It was a hot and humid afternoon on 2nd July 2003. A village boy, all of 9 years old, undertook a bus journey from his village home in hills surrounding Mussoorie and landed in ‘Parmartha Niketan Gurukul’ in Rishikesh.
Little did I know at that time, that the journey I have undertaken is not just a journey from one place to another; it was a journey from one state of existence to another. My carelessly ignorant village life was soon to get replaced by something bigger, more meaningful. That day, all of 9, I was shaken and stirred from inside. It was as if my umbilical cord was being cut, for real this time. Discomfort and sadness engulfed me, a feeling that lasted for almost 3 months.
And then, just like darkness dissolves in the light of dawn, the light of awareness started to dissolve away the sadness and discomfort. I was ‘born’.
“He whose intellect is united (with the Self) casts off both good and evil even here. Therefore, devote yourself to Yoga. Yoga is skill in action.” –Bhagavad Gita. Chapter 2, verse 50.
Learning To Become Me
My yoga story is not that of fighting obesity or disease or depression. My story is that of ‘becoming me’.
I learned Sanskrit, Philosophy, and Yoga the way kids my age were learning Algebra, Laws of Motion, or Chemical Reactions. The difference was I was not learning to become an engineer, or an analyst, or a doctor, or a chemist. I was learning to become ‘Me’.
I believe that Sanskrit is the gateway to a hidden world of ancient knowledge. I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to interact and learn from revered saints. If one wants to truly benefit from the wisdom shared in ancient scriptures, which I believe can never be accurately translated or deciphered to other languages, one must also develop an interest in learning Sanskrit. There is a reason why it is referred to as the Divine Language of Gods.
And somewhere along the way music happened! I do not remember exactly how. But we used to have these morning prayers at Gurukul at 5.30 am every day. Sanskrit is so rhythmic. I believe, it unleashed the music that was lying dormant inside of me.
“Foolish indeed is he who, living on the banks of the Ganga, digs a little well for water. A fool indeed is the man who, coming to a mine of diamonds, seeks for glass beads.” -Swami Vivekananda.
I started singing at Ganga Aarti, an experience that only expanded me further. We would sing every evening live in front of a newer audience. I would usually lose myself in the profoundness of that experience. Sunset and mother Ganga – music can only become ever more potent in such a setting. I never missed that evening date with time and eternal river, only except for the few occasions when I was travelling to other shores.
Yoga Means Being Mindful
For my personal sustenance I spend 4 hours in pranayama, yogasana, and meditation everyday. I am very mindful of what I ‘let in’ whether it is food, air, thoughts, or people. I believe that which does not make me feel comfortable or happy in some way is not good for me.
Our body is a divine tool, the manifest form which we have taken to fulfill our purpose.
It is our responsibility that it remains healthy and functional. I ensure that mine gets required nutrition, exercise, and rest.
Crowds overwhelm me and at times leave me exhausted and drained. Hence to recharge my batteries, I like spending time alone. I prefer walking. I would usually go on long walks to peaceful places which have abundant nature such as parks and lake-sides. I use this time to watch my thoughts play and just feel the healing forces of nature. Mother nature always has a way of uplifting my spirits and energy levels.
My Work Is To Bring You Home
Currently I am teaching Pranayama and Meditation. Music is a big part of my teaching methodology. I love the look of serenity on the faces of my students who sit in my chanting classes.
I find many anxious and depressed individuals enrolling for my meditation classes. Somewhere they feel lost in the harsh desert of life. Survival, Responsibilities, Expectations, Desires, Gluttony, Heartbreaks, Disease – the problems are many. It is but natural that individual loses the sense of self and becomes lost and delusional. My work is to bring them home.
It feels great to see them reach ‘home’.
Home is not that building or apartment you have acquired and put labeled furniture in. Home is being in a state of comfort with self, being free from anxiety, being satisfied wherever you are. Home is a happy state of being.
My journey so far has been about finding ‘myself’ and being pleased with what I have found thus. Considering that I am 23 now, I believe that there is much to do and much to offer to the world.
Experience The Yogic Transformation
I deem it my duty to spread the knowledge I have received from my Gurus. Through our holistic venture Spiritual Punditz, we aim to bring holistic transformation and healing into your lives by following the core principles of Prayer, Nature and Love through the practice of Yoga. Our RYS200 Ekattva YogshalaTM has introduced 200 Hours Yoga Teacher Training Course for those who are interested in experiencing oneness with the true self through yoga. What can be a better gift than helping others experience life fully! Having said this, I also believe that these short term courses are just guidelines and provide you with the opportunity for guided practice. This alone cannot transform you into a master.
Yoga is a tool to help take your consciousness from the physical layer to the innermost layers of the consciousness such that one can experience oneness at the soul level.
Manohar Prasad Nautiyal
Parmartha Niketan Alumni & e-RYT 200
Founder of Spiritual Punditz, Rishikesh – a wellness venture.