Fortunate was Christ, who was crucified; fortunate were Socrates and Mansoor. What about Mira and Dayananda? How unfortunate are we, when we find ourselves allured by praises and favours, flowers and merits? Misfortune unsurpassed! When trials come at our door, we cry out aloud to help kick them away. Yea, we only kick divine chances. So do thou understand!
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Topic 3 – Bhakti Yoga (Part 4)
This is the concluding discussion on bhakti voga1. You may be wondering why we are spending so much time and space on this subject. Bhakti is the means to harmonize and channelize the turbulent emotions. Much is said about harmonizing the body and mind. Most books on yoga are written on this subject. This integration of mind and body, of action and thought, has been the main theme of this book so far. Yet very little is ever said about harmonizing the emotions and integrating them with one’s action and thoughts. These emotions are very powerful forces. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve mental and physical stability if the emotions are rampant. It is like trying to tame a wild tiger by pulling its tail. It cannot be done. How can a person attain mental peace if his emotions are like a stormy sea? There has to be a simultaneous process of harmonizing and integrating the body, mind and emotions, one’s actions, thoughts and feelings. This is the only sure way of achieving fulfilment in life and expanding awareness.
The subject of stabilizing the emotions in man is usually forgotten or treated lightly as if emotions are non-existent. The attitude seems to be if the emotions cannot be tamed then pretend they don’t exist, like the ostrich that buries its head in the ground when it senses danger. This may make it feel safer, but it does not prevent it being eaten by a lion. So if you want to harmonize your life, then it is useless being like the ostrich, and pretending that the emotions are non-existent. This attitude will lead nowhere, for the emotions are ever present. You may gain mental peace for short spells of time, but this tranquillity will be disturbed by the monsters of emotions when they show their ominous heads from the depths. Suppressed emotions eventually bubble to the surface and create disruptions. To gain lasting peace in life it is not sufficient to attain perfect physical health and some control over the thoughts. The emotions must also be transformed so that they are in accord with every action and thought. Without gaining emotional harmony and one-pointedness it is impossible to gain mental and physical harmony.
You will now perhaps understand why we are spending so much time in explaining bhakti yoga. It is the most powerful means of harmonizing the emotions so that they work with the individual and not against him, so that they are used for constructive purposes.