Smitten with spirituality
Renowned actor, author, and spiritual seeker Smita Jaykar touches upon the nuances of spirituality while recounting the journey of her life in a conversation with Anuradha Sahu
One instantly warms up to Smita Jaykar, a picture of calmness and positivity, with her endearing smile and radiant eyes. Her serene aura, disarming persona, and friendly, cheerful tone create an air of joyfulness that permeates through a telephonic conversation.
It’s a delight to know the actor, author, and seeker, noted for her contribution to the entertainment industry. She has to her credit over 250 films, more than 75 television serials in Hindi and Marathi, and about 500 theatre shows in English, Hindi, Marathi, and Gujarati. Her career, spanning over three decades, has been in concurrence with her spiritual evolvement. “I am an actress whose faith plays a big role in how she approaches her art and her decision-making,” she says.
Married to a well-known lawyer, Mohan Jaykar, Smita is a mother to sons Siddharth and Archit. Besides several articles on meditation, she has also authored two books which have made their way into many readers’ hearts with their simple and sagacious approach. The book Before Tomorrow provides an insightful new look at awakening spirituality within and transforming the way we perceive life. The New Leaf Trust set up by Smita Jaykar supports underprivileged children studying in municipal schools, who have the talent but no financial support to go forward. It is a charitable service mission that funds projects for child education, a better life for children in urban slums, and schemes that support old and aged individuals.
Unlike many who are hesitant to make their belief and faith public, the spiritual seeker in her motivates Smita to share her learnings and experiences with all who desire to seek beyond. The conversation follows.
Who is Smita Jaykar?
A ball of energy. Smita is the name given to it.
Tell us about your foray into the world of acting.
It happened spontaneously. I did not prepare for it nor was there any deliberate effort on my part; rather, I was led towards it. I am a lawyer, though I haven’t actively pursued the profession. It all began with a Diwali special legal programme. I was the master of ceremonies for the evening, and it so happened that the people appreciated my compèring more than the programme itself.
Those were the days when entertainment on the small screen meant only Doordarshan, quite unlike the numerous television channels that we have today. Things simply took off from there and before I knew, I was a part of the entertainment industry.
What sowed in you the seeds of spirituality?
We are a spiritually inclined family. We have always been devotees of Shirdi Sai Baba. Being religious and on the threshold of a promising career, I had everything that one could possibly have desired at that moment. Yet, a lurking feeling inside me prompted me to question myself if this was all there was to it. How do I derive inner peace and joy? What is life?
When did you first step on the path?
My entry into the field of entertainment and my spiritual journey began around the same time. I did not turn to spirituality because I was lacking in anything, as it is normally presumed. I think I was destined for it. It so happened that one day, my husband casually asked me to accompany him as he set out to meet someone, and I did, little knowing that it would be an introduction to my first guru, Prabhuji. My spiritual journey commenced with his blessings more than 30 years ago. He’d often say that the whole world is an illusion, “poori duniya mithya hai,” which would baffle me and make me angry. When I questioned him, he told me to begin work on myself. Prabhuji helped me understand that spirituality is nothing but a process of reconnecting with your life’s purpose and celebrating life with more power and passion.
I would do the Om Prabhu Shanti havan taught by my master for hours and for the past 32 years have been doing it regularly. This is a very powerful havan and has benefitted numerous people who have experienced miracles in their lives. It is uploaded on YouTube with relevant instructions. My master also blessed me with the boon of auto writing. Many a time, people find it hard to move on after the loss of a dear one. With auto writing, one can reach out to the souls of their loved ones who have transitioned, and find direction and guidance in life.
You are also a teacher of Chakra Dhyana…
Yes. My spiritual quest led me to the Oneness ideology. Its simple message was to tap the universal energy and balance the internal body chakras in order to connect with the unique and intelligent truth of your own being. A lot of synchronicities took place during that period, and I found my path to inner transformation. I experienced an internal calm, and the understanding of life became more intense.
Now I regularly practice Chakra Dhyana meditation that focuses on working around the energy systems in the body and bringing them into balance. Chakras are universal. (Personally, I prefer to stay away from religious dogmas as religion divides.) This is purely scientific and not connected with any religion. I hold regular workshops to share my experiences and learning. I also dabbled in other spiritual practices like reiki, acupressure, kundalini and rebirthing, and breathwork workshops.
How did you find Dadashreeji?
I had always wanted to know more about Mahavatar Babaji ever since I read the captivating book Autobiography of a Yogi many years ago. When I came across an article on Dadashreeji—my present guru—in Life Positive magazine, I knew that this was what I had been seeking all these years. It was like a culmination of my journey.
In a vision, Dadashreeji was directed by Mahavatar Babaji in 2006 to transform humanity. Beyond his spiritual persona, it was wonderful to come across a young spiritual guide like Dadashreeji who had sharpness, clarity of thought, and who professed practical action for engendering personal and social development and reform. Diverting his energies from a medical practice, he formed the Maitri Bodh Parivaar. The last five years of my association with Dadashreeji and the Maitri Bodh Parivaar has brought about a complete transformation in me. I’d say that I was a bud previously which has now flowered in full bloom.
Was it difficult straddling the worlds of acting and spirituality simultaneously?
I’d say it was quite overwhelming for a 25-year-old, as apart from working on-screen I was also working on myself. I was learning on both the fronts. In retrospect, today, I can see how I was guided at every step. The right films and the right people simply came along. Everything happened very naturally without me realising anything, and I simply went along with the flow.
Do you think there is a possibility of another path opening?
I cannot say but I believe that one is a learner till the very end, and I am open to learning. You see, depending on the stage of one’s evolvement, a distinct path opens up. Every spiritual path has enhanced my being only further.
How did spirituality affect your career?
Very constructively. Everything was well-balanced and connected, and when one is connected to Divinity, miracles happen.
How does one find a guru?
It is something that your heart tells you. If the path is for you, you will know it. When the master has chosen someone, the person is guided towards the master.
How have your gurus influenced your life?
I feel transformed, and with a more peaceful inner self, life is smooth sailing. Stress doesn’t affect me, negative emotions stay away, and I can focus more on solutions rather than the problems. Even if the journey was challenging, I now feel that there was Divine Grace that guided me all along and still does. My energies today are more in sync with the universal energy. I have become a better human being. I feel grateful that today I can appreciate both, the practical and spiritual worlds wholeheartedly.
What according to you is spirituality?
Spirituality is an experience; every journey is different. One cannot undermine the path of another as it’s all a matter of perception. Spirituality is a vast subject and probably that one word from which most of us shy away, maybe because it lacks a clear definition and is erroneously taken as something linked to orthodox religion or religious beliefs. Being aware, simplicity, giving up the ego—all of these are aspects of spirituality.
What has been your greatest spiritual experience so far? Anything miraculous?
Every experience is unique; you cannot single out any one. The human body, for example, is a miracle in itself. Different parts of the anatomy have their own functions and importance—so complex yet working in complete harmony as they are designed to, without we having to instruct them. Yet, are we aware of it? How many of us ever acknowledge our breath that stays with us till the very end? Do we ever contemplate about the purpose of our life, why we have taken birth, or where we are heading?
So many of us are simply existing—drifting on a day-to-day basis. Unawareness is ignorance; one needs to look inwards. With spirituality, the awareness gets sharper. Once awareness surfaces, the inward journey begins. Don’t we often ask: “Why me?” “Why do I have to suffer?” “Why do bad things happen only to me?” The good and the bad both go hand-in-hand; it is education that makes us big. Well, if we are not ready to work on ourselves, how can we expect miracles to occur? “Wake up and smell the coffee,” I’d say.
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