By Tanushree Podder
A journey that began in Scotland, passed through a learning experience with Buddhist lamas and Advaita mystics in India, culminates in a spiritual therapist named Mynavati
She is a Christian by birth, Buddhist by belief and a Sathya Sai Baba devotee by faith. She expounds on Advaita philosophy and Buddhist tenets with equal ease. Originally Sally Ann Inns from Scotland, she was given the name Mynavati by H.W.L. Poonja (popularly known as Papaji), a disciple of Ramana Maharshi.
Mynavati has lived in India for the last 10 years, learning from Buddhist lamas and Hindu mystics. Having travelled far and wide from Sikkim to Bodh Gaya to Varanasi, she has imbibed the essence of Hinduism and Buddhism in the true sense.
As Sally Ann Inns, she worked in the civil services at Edinburgh in Scotland. Happily married, her life was running smoothy when she suddenly suffered a shocking setback in her personal life, leading to a spiritual opening.
“I was 30 and I suddenly woke up one morning to realise that I had developed intense psychic ability. It confused and scared me. I could read other people’s thoughts and minds. It was not something I wanted to happen to me but it had happened,” recalls Mynavati. “It helped in certain ways in my job because when I recruited people, I knew the kind of people they were.”
Slowly and steadily the word spread and people began making a beeline for her home, to consult her on various personal problems. Almost overnight, Mynavati was elevated to the position of being a psychologist and spiritual therapist. Says she: “I was working from morning to evening, dealing with the problems that people faced. I was holding workshops, counselling people and doling out advice. It drained and exhausted me.”
Such was the demand for her counsel that she had to quit her government job and become a full-time therapist. Buddhism came her way by chance.
“I was told by a friend that a workshop was being conducted by a lama who had come to Edinburgh. But I was busy. My diary was crammed with appointments so there was no way I could have gone to see him. I wasn’t even interested at that point of time.”
The lama went away. A few days later, she had an unnerving OBE (out-of-body experience) where she saw a river with hundreds of people floating down in it. She also heard a voice telling her: “You are next.”
Mynavati was petrified. Was that a message or a premonition, she didn’t know. As luck would have it, the same lama returned to Edinburgh and this time, Mynavati went to meet him.
The events thereafter were not in her control. Mynavati left her lucrative job of a Welfare Officer for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in Scotland and came to India. For the first six months she stayed with Tibetan Buddhist lamas imbibing the essence of Buddhism. It was almost like a rebirth.
“It was during my pilgrimage to Bodh Gaya with some Tibetan monks that I came across the Advaita philosophy and I was interested,” she says. It was also the time when she met Papaji.
Although Mynavati’s saga of spiritual quest sounded interesting it still did not have the elements of a bestseller. Now living in Puttaparthi (Sai Baba’s abode) in Andhra Pradesh, Mynavati has written five books on various spiritual themes, including Heal and Be Happy with Prayer, Meditation and Affirmation, and created a unique game called ‘Divine Play’.
About this game, she says: “It is about finding wholeness in the relative world. Its roots are in Advaita, the Hindu philosophy of non-duality, but it also holds the seeds of Jungian archetypes, tribal rituals and Tibetan Buddhism. It is a uniquely powerful psychological and spiritual insight tool that can be used by anyone interested in delving deeper into the nature of his or her True Self. It can help in stabilising relationships, solving problems, improving attitudes, self-worth and creating spiritual awareness.”
Divine Play uses a tarot-like double-sided card deck involving interrelated opposites and symbols of wholeness that helps people in learning how to be whole and complete in this world.
Mynavati spread out her pack of 57 Divine Play Cards for me. There were the cards of Elements, Shadow Ball, Duality Cards, Wholeness Cards, Chakra Colour Cards and Positive Karma Cards. I was told to pick out three cards and throw them on the Element Cards. I did so and the Divine Play had begun. I was sucked into a whorl of spiritual realm: uncanny and abstruse.
Contact: Maynavati, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mynavati’s books are available with Sai Towers Publishing,
Mynavati’s philosophy of life
Life is a great gift, a precious gift to give us the opportunity of realising the truth of our oneness with God. That is the only true reason as to why we are born and all else is a possible distraction. What we earn, what we do, what we try to own, etc., is secondary. But life is also God and so we should respect and honour all aspects of life. If we keep the correct perspective we can enjoy God’s play, God’s leela and God’s manifestation, keeping in mind that our true purpose is to experience God within this maya—to realise our own divine nature and godliness.
Her path to salvation
There is no one way–no unique and correct path. All spiritual/divine paths lead to God. Just as we are unique so we each have our own unique way of relating to God and discovering God in everything and everyone. But, regardless of what path we are on and how we pray, if we can merely remember foremost God and the divinity in everything and everyone, including ourselves, we cannot ever become lost and we will find ‘home’.
Her understanding of Advaita
Advaita is the concept of non-duality. Everything is One. The world appears to be made up of many fragments but in truth we are One. We are aspects of God and God is one…. To embrace the Oneness within life—to see and experience all as our Divine Self is the aim of Advaita.
Her path to happiness
In every given conscious moment, allow yourself to be happy! When you feel happy, try not to be exclusive and encourage your motivation to share that happiness with all sentient beings. ‘I am happy and so let all beings be touched by this great happiness.’ Also, when experiencing suffering, do not waste the opportunity to use this time to alleviate someone else’s suffering. ‘At this moment, I feel as though I am suffering. I accept this right now, but in doing so, let me alleviate someone else’s suffering in the world….’ As soon as we do this, we feel happy! Why? Because we immediately connect with our true Divine compassionate nature and in so doing, we cannot be sad or feel as though we are suffering.
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