The Messenger of India of the Soul

The Messenger of India of the Soul

An interview with the Spiritual Master Shri Prakash Ji for «Science and Religion» magazine, October 2016

About this land we, in Russia, dreamed for a long time ... Probably, since the times of "A Journey Beyond the Three Seas" by Afanasiy Nikitin ... Its mysterious appearance sparked in the famous lines of Nikolai Gumilev:

Where am I? Languid, anxious,
my heart beats in response:
‘Look – it’s the station! They’re selling tickets
to India of the Soul – depart at once!’

To the "India of the Soul " rushed a Russian reader, delving into the details of the biography and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, into the works of Nicholas Roerich, into the works of Rabindranath Tagore.

The tradition of mutual acknowledgment and love has not stopped yet. Is was immediately realized when we have just started a conversation with Guru Shri Prakash Ji in his ashram near Moscow. Which star brought him to our placed, into our snows? Him, born in sultry Patna - the ancient Pataliputra, the capital of several Indian empires? With this very question our conversation begins.

- In India, as you know, there are brahmanas, people of spiritual mission, who spend a significant part of their lives in prayers. I was born in such a family. My parents are hereditary brahmanas; in our family, Vedic traditions and rituals are adhered from generation to generation. Since childhood I have been attached to them.

My father wanted me to get medical education. The matter is that, staring with the generation of my grandfather, along with spiritual knowledge, children began to receive secular education and professions. My father, for example, was an engineer, but he did not forget about the spiritual side of life. It seemed to him, that in the field of medicine it would be easier for me to combine our traditional knowledge, for example, yoga, with modern science. Receiving many newspapers and magazines, my father read literally all publications about the USSR, and was confident, that his son would get the best possible education in Russia. In addition, a wonderful impression was made on him by works with Soviet engineers-

So, still quite young, in the early 90's, I came to study in Russia. I gradually formed a circle of friends of different nationalities, who saw me as a spiritual person and consulted with me. I studied medicine diligently, but I was constantly immersed in spiritual practices, I continued to follow my inner path. The time has come when I finally realized that spiritual activity is the main thing in my life.

By the way, I met my future wife at the institute, she is also from India, now we have three children, they were all born in Moscow and speak Russian without any accent - probably better than I- They really like Russia, but we never lose our bonds with India.

- Now you bring the image of India to people in Russia...

- I give knowledge of an ancient tradition called Sanatana-dharma, or of Hinduism - the synthesis of religious, mythological, philosophical, legal, and ethical views. They originate from ancient times, from a civilization on the banks of the Indus River (hence "India", "Hinduism")- Sanatana-dharma is translated as "eternal religion"; it reveals how a person should live his life worthy and how to leave it worthy. Sanatana-dharma is the desire to comprehend and perfect oneself and the world; it is as eternal as the Truth itself, the principle of perfecting of a human being.

An important message of Sanatana-dharma is that everyone should be treated with respect. There are many temples in India. And God is in everyone! People should be respected as Gods. Because everyone has God within, or rather, we all are His particles. I think that's why so many images of God originated in India. And every God has His own name. The symbols of Hinduism are many-valued, they allow thousands of semantic nuances and give room for different interpretations. But in the cosmic plan, God is one! In the One everything is incarnated.

In Hinduism, there are two directions. In one the main thing is the concrete image of the God being worshiped; the other preaches that God is the power, the energy, that is present within us. I adhere to the second direction. But I do not deny the mood of those, who are committed to other principles. It is very important that in Hinduism various schoold do not conflict with each other, they coexist in the common movement of traditional culture and are linked together in a single whole by common worldview attitudes and norms of life. The pluralistic character of Hinduism has affected not only the diversity of cults, objects of veneration, the abundance of ritual complexes, but also the surprising tolerance of Hinduism to other confessions.

Sanatana-dharma does not prevent anyone from worshiping his favourite image of God. Because there is an inner understanding: everything is One- And one may choose himself which image is closer to his heart. In one family a brother can worship Krishna, and a sister - Shiva.

- For Russia it is a completely different spiritual experience. Meanwhile, you have a lot of followers here.

- Is it otherwise? After all, everything is relative- For me, God is the Higher Power that governs the world, manifested in many ways - for example, in the power of the Word. That is why the utterance of mantras is the most important practice for me. I love God as the supreme, good Power, I believe and I know, that He can be achieved through the repetition of His Name or a mantra.

I love everyone who comes to me, no matter what religion they profess. And people understand that they do not come to accept the Hindu tradition. They come to a man, to the Master. This is how most of them feel.

- What do they come to you with?

- Many are trying to find inner harmony, and someone needs life advice in a difficult personal situation. I have been here for 26 years! At first, someone came alone, received some answers, changed something in himself, and his life began to change for the better. He told another one, and he told the third- And so the message was transmitted through such a chain- People said: "Guru Ji guided me to the right path, when I was going through a difficult time, his advice helped me."

The spiritual practive: meditation, reading a mantra, is up to the will of a person, if he is interested. When people get a clearer vision of their mistakes in conversations with me, and a lot of clarity in their souls, their lives change for the better, this leads them to think, that beyond my words there is more than just a worldly advice. And then they ask: "Master, hoe can I achieve inner perfection, what should I do for it?". Only then I offer them spiritual practices. And there is no limit in self-improvement.

- Does your tradition have a concept of soul, sin, paradise, hell?

- In Sanskrit there is a word atma, which means soul, spirit. Paramatma - "The Supreme Soul" - means God. Atma is His part, which is inside each of us. We try to achieve perfection, so that our atma can completely connect with Paramatma. We can purify our karma and completely connect with Paramatma. Paramatma is the Absolute. Everything you told: sin, heaven, hell - all this is our karma. Our own thoughts, words, and actions. Karma programs the result of our life.

Karma of past lives, created by the deeds of once living beings, does not disappear without a trace. Everything is stored in Space. Some of our thoughts are fleeting, but to others we are attached; and then they get their influence on our new life, they grow till they become our destiny- If you have good thoughts, good words, good deeds, then you have good karma. The sum of your actions and their consequences will determine the nature of your new birth and existence in the next incarnation.

In Hinduism there is no heaven or hell. There are different worlds, so to say, layers of being. And the movement between them depends only on you, on the state of your soul, thoughts, and deeds. We have the concepts of swarg and narak. Swarg is, figuratively speaking, paradise, narak is hell. But swarg is not the only place, because everyone has his own level of knowledge. It can not be that a million different people get into the same paradise- The concept of sin is also not so unequivocal: it is necessary to take into account, whether a person is doing some unrighteous things consciously or not. Everyone will be rewarded according to the level of his deeds, according to his karma.

- What protects a person from doing bad things?

Respect for all living beings. There is a principle of "ahimsa", which Mahatma Gandhi tried to follow throughout his life: non-harm, non-violence. Such a behavior leads to a reduction of evil in the world, and it is directed against the evil itself, not against the people of its creators. You have no right to harm any life, never and in no way, not by thought, word or deed. You should do good for others, if you can not - try at least to be neutral or help others somehow.

For Sanatana-dharma the principle of ahimsa is fundamental. Be neutral about others, take them with peace. Everyone has his own path. Do not interfere with it, do not break your own way with others' hands and experience.

- How can this principle be in harmony with today's competition, with a cult of success at any cost? You can not fail to see the path humanity is following-

- I see it. People think a lot about the material, and if only it was followed by a spiritual growth! If material development is not based on the spiritual one, then it can bring to love a destructive force. The struggle of ambition then begins, the desire to excel others. All these are temporary phenomena, and the principle of "ahimsa" is eternal. If humanity wants to survive, sooner or later, it will follow the path of “ahimsa”, and spirituality will be reborn in the minds and hearts- Spirituality itself! Not religiousness! Not observance of these or those rites!

I was born in a Hindu tradition, someone else - in a Christian tradition, but we all share a desire to follow the path of improving the purity of mind and soul. I myself avoid, and warn those who I teach against attachment to some ritual aspects of any religion. The main thing is not a ritual, but self-improvement. We can not put God within certain limits. For a spiritual growth, it is necessary, first of all, to destroy the partitions in one's consciousness.

- Peaceful coexistence of so many spiritual movements in India is a serious lesson for today's world, torn apart by religious contradictions and even wars. How can this lesson be transmitted to as many people as possible?

- By a word. By an example. By preaching. When a man comes to me, asking for blessings for his child, I give my blessings. A week later he asks: "Can a child be baptized?". Go ahead, I say. So, through the attitude, through the action, the behavior, I show tolerance and respect for the choice of another person. No conversation will be accepted, if there is no personal example of who you call Master. Many followers of other faiths turn to me. I treat their choice with respect. If I say - remove the limits within your head, how dare I set new limits for them? My heart is open to everybody, regardless of confession.

- Do you have many questions about love and affection? Are there many people who seek love?

- A lot, because now there is no love in this world, it's more of a mere affection. But after all, we have been looking for God through love since childhood. We are looking for Him first in parents, brothers, sisters, friends, husbands, wives, grandchildren. But we knowб one day we'll no longer have our grandparents, parents, we ourselves will leave this world as well. However, if we search for love internally during all our lives, then love lasts forever. And who is eternal? God. Therefore, love is God.

- In conclusion, please, tell your favorite parable, Guru Ji.

- An unprecedented drought struck one of the villages. In no way could its inhabitants decide what to do to make it rain. Finally, several old people advised: "We need to ask God for rain." They determined the place on a mountain nearby for a common prayer. There also lived a child in that village. And when at the appointed hour the peasants reached the mountain, he took an umbrella and also rushed after them. People saw him and began to laugh at him: "Why do you need an umbrella? For a long time there was no rain. " And he answered them: "Then why we are gathering today? For God to send us rain. Let us pray - and the rain will start. I'll get back home under my umbrella and will stay dry, but you will get wet." Everyone just laughed at his words. And then, right after the prayer, the rain poured down. And the child opened his umbrella. People thought: how strong was this child's faith? Yes, they prayed, but did they believe?

That's why for a prayer faith and a pure heart are so important. By our faith we will be rewarded.

Interview by L. Lavrova