The Life of Poojya Sukhabodhananda
Poojya Sukhabodanandaji is one of the most respected Spiritual Master from India, an erudite motivational speaker, Vedantic scholar, Spiritual scientist nicknamed as Corporate Guru; whose core teaching is to bring about transformation in every individual through clarity and understanding, rather than through blind faith and following. His unique ability to deconstruct the most critical challenges of life, offer holistic solutions and his simple approach to problem solving has transformed the lives of millions across the globe.
A precious gift from the unknown sent by the Lord Almighty, Swami Sukhabodhananda was born to the noble souls of Smt Rukmani and Sri Srinivasamurthy on 25th April 1955 in Bangalore. He was named as Dwaraknath, after one of the several names of Lord Krishna, who became the main foundation and guide to his life.
Born in a prestigious business family in Bangalore, his father a philanthropist with a service attitude and passion for life was the one who taught him noble and empowering values of life. Seeing his mother serve her in-laws and the old people at home with a smile on her face at all times, established the value in him for service with a smile and to contribute to humanity as a whole.
When he was 10 years old, he had promised his mother, “I will make you feel proud of your life when I grow up”. His mother remembers these words even today when she sees him fulfil his promise.
COLLEGE DAYS – FORMATIVE YEARS
As a student of the prestigious St. Josephs College in Bangalore, Swamiji had to encounter peers who were into drugs. It was the story of Dharmaraja in Mahabharata which he heard from his grandmother that helped him to desist himself from the lure of these bad habits. Thus, the scriptures laid the foundation for his life during his formative years. The mysteries of life lured him to ask the fundamental question to his near and dear ones who were lost in the pursuit of pleasures, name and fame; “ARE YOU HAPPY?” None of them could answer in the affirmative. It was at this time that he came in touch with Swami Chinmayananda and one of his discourses that said, “Happiness is not outside but within”. This statement had a deep impact on his mind which led him to explore into this dimension and he eventually joined Sandeepany Sadhanalaya under Swami Chinmayananda at the age of 20.
It was a great learning experience for Swami, being the youngest in a group of students. His response to the teachings always garnered praise and appreciation from the master himself, who once told him, “You have God’s grace, do not turn back, you are young and committed – go forward.” This appreciation both boosted his confidence and cautioned him to not be arrogant. The Gita sloka – ‘vidya vinaya sampanne barhamane’ – became his guiding light. The more a person acquires knowledge, the more humble he should become. His exposure to the lofty and mystical teachings of Vedanta, Brahma Sutra and the Gita attuned him to the fundamentals of a wise being and the sadhana to attain the ultimate goal of life – Moksha. Like Brahmachari Nitya Chaitanya, he chose to stay back in the Chinmaya Ashram. Swami Chinmayananda encouraged him to go and spread this message of the Upanishads to the world, citing his skill and the gift of teaching and following the footsteps of the master himself. This was a great encouragement for him.
THE HIMALAYAN MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE
At the tender age of 20, his journey to the Himalayas was a mystical blessing. During this journey, he came across many mystics and monk who blessed him. There were many mystical experiences that he couldn’t decipher as well.
- He was blessed by an elderly Bengali monk who was a Vedantic scholar and an aesthetic told him, “Looking at your eyes I know you will go very far ahead in the spiritual endeavour. Don’t leave the Himalayas”. But he couldn’t disregard his Guru Chinmayananda’s order to spread the message.
- While bathing in the hot springs in Yamunotri, an elderly person tightly held his feet, accosted him to his ashram in a cave and performed the traditional Arti. He later found that the man was a highly respected mystic of the area. It was a heightened experience of bliss, devotion, humility and divinity, which cannot be put into words.
- Similarly, another mystic, a resident of Badrinath came from nowhere, bowed down to him with great respect, offered salutations and blessed him.
These mysterious happenings were extremely surprising and a great learning – “Humility is the greatest virtue”; a learning which he practices even to this very day. It is humility and gratitude that allows one to really see and experience the fullness of life.
TEACHING – TRANSFERENCE OF LEARNING
Swamiji was initiated into Sanyas at the age of 28 by Poojya Swami Dayananda who his other guru. It was in 1982 that Swamiji established the organization called PRASANNA TRUST and continued the work of spreading the message of the Bhagavad Gita and Upanishads.
On realising that an interactive mode is more impactful than the discourse mode, in transforming people’s lives, a four day dialogue oriented interactive workshop coupled with group dynamics and meditations was started in the name of “LIFE” (Living in Freedom An Enquiry) in the year 1987. The impact was instantaneous; participants danced with joy, people felt richly empowered and this led to a series of similar programs tailored to cater to different sections of people viz, youth, parents, teachers, corporate citizens, and general public based on the Gita and Upanishads, but presented in a modern perspective. The corporate world lapped up the programs and thus Swamiji’s nickname, ‘Corporate Guru’ came about.
Swamiji’s talks on Gita, Upanishads, various workshops, and meditation retreats have transformed the lives of millions all around the world.
A MAN OF LETTERS
Swamiji is a prolific writer, whose first book “MANASE RELAX PLEASE” in Tamil became a best seller, which is said to have revolutionized Tamil literature. Its simplicity and profound style appealed to all sections of people starting from the most educated to the layman. The book has been translated to most of Indian languages. He has since then authored more than 112 titles in different languages and the process still continues.
- In 1988, well before the slogan “Save the girl child” was publicised, Swamiji started a home for homeless girl children named “PRASANNA JYOTHI”, as he believed that girls were more oppressed than boys.
- Nirgun Mandir, a meditation center was established in 1997 in Koramangala, Bangalore, which is a beehive of various activities, both Transformative and Social Services.
- Conducts free cataract operations for the needy.
- Provides artificial limbs and calipers for handicapped people from an impoverished backgrounds.
- Conducts blood donation camps.
- Provides free cardiac care including heart procedures for the poor.
Provides scholarships to students from economically weaker sections of society.
- Rotary Seva Ratna was awarded in recognition of his service to humanity at large
- Personal Excellence Award by Rotary International for impacting the lives of many
- Karnataka’s Best Social Service Award by Essel group and Zee Network
- The second Indian to be honoured at the prestigious Lotus Millionaires Intellectual Club at Manhattan, New York
- Swamiji was invited as a dignitary on 5 different panels at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
- Swamiji was a special invitee to the United Nations World Millennium Summit of Spiritual Leaders.
- Reva University, Bangalore has conferred Corporate Excellence Award for blending spirituality as a game changer in the Corporate World.
- “Times of India” in one of their poll on “who talks the best” places Swamiji as the one, who tops the list on all counts as the best speaker.
- Swamiji was invited as a ‘ Corporate Guru’ to deliver key note address on ‘Leadership & Change Management’ at GyanSangam as the star attraction at the finance ministry retreat which was attended by the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, The RBI Governor & Senior North Block officials, Chairmen &Directors of various nationalized banks and financial institutions to bring about banking reforms. It was termed as a great success and invited him again as a key note speaker in Gyan Sangam 2 for Bank CEO’s.