Pradeep Krishnan introduces us to Dr Chandrasekhara Udupa, who, through his devotion to Swami Vivekananda, has provided spiritual succour to humanity
Since my initiation into spirituality in 1990 by Swami Tapasyananda of Sri Ramakrishna Math, in the course of my travels, I always make it a point to visit the local Sri Ramakrishna Ashram, not only as a mark of respect to the Guru Parampara (lineage of gurus) but also to spend some quality time in meditation. During a visit to the Sri Krishna Temple in Udupi, Karnataka, in 2019, when I came to know that Dr Chandrasekhara Udupa (a physician by profession), has established the Divine Park, a centre dedicated to Sri Ramakrishna, Ma Sarada Devi, and Swami Vivekananda, in Saligrama, a village about 20 Km north of Udupi, I decided to visit the place.
On reaching the spot, I was welcomed and taken around the campus by Sri Srinivas, a naturopath and a disciple of Dr Udupa. After paying obeisance to the several deities housed in the campus, I meditated for sometime in front of the statues of Sri Ramakrishna and Ma Sarada in the spacious Dhyana Mandir. Later, I was taken to the nearby house cum clinic of Dr Udupa, where he lives with his family. Sitting in his modest consultation room, adorned by a huge portrait of Swami Vivekananda, he talked about his unique spiritual journey.
Born on 15 March 1951 to Sri Krishna Udupa and Smt Yamuna, right from the age of 10, he showed an intense desire to know God. Later, while studying for MBBS at Government Medical College, Mysore, thanks to his close acquaintance with Swami Jagadatmananada of Ramakrishna Mission, the young Chandrasekhar developed an intense love for Swami Vivekananda. After initiation by Swami Vireshwarananda (the then global president of the math), on September 12 1970, revering Swami Vivekananda as Guruji, he did intense tapasya (penance), yearning for His darshan (grace through His presence), which he finally received in the form of a vision.
This incident completely transformed the young Udupa, and he frequently started getting Guruji’s visions, providing answers to spiritual and mundane queries. After completing the course, though he wanted to join the Ramakrishna Math as a monk, on Guruji’s advice to follow the pravritti marga (the path of grihastha) in a vision, he became a householder, practising his profession.
Soon, people started coming to Dr Udupa, seeking solutions to their spiritual and material matters. He put all these questions to Guruji during meditation, and the answers received were communicated to the needy. “When the number of such people increased day by day, I had to spend most of my time in meditation, seeking solutions from Guruji,” he said.
As instructed by Guruji, the Divine Park was consecrated on Makar Sankranti, 14 January 1986, as a spiritual laboratory to help earnest individuals in their sadhana (spiritual practice). It now has 110 branches, named Divine Sparks, in India, and also in Singapore, London, and Muscat. Dr D Vereendra Heggade, Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala righty praised its role: “Swami Vivekananda is alive in the Divine Park and the service of the Divine Park, in striving for a spiritual revival of the world, is unique.”
What follows is an exclusive interview Pradeep Krishnan had with Dr Chandrasekhara Udupa for Life Positive:
Q. Doctorji, kindly tell us about your spiritual journey. What was the turning point in your life?
From the age of 10, I was curious about God: Why do people worship a deaf, dumb, and blind idol? Why is God not preventing anyaya (injustice), asatya (untruth), adharma (non-righteousness)? What is the test that God is Sarvantharayami (omnipresent)? These questions troubled me a lot. A few months after joining the MBBS course, in a speech in September 1970, Swami Jagdatmananda said, “Swami Vivekananda is alive even today. He will affectionately guide all those who are simple, sincere, and surrender completely to Him with devotion and faith.” These words gave me goosebumps, triggering my spiritual adventure. Like Ekalayva of the Mahabharata, looking upon Swami Vivekananda as Guruji, I did intense sadhana of japa (chanting) and meditation in front of a portrait of Swamiji hanging in my room, longing for His darshan. With tears trickling down my cheeks, I said, ‘O Guruji, you are my father, mother and everything else. It is my intense desire to see you- Wouldn’t you grant me your darsan?’ Soon I fell asleep. After a while, there seemed a flash of a dozen lights- my heart beat fiercely and my breath became swifter and swifter. A strange thrill caught my spirit and when I opened my eyes, I saw Guruji peeping into my mosquito net. My whole body went into a divine shock. A sense of fulfillment gripped me. It was not an illusion; I had had the vision of my Guruji and it completely altered my life.
Over time, I realised that people worship God mechanically, craving for material benefits: wealth, name, fame, position, possession, etc. The life force within the jeeva (body) is the God (Aathma),the Almighty, who gives, guards, and guides. The Pancha Boothas (the five elements of the universe) are the five CCTVs (Closely Capturing Transcendental Vision) through which God perceives the coherence between feelings, thoughts, words, and deeds.
Q. Could you please share with us the experience of having darshan of Swami Vivekananda and your spiritual enlightenment?
The darshan of Swami Vivekananda made my whole body tremble as if receiving an electric shock. Though I wanted to say something, words did not come out. But before I could utter anything, Guruji said, ‘Walk on fire, fly in the air; I am here, why do you fear, oh my dear, make it clear, be with cheer!” That day, I was convinced that Guruji would offer a helping hand to anyone who sincerely aspires for it. This realisation filled me with a unique sense of fulfilment. Immediately, I prostrated before Him and said, “I am always yours; kindly lead me on.” When I got up and looked, Guruji had vanished. Since then, for the past 49 years, I have been regularly getting Guruji’s visions and messages on all days and have been guiding people in their spiritual and mundane matters.
Q. Please tell us about getting visions of Swami Vivekananda and Swamiji writing answers through you?
I have been doing my intense sadhana for several years and have been frequently getting His darshan. From 1976, people started coming to me seeking solutions to all types of problems. During meditation, when I put these questions to Guruji, I started getting precise answers as a sweet voice in my inner ears. Later, since 1981, at the instance of Guruji, I devised a planchette* to receive messages from Him. When I put across people’s questions, problems, etc., Guruji gives me clear answers through the planchette. For the past four decades, I have been receiving about 200 letters every day from all over the world. So far, by His grace, I have had several visions of Sri Guruji, and I am sure that anyone can have His vision if he has 100 per cent faith, devotion, and yearning with 100 per cent intimacy and gratefulness. For this, one has to prepare oneself with constant sadhana, as it is said that one’s Chosen Deity reveals Himself to an ardent devotee. Guruji continues to deliver messages to me on selected days, through the planchette.
* [A planchette is an instrument designed for one to communicate with the spirit world. It’s a heart-shaped horizontal plank in which a pen is fixed so that it can scribble on the paper beneath when it moves on the wheels when touched by the medium.]
Q. What paved the way for the establishment of the Divine Park? What are its aims and objectives?
In January 1984, for several consecutive days, Sri Guruji came in my dreams and instructed me to build a unique institution for guiding people in their sadhana. When this dream got repeated continuously, I took it as a challenge, and the Divine Park was formally inaugurated on 14 January 1986. The name itself was given by Guruji and indicated that the place would be a park overflowing with divinity. It is meant to be a spiritual laboratory where every individual, irrespective of his religion, caste, or sex is given training in various aspects of spirituality to enable them to ascend from animality to divinity, through humanity. Anyone who comes here, a Muslim, Christian, or Hindu, would naturally become a better human being.
The centre houses 30 consecrated deities, including Allah, Buddha, Christ, etc., and aims for one’s Atmashakti Jagriti (upliftment of the Self) through the path of practical Vedanta and the dynamic spirituality of Swami Vivekananda. Every year, we organise a number of camps with the motto of ‘Man-Making and Nation-Building.’ I advise families to attend our programmes together so that each one in the family gets a spiritual orientation in their day-to-day activities, finally leading them to a higher level of evolution. The attainment of ultimate destiny through Self-realisation and Self-identification with God Himself is being realised here by following various kinds of sadhana. Participants get refined and rejuvenated with real Aathmashakti.
Q. What is the role of sadhana in one’s life?
One’s sadhana should be an intimate nivedya (offering) to the Lord, placing all of one’s karmic stock at the lotus feet of God with gratitude, so that the sadhak (practitioner) becomes pure, perfect, prompt, noble, and able. It is the easiest way to bring the Atmashakti to the fore! I advise every householder to spare atleast 24 minutes daily with faith, devotion, and surrender. Rather than the hours of meditation, what is important is how deep one has meditated. Dwelling deep into the ‘I’ consciousness would help dig deep into the ego. By sincere and regular sadhana, life becomes cheerful, hopeful, fruitful, and wonderful!
Q. What do you mean by Self-realisation? How can one achieve it?
When one continuously observes the heart-mind complex through meditation, in due course, they get cent per cent convinced of the illuminating soul or Aathmashakthi. This is called Self-realisation. To achieve that, one must inculcate Guru Bhakti (devotion to the guru), conquer anger, suspicion, and jealousy, have selfless love, and practise meditation. Also, one must control material wants, live in the present, and work for the unity and integrity of mankind.
Q. Please explain the Dynamic Spirituality that you advocate?
Dynamic Spirituality is to offer the ‘I’ to God and thereby open the inner eyes of wisdom and dispassion. For this, one must live with five C’s and five A’s: Character, Compassion, Cleanliness, Cleverness and Cheerfulness and always Admit, Accept, Appreciate, Analyse, and Adjust. Forget the past, never trust the future, and live in the present. Constantly remember that you are the creator of your own destiny. Think twice before you talk, think thrice before you take, and think all the time about your track. Forever be humble and never grumble about anything. For such a seeker, Guruji has assured, “I am here, why do you fear.”
Q. What ought to be the purpose of human life? How can one achieve it?
Everything in Nature has a purpose. The goal of a human being must be to evolve into an ultra-human being or a divine being. Human life gets fulfilled when it is refined and revived to attain spiritual excellence. To attain divinity, one has to acquire the divine virtues of selflessness, love, dutifulness, patience, and forgiveness. In addition to carrying out the functions of life as a biological entity, one has to evolve into a spiritually perfect being—the transformation of Nara to Hara, Jeeva to Shiva, Manava to Madhava, Vyakthi to Shakthi (man to God).
Q. What is your concept of God?
God exists as an integral part of Nature. He is one with the air, water, and light and is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. He is the writer, director, and the spectator of the great screenplay of LIFE. God dwelling in the body carries on the spectrum of metabolic activities, including thinking and blinking. Every minute, God pumps the heart 72 times and the lungs 22 times, makes the eyelids blink, and swallows the saliva. Thus, He responds every minute from the womb to the tomb.
Q. How can we overcome human sufferings, both material and spiritual?
All difficulties and problems in life are the result of one’s own karma (as you sow, so you reap), given to fortify dedication (nishtha) and to inculcate godly qualities. Overcoming sufferings absolutely depends on God’s will (Daivecche) and God’s play (Daivaleele). One can overcome all the troubles with the blessings of the Guru and with self-effort. The remedy lies in getting up early and doing sadhana daily. One has to be optimistic with an open mind, do daily japa, and meditate atleast 10 mins on the Ishta Mantra or devata. I also suggest reading at least 10 pages of a holy book before going to sleep.
Q. What should one do to get peace of mind?
To get milk, one should go to the milkman. Similarly, to get peace one should approach the owner or ocean of peace—God—the only ultimate master of peace and bliss. If one approaches God with sincere sadhana, peace will descend on him. If one practises meditation and lives a life of contentment, yearning only for God’s grace, one will certainly get everlasting peace of mind.
Q. Doctorji’s message to the readers?
I urge all to conquer anger, selfishness, rudeness, and short temper; eliminate lust, greed, passion, pride, jealousy, and ego; practise yoga and be calm and cool under all circumstances. At all times, be humble and honest and develop devotion to God. Enjoy the company of Nature, and shy away from adharma and anyaya, and move away from bad friends and vices. Success will surely beck on the one who leads a simple, sincere, and sweet life.
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