As a 35-year-old man at the peak of his career, life to me was synonymous with success and achievement. I had experienced success in whatever business venture I had undertaken. I had played key roles with MNC Companies, headed India and adjoining countries, had explored the east half of the world, and had been lauded for my achievements. And yet something was missing in my life.
I had received great education and learnt much about materialistic success, but I had never learnt the real fundamentals of life. I had no spiritual learning, and hence no spiritual understanding, nor any spiritual experiences in life. Swamiji says the EGO is ‘Edging God Out’ and that is exactly what I had done, as I had never experienced failures in life. My interest in growth came only from from a desire to learn how to control the mind (so I could control my negative thoughts and emotions), and a desire for physical well-being. But something changed and I found myself craving more. I now realise that I developed an un-conscious inner craving for a spiritual guru.
Back then, I felt it was sheer coincidence that led me to Swamiji. A colleague dropped me after work at the R V Dental College Auditorium where Swamiji was delivering a talk on the Bhagwad Gita. I went as a lay listener. But unknown to me, that was the became the beginning of my path to my beloved guru and spirituality. I loved the talk so much that I visited Nirguna Mandir – Swamiji’s ashram. I also began to read Swamiji’s books like ‘Oh Mind Relax Please’ and ‘Oh Life Relax Please.’ Soon, I found myself attending the weekly yoga classes and Bhagwad Gita recitals conducted at the Nirguna Mandir.
I was really struggling with my physical health around this time. And that drew me strongly to Swamiji and his words. I was underwent a couple of serious spinal surgeries which made me question the meaning of life. In retrospect, I can see it as the grace of God at work. The surgeries were performed by a reputed spinal surgeon, who was a senior student of Swamiji! I now see this, as the connection between God, Guru and happening in our lives. As I recovered at home, I was supported by the weekly Skype satsangs which felt like they were being exclusively organised to support me!
An acquaintance, who was also a student of Swamiji, became a friend around this time. This friend lovingly led me through the Swamiji’s teachings which had previously felt very high-level in their understanding to me. My mind was so polluted with its materialistic motivations that I struggled to understand some of Swamiji’s teachings. But as time passed, I discovered Swamiji’s key teachings like his unveiling of the Chin Mudra – where he emphasis the need to surrender the lower self to the higher self by aligning the moving, emotion & intellectual centres in us. His example of pyramid seeds sown in a fertile soil sprouting after thousands of years, touched me deeply. The Zenith of his teachings is ‘Silence’ – where he reminds us keep the thought in silence and go with the flow. I finally felt myself begin to understand the depth of his teachings. The Skype satsangs played a huge role in bringing Swamiji’s teaching home and helped me clarify the doubts I had with Swamiji’s senior students who conduct these satsangs.
I also attended Swamiji’s programs like the LIFE Program and Existential Laboratory (popularly called E-Lab). These prepared me to the face the challenging times that were yet to come in my life. My father passed away. Soon after that my mother underwent a surgery. Swamiji’s teachings guided me at every step of the way. Like the anchor of a ship supports and stabilizes it, and the rudder keeps it moving in the right direction, Swamiji’s teachings helped me sail through these difficult times.
Swamiji’s teachings rather than add to beliefs and concepts, have brought clarity to my spiritual quest. He shatters mind-driven structures and dogmas, which are actually the stumbling blocks in one’s spiritual seeking and realisation of Truth. As I progressed with Swamiji, I began to feel that it was time to leave behind a professional life filled with greed, money and materialism. One day, I finally found the courage to quit and devote myself completely to the lotus feet of my Guru. I joined Prasanna Trust so that I could serve my Guru and his Cause.
I have now come to understand that no matter how successful we are, or how much we may achieve in our professional life, real success lies in choosing Spiritual truths. There is just one underlying Truth that drives everyone and everything – Spirituality. What we are seeking is omni-present, it is Consciousness. My deepest thanks thus, go to my Guru, Swami Sukhabodhananda, who brought the Truth home to me. My life now is your gift.
Sri Ram Venkat H
Director – Corporate Relations (Prasanna Trust)