by Ananda Nunan
The ancient teachings of the Vedas say there are 5 things humans can do everyday to be happy. We would say that these are directly connected to an effective spiritual practice. If we understand that life is meant for self-realization then the following 5 support and help us achieve that goal, while being happy along the way.
Here they are:
- Get up before the sun
- Get clean
- Worship the Lord
- Give in charity
- Receive guests
Get up before the sun – this sounds easy but we all know it can be oh so difficult to pull ourselves from the comfort of the comforter. Planning ahead is the key – this means early to bed, which means turning off screens, which means being determined to value the early morning hours. What’s so good about the time before sunrise? Rise early and you will see!
Get clean – this is not just about teeth and body. This is also about our space. A clean body and a clean space really help control the mind. This is a good thing as the mind, according to the bhakti teachings, is the source of all misery. If cleaning is not your thing, try setting your phone timer for 15mins and do a blitz. You will be amazed how much can be achieved and how good you will feel.
Worship the Lord – whether it’s for 5 minutes or 15 or for a few hours, the absolute best thing to do before anything else is to connect with Krishna. Of course we can do this at anytime during the day, but the tendency is to get busy and forget. Get up, get clean and get absorbed in some worship – in our practice it can be mantra meditation, or offering flowers or incense at an altar, or reading something wonderful about Krishna and His associates.
Give in charity – this is such a nice reminder. It is described that there is a difference in giving to those in need and giving to God, who is not in need. Giving donations to those in need shares our wealth; giving to Krishna acknowledges the source of our wealth and the importance of deepening our relationship with Krishna through our giving. Giving is such a core component of self-realization – giving up, giving away, giving back, but it’s also a complex and nuanced activity. We should reflect on the spiritual call to give and do so in small and big ways every day.
Receive guests – in the traditions of the Vedas, guests are to be treated as good as God. Especially unexpected guests – they are signs of good fortune. No matter if we are at home or at work, we can try to interact with others as if they are guests in our space. Treat them as guests for that moment and be happy in their company. Offer water or some refreshment and kind words. Receive at least one guest into your life every day and be blessed.