Gauranga! means be happy!

This will be the first blog post of mine in a long time, but I feel it deserves one. I have had lots of things on my mind, and an encounter yesterday triggered something.

A few months back I was walking through town with a friend when I encountered a man who wanted us to stop to chat. My friend was determined to carry on, but I’m not good in those situations, so I stopped. Now usually I have no interest in hearing about religions, sects or any kind of spiritual group. But as this man explained he was a travelling Monk, I began to change my mind. Why? I wasn’t sure at the time, and I’m still no closer to understanding now. He was a very nice gentleman on all accounts, we had a good chat about life and happiness, and he said he saw potential within me to be happy. For those of you who know me, this was hysterical to hear. Nonetheless, we parted on good terms.

Yesterday I was walking through town and I bumped in to the very same Monk. As he came up to begin his rehearsed opening line, he hesitated: ‘I remember you, we’ve met before haven’t we?’

I was quite amazed, and I also remembered him. We had a longer chat, about my life, academic career and Christmas plans, then he told me about his travelling plans across the country speaking about his beliefs and giving out free books. I asked him for any leaflets he may have, as I am always keen to have a read, even if it is to give me some amusement, and he gave me a new book about meditation and karma. He then asked me to say ‘gauranga!’ – okay, I pronounced it, slightly confused. I asked what it means and he said: “Be happy”. It sparked something within me. I looked at him, clearly shivering from the harsh chill of November, and he had such a great smile; it was relaxed, peaceful, happy. I’m sure there will be people who are reading this who will state it is all manipulation to get money, but he never once asked for any!

This remarkable man, probably in his mid twenties, went on to tell me again that I should be happy, and that I have an element within which has potential for happiness. I laughed it off again, reassuring him that I am depressing and miserable, but he disagreed. He pointed out that I had hope in my voice, and that I had determination within to be happy, even if it seemed like a fictional achievement. I won’t lie, I am not the happiest person, perhaps more depressing than others. But life isn’t easy, and it is not easy to stay positive with everything going on. So I took this to heart and I left him with a smile on my face.

Why am I sharing this? I guess I want to celebrate that although things get me down (and I have some personal health issues which affect me more than I care to let on), having the odd day where I can be happy is so good. I’ll cherish them when I have them! I don’t want people to think I don’t try to remain positive, because I do. Every day I wake up and I tell myself repeatedly to look on the bright side, act positive, smile even though I don’t feel like it; but something within can prevent me from doing all of that sometimes. Not all the time, but sometimes.

So, I want to pass on the term ‘Gauranga’ to you all, and request you say it to at least one person today! Even if you’re not a Monk, just take it as a word, and it is pretty fun to pronounce. Say it with a smile on your face, share it with someone who needs it, explain what it means, and go about your day. If life knocks you down today, get up, brush yourself down and carry on.

With that, I am going to do some more dissertation research and listen to my favourite song on repeat, because it reminds me to (and yes, I know some of you are sick of me posting about Blue October, but I don’t care!) ‘get back up’. Fear will reel you in and spit you out like you were never enough; believe in yourself and you will walk.

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