What made you drop a successful corporate career and become a renunciate?
IIT and IIM are only the means; ultimately, all are looking for happiness, fulfilment and purpose. I thought only my eternal relationship with the Supreme Divine entity and selfless service, can give me meaning and fulfilment. My spiritual teacher would say that there is no shortage of engineers and MBAs in this world, but there is the need for educated people to understand spirituality and explain it to others. So as part of my journey and as an opportunity to serve society, I took sanyas.
What is the role of the intellect in bhakti?
Ultimately, the intellect is to be surrendered. When we surrender the intellect, we receive Divine grace and higher understanding comes from within, but surrender does not happen until the intellect becomes resolute. To come to the point of surrender, the intellect must be completely rejected with faith but hardly anybody can do that.
The second way is to illumine the intellect with proper knowledge and then with the help of the illumined intellect, you endeavour to surrender it through a different kind of knowledge that comes from within.
Does bhakti carry the risk, in some cases, of morphing into fundamentalism?
This happens due to lack of understanding of knowledge. The Bhagwad Gita says, Vidya vinaya sampanne, brahmane gavi hastini suni caiva sva-pake sa pandita samdarshina – ‘one who is a pandit sees with equal vision a brahmin, elephant, dog, cow and dog-eater.’ One who can see everybody as the Self is truly learned. Spiritual principles, often, deteriorate in their application in society.
So one doesn’t become a brahmin by birth?
The notion that being born into a certain caste makes you learned is misunderstood. Often, spiritual principles deteriorate in their application in society. That has happened not only in India but worldwide.
Religions begin with great intentions; yet many of them eventually move towards degeneration. Why?
That is because we are in the world of maya. All souls are mayadheen; the guru might teach pure love but disciples will understand it according to their level. There is always a difference between what prophets state and what the people understand. Prophets always talk about love and understanding; people make their own interpretations. Mere scriptures don’t impact people; it is the ‘Person Bhagavat’ who is able to transform people.
Who is a Person Bhagavat?
Bhakti, bhakt, bhagwant, guru chatur naam prabhu ek – they are all different manifestations of that one divinity. You and God’s bhakti is non-different from Him. His bhakta is non-different from Him; guru is non-different from Him. It is God’s energy that is working through all of them. Just the way we respect God, we respect the guru, we respect the scriptures; we respect bhakti. In my book, 7 Mindsets for success, happiness and Fulfilment.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper