Gen Y guru Mahatria Ra says one should identify a cause larger than oneself

We knew him as T.T. Rangarajan who delivered Frozen Thoughts in freshly printed magazines. In Madras University’s Centenary hall recently, he appeared in an impeccably tailored kurta-sherwani to deliver a speech guaranteed to give you “more and most”. Between 3 p.m. when the door closed and 4.30 p.m. when the message closed, the 3,000-strong audience sang a prayer in English, heard the “voice of Mahatria Ra” with attention, laughed at his punch lines, clapped for the one-liners and nodded in appreciation. When they queued up for his hug and blessings, it was clear: he is Chennai’s own millennial self-help guru.

Fun exercise

It was a well-orchestrated speech for an Internet-savvy English-speaking audience. He asked questions, conducted a small fun exercise. There were allusions to the chapters in the Bhagavad Gita but the message was non-denominational. He spoke an everyday language, wrapped in everyday examples and current jokes — easily connecting with the audience.

“Do you love me?” he asked. The ‘yes’ wasn’t loud enough, he felt, and joked: “Will ‘retain’ you if all of you don’t say it together.” In this discourse, attitude counts, he said. You are not here out of curiosity, but for creating a breakthrough for yourself. What if, at the end of Krishna’s sermon Arjuna had clapped, said it was a wonderful speech and walked away? The purpose of this discourse is to make you align yourself to the truth, to make your love more pure, happiness deeper. This is not about me or you, he said. It is about you and me — the intensity of the speaker and the seeker dissolve into each other. Without that intensity, transformation is not possible, which is why the doors have to be closed. If we do it on the Marina, you will be informed, not transformed. “Pay attention” could not have been put better.

He listed the speedbreakers. Resistance to change prevents us from growing. We have to give up what we are to become who we should be. Doing the same thing and expecting to change is insanity. “The process of change is indeed painful, but we have to realise that transition takes us from a lower level of comfort to a higher level. We need introverted dynamism to reach that higher plane of comfort,” he said.

Thinking that abundance is anti-spiritual is a limiting factor, he argued. It is scarcity that is anti-spiritual. You cannot have a negative feeling about a place and want to reach it. There is no merit in thinking that your spiritual progress will halt if it is materialistic. But there is a twist — you have to grow with spiritual roots.

Surpass expectation

You look back with contentment, look ahead with ambition. Expand abundance. Live life in all its dimensions. Success comes to those who celebrate the success of others. Add value to what you do — whether you are a doctor, designer or a cleaner. Surpass expectation.

Be healthy, wealthy and loving, he summarised. Take care of all forms of love, all creations. Identify a cause larger than yourself. The best will come out when you believe in yourself. It is rare to be born as a human being, make your life count. It is a responsibility.

The guru and his message come packaged. The volunteers are dressed smartly, music and chant envelop you before and after the speech. His brand comes in T-shirts, his infinite thoughts in DVDs, MP3s, books, in live streaming. The logo of three evenly-spaced red dots is hard to miss. And once you have attended a live discourse, you are co-opted in the congregation — your vehicle leaves the premises with a three-dot sticker on the rear wind-shield.

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