Monday, July 02, 2007


Subject: [slad] "From The Ridiculous To The Sublime"

From The Ridiculous To The Sublime

by superstar Rajnikanth

from the Times of India column "Speaking Tree"

My first exposure to Vedas, Upanishads, yoga and general discipline was

at the Ramakrishna Mission, Bangalore, as an eight-year-old. We formed

groups named after Markandeya, Vivekananda, Nachiketa and others. We were

assigned daily chores like cleaning and gardening. My formative years were

spent in this ashram-like atmosphere; the experience is an intrinsic part

of my being. This laid the foundation for my spiritual quest. So you could

say Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was my first guru.

Years later, meeting Raghavendra Swami evoked a sense of affinity. He

meditated most of the time; he hardly spoke. He taught me the art of

dhyana and bhakti yoga. We ask ourselves so many questions. Most of them

remain un-answered. Why? Because no written scripture can provide all the

answers. Mukti or salvation cannot be attained with mere theoretical

knowledge. A guru can guide us on this path because he can point out our

mistakes. Take mantras, for instance. We can of course read them. But only

a guru can teach us the right pronunciation, intonation and rhythm which

can create the right vibrations. Why are most mantras repeated 108 times?

So that we get it right at least once.

Reading Ramana Maharshi's "Who Am I?" changed my life. You could say he

was my third guru, for, he answered many of my questions. Interacting with

Sri Satchidananda Swami, who lived in Yogaville, USA, it took me five

years to realise that he was my guru. He would say, "When a disciple is

ready, only then the true guru appears".

Sometime before Swami left his mortal coil, he told me that hereafter i

should look up to Mahavatar Babaji as my guru to know more about the

philosophy of self-realisation. Babaji's life story goes back some 2,000

years. He imbibed the art of Kriya Yoga directly from Guru Patanjali

himself, who had learnt it from Arjuna, who was in turn taught by Lord

Krishna Himself. Two of Babaji's disciples learnt the art of Kriya Yoga

from him and later, Swami Paramahamsa Yogananda carried forward this yoga

tradition which is based on a scientific inter-pretation of sound and


What is so special about Kriya Yoga? It expands your consciousness; it

enables you to move up from the ridiculous to the sublime - from say,

matters of state, politics and petty disputes to a deeper understanding of

nature of the Self. This divine intuition came to me and it prompted me to

travel to Babaji's cave in the Himalayas - he used to meditate there.

It is divine dispensation that initiated me into practising Kriya Yoga.

It's a rejuvenating experience. Following it up with fasting did me a

great deal of good. My farm is away from the hustle and bustle of the

city, with only the rustle of palm trees and Hari and Ganga (Dalmatians)

for company. It is my retreat - to be alone, to reflect and meditate... We

are part of this world; yet, we also need to learn to live a life apart

from it. Why do people persist in asking me questions about politics,

inter-state relations, cinema and what not. When we're conversing on a

higher plane, why do you want to go back down there (points to the floor)?

Who knows what the next divine dispensation will be?

[The Chennai-based film actor spoke to Narayani Ganesh. This was first

published on October 24, 2002.]


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