Friday Review

Life lessons from the Gita

Sudarshan Kannan. Photo: R. Ragu

Sudarshan Kannan. Photo: R. Ragu   | Photo Credit: R_Ragu

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Sudarshan Kannan reveals his take on The Bhagavad Gita and his spiritual journey so far.

The Tag Dakshinamurthy auditorium in Mylapore, was almost full even before the clock struck 7 in the morning on Sunday last. The crowd was a mix of jeans clad youngsters and octogenarians. The silence inside was palpable. Exactly at half past seven, Sudarshana Kannan walked in and urged the crowd to chant ‘Omkaram’ and ‘Sahana vavatu’ in a chorus.

He then began his lecture on Chapter I of the Bhagavad Gita. And for the next two hours he held the audience captive. Impressive, but simple, his lecture in English was rich in content. His approach focussed more on individuals’ self-realisation through the postulates of the Gita. After the lecture Sudarshan Kannan shared his thoughts in an interview.

“Right from my school days, I was haunted by questions such as what is life, what is beyond life and what is the purpose of life. In my 12 standard, as part of my curriculum, I interviewed CEOs and achievers. I never got an emphatic yes from them, when I asked them whether they were happy and satisfied.” Watching his grandfather just moments before he passed away, left an impact on Sudarshan and his outlook changed. He even started questioning the very existence of God.

In due course, his attention turned towards the Gita and thus began his spiritual quest. “An in-depth study of this text will help you achieve success and peace - a rare combination to co-exist. Though Gita was born on the war field, it is relevant even today and easily applicable to our daily life too.”

Having mastered the scripture, how and when did he begin lecturing? “Teaching was never on the anvil but just a by-product. The urge to share my experiences for the benefit of society put me on this line.” He affirms that the world can be transformed into a wonderful place, with internal peace and materialistic success such as wealth, good health and prosperity if the wisdom of Gita is spread.

Sudarshan considers his maternal grandfather, an astrologer, as his first source of inspiration. He attributes his musical talent to his grandmother who was a popular classical musician. Sudarshan’s father also had an influence on him. A philosopher himself, he allowed his son to take to spirituality full-time.

Sudarshan underwent training at Swami Parthasarathy’s Vedanta Academy. His regular sojourns to the Himalayas provided ample opportunities to meet yogis and siddha purushas from whom he learnt a lot. He explains, “I am now trying to put all of them together. I am trying to build a unique approach so that people can relate it to practical life.” He was also inspired by the teachings of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda.

“Our scriptures are being studied in depth, but most people do not apply the lessons learnt from them to real life. Spirituality and real life are now running like parallel lines. My effort is to bridge the gap. We will thereby realise our full potential. Purification of the self has a cascading positive effect that can change the whole scenario.”

Once, when he stayed in a cave in the Himalayas, Sudarshan realised that all of a sudden he could recite Adi Sankaracharya’s ‘Nirvana Shatakam.’ Later on, he discovered that it was the very same cave in which Adi Sankara had done tapas. “I realised that the Nirvana Shatakam had healing powers and after working for about 18 months, I released a CD comprising the same in various bhavas as it occurred to me in the cave. Acquaintances demanded that I teach them. In spirituality, we are eternal students. I am only sharing what I have learnt.”

Being a Mathematics graduate, he uses a lot of mathematical expressions in his lecture. His other academic qualifications are Masters in Business Management, Psychology and Yoga. His seminars on stress management, leadership and related topics are a big hit in the corporate world. Educational institutions seek his guidance as well. “Today society can be classified into two – one that stays calm and composed but doesn’t take any responsibility, andthe other that takes responsibilities but is agitated. Our ancient scriptures contain wisdom with which every aspect of life can be met and enriched; that includes material wealth, relationship and success. They fortify us to meet the challenges. Formal education stuffs a person with only information. The powers within each and every one should be realised only to merge with the infinity.”

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Printable version | Aug 22, 2019 3:31:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/sudarshan-kannan-reveals-his-take-on-the-bhagavad-gita/article7305424.ece

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