining in charge of yourself at all times is what demonstrates real strength of character and what is also known as unshakable spiritual strength.
The whole point of developing character in this way is to become fertile soil for the seeds of real bliss to take root.
It is at this delicate point of emotional balance, when we are equipoised despite the odds, where real satisfaction can be found, when you know that nothing or no-one can disrupt your inner equilibrium.
This achievement is in itself, a precise science. The science of self realisation.
When you are no longer a boat tossed around in a stormy sea and are instead anchored in a peaceful harbour, no matter what the weather, then real happiness begins.
It’s when the boat of your mind is peaceful that you become increasingly receptive to spiritual wisdom and higher truths, which then leads to more positive soul experiences.
And to answer your question about to how to do all this, the Bhakti Yoga texts again have the answers.
One proven formula for success is through the Bhakti Yoga lifestyle and practice.
The function of Bhakti Yoga is to reign in your mind through love, and at the same time connect your soul with that same divine love.
One important way this can be achieved is through daily Sacred Mantra Meditation, specifically the Maha Mantra.
The result is that you become the master of your mind and senses and the master of your spiritual destiny, because you become attuned to the kind of higher love that trumps all sorrow.
This occurs after you recognise your place in the world as a visitor only, here for the specific purpose of self realisation.
In essence, you are a perfect spiritual being and although life does not always make you feel that way, that is your challenge….to rise above the muck that is covering you and see yourself and your place in the world for what it truly is.
Luckily, Bhakti Yoga is a process that provides careful guidance and training to achieve this.
Many miss the signposts along the way, but what you are being constantly reminded of through both your joy and sorrow is that you are not this body but you are a spirit soul, destined for greater things than mundane happiness and distress.
According to the ancient Bhakti Yoga philosophy, the sorrows of this world are part of the intrinsic design of Maya or the material, worldly energy, designed to shake the living being out of the deep slumber of forgetfulness.
Sorrow especially, is carefully designed to teach us just that. “Wake up sleeping soul” is the catch cry.
Wake up to your real identity and purpose.
You are not your body or subject to anything associated with it.
Ok, so you wake up, shower, have breakfast, go to work and then of course happiness and or sorrow happens. It’s inevitable.
But what’s not inevitable is being caught up in its drama.
Happiness you can usually deal with, but distress is an arrow to the heart.
However, deep in the sorrow, joy is to be found, when you understand WHY.
The workings of grief are unmistakable. The word pain is almost a gross understatement.
At times of deep emotional trauma it can be hard to know who to turn to or to find someone who even remotely understands what is going on in your heart.
It’s in these moments of despair that you may naturally seek answers from ‘above’ or ‘within’.
This natural tendency is often our last resort when all seems lost.
But this is exactly the higher plan. The reason we are kicked to the curb in the first place.
The Master Plan
This sort of provocation actually ensures that we finally reach out to our eternal friend and well wisher, Krishna or God as he is also known among infinite other names.
Without a bit of a push we are unlikely to abandon our merry ride along on our personal wave of contentment or remember why we are really here in the first place. We usually prefer to cash in on our free will and defer any spiritual work for later.…much later.
We would forget and then return lifetime after lifetime to make the same mistakes over and over again.
Suffering helps break that cycle, because when we have suffered enough, we start to reach out.
And that’s when the magic happens.
We begin to explore the possibility of reestablishing our eternal connection with Krishna, the Supreme Person and when we venture there, the relationship gets deeper and deeper and the benefits show.
Our difficulties may not stop altogether, but we are in a better place because we have a best friend who is literally the master of the universe!
We can draw strength from this connection while we still inhabit this body, with the intent of ultimately going back home permanently to the place where we actually belong.
Literally, where we get to hang out with God, eternally.
Explore Bhakti Yoga and you’ll discover the secrets of why you are here and where you are ultimately destined to go.
As the great Sufi poet Rumi has said “Joy lives concealed in grief”
Sorrow does not define you. It is a tool designed to awaken you to your true nature and inheritance.
So next time sorrow happens, remember this blog and know that the worse it is, the better position you are in to start remembering who you really are: a spirit soul who’s nature is pure love.
You are destined for greater things.
Delay no further! Start the blissful process of uncovering your true identity today.
Feel free to check out my other blogs for more information.
You can find a lot more concise information by checking out my videos containing secrets of the ancient, timeless knowledge of Bhakti Yoga - literally at your fingertips.
The Bookshelf is also a good place to start the Bhakti Yoga magic.
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A fabulous way to connect to similar minds and hearts is to find an international Bhakti Yoga Centre near you (Branches of ISKCON - The International Society of Krishna Consciousness), where you can speak to an experienced yoga practitioner and receive personal guidance.
If you would like to explore how you can incorporate Bhakti Yoga into your life in a balanced and harmonious way, and feel you would benefit from one on one support, you are welcome to book a Discovery Session with me, Rasika Manjari.
See you at the New World.