Once upon a time, I wrote this letter which helped me to clarify my own attitude towards Bhakti Yoga - I hope it can inspire others also to drop the natural resistance against all aspects of "religion" und truly connect in love to the divine :
I must say that not everybody down here believes in You, let alone never doubts You. That includes me. There certainly is a me, experiencing some things. That is about all that I was ever really sure about. Nevertheless, searching for the absolute truth about myself and my experiences, I have stumbled upon You, or one that could be defined as You.
Deep inside of me, I have met someone full of peace and power and love. When in meditation my thoughts subside, this silent witness clearly is that which I am, always, in any case. Unfortunately, most of the time in life there is just too much static going on in my head to remain aware of it. Lonely socks and full agendas, desires and regrets, names and fames, blames and shames. Fortunately, I am blessed to have learned how to shut up inside. That makes me realize again and again that even then I still exist. And that socks and all that don’t truly matter. That I am perfectly happy as I am. That I am something beyond my name and role and body and thoughts.
There is no way not to love that essential being inside me. This love comes naturally. This beingness became my love, lover and beloved. It makes me so happy. Surrender comes easily. Some things are just not reasonable, like love at first sight.
And yet, when I wake up to the apparently real world, again and again, this peaceful me and the feeling it produces fade. They do not disappear from my consciousness altogether, but it is so easy to forget. Socks and all that. It is sad, very sad. It would be unbearable if I wouldn’t always have the option to return to that being and feeling, to shut down the inner dialogue and see my true love emerge, shining as ever. There must be a way for “us” to always stay together. Such is a lover’s desire.
Many of those whom I consider wise, as well as common sense, tell me that this unchanging, desireless me is truly You. That it exists in every single being, so that humbliness requires to look beyond this perfect me, in wonder, to what might be defined as that perfect You. And that the finding of You out there complements the finding of You in here, because then You are always available, socks or not. This last bit seems very appealing.
I can imagine, even feel all that to be the truth. But still doubt remains, the illusion of individuality rushing back even more swiftly than thought, bringing tears to my eyes. Plenty, repeatedly. No time even for a lover’s farewell.
I am told by my teacher - as well as by many others - that there exists a path which may breach this gap between us for eternity. This path is called the yoga of devotion, which Hindus call Bhakti Yoga, and exists in all cultures. It uses the tremendous emotional power of love to join me with You forever and thus with my true self too. It turns my ego, mind and intellect towards You by making them love You. Love uses a language which they can understand, while my inner peace speaks no language except that of silence, which they never truly understand.
Anyhow, doubts or not, I want to believe in this path, desperately so. My heart is aching for eternal oneness. The fleeting oneness that comes and goes at my command or lack of it, just makes me too sad, whenever it goes. I want to follow this path of the devotee, even though it is also the yoga of religion, hardly fashionable in this world and time of mine. To many, religion now stands for strife, hypocrisy and stupidity and this with relatively good reason. So much nonsense is uttered in Your name. So much hatred is expressed at Your supposed command. So much injustice is done with You as the literally perfect excuse. Yet I see no other choice but to turn to this path and to You.
So, first things first, please accept my unconditional surrender to You. Whoever You really are, whatever this truly means, I place myself entirely at Your service. I am no more, except in You, for You, through You. I am dumping Peter Marchand into the trashcan along with all other nonsense. My body, mind and intellect stand at Your command. I give up all personal desire but to please You, serve You, enjoy You.
I could elaborate quite a bit further on this subject, but that would only deny the essence of it. For now, let it be clear in all its simplicity : I no longer consider myself as mine, only Yours. Whatever task You put in front of me, I will give it my best shot. Socks are no more excuse, nor an obstruction, since they are no longer mine, but Yours.
Many questions do remain about You and about this path to You. Who are you exactly or maybe rather, by definition ? And then who am I ? What good are You ? What can You do for me ? And why would You do it ? How can I get closer to You ? And what turns me away from You ? Why are so many problems created in Your name ? And how to avoid it ?
Throughout the history of humankind, many have claimed that You spoke to them, that they have heard Your words and were able to reproduce them. Your revelations through these prophets and seers are supposed to reveal Your true nature and purpose, as well as the related rules of conduct for those that want to serve You. Yet, the sum total of all these scriptures can be rather confusing. They have a lot in common, but also plenty of dissention, for a number of reasons. Nevertheless, I respect them and have studied them. They have brought me a lot of understanding, yet many questions remain.
I dare hope that You speak through everybody that opens up to You. So, what about : “How do You do ?” ? It is not exactly an excercise of humbliness to address You so directly. Yet who else can I talk to but You ? Who else can I write to but You ? As if anyone could write about anything but You and to You and through You.
So please, with all the humbliness that I can muster, which honestly isn’t all that much, I ask You to live in me and through me. Bring Your light in my darkness. Show me Your path to You and I shall follow it. Such is my request and my promise to You. Please. I love You and I mean well.
Anyhow, whatever comes next, I leave it all up to You.
Leela is the ancient vedic name for the theater of life. Life in all its forms is an illusion behind which we can find the ultimate truth of pure Being. Yet life is also a divine theater, a spiritual game played by us, the actors. Yoga allows us to hold on to the bliss of truth while playing the game. And also this yoga is a game, which we can only take seriously if we do not take ourselves and this game too seriously. That is the meaning of Leela Yoga, nothing more, nothing less. So, Leela Yoga is a vision on yoga and also a name for a simple organisation that allows me to bring this vision into practice... more about Leela Yoga & Peter Marchand
Belgium : www.leela-yoga.be
New book : www.tantricadvaita.org
Harish Johari students sangha : www.sanatansociety.org
|in sweet memory
of Harish Johari
As the destination is the same for all, it is easy to make the error of assuming that the path must be just as universal.
The attachment that happens in the pursuit of happiness is the main source of unhappiness.
Don't think of going somewhere, because this somewhere will come along with you wherever you go, as you are already there.
Yoga requires unity between enjoyment and suffering, between bhoga and yoga, even between attachment and detachment.
How can anyone be "good" without a choice between good and bad?
While the mind creates the illusion of the universe through the senses, the intellect creates the illusion of understanding it.
When our day has been entirely ego-centered, then our meditation will probably have similar poor quality.
When the focus on the self is held strongly enough, the flow of kundalini energy happens on its own, naturally.
Tiptoe inside, don't make a sound, don't scare away that which cannot be found.
Enlightenment is nothing more or less than the final level of the game of life.