PeopleSri M says that spiritual evolution doesn't need you to cut yourself off from the world

His simple attire and amicable disposition make him appear like an erudite yet friendly man-next-door. You are taken in by his disarming smile and very clear eyes that betray nothing but warmth in them.

You have a vague idea that he is someone who has spent considerable time in the Himalayas in meditation and other yogic practices going by his recent autobiography “Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master”. Sri M was in Hyderabad recently Still you have not discovered the real persona beneath these outer layers!

You open the book penned by Sri M (a yogi), and start reading the first chapter. Very soon, you will find yourself sitting upright and ‘studying' the book seriously.

It gets to be gripping as each chapter unfolds and your awe turns into astonishment and then into actuality.

Certain parts of the book, which is a torrential pouring of Sri M's experiences with higher truths and ultimate reality, are simply mindboggling.

With reference to his past birth, you ask him, does he believe in rebirths?

“Past lives are difficult to prove. In my case I can't say I believe it but I can say I know my past life,” he continues to explain in a more rational way.

“We are the result of a million years of genetic evolution, which means we are physically and biologically the result of the past, isn't it?”

Sri M has a valid reason to have lived all this while in incognito as far as his spiritual evolution is concerned. It's only now that he decided to come into the limelight with this autobiographical work. “My Himalayan master taught me that spirituality was not to be advertised. And spiritual evolution does not happen like a big bang. It's like the milky way. In my case, I was born into a non-Hindu family and at the age of nine someone picked me up and put me on the spiritual path. Though my parampara is kriya yoga I don't think it suits all aspirants. I propound satsang even between two people. It cuts across barriers of caste and creed. Spiritual evolution is not diverse from regular living. Intervals of solitude are necessary but you cannot shut yourself totally. The world around you is your touchstone to spiritual practice.”

Sri M has chosen to live amid us and his presence makes a relevance to the lives around him.

The yogi lives in Madanapalle (Chittoor district) and his Satsang Foundation runs a school for the tribal children around.

“I was running a school at Neelbagh when I was part of J. Krishnamurti's Foundation. Once I decided to quit, I was looking out for a place and Madanapalle suited my living. A plot I had identified close to a tribal thanda was almost uninhabitable and my friends were quite against my buying it. One day, we passed by the plot and I found a huge cobra sitting on that plot. The tribal children loafing around made me set up a small school initially to inculcate a sense of study and discipline in them. The Satsang Vidyalaya which started with 20 now boasts of 150 pupils, a ‘recognition' and of course free food with good teachers,” he says with a beatific smile.