See the end of this review for a chance to win a copy of Love and Happiness.
I’m a sucker for snail mail.
I’ll take just about anything if it’s going to come in the post. So when I was offered up a copy of Swami Govindananda’s Love and Happiness DVD I jumped at it.
A few days later a lovely brown package showed up in my mail box.
Unwrapping the packaging, I flipped it over to read the description on the back, I opened the case looked at each of the six discs, then put the DVD case on the shelf, the wrapping in the recycling and promptly forgot about it.
Part of the deal with the DVDs meant I was supposed to watch and review them inside a 7-week window.
That was six weeks ago.
Refreshingly, Swami Govidananda (also known as Swami Ji) is affable, charismatic and engaging.
He’s a regular Kiwi bloke in the swami garb.
Relief. I was expecting a droning, pedantic, judgemental type. My limiting beliefs projected onto an experience I was yet to know.
From this point on I’m parking my personal judgements and opening myself to the wisdom Swami Ji is trying to impart. Very much like Jessica said in her review of Swami Ji’s Bhakti – the Path of Love DVD
Swami Ji has an easy, pleasantly accented speaking voice and sings in a steady and warm fashion. I didn’t know what he was chanting, but the overall feeling of love and dedication was clear.
This time around we’re looking at Love and Happiness. And Swami Ji is offering up some hard truths. It’s not a quick win and it’s not going to be easy but it is possible.
Hard truth number one: no one in this world loves you for your sake. They don’t love you to satisfy your needs but to satisfy their own needs. What does this mean? Well, there are three types of love:
- Hunger love: a gratification of the senses. Where you fill up on another person’s beauty and when you’ve had your fill – moving on.
- Conditional love: there is a reason we give love and when that reason isn’t being met our love finishes – as seen by the rising divorce rate worldwide.
- Unconditional love: simply put – this is the province of saints.
His point is made by giving examples from the ordinary and every day – like a long lost friend who gushes at the beauty of your well manicured lawn only to then follow up with a request to borrow your lawnmower, this friend loves you and your lawn so long as they can use your lawnmower.
Hard truth number two: desire is the disease of the mind. If you fulfill your desire, you always want something more. So breeds greed. You want something and you don’t get it, so breeds anger. So in order to move beyond the limitations of this world we need to fore-go all desire.
A haunting story is told to illustrate this point. A mother wants her 16-year-old daughter to be the captain of the cheerleaders. Another girl is standing in the way of the daughter becoming head cheerleader. So the mom conspires to murder the main competition in order to feed her desire.
His talk on desire takes many path – one of which classifies people by three categories of how they look for enjoyment in this world.
- The first believe in eat, drink and be merry – they find their enjoyment solely in common life.
- The next category of people believe enjoying life is a good thing but they also believe in employing their mental powers.
- Finally there are those who understand we must live in the world but believe the aim of life is god realisation.
Swami Ji explains that you can gain all the opulence or aptitude of all the world regions and be no better than a beggar in your spiritual self, so it’s better to have no desire.
Hard truth number three: there is no sorrow in this world. Sorrow is an illusion. If you want to free yourself from sorrow and pain, “let no worldly object attract you”.
The talk on sorrow is full of juicy soundbites, but for brevity’s sake I’ll stick with:
Is there any sorrow in the world? No, there is not. The sorrow that we derive is directly proportionate to the pleasure we experience from a relationship or material object.
The more your happiness brings you joy, the more is also brings sorrow as your happiness can be taken away or lost, it can leave you wanting more, a loved one can die.
Listening to Swami Ji you get a series of Ah-ha moments where it all just make sense. I found that when I walk away from the talks and enter my life again, I forget. And so I keep going back re-watching, re-listening, relearning. Although what’s communicated is simple and uncomplicated it’s a lot of information to take in.
Swami Ji agrees as he continually encourages the listeners to revisit talks as he says from a single viewing;
You’ll not grasp the profound meaning and logic contained here in.
Trying to escape clouding these teachings with my own interpretations it’s better that you have a listen for yourself. Even better – Swami Ji is currently touring New Zealand. Listen to the teachings live and in person. Coming to a town near you.
Competition time – want your very own copy of Swami Ji’s Love and Happiness talks?
Leave a comment on the article or on our Facebook post. Tell us whatever you want to say. All comments will go in a random draw to win. Easy right? So what are you waiting for. Competition closes Monday @ 9am NZ time, share your thoughts with us and you too could be getting a lovely brown package in your postbox.