“Taking the names of each, the married women sang auspicious songs. They worshiped Gauri and Ganesha for the wellbeing of the prince and princess.” (Janaki Mangala, 143)
lai lai nāun suāsini mangala gāvahin |
kunvara kunvari hita ganapati gauri pujāvahin ||
You don’t need much to practice bhakti-yoga. You don’t need a yoga studio, an introductory membership that allows you to attend an unlimited number of classes in the first thirty days, a yoga mat, a bottle of water, an ability to endure one hundred degree heat for over an hour, or a lot of money. You don’t need ability in exercise, dance, or advanced breath control. You don’t even have to be that intelligent. All you need is consciousness, which is shown in the ability to think. A simple way of thinking is singing, which is something most people can do.
Bhakti-yoga translates to mean “the linking of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul in a mood of love and devotion.” That is the actual meaning, not an interpretation. Yoga does not have to be about exercise or physical health. It does not have to be about wearing tight outfits and straining your body. That kind of yoga is more technically known as hatha-yoga or ashtanga-yoga. Since the term yoga is still there, there is the ultimate objective of linking with the Supreme Soul, the higher consciousness. That consciousness pervades the entire space; it is not limited to the local area. My consciousness only resides within me; no one else is privy to it. The same goes for your consciousness. The Supreme Consciousness is everywhere, and it belongs to a singular entity who is separate from both you and me.
Just as love for others is not restricted to a specific implementation, so the yoga of love and devotion does not have strict requirements. It is the attitude which matters most. And since it is the only yoga that has no pre-qualifications, it is the superior form of yoga. Since yoga is above any kind of material activity, bhakti-yoga is the supreme occupation. The same bhakti-yoga often goes by other names such as bhagavata-dharma and sanatana-dharma, both of which are sometimes mistakenly taken to mean religion. Indeed, these meanings serve as a way to find some equivalent to the modern term of religion, which is a kind of faith. Yoga is as much about faith as are gravity and the sunlight; namely there is only a marginal dependence on it. Yoga is a scientific discipline and so it applies to everyone.
You can practice bhakti-yoga through eating, sleeping, playing, exercising, reading and the like, but it is still the consciousness that requires altering. Therefore no one specific activity is a necessity; anything that changes consciousness to the point of creating the link to the Supreme Consciousness with love and devotion suffices for bhakti-yoga. From the above referenced verse from the Janaki Mangala we see how simple bhakti-yoga is to practice and how the attitude of the people practicing it is so heartwarming.
Here married women are singing auspicious songs at a wedding. They are already married, so they are singing of the auspiciousness of the couple that has just joined. The auspicious songs are created on the fly using the names of the bride and groom. This simple act constitutes bhakti-yoga, as the names of the individuals are Sita and Rama respectively. Sita is the name of the incarnation of the perfect energy of God and Rama is the name of the incarnation of God specific to the time in question.
We are also part of the energy of God, but we are not always perfect. Sometimes we choose in favor of personal conquests. We sometimes want to only think about where to eat, what to play, what to watch, and with whom to enjoy. In these pursuits, we forget God entirely. Therefore we are not always pleasing to Him. The perfect energy, however, is always engaged in bhakti-yoga. They are so immersed in love and devotion to God that they don’t even know what the term bhakti-yoga means. They only have one way of living, and it is not a choice for them. If they didn’t love God, they would cease to exist, like the fish out of water.
Singing a song is a nice way to pass the time and improve one’s mood. So what exactly makes a good song? Is it the melody? Is it the words? Is it the arrangement, such as the shifting of time signatures to create a dynamic sequence? Is it the ability to change levels of energy so that the listener will want to go on the same emotional ride over and over again?
Actually, for the perfect song all you need is the names of God and His energy. Here the names are Sita and Rama, and the people who created the songs were more than happy to continue to sing them. The same names have been happily sung in songs ever since. Sita and Rama are so kind that they give us other names as well. The name Hare also describes Sita, and Krishna tells of Rama’s original form as an all-attractive youth. So just by singing a mantra like, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,” you make the perfect song.
The names of Gauri and Ganesha are typically taken by those who are still desirous of enjoyment outside of God’s association. Gauri and Ganesha are divine figures, but they fit the needs of those who want protection from the threefold miseries of life and the removal of obstacles. When in bhakti-yoga, the focus shifts towards God and His perfect energy. At the same time, the mood of the devotee is so nice that Gauri and Ganesha are not forgotten. Their abilities to grant rewards are shifted towards the divine couple. The married women here prayed for the wellbeing of Sita and Rama, and since Gauri and Ganesha give rewards to even the materialists, they were more than happy to answer the call of the devoted ladies who sang the perfect songs.
Easy to practice is bhakti indeed,
Money, intelligence or fame don’t need.
As simple as holy names in song,
To create link to Supreme strong.
Married ladies at couple had a look,
Their names to make blessed songs took.
To Gauri and Ganesha for welfare prayed,
In blissful association forever stayed.
Categories: janaki mangala