Humble pranams to family. By sharing your devotional sentiment, you all have helped me to wonder “Will that day come to me?*” and by sharing your vulnerabilities and journey of self-transformation you all inspire me to look at my shortcomings with more self compassion. I must have gained a backdoor entry to this platform/school, since I neither possess the Vairgya nor Devotion to be in such company. 

This is my first article and I wish to share some “Mantras” that were given to me by a Yogi – these are practical Mantras to be used in everyday life. Some of you may disagree with his philosophical views, but nevertheless there much to be gained from his counsel. Before that it might be apt to give some background as it is likely that the “Mantras” were related to my state of mind at that time. 

Somehow the Divine planted the seeds of enquiry in my mind and I started exploring spirituality. I attended a 10-Day Vipassana course and aaaha!!! Before the course, my mind would get silenced only when I lied down and went to sleep. Now, I learnt the art of silencing my mind while sitting down. No, I didn’t experience Samadhi; a short duration of anapanasati and Nidra Devi would visit me and I learnt to sleep while sitting down. I would go in and out of sleep throughout the day. I did gain a lot from the course – I loved the discourses and for the first time I understood my suffering a little better. It also brought a certain understanding of life and resolve to continue this pursuit. As we all know, knowledge at the hands of wrong person can be damaging. It gave me spiritual egotism and I tried to convert  my family towards less “materialism” – you can imagine the backlash and them becoming against my meditational practices. I went through a lot of mental suffering and found myself becoming a victim of rage that pulverized those who were “causing” me trouble. Meditation was not helping because I didn’t start with harmony at home (it sounds way too dumb when I look back, but I was and still am a dumbbu** in many ways). Meanwhile, since my hour long meditations were filled with intermittent sleep, I needed a quicker method to bring me to Samadhi. 

One friend suggested that I talk to a Yogi called Bala Subramanian(not a monk). My friend said that, If he initiated me in Thiruvadi Deekshai (described in some scriptures), I can experience silence of the mind in short span of time. When I called the Yogi, he said he would meet me right at the Railway station. I travelled to Madurai and met him at the station. Contrary to my expectations, he looked nondescript. He wore a simple shirt and pants and had a full grown (not overgrown) beard and had no marks on the forehead. He wore a single rudraksha in his neck and had tranquil eyes. He was probably in his 30’s or 40’s. I wish I could tell u that I was transported to another realm and that I had a spiritually uplifting experience. But, what followed was a conversation on “How to Live” and some practical mantras to help me. 

It has been several years since this conversation and some of the words he used are difficult to translate from Tamil. I will do my best to recollect and translate. I will also write the original Tamil words since it better conveys what he said.

Me :- How to attain Moksha? (As you can guess, I had no desire or understanding of the word Moksh. I felt free to say that I desired it).

Yogi: I will give you a Mantra, whenever u find yourself getting unhappy you can repeat it.

“Iraiva, Enakku mellum mellum mana arogyam, udal arogyam, porul arogyam kudu”. (Tamil)

“God, please give me greater Soundness in body, mind and prosperity”. Moksha is nothing but having a sound mind, body and prosperity. Everything that you see is an illusion. God is always with us and whatever you want you can ask him directly.

It is difficult to capture the essence of what he said exactly, but I think what he meant was that Moksha is freedom from identification with the body and mind.

Me:- If God gives everything we ask for, why do people suffer?

Yogi:- Because when our hand gets hurt, we don’t say “let it be healed”, we say “Ayyayo, my hand hurts”. Our mind has a negative tendency.

Me:- What about the trouble that other people cause me?

Yogi:- As soon as they arrive in your presence, you pray “Iraiva, Ivar Enakku uruthunaiagga irrukkattum”. “God, may this person be supportive to me”. 

Me:- But, my mind goes negative again and again.

Yogi:- “Bring it back to the same thought that they should be supportive to you. Everything that you think consistently will happen and you will realize that you are neither the thoughts or the mind.” He then went on to narrate that when his wife was mad at him sometimes, he would mentally pray and  she would become calmer and start interacting with him almost immediately.

Me:- What should I do when someone else is mad at me?

Yogi:- Wash your face, including your ears and pray “Enakku nallathu seiravanga mattum irrunga. Mattavanga ellam poidungga”. 

“Those who bring me goodness, please stay with me. Everybody else leave”.

Me:- What should I eat for evolving spiritually? 

Yogi:- “Eat whatever is provided to you. Before eating, pray that it bring goodness to you and after eating express gratitude.” He then went on to narrate that whenever he is asked what he wants (even when he travels outside), he just says he will eat anything that is provided and the people with him automatically give him only vegetarian food.

Me- What about others expectations of me? How can I make sure that I don’t suffer because of that.

Yogi – Others expectations of you are also because of your desires. He then went on to narrate how nobody would ask him to buy anything when he went out of town, but when his relatives travelled everyone would pester them for gifts and sweets.

Me: Can you initiate me in Thiruvadi Deeksha? What do you do? 

Yogi : I don’t initiate anyone and I have no desire to be a guru. Sometimes people come to me when they are troubled and my presence gives them some peace. I go to work (he mentioned making building construction drawings) when there is work and rest of the time, I meditate and pray for the welfare of the world. All the techniques are not important – the only technique that I tell others is the mantras that I have told you. 

Me: How can I find my guru?

Yogi: If you keep your mind purified and your yearning is real, your guru will appear. All the gurus are one.

How do I know he was a real Yogi? The truth is that I don’t know, but in my search I have also met quacks who have taken money from me for initiation and never once did I feel this Yogi wanted anything from me or was affected by my praise or view of him (He wouldn’t let me touch his feet, saying he was a human being as well and was utterly unmoved when I said what I heard about him. He also refused to even take the fruits I got for him). I was quite disturbed when I met him and I wish I could tell you that I could feel peace in his presence, but I couldn’t have paid much attention to myself in that state. On a subsequent visit a few years later, I felt I didn’t have any negative thoughts for sometime (Ironically, when I almost reached Chennai again), but that maybe a conception of my mind.

I also wish I could tell you that I used all his methods and got enlightened or even greatly benefited from it. The only method I used from time to time is washing my face and asking only my “friends” to stay when someone else is mad at me(especially if I happen to go to bathroom already). I can say that it does bring some immediate peace, but that is a function of faith alone and if you believe it will work. I have also prayed that some people giving difficulty to me become supportive (especially when I am having a difficult conversation), but I haven’t done it consistently enough to see miraculous results. Although, saying the prayer helps me to have a mindful conversation at that time. What is really unique about his methods is that you don’t need to evoke a different sentiment or mood to think those thoughts. For example, if I try and chant “Om Sri Ram” when facing difficult situations, it is one thing to even remember to chant (I don’t).  But even if I do remember, I feel my chanting is dry with no devotion and I even feel guilty of taking the Lord’s name like that. These mantras can be chanted with no shift in mind and there is no question of doing it with “bhav”, because you are really praying for your welfare – remembering to say them is the only task at hand. Over the years, I have talked to him few more times and met him a couple of times. A few years later, he stopped taking phone calls (He said he was going to devote more time to Sadhana, but it could be that I even managed to annoy a Yogi :P), but he has guided me to greater things before that (including pointing me towards SRF, when I kept talking about wanting a guru. I gained much from that). Hope you all benefit from this Yogi’s advice. Thanks for taking your time to read this. If I remember more from his advice, I will write again.

* Will that day come to me? – From Cosmic chants of P. Yogananda

**Many times when I look at my journal I get the feeling that I am the Dudd in SriDevi ji’s Gurutoons, since I am filled with lectures for my kids. I might have chosen the name Dudd, but was afraid Sri Devi ji might bring a plagiarism suit on me. Anyhow, Dumbbu rhymes with Subbu and aptly describes my lower self. The name I have given my higher self (who I aspire to be) is Gurusharan. Subbu is quite often caught between the two. Right now he is Closer to Dumbbu than Gurusharan.