Journey to India as a path to yourself

Interview with Spiritual Master Shri Prakash Ji, September 2016

Interview with Spiritual Master Shri Prakash Ji.

India is becoming increasingly popular for tourism, especially for pilgrimage tours. People who come here get unforgettable memories of local nature, culture, rituals - and all this has always been tightly intertwined with traditions of Hinduism. Why travelers come to India and what do people seek in spiritual practices of Hinduism, are the topics on which we talked with the Spiritual Master Shri Prakash Ji, who has been living in Russia for 26 years and shares spiritual knowledge with everyone who wishes.

- Guru Ji, on a journey people get acquainted with different cultures, see ways of life different from their usual ones. Perhaps, a journey, among other things, helps us to understand ourselves as well?

- Our journey begins on the day we are born. Our childhood, school years, college, a wedding, children and grandchildren, death - all these are stages of a long journey. But when a person learns different cultures and traditions, he reveals new knowledge, thus revealing himself as well. For a spiritual development this is always very useful. As a Spiritual Master I need to say that the greatest journey is the one inside us. But, of course, the world is worth being seen. Travel around the world, visit more new places.

- Now pilgrimages become more and more popular amoung other types of tors. It seems that people got bored with "regular vacations" by a pool or at a seaside and prefer “meaningful” journeys.

- Such trips have always been popular, but today we have even more opportunities. We have airplanes and trains, there is no need to walk for many kilometers on foot. But a pilgrimage is a way to learn oneself, not only to learn God. We get purified in such journeys. God is within each of us, and such a journey filled with meditation and prayers, gives us an opportunity to reveal God in ourselves, to find peace in our souls.

Material things do not give us complete peace of mind, so an ordinary vacation by a seaside or an entertaining one, no longer satisfies us. For some time it gives you joy, but then you want something more than that. That's why travelling to spiritual places is becoming more popular.

- Who goes on pilgrimage tours - are these people ones who have already come to God?

- More often they are people who are still looking for their own way. But they who have found God also go on such journeys: after all, they can not be idle. In general, we all can not live being idle, this conflicts with the nature of a man ... When I was a kid, I went to a lot in the temples and spiritual places with my parents. Now as I am in Russia I don't have such a possibility often enough, but when I'm in India, I always visit places of power. I really enjoy visiting the Himalayas. But in Russia I also travel to sacred places. I went to temples of Yaroslavl, to the church of St. Sergius of Radonezh in Zagorsk, and I really liked it. I felt the same inner bliss as in any other shrine. Our rituals may be different, but the inner peace that comes in such places is the same as in India.

- India has long been attracting tourists. What is it that attracts people there, to your mind? Diversity of cultures, ancient architectural monuments, splendid nature, spiritual heritage of this ancient country?

- Russia and India have been friends for a long time. Russians really love India and go there pretty often. But I am convinced that any trip to India touches the soul strings of a person. In any case, going to India, a tourist wants not only to admire its nature, but also to feel some kind of spiritual recovery.

When I talk to those who are going to travel around India, they always tell me there is a holy place in their travel plans. Yoga, meditation, spiritual practices — such thing are often present in a travel program.

- But can a Western person born and grown up in a different culture completely understand these practices and learn them? Maybe it is only available for Indians?

- I have been working with people from Russia for many years. And I do not feel any difference in inner worlds of a Russian and an Indian. We can dress differently, behave differently, but our hearts are the same.

I feel that the cultural barrier does not disturb us. Where you feel happy, where you are well received - there you will be well and get everything you need. I mean, inside of each of us there is God. The names of God are different. Christ, Buddha, Krishna ... Rituals are different. But there, after death, there is neither Orthodoxy nor Hinduism, such concepts are present only here, on the earth, but there we are all the same. We all go to the same goal by different roads.

It seems to me that Russia and India are very similar. My father sent me here so that I could study medicine. He really wanted me to become a doctor, in India it is a very important and respected profession. And he was very fond of the Soviet Union. But I quit studying medicine and turned to spiritual path. And I'm happy, I met my love here, here I started my family, three of my children live here. I have been living in Russia for 26 years. And I feel myself at home here.

- Perhaps, it would be difficult to find another country where there are so many different gods and saints: mahatmas, rishis, maharishis, avatars... India gave the world the oldest scriptures, the Vedas. Does the land of India has some particular spirituality or is it just mpre attention paid to spirituality there?

- On the one hand, in India there are really a lot of spiritual practices. But what's more important - in India children are brought up in such traditions that there is a God, that one should attend services in a temple, that one should pray, they teach children to live spiritually. For example, in Russia religion has been banned for many years. And now faith in God is being reborn on Russian soil. I believe, it is a new revival of spirituality in the country. But in India people have been living in traditions of spirituality all the time. We can not see ourselves separated from God. That's why, probably, when you come to India, you feel such spiritual fullness both in everything that surrounds you there and in yourself.

- Do you believe growing interest for spirituality in the Western world is a temporary fashion that will pass, or will it become in time a basis for a new way of life for mankind?

- This is both fashion and development. Actually, fashion is always a push for development. After all, what you like and get accustomed to, begins to develop further and becomes more popular. For example, yoga. Yoga classes used to be something extraordinary in Russia some years ago. It was more of a fashionable hobby. When I arrived in Moscow in 1990, there was not a single yoga center in the city, as far as I remember. And now they are practically everywhere. People want to improve their health, they want a healthy lifestyle, they want more sports and less pills for it. Thus, yoga has become a way to stay healthy and to develop.

- What places in India are your favorites? And which of them would you recommend to visit when traveling to this fabulous country?

- If we talk about spiritual places, I would recommend those where I always go myself. The first one is the city of Rishikesh, the international center of yoga. It is the gateway to the Himalayas, and all the ascents usually begin from there. There the majestic and calm Ganges flows. There you'll find wonderful atmosphere and a lot of tourists from Russia.

The second amazing place in India filled with spiritual energy is the ancient city of Varanasi. It is believed that god Shiva is always present there. Buddhists love this place really much and often come there.

- Perhaps, a couple of weeks of a vacation is not enough to completely immerse in spiritual practices. What do you advise to people coming to you, and what would you recommend for our readers: how to find peace and harmony in our everyday life?

- The most important thing is to remember that God is one for all of us. Keep going your way, and He will help you. And it is very important to add spiritual practices to your usual lifestyle. You sleep, eat, work - add to this list some spiritual work. Just as we care for our body, we need to care for our souls. When people come to me, I do tell them to join our religion, I tell them how to develop and improve spiritually. If a person is an Orthodox and repeats Orthodox prayers, it's perfectly fine. In other case you can use mantras. What important here is the goal, not the means. Now we often hear that there's a crisis and that living became very difficult. But even in a difficult time it is important to keep your hope for the future and to remember: everything will be fine. I often repeat to my students: if you are sure of your actions, do everything necessary to solve your problem. Or be patient until it is solved by itself. The main thing is not to worry, because it certainly will not help. Direct your energy at something useful instead. Every person has power sufficient to turn mountains and to change if not the whole world, then his life at least. What is needed for it? Open your heart for changes.

Interviewed by Marina Lepina L!FE.RU