Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Spiritual Interview

This is the translation of the interviews conducted by Aradhana magazine, and Himsa Virodh- both Gujarati magazines.

Q: How did you end up in India, studying vedanta and living a spiritual life? 

My interest in spirituality started in my teenage years, when i was introduced to yoga asanas by my mother.
She took me along to a class, and from that time onwards i would regularly attend classes. This continued during college years also, being the only one of my friends waking up early on a sunday morning just to go to yoga class. After college (McGill University, Montreal) i moved to Dubai in 2009 and started working in marketing. It was during a holiday in Indonesia, where the seed was planted and my life would quickly undergo a drastic change.
We went to a restaurant to have lunch, and i was fascinated by a small signboard that was placed on each table. On one side it said "Be good. Do good", and on the other side it said "see God in every face", Swami Sivananda. I thought this was the most beautiful and inspiring thing ever, and after quite some effort i convinced the manager to allow me to buy it. 
I still have it at home now. I was wondering, who is Swami Sivananda... After coming home I immediately googled it... and that's when my life started to change. A whole new world opened up to me. I bought a couple of books, started reading, and never stopped. I was highly inspired by this great Mahatma and his enormous compassion towards people. It didn't take much time for me to decide to come to India and visit his ashram. I came to Rishikesh, stayed there for 6 weeks, and then proceeded to the Sivananda Institute in Trivandrum where i completed a teachers training course in 2010. From the very beginning i had started to pray to Swami Sivananda. I would pray and literally talk to him in my mind "Oh dear Swamiji. You are so amazing. But where can i find a live teacher like you in todays world? I am longing for a guru and so eager to learn our ancient scriptures. Please find me a guru." Every evening I would pray, and thanks to Bhagavan's grace, my prayer got answered:

I got introduced to Pujya Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati, an extraordinary, learned Mahatma; the foremost teacher of Vedanta in India. And with great grace, I then and there found my Guru. Swamiji had just begun a three year course on Vedanta and Sanskrit, and without any hesitation i joined the course in Coimbatore. Today we have about 3 months left. 

Q: How come you moved away from working life? 
I was working in marketing for an interior design company, for about 1.5 years before coming to India. Everyday i would be doing the same thing. Waking up early, going to work, coming home late, having dinner, and going to bed. Looking around me, i saw that pretty much everyone in Dubai was living the same life. Living to work. From the very beginning i knew that this is something i cannot sustain, because life is so much more than just working. There was no fulfillment for me, living a routined life only make money. I wanted something different, something meaningful, something that I could have with me for my whole life. Because i have seen and experienced much of the world, i could see that living an ordinary life would not bring this to me, and thus I had decided to come to India, and stay. I even gave up my Master degree in Marketing for which i was already enrolled, because whatever i learned here, is much more than i could have picked up otherwise.

Q: Do you think you had some past-life connection to spirituality? 
Definitely. One cannot come to this life, leaving behind all things, without a previous connection to it. The chances are just too rare. Everyone who lives a spiritual life, does yoga, studies the scriptures definitely has been exposed in a past life. Bhagavad Gita says in the 6th chapter that one who did not succeed in yoga (moksha) is born into the home of the wealthy people commited to dharma, or into the family of wise yogins, so that he can again pick up the tread and continue [6.41,42]

Q: How does one find a guru?
I would say its purely through prayer and grace. If you pray sincerely for a Guru, then there is no doubt about it that you will find one. Every sincere spiritual seeker's prayer is answered. For some it will happen very quickly, and for others it may take years and several trials before they find their guru. You require tremendous grace to have a Guru like Swami Sivananada or Pujya Swami Dayananda. Keep praying and when the time is right, you will find your guru, and start one of the most unique and special relationships: guru-shishya (teacher-student) relationship. A guru is everything for us. Our father, our mother, our god, our friend. He is the one who takes us out of misery into happiness. He is the one who shows us who we really are. This is the ultimate that someone else can do for us. Thats why guru shishya relationship is very sacred, and why so much respect is given.


  1. Such a beautiful and inspiring story dear Lakshyaji :-). Please keep writing and sharing more of your experiences with Swamiji.

  2. Arun Oza

    I am very glad to read the translation of the article published in my magazine "HINSA VIRODH".You have edited nicely with wonderful photographs with pujya Swamiji which is increasing the inspirational value of the write-up.

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