Verse 4.31: O best of the Kuru dynasty, without sacrifice one can never live happily on this planet or in this life: what then of the next?
It's been awhile since I've written my last post and I'd like to extend my apologies to everydaygita's regular readers. Although it wasn't intentional, this break from writing has filled with me more experiences of seeing the Gita in action. That said, you would think that I would be bubbling over with words and that the greatest challenge I would be facing right now is to stop myself from writing a 10 page essay!
Instead, I'm finding it hard to shake off the cobwebs that form whenever I stop writing and quite confronting to stare at the blinking courser which seems to be taunting me to come up with the right words.
At this moment, I can totally relate with the subject of sacrifice!
Writing on the Gita always brings me a deep sense of satisfaction and happiness. As opposed to just reading some words, appreciating them for a few minutes and then forgetting about them, writing compels me to personalize and internalize the Gita's teachings. In short, it forces me to use my intelligence!
All of us discover new connections and experience new realizations frequently. But if you're anything like me, it's easy to forget them if they are not written down immediately. The process of capturing those feelings and emotions in an articulate manner leaves a lasting effect.
But to get there requires sacrifice. For me, it's the sacrifice of reading the Gita, introspecting on the meaning, praying for realizations, and setting aside time to journal them here.
It's a pretty simple yet apt analogy for illustrating how sacrifice is required to achieve happiness. For those who long for eternal happiness, the same formula holds true - it too requires sacrifice, and as the bhakti yoga texts explain, requires that we understand a couple of things:
1. The happiness that we experience when we are live in the mind-set of "I am this body" is temporary. There's nothing wrong with it, it's just not ever-lasting.
2. To experience ever-lasting happiness, we have to realize that we are the soul and not this body. That comes by associating with those persons who have already realized this (i.e. advanced bhakti yogis) and engaging in the practice of mantra meditation which helps us to re-connect with our souls.
3. Eternal happiness requires that we sacrifice temporary happiness. But just like writing, the process is not painful. It may a bit uncomfortable when we begin, but as it becomes more consistent, the process itself is blissful.
So whether you are looking for happiness in certain aspects of your life or are looking for the ultimate, everlasting kind, just remember one thing. The process of sacrificing may seem uncomfortable or even painful at first, but give it some time. You may be surprised to realize that sacrifice itself can be blissful.