Happiness with His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami
Happiness Platform with His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami on The Leadership Show
A conversation between His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami and Rohilesh Singh, Creator of the Happiness Platform.
Have you sat back and thought about just how mentally healthy or unhealthy your workplace is and your life in general?
Have you thought about what actually fulfils you or why despite all your accomplishments, you are still chasing some dream? What is that dream?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami, a monk for 40 years, is the incoming Chairman of ISKCON with over 600 temples, and has dedicated his whole adult life to selflessly serving his soul and that of others, shares with us ancient Vedic knowledge on what is important and how to attain sustained happiness.
Read the transcript below from The Leadership Show or Click and watch on YouTube or download from Soundcloud or iTunes. It’s free. Aren’t all the great things in life!
This episode is a personal one, a journey which, initially started out as an interest and has since developed into part of my daily life, both personally and professionally.
The stresses in our lives are endless; Is there a way to control them and reduce their effect on our health and wellbeing?
I believe that all organisations should be moving away from not only looking after their employees safety and financial security but also towards their mental health.
Over the last 25 years I have studied and pondered many Hindu philosophies, which I believe contain answers to many of life's questions.
Recently, I was given the honour of spending some time with His Holiness, Bhakti Charu Swami. Bhakti Charu is a spiritual master having dedicated over 40 years of his life to selfless duties within the ISKON organisation.
During our time together, we explore Hindu beliefs and understandings, how their applications can greatly help reduce one's stresses, anxieties in our modern world.
Let's explore these truths together, and discover some answers to happiness.
Bhakti Charu Swami Everybody needs to work. Now the first consideration is, that one should be engaged in activities that he naturally likes to do. Like, one naturally has certain propensities, like say somebody likes to write poetry, somebody likes to make money, somebody likes to fight.
Now unfortunately what is happening in today's world, the whole focus is unto money and making money, irrespective of whether you like it or not.
When I was young, everybody was going for engineering. Then a trend came, no engineering is not good enough, medical profession is more pay. So everybody wanted to become doctors. Then wanted to pursue the Information Technology.
Roh Singh: Yes.
Bhakti Charu Swami: See why? Because the consideration is, which occupation will bring me maximum amount of money. And one's own consideration has been totally disregarded.
Say a person who likes to write poetry, you know, he's ended up becoming a factory worker. He's not getting a scope for that (becoming a poet). He is being driven to do things like, what ultimately will bring him the maximum amount of money.
And as a result of that, you know in today's world practically everyone is dissatisfied. Even those who are working, everyone is thinking when will it be Friday. And I will get the weekend.
Roh Singh: That's true, that's true.
Bhakti Charu Swami They are simply trying to run away from what they are doing. So why do people,
Roh Singh: Why do they continue, why do they?
Bhakti Charu Swami Because of social structure has been designed in such a way. If you can't earn money, then you won't be able to pay your bills.
So, you know, everyone is forced to. Recently I was in Singapore, and you know it's a beautiful structure, everything is so beautifully done, but I was told, in Singapore, practically everyone has to work from 10 to 12 hours just to maintain. In one hand they have made such a nice comfortable arrangement. But in order to fit into that arrangement, to stay in that arrangement you have to completely dedicate all of your time and effort.
Roh Singh I see most of us live to pay bills, collect wealth, and accumulate possessions.
The results of which don't deliver meaningful satisfaction. And causes stress and anxiety.
I spoke with His Holiness about issues around work, wealth, doing what you like to do In order to live a fulfilled life without stress and anxiety.
There are certain times in our lives when we feel absolutely, when we do things we feel brilliant about ourselves. Ok, and we like to talk about those traits that we display. Be the transcendental traits that we carry.
What are the traits that one should aspire to? Or one should make their own and which are the ones that we should be aware of, We will talk about that, in a moment and how to overcome that.
Bhakti Charu Swami To achieve that, you know I will say that first we need to get rid of Six negative influences. Ok.
Those negative influences are, Lust, Greed, Anger, Illusion, Pride and Envy.
So these are the enemies that are kind of attacking our hearts. Like, say for example, when you get angry, I mean how do you feel afterwards?
Roh Singh: Exhausted actually.
Bhakti Charu Swami Yeah, feeling miserable. You know, when we are envious of others, Our heart becomes, our heart shrinks. So we have to overcome these and cultivate the positive qualities. The qualities that broadens our hearts.
Generosity. Service to others. You know through Lust, we try to exploit others. Through Love, we try to serve others.
So we have to conquer Lust with Love. We have to conquer Greed with Compassion. Generosity. We have to conquer Anger by Affection for others. And you know feeling for others. And in this way, we can, you know, ultimate consideration is, actually Love.
Roh Singh: You talked about False Ego. Can we talk a little bit more about that please, is that OK?
Bhakti Charu Swami: The False Ego, you see, False means wrong. And Ego means the identity, my mistaken identity. I am a spirit soul. But I am thinking that this body is me.
And that perception or that attitude is you know, the False Ego.
The soul is eternal, full of knowledge, full of joy. But what we are doing is we are trying to get this spiritual needs, or spiritual requirements fulfilled through this material body. Which never happens.
Roh Singh: So would you say it's fair to say we are chasing the wrong knowledge?
Bhakti Charu Swami: Oh, well I would say, we are chasing a mirage.
In order to quench our thirst, OK. And that's what is happening with us in this material nature. No matter whatever you are aspiring for, our heart is never content. Our heart never becomes satisfied. But you know, at that point say a traveler in the middle of the desert, lost his way and is running after a mirage, then somebody comes and tells him, look "This is a mirage, running after this is never going to be able to quench your thirst." "But, there is an oasis, come with me. I will take you there."
And that is what is needed in this world. Everybody needs a guide, who can actually show him the way, to the real source of joy, the real source of happiness.
Through our lives, most of us think we know how to act when it comes to doing the right thing.
Roh Singh: But what is the right thing to do. And how do we overcome our own ego and self interest to do it?
I talk with His Holiness on what he thinks doing the right thing by acting selflessly means.
Bhakti Charu Swami: I was brought up in an environment in India, when we used to think that "West is the Best". And then I went to the West. And there I began to see that this is also the same place.
So I started to read. I began to recognize the glory of India when I went out of India. And then that brought me to a point you know when I began to realise, that the goal of life is not to just pursue some materialistic objectives. And I went back to India in search of a spiritual master, in search of a guru because I knew to train in this path I need a guide, I need a spiritual master.
And initially, I tell you it was quite disappointing. Because you know it was kind of a feeling, that they themselves don't know what they are pursuing. So how can they guide me if they themselves do not know. But then I came across a book by Sri Prabhupada called "The Nectar of Devotion". And when I started to read it, you know practically from the very first page, everything became clear.
Roh Singh: It made sense to you.
Bhakti Charu Swami: Like, you know I was aspiring for liberation those days, the goal of life was to become liberated.
Roh Singh: Liberation, what does it actually mean to you?
Bhakti Charu Swami: Liberation means, I mean at that time, awareness was to be free from the suffering condition.
Roh Singh: Too many people feel that their identity and happiness is tied to their job, to their wealth, and to their material possessions. His Holiness emphasizes the need to search for the right guides, someone with experience to achieve inner contentment. And how critical it is to find the right guide.
Even His Holiness started out on a similar path. Feeling the influence of the West as the way it must be, but he soon learned something that challenged that. In the rediscovery in the richness of India.
Bhakti Charu Swami: When, as I said, when I started to read the book. You know the first thing that came to me was I was aspiring for liberation. Another way you can describe that, you know, liberation, say consider, the question of liberation comes when there is a question of imprisonment.
A person who is free, he doesn't have to worry about liberation or freedom. A person who is bound, a person who is imprisoned, he only needs this consideration of you know, becoming free.
Now somebody is in a prison. He can get out of the prison in 2 ways. He can dig a tunnel and escape from the prison. Although he will be out of the prison, but he won't actually be free. The police will be after him, he will have to hide all the time. And his life will be even more miserable than before being in the prison. Like at least in the prison he was getting food and a place to sleep.
Now he's on the run.
Now the other way to get out of the prison is, you appeal to the King, "I'm sorry I made a mistake. I promise I will never commit that crime again." And then the King sends the message "OK, he has rectified so release him."
So that is the positive recollection to surrendering. So here comes again, the question of surrender, accepting the authority of the King. Now, accepting the authority of the King of Kings, the supreme personality of God Head.
Roh Singh: Yes, yes.
Bhakti Charu Swami: And, you know, like, surrender. I surrender unto you, all I want is to please you. And you decide what you want to do with me.
Roh Singh: Ok, so having a good deal of trust?
Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes, exactly.
Roh Singh: Surrender and liberation may be similar things, for me it was simply about being willing to accept, that not everything was in my control, and learning to let go.
It has helped me achieve contentment and enabled me to focus on meaningful work.
His Holiness shares some insights into his 40 year journey into liberation through service to others.
Can we talk a little bit more in terms of surrendering, what does it actually take, or what did it take for you, I mean I for instance, in the mornings when I meditate, I go through a particular series of Pranayamas and Asanas and then I get to a stage where I do my surrendering, or my puja and then you know, I actually have a certain phrase that I say, you know where I surrender. How do you go about it, or how do you find that process?
Bhakti Charu Swami: When you are, when you are a little boy. Did you have any anxieties?
Roh Singh: None. none.
Bhakti Charu Swami: Why?
Roh Singh: I think I had faith, I was in touch, I just saw everything as being beautiful. That also had a bit of a part, but yes. I knew I had been looked after.
Bhakti Charu Swami: This awareness that someone is there. Who is taking care of you, who knows what is best for you, who is providing you with that. When we are children we can depend upon our parents. But when we grow up, we can't depend upon them. Then we have to fend for ourselves. Not only do we have to fend for ourselves, we also have to fend for those around us. And that causes so much anxieties. So much distress.
Roh Singh: Unnecessary worries. Yes.
Bhakti Charu Swami: But if we could recognise that there is somebody who is taking care of me, who knows what's best for me, so let's depend upon Him.
Roh Singh: It was an enriching few days for me, to be able to spend the time with someone who is living the life I have revered for so long, and learning from each other's experiences and studies in happiness.
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