By Pradeep Krishnan
Pradeep Krishnan encounters Guruji Sundar, an enlightened soul who has revived many jeeva samadhis and guides seekers on the path to God
If you have been wondering if enlightenment is possible in this birth itself, draw heart from the journey of Guruji Sundar who shows that for those who are ready to plunge deep into one’s own mind, realisation is possible this very instant. On February 5th of this year, my wife and I entered the first floor of his modest house at Chennai, the headquarters of Atman Awareness Centre, the organisation founded by him to share his unique techniques of meditation. A group of young men, warm and courteous, with cheerful faces, greeted us with folded hands. After some time, Guruji Sundar entered the hall with a broad smile and sat in front of us on a wooden sofa. Other than his simple manners and unassuming behaviour, what attracted me most were his sparkling eyes. His gaze touched my core, stirring something within me and all of a sudden, I became calm and quiet. All questions dropped from my mind. Sensing the mood, Guruji Sundar request-ed all to close their eyes. After about 10 minutes, when I opened my eyes, I was joyful as a child and could see smiling faces all around. I realised that in the presence of an elevated soul, if one is willing to accept everything as it is, one can experience bliss. Sundaramurthy was born in 1965 as the sixth child of Shri Thankaraj and Smt Suguna at Chennai. After studies, he worked in the Reserve Bank of India as Assistant Manager, and took voluntary retirement in 2013 to dedicate himself full-time to spiritual pursuits. Right from childhood, he had a spiritual bend of mind and was very keen to visit nearby temples and the jeeva samadhis (live burial spots) of saints and used to sit there in meditation for long hours. Finally, in 1993, when he was 28, his sincere and continuous sadhana culminated in enlightenment. About that experience, he says, “I just can’t say that it happened on a single day. A series of explosions of new consciousness arose in me. My body became like a hollow bamboo, and the very feeling which we normally refer to as 'I' completely vanished.”
Shortly after, people started calling him Guruji Sundar. In 2002, he founded the Atman Awareness Centre, a charitable organisation formed to give practical tips to sadhaks to experience bliss. The centre conducts A3 (Awareness About Atman) and KM (Kundalini Meditation) programmes to give the aspirant authentic experience of bliss. Recognising the importance of jeeva samadhi sthals, the place where a realised yogi purposefully decides to merge his body with the cosmos, he has renovated 15 such places in Chennai, and consecrated seven such holy shrines in different parts of Tamil Nadu. He says, “Each of these saints is totally alive, and it is possible to communicate with them. Even now, I consult them for various clarifications on sadhana.” The author of seven books, Guruji Sundar hosts the show, Moondravathu Kan (third eye) in a Tamil TV channel. He lives with his wife and three daughters at Chennai, guiding earnest sadhaks on the path. Excerpts from an exclusive interview with him:
Tell us about your spiritual journey, and how you got interested in spirituality.
Perhaps due to my previous birth’s unfinished goals, my spiritual journey started very early. At the age of 18, I started regularly visiting the Sai Baba and the Pamban Swamigal Samadhi Temples of Chennai. Knowing nothing about meditation, I used to simply gaze at the idols for hours. Though that made me forget my worries, the moment I came out of the place, all my worries and sorrows rushed back. Later, I came to know of a jeeva samadhi of a great saint named Kozhibi Swamigal located inside the Sai Baba Temple, Guindy, and visited the spot with my college mate. I was impressed by the peace and silence experienced by some of my classmates who were meditating there. They were practising kundalini yoga as taught by their guru, Yogi Thiruvasar, living near St. Thomas Mount. Subsequently, a month after my first meeting, he gave me ajna chakra initiation. That was the beginning.
Tell us about your guru. What did you learn from him?
At that time Yogi Thiruvasar was about 40. Earlier, he had worked as a car driver, stunt master in films, yoga teacher and body builder. He taught me hatha yoga also. Other than kundalini yoga, he moulded me to do intense tapas for long hours. During those days, I used to sit in deep meditation for almost eight hours a day, with intermittent intervals. My body could not cope with the arduous tapas and I suffered from physical and nervous problems. Then I did intense physical exercises to keep my body tuned. About 10 years life continued like this along with my work in RBI.
Why did you quit the job in the RBI?
After experiencing enlightenment in 1993, for almost 15 years, somehow or other I managed to continue office work. I had to take care of my family – mother, wife and three daughters – so just for the sake of the good salary, I had to compromise. But, I found it increasingly difficult to work with my mind, which was crucial in office work. All these years, the inner urge to quit the job and to spend time on my true calling persisted and when it became unbearable, I quit the job in 2013.
You said that you found office work very difficult, as you had to use the mind. What do you mean by working with the mind? While teaching meditation, were you not using the mind?
There are many layers of the mind. The outermost layer can be used for day-to-day activities without straining oneself. But to do office work one has to make use of the deeper layer of mind which results in a negative strain in the being, especially if you are enlightened. For a yogi, teaching meditation is as effortless as Lord Krishna playing His flute; but to ask Lord Krishna to do office work is unreasonable (laughs); Lord Krishna will not take birth in this earth to do office work; but to free one of ignorance.
What do you mean by enlightenment? Do you consider yourself enlightened?
With the grace of God and blessings from all the saints of the past and present, the experience of enlightenment happened to me. Words are not potent enough to express it. The Truth which you are seeking for so long becomes you. You are the very truth. The ‘I’ which we used to think of as ourselves gets erased totally. The new ‘I’ arises from the background. From that point, the body becomes an empty shell, the life of God lives in the body.
What changes has enlightenment made in your life?
The ‘I’ became non-existent. The purpose of life after the experience is to spread the flavour of enlightenment to all people in the world. After enlightenment many move away from the crowd, leaving the mundane mind behind. On the other hand, I am keeping my mind alive, so that I can help others to reach the other shore. After enlightenment I live only for others as my own goal has been achieved.
How is meditation helpful?
Only through meditation can one silence the mind and understand it. When one understands the mind totally, one can easily bypass it. Only beyond the mind does reality exist, where you become one with God.
What is the secret of successfully managing the life of a grihasta as well as that of a Master?
I always live in my true Self. Whatever work I do, whatever problem I face, I always root myself in the Self and act accordingly. To tell you the truth, I ceased to exist long, long ago. With my active mind, I only create the impression that ‘I’ exist. Whatever I see, whoever I see, I can see the formless one behind this form. In fact, God is all that exists. Everything is only a play. That is the secret.
What is the purpose of human birth?
The very purpose of human birth is to find one’s real value, which is completely hidden by ‘maya’. By constant meditation, seeking the blessing of sages and saints in jeeva samadhi, completely removing all the negative imprints on the mind, one can achieve his/ her goal. Human form is the embodiment of God in flesh. If one realises his true ‘self,’ it will be his last birth.
How to end human sufferings?
Meditate. By meditating and living all the time in a meditative state, one can purify the body, mind and soul. When all the accumulated negative karmas are burnt in the fire of meditation, the real self or atman will shine like a star. If a person becomes a Buddha (Realised one), all around him will vibrate with positive energy. As eternal silence and bliss radiates from a realised person, whoever comes in contact with that person, will be caught in the web and receive unlimited bliss.
Tell us about your experiences with several yogis and mahatmas?
When I first met the Kanchi seer, Sri Chandrasekhara Saraswathi, I felt the dirt of many births washing away when he glanced at me. During one visit, while I was standing in the queue of visitors, Swamiji greeted me with folded hands. Perhaps he might have foreseen the flowering of consciousness in me! Twice, I could meet Kodi Swamigal, who is believed to have lived for about 400 years. Once, when I put my head on his lap, I felt as if I was resting on a hard rock. I have also met several siddha purushas in their astral form in their jeeva samadhis. They all have blessed me. I sincerely feel that I could flower only with their blessings, certainly not due to my efforts alone.
How is jeeva samadhi different from ordinary samadhi?
Samadhi means sama (equal) + aadhi (origin), meaning uniting with the parmatma. When a saint gives up his body and merges with the cosmos, it is called maha samadhi. Even after merging, they still retain their body to help the hopefuls. But jeeva samadhi is a state in which a saint consciously merges his body with the Self. In such cases, the physical form remains undeteriorated for many years.
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