1.Philosophy of life and how I came by it
As I have understood and experienced life, there are only two philosophies to live by. Either we live a life of total surrender or we do not. There is nothing in the middle. I don’t think we come by a philosophy; it just grows on us as we go through life. More than a year ago, when I was moving towards life-threatening illness (I was not fully aware of it then), and when almost everything else around too seemed to go wrong, my Guru, Yogiraj Gurunath Siddhanath, seeing what lay ahead, told me: “Just trust your Guru is with you.”
From that day on, it has been a life of total surrender. It never occurred to me that I arrived at a philosophy. Something came to me when I required it. Now call it philosophy or whatever, for me it is a reality I live by. On September 17, 2004, when I felt life ebbing away and I was as helpless as an infant, I was opening out to another level of awareness. While my nerve energy was zero, my digestive system had collapsed, and I was sinking and sinking, I told Mother Nature: “I have lived by your principles and I will die by them, if that be so. If my conviction is misplaced then I deserve to die.”
I tried to connect with my Guru, who was in the US at that time, clutched on to my delicate Hamsa breath, and hurled myself into a flowing river of I know not what. I just let go. And when I surrendered myself—my body, my mind, my pain, my helplessness, my exhaustion, my struggle, my life—to those turbulent waters without a complaint, an extraordinary calm pervaded me. I had lived through it for more than four months, and I lived through it for another six months. But the mental calm remained with me.
It will take another couple of years to restore physical health. But my mind emerged many times stronger. Yet I can say with certainty that at the moment of crisis my mind lay subservient to something else. There was no trace of mind, but there was a very subtle yet strong sense of consciousness. Even when I was unconscious to the world, I was fully conscious about everything happening to me at that moment. And not even for a second I thought of any medicine or medical help! As my Guru sent me transmissions for the next one month to revive my nervous system, I slept like a newborn 20 hours a day, without eating, and taking juices thrice a day.
All this while my husband, who is in the Defence Services, was posted out to Hyderabad, and he could not be by my bedside. To top it all, in the midst of this, a lady who we trusted and tried to help, took advantage of our vulnerable condition and duped us of a huge amount. The icing on the cake came in the shape of our car being stolen. That day my husband and I just looked at each other and laughed.
There is pain and suffering in the world, but what gives humans the courage and resilience to emerge unscathed is total surrender. This doesn’t mean being defeatist, but merely doing our work to the best of our ability and leaving the rest to God. Faith means, ‘He knows best!’
Very simple. I wake up quite early, finish off morning ablutions, wake up the kids who spend 15 minutes with me or their father outside on the lawns close to Nature. Together we do Gurunath Surya Yog as taught by my Guru. After packing the kids off to school I sit for my daily meditation. Around 10:00 am I open myself to the world and switch on my mobile. My breakfast consists of a green coconut water or petha juice or banana pith juice. I then glance through the newspapers, followed by my work. It involves research on human and environmental health issues, the running of my two non-profit Trusts—Ideal Health Foundation and Nivritti—work involving my Guru’s Organization, Hamsa Yoga Sangh, and managing my creative agency called Seventh Dimension, which helps me express my creativity, and will also publish my forthcoming books.
I keep about two hours after 1:30 pm free when my daughters return from school and we have a simple lunch together. My lunch involves either a fruit or a plate of salad (unsalted). If I take a juicy fruit then I take another green coconut water or a homemade nourishing drink (I have given all the recipes in a forthcoming book) around 5:00 pm. My dinner consists of either a full plate of assorted salads and greens with grated coconut or steamed/ half cooked fresh seasonal vegetables (both unsalted). Sometimes I take a small helping of what is cooked for the entire family, which is again cooked according to the principles of natural hygiene. I rarely take cereals, take pulses (cooked our style) maybe once a week, and take no milk products besides cow’s milk or curd, which I rarely do. Twice a week, I only live on fresh homemade juices or mono fruits (fresh and seasonal). When I fast consciously, like I fasted for 40 days during monsoons, I take no cereals, pulses, or even salt at times.
After lunch, I chat with my children for some time, rest, and am back to work at 4:00 pm. Evenings are either for a short stroll with husband, groceries, shopping or urgent social commitments. We have a family dinner before 8:00 pm. Thereafter, a family interaction and sharing about the days happenings, or a game of scrabble or Ludo with children, phone calls and sleep time by 10:00 pm. In between whenever I feel like, or I feel the need, I do watchful Hamsa. We have no tea or snack time.
Though this is the normal routine, at times there are work pressures. Then I squeeze out time from my afternoon rest, or I sleep late or wake up very early. Weekends I keep flexi. Some days in a month I hold meditation courses and motivational workshops, which I so organize as to flow with my daily routine.
Fortunately I am blessed with a housekeeper who understands the family requirements so well that it gives me all the time to attend to my spiritual and social commitments.
I follow a very simple and natural lifestyle, which has no place for chemical-based, unnatural or synthetic things. We don’t even use soaps or shampoos for bathing; only natural, unprocessed ingredients. I use no cosmetics whatsoever. I live by the Science of Natural Health, which lays stress on internal and external hygiene to remain healthy and disease-free for life. My family and I recover and restore health without taking medicines in any form. Parts of my activities involve sharing this knowledge with receptive people.
I only wish I was introduced to this scientific knowledge early in life and not just five years ago; then I wouldn’t have undergone the health problems I am going through now. However, I am also grateful that I could use this science of health when I needed it most, and come out of it healthier.
I meet my food requirements from the panch tatvas (five elements)—ether (fasting, meditations), air (pranayam, air baths), sun (sun baths, sun [not solar] cooked foods), water (direct and as wet packs) and earth (natural, fresh and seasonal green vegetables and fruits predominantly). All packaged, tinned, refined, processed, unnatural, synthetic, denatured and devitalizing foods are banned from my home. Which means we use no refined oils, sugar, pasteurized milk or other food stuffs, tea/coffee, colas, tinned juices, breads etc. When sweets are distributed in school on a child’s birthday, my children get the toffees and chocolates home. They either give them away, or keep aside for their candy day.
I am very strict about eating healthy and I lay a lot of stress on judicious fasting, which is the key to good health. My children and husband too fast at least once or twice a week, when they have normal meal only once a day. My kids usually take fruit for tiffin to school, and take no snacks or tit-bits between meals. If they have taken very light meal for lunch, then they go for curds or green coconut water in the evenings. On weekends they take fresh cow’s milk or a fruit shake for breakfast; other days, when I am not giving them milk, they take curd. Milk twice a day, or even once every day is definitely out, and pasteurized milk is a strict no (fresh, clean water is a healthier substitute!). I have also innovated a lot with a variety of healthy recipes, which my kids relish greatly. I am also extremely careful about the combinations in which we eat at home. For example, we don’t mix the following: fruit with cereals; milk products with cereals, pulses or vegetables; fruit with vegetables; sweet dishes with main meals etc.
My leisure activities are a part of my life, and are a way to relax and be involved a little more with the family. All my leisure activities involve my children and husband and are outdoors, like picnics, swimming, photography, sightseeing or traveling. The following play no role in my life: TV, kitty parties, movies and eating out.
Once upon a time I loved reading books; but ever since I went in quest for experiences they have taken a backseat. I do wish at times that if I were to get some time for myself alone, I would either keep sitting next to a flowing river or at the sea shore for hours. Since I cannot afford this luxury, especially in Delhi, I at times slip into a meditation that takes me to my favourite spots and I comeback extremely exhilarated.
Sex, they say, is a basic instinct. When basics are met, and as humans mature, they start moving from the basic to a more evolved state. Sexologists and psychologists talk much about the sex-drive. Which means that majority of the time sex drives us. But sex doesn’t drive the evolved beings; it is the other way. They control the drive and not be controlled by it. Wisdom lies in conserving and transforming potent sexual energies into something more positive and using the available energy reserve for the good of the society and of the human race.
Too much preoccupation with sexual activity in whatever form indicates boredom and a lack of purpose in life. Thankfully, my husband and I have enough interesting and purposeful activities towards which we have focused our energies.
For me money is a means to be used for a purposeful end. It can also buy certain comforts, which are not my focus.
8.Idea of success
Since I do not believe in failures, its antonym has no significance for me. I live by the karma theory and only believe in doing with sincerity and dedication the job at hand. Never in my life have I looked back, nor do I want tomorrow in my grip.
Husband and I live as role models for our children. We do not say, do, or even think, in private or public what we do not want our children to imbibe. Thus they respect and regard us highly and listen to us. They have visited a fast food joint only twice and they have watched only three films in a cinema hall. But at the slightest opportunity we take them outdoors for masti and travel whenever we can. They surprised others when they had a wonderful time at my Guru’s Ashram near Pune, which is inside a jungle, and without a telephone or any other modern world gizmo. But they never wanted to come back.
We have taught them to find happiness in simple joys of life. Their wardrobes are woefully inadequate when compared to what a modern urban middleclass kid would have. We have taught them that demanding or possessing too many materialistic things is a burden on Mother Earth. They are happy children and are satisfied with just what is sufficient for them. We keep instilling in them that they always have the free will to exercise their choices. And whatever the choices made, they should have the courage to own responsibility.
My idea of community work is to create value systems and social procedures, which leave no scope for any social ill. It is not about punishing rapists, more stringent laws and holding seminars on the issue; it is about rectifying those conditions that give birth to rape mentality. This can only happen through internal transformation. I am doing this through my two Trusts at the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels, and by assisting in spreading my Guru’s yogic work on Unified Field of Consciousness as a way to attain both self-peace and earth peace. He convenes experiential Unified Consciousness Conferences (UCCs) the world over, sowing the seeds of peaceful co-existence. He does this through Shivapat—where he gives the still mind experience of peaceful expanded awareness simultaneously to thousands to make us realize that at the level of consciousness humanity is one. The receptive seeker here gets to experience his Samadhi—his Consciousness of Enlightened Awareness.
I am also working on world’s first and only true health magazine, which I shall bring out in due course, and which I also see as part of my community work. I call it world’s only true health magazine since no other health magazine in the world propagates the science of health. They talk about ‘treating disease’ and not ‘restoring health’, which implies suppression of symptoms and not removing the cause of disease.
Also, most health magazines put forth ‘holistic’ health solutions in the name of mixing up different streams of remedies or alternative healing methodologies, whereas holistic is to be applied in the sense of seeing a human being as a unity of body, mind and soul, and working at all the levels to restore health. Moreover, the health magazines today are based on research and studies which are unscientific, biased and motivated. It is ironic that while the world over scientists follow the natural laws or principles pertaining to their field—whether it is physics, chemistry, mathematics or space sciences—they do not apply them in matters of health. If they were to do so, the whole world will be rid of disease and all humans can be healthy. But it is not possible for them to do so, because then they have to swim against the tide—of consumer culture, remedy-mindedness, instant relief, six-minute meditation and two-minute Niravana. Instead of owning responsibility for what has gone wrong with our health, it is simpler to shift the burden on to a doctor, who will further pass the responsibility on one medication or another.
We need to understand that the level of disease is directly proportional to our level of health. As one goes down the other goes up. The true health magazine will only talk about raising the level of health to a point where disease disappears naturally. To remove darkness we do not beat it with a stick; we quite simply light a lamp!
To be God-realized in this lifetime. I know that’s a really tough one, unless blessed with Guru’s grace.
12.Your life’s work
I shall take stock of that at the end of my life.
13.Spiritual techniques that you follow
I follow the techniques taught by my spiritual Guru, Yogiraj Siddhanath Gurunath, a direct disciple of Mahavatar Shiva Gorakshanath Babaji (talked about by Yogananda in Autobiography of a Yogi). They are Kriya Yog, Hamsa Yog, Gurunath Surya Yog and few others. They are powerful and exhaustive. Surya Yog, as perfected by Yogiraj Gurunath for decades and then passed on to his disciples, is a powerful technique of self healing with solar power, which flushes out toxins and purifies psychic nerves.
This technique, also develops a protective shield around us as we take the sun’s golden balsam and apply it on our body. Gurunath mentions in his autobiographical book, Wings to Freedom, how this technique foiled all attempts of hooligans to harm him by throwing soda water bottles at him when he was a young boy. His sincere practice of the Surya Yog since childhood developed an invincible aura around him which reflected any object thrown at him. Incidentally, it was also reported in the newspapers that time, whose cutting he still has!
Hamsa Yog, or Siddhanath Samadhi Yog, as developed by Gurunath, involves breathing the life through the green and golden lotus and taking the flight of the white swan. These techniques work on the emotional, mental and intuitional bodies, thereby transforming emotional suffering to positive life-energy, flushing out negativity of mind to evolve human consciousness and arresting the ageing process and expanding consciousness.
The Divine alchemy of Kriya Yog, which is given to humanity by Babaji Shiva Gorakshanath, and into which Gurunath initiates his disciples, hastens the spiritual evolution of the sincere seeker towards self-realization. The upward movement of Prana expands soul-consciousness and the downward movement of Apana burns previous karma, accumulating karma and potential karma to evolve and transform the mind into Divine Consciousness.
14. Does your whole family follow your principles or is there some resistance?
My husband and children are totally supportive of my principles and follow the same lifestyle at home that I propagate to others. My husband is also initiated into Kriya Yog and Hamsa Yog.
15. Relationship between your husband and you
We are soul mates. We know that it important to know that marriage is about helping each other grow spiritually, and that the growth of one depends upon the other. It comes from understanding the union of Shakti (female energy principle) and Shiva (masculine energy principle) that gives completeness. Materialistically speaking, what brings us really close is living by the principles and values that we both cherish above everything else in the world. Though I am often headstrong and stubborn in doing things my way, at times to the point of hurting both of us, he is infinitely patient and forgiving. Honestly, I have yet to come across a man who can ever support his wife’s activities (which are mind-boggling as well as commercial duds) to the extent that he does—so often at the expense of his own physical and mental discomfort. Regarding him and our relationship, I can only say: “I have got the best deal in the world!”