Society

The monk who gave up his Porsche

Om Swami, a monk and author of a dozen books including Kundalini: An Untold Story, A Million Thoughts, The Wellness Sense and When All Is Not Well, was in Bengaluru recently not only for his retreat, but also to launch the Black Lotus App named after his movement of meditative retreats.

In his book If Truth Be Told: A Monk’s Memoir, Swami writes, “Enlightenment does not mean you have to live like a pauper, or subject yourself to a life of hardship, it means to live in the light of love, compassion and truthfulness.”

Born in Patiala in 1979, Om Swami showed an inclination towards spirituality at an early age. He acquired a Masters in Business Administration at the University of Technology, Sydney and started a software business in Australia. He returned to India and acquired a healthcare company. “In 2010 I renounced my material wealth and embarked on my spiritual journey meditating for 22 hours a day,” he says. On the sidelines of the launch, the Swami spoke to MetroPlus on the different aspects of his happiness and wellness movement.

Excerpts...

Can you elaborate on the name of the movement?

I have been meditating ever since I was a child. People do not have to go to the woods or caves to meditate. My meditation retreats are an established path where you can measure your progress from a seeker to a Siddha. They stand on the tripod of mantra, meditation and kindness. Mantra helps you align your individual energy to the cosmic energy and meditation helps you tame and train your mind. To be able to pick and choose your trail of thought, kindness is critical. The movement is called Black Lotus because black is not just a colour, it absorbs everything. These are the different colours of consciousness, and the lotus blooms in the slush but remains above it forever.

The idea is to have quality life and thought...

You have hit the nail on the head. Challenges, problems and negative emotions will always be there. There is always going to be at least one difficult person in your life. You think without this difficult person you would be very happy. That is a mistake, as at every point you are facing different challenges. I want to help people attain a shift in their thinking to seeing the beautiful side.

Do you think people go through problems because of how they think?

Pain is what happens to me and suffering is how I interpret it. The mind is designed to see what is not good in life. If you are rushing through life, you miss out on a sunny day. Pain is inevitable, but how I see that, is important. An average person thinks he should not have pain, but an enlightened person thinks how he can progress through difficulty.

Can you tell us about your journey?

My father would chant the Gayathri Mantra and read the Bhagavad Gita. When I was eight, I dreamt of lord Shiva. With his wide eyes, broad shoulders and dreadlocks Shiva fascinated me. I soaked myself in astrology, tantra, mantra and yantra, vedic chants and Sanatana Dharma, the Upanishads, and started practising intense meditation. As a 20-year-old in Australia I decided that I will work for 10 more years. I had worked for large corporations and I ran my own software company with offices in Sydney, Toronto, London, New York, San Francisco and Chandigarh. I returned to India. The company I used to own made 350 crores even last year. I renounced everything and deleted my email account. Nobody knew where I was for 18 months. After an initiation from Naga Baba, I meditated in the Himalayas.

So a successful businessman is preaching goodness to others?

I don’t preach anything. One reason I returned from the Himalayas is to help that one person who may be looking for similar guidance. I only know meditation and that is my area of specialisation. I still live in a remote place in Himachal Pradesh and I meet people six times a year. I don’t accept any donation for my personal needs. I live off the income I get from my writing.

Do you regret missing out on family life?

I have always been ascetic and I didn’t have to struggle to lead this life. Even when I had a business, I would disappear into the woods for 20 or 30 days, I would meditate and come back. I am built like this, it hasn’t been hard for me.

So you are the monk who sold his Porsche?

That’s what people call me because I used to have a Porsche. But I took up writing to guide people. My books on Gayathri Mantra, spiritual parenting, Lord Vishnu based on the Bhagavatha, and Devi will hit the stands soon. My blog which I write twice a month would be converted to books too.

Could you elaborate on spiritual parenting?

There are two things, Nature and nurture. How much is ingrained and how much do we teach? Spirituality can be encouraged to be part of children’s lives, but asking a child to pray, do puja and chanting is not going to work. The process should be more engaging and real, like the child observing parents or teachers whose life and core values will remain texts for living and spirituality.

Do you think what you wear matters?

There are two kinds of initiations. For a Sanyasi, I give this saffron robe, there are very few people that I have initiated as a Sanyasi in eight years. I like to honour the parampara wearing this robe. It is a great honour that my guru gave me this and had said it will constantly remind you of the life you have subscribed to.


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Printable version | Sep 16, 2021 5:45:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/the-monk-who-gave-up-his-porsche/article26663294.ece

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