It goes without saying that if you don’t know who you are, who you really are, you won’t be able to get much out of life or enjoy true happiness. I mean, it’s almost like being completely lost in a daze or a storm or in the middle of the ocean or desert. A lost cause. Now the burning question is….
Are we really aware of our true identities? And what are the positive indications to that? Who’s to say this identity we hold dear now is not an illusion? And according to many eastern philosophies and religions, it indeed is an illusion, and a very short-lived one, for that matter.
The beauty of the Bhagavad-gita is that it has wisdom for all ranks of human beings. No sad exceptions, no ostracizing of heretics. Its perennial all-inclusive philosophy shows an insight into the creation of God that can only be shown by, well, God Himself. And Krishna there says to Arjuna that no matter how learned one is, one is bound to follow their nature given by Mother Nature, who works under the order of God. Now whether or not you believe in God or Mother Nature is beside the point. The point is that you are not in control of this world and therefore to neglect the stringent laws established thereby by unseen forces beyond your reach is not very conducive to your happiness in life.
Simply said, we all have our natures, and to go against them just because we’re afraid of being hurt by unaccepting society is to actually put ourselves in a position where we will be hurt much more by that very same nature which is so firmly entrenched in our heart. And this is a point that cannot be emphasized enough in this age of tremendously developed self-help advice industries, life coaching etc. etc. But Bhagavad-gita has always proven itself to be a true source of salvation from misery for those who follow its advice, and it clearly says that basically:
1. Even a wise man follows his conditioned nature in this world, and
2. To reject one’s natural occupation based on one’s nature and to thereby take up another’s occupation is dangerous, even life-threatening sometimes.
How many people do you know, honestly, counting yourself (or not), that are actually satisfied with their own job or occupation? And how many people do you know that keep saying how they always wished they could be something else, but the peer pressure or their parents or lack of finances simply forced them to accept a different bargain? You don’t need to answer. The situation is very clear. And all of this because of so many layers of unnecessary artifice imposed upon the fragile human psyche by the energies of ignorance which keep us bound up hand and foot. That’s why liberation, or salvation, or final emancipation, whichever way you prefer to call it, is the singlemost sought for article on the menu of human experience, on the same level with love.
But if we truly are what we seem to see we are, if we are looking at the truth of our life, why then so many things are pointing in the direction of an opposite conclusion? Because we don’t see the truth. We don’t want to. We’ve been here for so long we’ve forgotten what it looks like. And what’s more, anytime someone comes along with the truth, it hurts our eyes and our hearts, since for someone living in a dark cave for a long time light is painful. It’s quite to be expected it will hurt. But what if we’re brave enough to venture beyond the hurt? Then all possibilities open up for us we never knew existed. A little light of truth goes a long way, and people muster the courage to break free from self-limiting and self-harming behaviors that keep them locked in their own private prison cells. The Bhagavad-gita very easily takes us beyond that threshold where we can finally take in a deep breath and admit to ourselves that we are an eternal being of light and truth, whose form is an emanation of God and who doesn’t need to bother with the trivialities of time and space, not to mention rot in the hell pit of ignorance that shuts out all happiness.
In the last couple of decades the usage of Bhagavad-gita in corporate environments has increased. I say corporate environments because today we’re so conditioned, so programmed that we equate this with being serious in life and knowing what we want. That is not the truth of course, but just to indulge those who firmly identify a great housing arrangement and paycheck with true happiness, I will say something about it. You see, up until about 1998, I didn’t even know anything about people like Stephen Covey, Jack Canfield, Anthony Robbins, Bob Proctor, Brian Tracy, etc. etc. there are quite many today, but just to mention a few stalwarts that stirred something when I was starting to uncover the world of self-help.
Of course, before that I had read my share of books on Oriental wisdom, and some western philosophy, mostly the basic bearings or pillars that make our world what it is today. Mostly though, I was possessed with the idea of salvation because, to tell you the truth, I was suffering from depression, mostly induced by a very bad relationship with my father and a lack of sense of occupational direction in life. One might rightly ask, Why does a dedicated spiritualist who believes in eternal life and love of God battle depression? The simple answer would be that being a believer does not necessarily save you from all your material problems if you haven’t figured out how to deal with them. Religion/spirituality teaches you how to get closer to God and your true self, but as far as the daily matters of this world are concerned, that is a separate matter you have to learn to deal with. Fortunately though, even there spiritual wisdom can and must be utilized to get the best results.
Then I noticed that the wisdom that is given in holy scriptures like Bhagavad-gita, the Bible, the Koran, Torah, and others is also manifest in various persons to various degrees in various life situations, and started to learn from that. One of my senior devotee colleagues, also an old friend of mine who is now a successful spiritual life coach traveling the world, brought to my attention The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Stephen R. Covey, and I was quite surprised by what I found in there. It seemed that there were people who applied principles of scriptures even though they were not exactly members of clergy, which was quite surprising for me back then. Most people of course tend to think that religious scripture is about restriction on your enjoyment and indulgences, and tend to resent them because of that. That is the emotional maturity of children, who are not ready to rise beyond the level of “I want this, I hate that,” which is also known as the mental platform, one of mere acceptance and rejection.
By that time I was really starting to get sick by listening to so many of my friends telling me I had to accept my situation and occupation as an English translator trying to make ends meet. It’s not that I didn’t like the occupation, it’s the point of being forced that I resented. I dreamt of something that would bring me more travel, money, success – I still wanted some material recognition by peers and others. Needless to say, this didn’t make me very happy since none of that was coming my way – I had neither the material nor the spiritual knowledge I have now, didn’t have the experience. But the great thing that happened in that turmoil was that a seed was planted, which enabled me later on to realize the basic truths of how this scriptural wisdom is connected to the practical things of this world and after many years I finally had some closure and was able to find me some peace.
For instance, the Gita says (Bg. 2.14), O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.
Aren’t we always upset about things which are not directly connected to who we really are and what we should do? We seem to have become experts in being upset that way. But then, the greatest businessmen are those who have realized that letting go of attachments to results brings peace, and therefore happiness, for how can there be any happiness without peace? How can we be successful in anything we do, unless we realize we are not the actual doers and owners of our actions and especially their results? Otherwise there would be no question of us not getting what we wanted, right? Then we would be God. His every wish comes true in an instant. But God is not covered like us. He doesn’t have a material mind full of strange urges that dictate directions playing havoc on our quest for happiness. But we are pure spirit ourselves as well, parts of God, it’s just we need to choose to see that. And the Gita enables us and empowers us to do so. Isn’t that what we want – to be empowered? Isn’t that why we keep preaching about how being ourselves is the best? So who are we again?
The Gita says, “For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.” Now, what does an eternal soul do in a temporary world? And how can he/she be happy in such a situation? The answer is simple: It can not. Whatever happiness is here is here for the moment, and then it’s gone. We’re fish out of water here. Therefore all the misery and perceived unjustice and evil. But we created the necessity of God’s creating all these arrangements, and we only can reverse it by reversing our desire for lording it over Nature. We keep thinking we’re the lords of all we survey, and some schools of religion seem to point that way, but is it working? Really?
The conclusion here would be that if we want to escape or circumvent the suffering clause, we are well advised to takee a deep look inside our true spiritual nature as well as be very realistic about the nature and laws of this world, take a good look with detachment and some courage, knowing that the protection of the knowledge about the true meaning of life is available at all times and is vouched by God Himself. However you like to call it, enlightenment is our birthright, our prerogative, and we should not waste our time in trivial pursuits that do not help us be who we truly are.
So these could be a few good pointers in the right direction of true happiness for us as spirit souls, something eternal instead of a flicker of temporary so-called happiness. That being said, keep tuning in here and read in future weeks and months for my updates on this topic. Hope you could extract something valuable from this and not be bothered. Thank you for reading.
I was born in 1970 in Motala, Sweden, but only stayed there a few months. My family is from Bitola, Macedonia. I've lived in the capital, Skopje, since 1975. Since I was very little I manifested great interested in studying life's deep and mystical secrets, and especially was frustrated that my folks couldn't tell me anything substantial on the true meaning of life. My real search began when I was 16, and started with Western Occultism and stuff. Very soon after that came in Buddhism and Hinduism, and I was introduced to the ancient wisdom of the East, baffled as I was in my attempts to make sense of my life in high school.
I became a member of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), founded by a great spiritual teacher known to the world as A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. I soon realized that Vaishnavism is not really what you might call Hinduism, since it teaches worship of one God, like other major religions, except here you have a complete description of His form, activities, abode and entourage. You get very personal with God, in other words, and moreover, you get very clear and precise instructions how to make your life perfect by chanting His name and evoking divine love, instead of the much cheaper mundane variety. It may not be easy to grasp this philosophy at first, but by studying the scriptures like the Bhagavad-gita under the supervision of a bona fide spiritual master in the disciplic succession, results will show.
I strongly feel that this spiritual process opened me up for other people also, and for their plights and troubles, so I want to help with my experience, although I may be just some small guy from Eastern Europe no one really knows about. This is not what spiritual life is about - recognition, money, name, fame, followers etc. It's about a heart-to-heart connection, one soul to another, brothers and sisters who are in the same maelstrom of material life, trying to get by. Life can be much easier if we open our eyes to this wisdom, and I'm going to put in my two cents on that.
My recent divorce has also taught me a lesson - nothing in this world stays forever, and we should relax, or rather completely let go our tight grip on this world and even our near and dear ones. Things that were started in the wrong spirit have an inherent flaw that will drag on until that construction, like marriage or a relationship, is destroyed from within. But for that there are also other experts, I focus on the Bhagavad-gita and other scriptures that take you closer to the Supreme and the supreme joy, since we are not really content with this surrogate of joyfulness we're trying to tamper with. So I'm happy to be here among good people, and hopefully I may also be of service.