Tuesday, August 6, 2013

path to freedom

Verse 4.9: One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.

"Stop the world, I want to get off!" It's a thought that crosses my mind often. Normally this occurs when I'm experiencing a sense of frustration and disappointment with living life in this material world. To all those who are trying to practice the path of bhakti yoga, a word to the wise. Don't despair when encountering this since it can actually help you!

Although bhakti is about experiencing the positive, in order to do so, we must leave those things that hinder us behind.

Or in other words, the loss and emptiness that we may experience actually serves to help us if we look deeper than what meets the eye or emotion. It signifies that we deserve more than what this material world promises us and that we are the proverbial fish out of water.

We are eternal beings who are sojourning through this world. The soul is seeking permanency and shelter - a true home. Encased in this material body, we try to do our best to make our bodies our home to no avail. After all, ever body undergoes birth, death, disease and old age. So how does one get out and find their true home?

This verse gives the yoga seeker the "path to freedom". The Gita is teaching that by understanding the world of transcendence and the soul's connection with the Divine, just by remembering that at the time of death, one escapes the cycle of birth and death. It's a simple as that.

Although it sounds simple, it takes practice. After all, thinking of the Divine isn't as easy as turning a light switch off and on. Our minds are constantly filled with numerous thoughts and often they are the same ones running through over and over and over again. That is why the key practice in bhakti yoga is that of mantra meditation.

Sound has such a powerful effect and by repeating the maha mantra daily, it starts to remove the layers of dust off of our soul. That dust which has accumulated from numerous births is what prevents us from realizing that we are the soul and not this body.

In tandem with practicing mantra meditation, hearing and reading about the Divine fills one's thought with remembrance. By nature we are curious about others and so we can engage that natural propensity to learn more about the one who we've forgotten.

That's why the practice of bhakti yoga is so simple and joyful. It's about engaging our normal tendencies of hearing, talking and remembering and centering it around a focus point: the Divine. Just by doing that, we can leave this world of temporality behind and experience true eternality, knowledge and bliss.


  1. Great post Vrndavana! I have really felt a huge benefit from mantra meditation. Chanting japa is something that has really carried me over the tumultuous waves that the material world has cast my way, as it does everyone, over the past year.

    “Or in other words, the loss and emptiness that we may experience actually serves to help us if we look deeper than what meets the eye or emotion. It signifies that we deserve more than what this material world promises us and that we are the proverbial fish out of water.”

    I feel like I can relate to that. I kind of leapt off of the path of bhakti yoga for awhile as I was overcome by my own personal struggles –material and spiritual. When it comes to spiritual it had to do with doubts, uncertainty and probably exposing myself to way too much information , to way too many sources! When I fell out of chanting so much and reading spiritual literature and began speculating more I slowly began to feel an emptiness and a longing overcome me. It took my stubborn heart way too long to realize that the intense longing I felt could be assuaged by chanting and when I started to chant more it was like my soul fell into a quieter more peaceful state and I realized what seems to be the message of your post..that sometimes in order to progress and move forward it really is necessary to leave those things behind that hinder us. And that doesn’t mean we are to deprive ourselves..but to replace what sometimes occupies our minds and our heart’s attention with things that will draw us deeper into peace, revelation and understanding of ourselves and God. And would could possibly compare to that?

    Sorry, kind of going on. Great post.

    1. Beautiful realizations Jessica. Thank you for sharing! It's amazing how easily things can effect and "get to us". That's why it's so important to connect with transcendental sound. Sound effects us in so many ways - whether it be heard or read. By consciously exposing ourselves to those sounds which uplift us, we naturally start to become more sensitive and start to see a profound change in our lives. Happy chanting! :)

  2. Vrndavana, I just love your posts and the inspiration and peace I feel when I read them. You truly set my heart and mind on God.
    Blessings, my friend!

    1. Thank you so much Martha. It's always so encouraging to hear from you since you are such a sincere seeker of the Divine. Thanks for being such an inspiration! :)