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Veteran monk discusses spiritual balance with grad students at Bhakti Yoga Club event


More than 80 people, including students, professors and other Stanford community members, gathered to hear monk and Bhakti yoga practitioner Vaisesika Dasa speak about how to seek balance in life on July 12. The event was organized by the student-led Stanford Bhakti Yoga Club.

Bhakti Yoga is a spiritual yoga focused on peace and devotion. At the event, Dasa described balance as feeling one’s “own fullness.” 

“Balance doesn’t mean to be [spiritually] still,” he said. “It means you know how to pull back to your center.”

The event took place at Stanford’s Graduate Community Center, and a large number of the attendees were graduate students. They voiced concerns about stress and work pressure, asking questions about how to stay grounded and balanced.

“As students we have to juggle a lot of responsibilities,” said Stanford Bhakti Yoga Club President and Ph.D. student Khonika Gope. “We have studies and we have to take care of ourselves. Dasa’s talk about balancing the inner and outer worlds is very important.”

As a high schooler, Dasa was curious about two questions: “Why should I die?” and “What is the purpose of life?” In his junior year, he renounced the material world, quit his sports team and walked to school barefoot. Now, Dasa speaks about balance at companies, organizes spiritual retreats and creates video guides to achieve spiritual satisfaction. Dasa discussed his journey as a monk, the role balance plays in his life, and concrete steps everyone can take to find balance.

“Gaining balance means finding out who you are,” Dasa said. “What you are is more important than what you have. That’s so magical. It helps me make good choices and not be reactive.”

According to Dasa, there are three ways people can spend their lives. They can exploit those around them for personal gain, disconnect from the world, or choose the path of service and balance, which leads to a fulfilled life. He said it is important for one to know their own goals and lifestyle because it is very easy to get lost otherwise. 

To help specify these goals, Dasa recommended that attendees spend an hour in a distraction-free environment and write down their most cherished dreams with a pen and paper. He also recommended that everyone practice gratitude to help achieve balance. 

“You feel balanced because you feel you are enough,” he said. “When you feel entitled, you think you deserve more. You will never be satisfied so you’re never balanced.”

Dasa believes that — in order to lead a happy, balanced life — one should participate in selfless service. 

“Every person has a natural gift,” Dasa said. “It’s unique. When you use that unique gift for selfless service, it creates the perfect alignment, which gives balance.”

Dasa’s talk contained elements of theoretical spirituality and practical applications. Event attendee Fabio Dias da Silva said Dasa’s tips and suggestions were useful for finding balance.

“I now know that I have to seek focus and try to not worry,” da Silva said. “Instead, I should help other people.”

Contact Manat Kaur at manat ‘at’

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Manat was a high school intern for The Daily in summer 2019.