Part 2 –

Imagine, what would you do?!

If one day, you were to pack your belongings, bid good-bye to everyone you love, leave everything you know and get on a plane, not knowing when you may return home?!

-“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” – William Faulkner (1897 – 1962)-

Having completed my graduation in Baroda, India, on 9th August 2004 was the day I convoked the courage to bid good-bye to the cozy comfortable cocoon of my home, family and friends (especially my ‘desi akhada’ Yogniketan gym and Shiva/Shakti abode Pavagadh – see Part 1) and immigrated to the Great Southern Land, the Land Down Under, Australia, when I was twenty-two-years-young to pursue my master’s degree in Environmental Management at Flinders University, South Australia.

I vividly remember that magnificent, mesmerizing moment when I stepped outside that Boeing ‘Qantas’ plane, gazing into the crimson-red sunset sky (sunset is still my favourite colour) of Australia, that appeared to be welcoming me into its uncharted, unmapped, infinite horizon. A horizon marked with a new beginning, a new possibility and a new adventure awaiting to begin, whilst transiting between countries, schools and life.

-“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.” – Tom Bodett – 

This incredible journey from India to Australia, has been a living embodiment of various life lessons, experiences and worldly wisdom that has touched, nourished and enriched my soul. A journey of various ups and downs, of hardships and majestic leisure’s, of friendships, faith & fatherhood. A journey from a rupee to a dollar, from a migrant to a citizen, from a boy to a man.

And it was in this incredible journey of relentless pursuits, that I was hit hard by life in October 2012, on my 30th Birthday, when I bought my 1st house in Australia. The joy of owning a piece of earth was cut short when I was made redundant from my job as an Environmental Scientist leaving me with a huge mortgage, family commitments & ever eternal bills (Water, Electricity, Gas, Phone, Internet, Rent, Car payments, Levy Taxes etc). Ask anyone in Australia how much Tax we pay?!

Note – Life abroad is not what is shown in those dumb Karan Johar or any Bollywood Movies!

Life under your parent’s roof is different from what is out there in the real world. This lesson is never learnt until one leaves his/her nest to embark on a virgin flight of life. It is not all that bad, it sure does build a kind of resilience, tenacity and faith in oneself or Almighty that you don’t fear attempting to take on Life’s troubles hands on. So I did.

Not sharing or asking for any financial help from my parents, I tried to make ends meet with my younger brother who was living with me at the time. We would go to the Hare Krishna Iskcon temple for ‘seva’ and ‘free food’ so that we didn’t have to pay for grocery bills. Knowing my savings were limited and income zero, even friends avoided talking to me, just in case I asked them for financial help?! Such is society, I guess! Isn’t it? When you are rich and rising everyone wants to be around you & when you are drowning, nobody wants to save you!

Anyways, to make matters worse, no jobs were also available due to festive season ahead & doing hardcore laborious jobs again seem to hit hard on my ego of being an ‘Environmental Scientist’ earning handsomely who was now talking shelter in the Hare Krishna Iskcon temple for free food and a bit of dignity.

It was there at the Hare Krishna Iskcon Temple, that I plunged myself into reading the ‘Srimad Bhagvatam’ and learning more about my ideal hero ‘Shiva’ and His magical ‘Rudraksha’s’. Time stood still in that place. Not knowing day from night, for almost 3 months of intensive reading, researching, and studying about Krishna, Shiva & Rudraksha etc made me realise the spiritual and scientific connection between so many things, especially our ancient ‘Rishi Muni’s’ who I think were no less than ‘Scientists’ experimenting with consciousness and the Universe with their dhyana (deep reflection/meditation) and tapasya (penance).

Long story cut short, I became an ardent student on the subject of Rudraksha & got accidentally connected to one of India’s biggest name, owner and franchise of Rudraksha – Neeta Singhal CEO of Rudraksha Ratna and Chakra Yog.

There are no accidents in this perfect Universe, they say?! Well, I was invited as a speaker to speak on Rudraksha, Spirituality and Personal Development at Rudraksha Ratna’s Mumbai main centre in October 2013 and again in May 2015. Some photo proofs as follows:

Shiva to om swami... Part 2 2

Shiva to om swami... Part 2 3

It was then during our private lunch that Neetaji told me about ‘Om Swami’ who is also from Australia and has been a speaker at their centre. She shared with me Om Swamiji’s book ‘If Truth be Told’ and his journey from Australia to the Himalayan Caves to meeting Mother Divine.

At first, I felt it was a big baloney and that this was just another monk in the mix who is out there to deceive, defraud and delude people. (Pardon me for saying this Sri Hari & Om Swamiji).

However, with an open mind I thought I will give it a read anyway and I went to crossword the next day to check out the copy and behold! I was not only hooked, absorbed and obsessed with each page, but I ended up reading the whole book from start to finish as if I had completed a journey from birth to death of a lifetime. It felt surreal. It felt dreamlike. It was a complete shock to my system.

Keeping the whole experience to myself, I continued with life coming back to Australia, having changed my career now to an ‘Environmental Health Officer’ working for Local Government / Council, whilst pursuing my book writing, bodybuilding passion on the side and searching for ‘Thee One’ as I was the notorious eligible bachelor like Salman Khan teasing my friends and family members who were married, tied down with responsibilities, changing diapers of their babies and kids; whilst I was ardently travelling to different countries across the world, taking selfies, posting 6 pack abs photos on social media and enjoying all the attention that ‘Life and Lovely Ladies’ had to offer at the time.

-I absolutely love the fact that how Maya / Illusion can clothe us into its hypnotic comfort clutches without even us knowing.

Isn’t it?

My dear reader, hope you understand what I mean?-

Amongst this full on crazy chaotic party culture, societal / parental pressure and the attractiveness of financial freedom, I always use to listen to Swamiji’s You-tube videos every morning driving to work (still do) and somewhere somehow His words describing the famous phrase of the Bhagwad Gita, rang a bell in my head, heart and soul.

सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज |
अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुच: || 66||

sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śharaṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣhayiṣhyāmi mā śhuchaḥ

TRANSLATION

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.

Call it luck, destiny or randomness, but it was because of this tiny flame of fire (aka Swamiji’s words of wisdom) that I decided to dedicate / surrender atleast my ‘Bodybuilding’ journey to Lord Shiva. I decided to put aside the attention, the ego, the lust of my body and dedicate / surrender this physical transformation as a spiritual gift for Shiva. All of a sudden, the past memories, the past passion and love for Shiva erupted like a volcano and I wanted to become a humble servant and warrior like Karna (my fav. Mahabharata character) or Arjuna and gain Shiva’s ultimate weapon called the ‘Pashupatastra’.

And guess what happened by the end of that journey?!

Shiva to om swami... Part 2 4I not only won in the South Australian INBA, ABN & NABBA/WFF State Titles, but also won a bronze medal representing Australia at the INBA Mr Universe Fitness Title of Natural Bodybuilding in October 2018.

But the best of all, I ended up finding my Parvati, my Shakti, my wife Dr. Mahima in this journey. (More of this journey together @ https://www.indusage.com.au/as-the-adage-goes-behind-every-successful-man-there-is-a-strong-woman-stands-tall-and-true-read-ahead/Shiva to om swami... Part 2 5

Was this simply destiny?

Was this Shiva’s or Om Swamiji’s lela? 

Let’s find out finally in Part 3  🙂

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