By Purnima Coontoor
Meet Shri Nimishananda Guruji, a bangalore-based householder rishi, who guides and counsels seekers towards the life divine
As temple bells chime during the maha-mangalarathi every Sunday evening at the Shri Nimishamba Devi Temple in a peaceful suburb of Bangalore, the chanting of ‘om’ reaches a crescendo in the satsang hall below. Seated on an ornate peetha bedecked with flowers, resplendent in white kurta and dhoti with a red angavastram, Shri Shri Nimishananda Guruji speaks to hundreds of avid seekers about the path to self-realization. His language simple, his discourse laced with humor, and peppered with everyday instances that people can identify with, Guruji serves the bitter pill of Vedanta in easily palatable doses. In all his talks, he emphasizes the importance of patience, tolerance, and unconditional love. Helping people to establish their lives on the stable cornerstones of dharma, satya, ahimsa and prema, Shri Nimishananda Guruji is one of the prominent guiding lights in a world filled with the darkness of ignorance.
Guruji is one of the rare souls who experienced samadhi by the grace of the divine mother in 1995, when he was just 36, which prompted him to abandon the pursuit of worldly pleasures in favor of a spiritual one. A yogi belonging to the grihasta rishi sampradaya (the order of householder rishis), he is now engaged in sharing the divine grace with serious sadhakas. Guruji’s compelling personality is evident in the powerful influence he wields through love and compassion towards his devotees and disciples, many of who have shifted residence and even cities to be near him. Most of them talk reverentially of the miracles wrought in their lives after coming under his grace, benefiting both materially and spiritually. Guruji also meets individuals on a personal level to counsel them, and gently set them on the path to right living. His discourses have been telecast on Aastha, and is presently available on Z Kannada every morning. The Shree Public Charitable Trust is also engaged in socially beneficial activities, including free ambulance service 24 hours a day, and annadana every single day.
In a chat with Life Positive, Shri Shri Nimishananda Guruji talks of the divine alchemy of converting a life negative into a life positive, and then to a life divine.
Guruji on his Journey so Far…
“I was born Shri Harsha in Mysore, a simple seedha sadha individual who loved God, though he didn’t know who He was. I wasn’t into intense worship, but had surrendered to a Higher Power. I was a civil engineer by profession, self-employed with a construction firm. At one point of time, I found myself stuck in my work, and encountered many obstacles. Somebody suggested that I visit the temple of goddess Nimishamba who had the reputation of granting instant boons (as her name suggests). I went to this temple near Mysore and prayed like everyone else, asking her to solve my problems. But on my third visit, I lost myself in her kingdom, and had a mystical experience. If you ask me to describe the experience, I can’t – it’s like eating a sweet, it’s difficult to explain its taste, but easy to experience it (smiles). Just like that, at that moment – I had the feeling that I’m not the body anymore, I am the soul.
“I’m enjoying the bliss of that experience even now. I’m getting deeper and deeper into the domain of soul – which is peace, happiness, contentment, tranquility. Nothing disturbs me any more. I’m able to take different emotional states at the same level. I have the same love for all beings; power and position have receded to the background.
“There is absolutely no conflict with my life as a spiritual guide and as a family person. In fact, I am able to show more love and concern for my family now, whereas previously my work claimed most of my attention. But I have space for everyone in my life now – my love is all-inclusive.
“Now my goal (if you can call it that) is to bring peace and serenity into the lives of people who come to me. I tell them how to get liberated from thoughts. That is enlightenment – a thoughtless state is an enlightened state.”
On Religion and Spirituality…
“Rites and rituals are an important part of religion. In Sanskrit, each and every letter is a deity – each syllable is an encapsulated cosmic energy. Mantras and shlokas, when chanted in a certain manner, connect the atma (individual soul) to the paramatma (divine). But in modern times, people are bored with the overdose of religion, which spells rites and rituals, because nobody has told them of their significance. That’s why religion is equated with dogma these days, and has resulted in factionalism and fragmentation.
“Religion is the outer garment, spirituality is the inner garment. Culture is now coming back to spirituality – people hanker to feel serene and be in harmony with everything. They want to be left alone. I ask people not to reject religion – religion is just to bring in discipline and external harmony – a way of setting right the genes so that the offspring will have a purpose in life. Spirituality will bring in internal harmony.
“The doctrines of all religions are the same – dharma, ahimsa, prema, satya. These are the basic tenets of our sanatana dharma (sanatana: eternal; dharma: principles). No religion preaches ‘an eye for an eye…’”
Will Power v/s Total Surrender
“According to Indian philosophy, one has to surrender to the divine. If you orient yourself to divine will through sadhana and discipline (which could be rites and rituals), then cosmic energy will release its grace – you can tap the energy in the overhead tank through your own will power. Mantras have the power to orient your thoughts and make them powerful.
“According to karma siddhanta, our free will operates only to the extent of two per cent, whereas fate and destiny control us 98 per cent. But using soul power through firm resolution generates will power which allows you to achieve your goals. Sanatana dharma has several methods to tap the cosmic energy – karma yoga, jnana yoga, or ashtanga yoga.
“If you have a spiritual bent of mind, you can surrender. But the younger generation needs to be explained about the power of sankalpa or resolution. They should focus on an aim and goal, tap the soul energy and pass it on to thought, which then becomes an arrow, and achieves whatever is willed. When you raise your spirit thus, you shall become what you think. Spirituality will give you the power of discrimination. You need not know what you want; practice meditation, and things will slowly be revealed to you.”
On the Importance of a Guru…
“A teacher is one who provides general education, and to a certain extent, moral education, to help you get your bread and butter. A guru is one who helps you harmonize your thoughts, helps you comprehend and analyze situations, trains the mind and motivates the soul. A teacher trains the intellect, but a guru trains the soul.
“A guru helps you take no for an answer and minimize negativity; helps you to surrender totally to a higher power. Because of our tradition of the gurukula system, dispassion or vairagya is easier achieved in the East than in the West. With no such system in place, Western society is plagued by overindulgence and materialism.
“The guru helps you to reclaim yourself minus all your identifications – he is the key to open up the treasure of cosmic energy. Have an inner goal, and the guru seeks you when you are ready. It is most beautiful that within 48 days of your sankalpa (resolution), you’ll find that the guru will knock on the door of your heart. Just as an engine attaches itself to a bogey and pulls the train along, the guru will pull you along the journey of life, and reveal life to you step by step. And the moment the guru seeks you – life positive will be converted to life divine! You will find that your thought processes change, and your level of confusion declines.
“Surrender yourself to a guru, and your karmas shall burn like a dry stick fed into a fire.”
On the Setbacks in Life…
“Often, setbacks happen for no fault of ours, maybe because of our past actions and negative thinking. But setbacks are a great opportunity to convert life negative into life positive. This is the time to start seeking answers to the questions ‘What am I doing in life? Why is this happening to me? Who am I?’ This is a great way of opening up your insight. This is the time to reorganize your inner life, or have an inner life to begin with.
“To start with, make a resolution every morning that you shall think noble, hear noble, speak noble, and act noble. This is the beginning of spirituality. When you start your day like this, within 48 days, divinity will be yours. Like air, cosmic vibrations are everywhere. Just as you can feel air when the fan is switched on, you’ll feel it when you tap it.
“Everything starts from a thought. One thought is food for another thought – negative thought seeks negativity. Think divine, and divinity will seek you. Stop seeing and start seeking spirituality. You are born with that energy. The human brain is capable of incredible levels of comprehension: computer, space science, chemistry. The grey cells are such powerhouses. Man is fortunate in that he has the three powers of sankalpa shakti (resolution), jnana shakti (knowledge) and kriya shakti (action).
“Have a material goal, as well as a spiritual goal. There’s a certain negativity attached to material success, but with an internal goal, you will have peace, happiness, bliss.
“My wish for readers of Life Positive is that from now onwards, let them not be mere readers, but become seekers. Reading only gives you information. Let that information lead to reformation and transformation from today. Move from life positive to life divine. That is my wish.”
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Shri Shri Nimishananda Guruji outlines four simple steps that can be practiced by anybody with a will to be transformed, which will lead to destruction of the ego, and foster an attitude of total surrender to the Universe. Guruji assures us that total surrender will lead to mitigation of karma, good and bad, spelling doom for the eternal cycle of birth and death. And that is the ultimate purpose of human life.
Here are the four steps in Guruji’s own words.
Every day, as soon as you wake up, say a small prayer to God. God could be anything, because it is such a wonderful energy which is inside all of us. Let the prayer be in any language, and phrased in any manner you like, but the prayer should come from your heart. God can hear the call of your soul because it belongs to him.
“Dear God, please pardon me for all the mistakes that I have ignorantly committed till now. From today, please hold my hand, help me and guide me so that I don’t commit any more mistakes. Give me also the capacity to recognize a mistake, so that I can avoid it.”
This is a cleansing prayer that will take you closer to God. This is a way of tuning yourself to live harmoniously with your fellow beings. Once you ask for His forgiveness, you will feel light and peaceful. You have shed the guilt that was gnawing at your heart, like a worm. When you unburden yourself like this every day and make it a practice, you’ll see that you have a glow about you which everybody will notice!
The second step is to start talking to God. Talk to him about anything you like. The more you talk to him internally, the more peace and happiness you will experience. You can ask God for anything you want, and it shall be given to you, in this life or the next. Whatever you have ever asked of God has reached as soon as your karmas got absolved. But most of you don’t know how to get rid of bad karma, which is why good things will reach you in the next life. That’s the reason why some of you are born with golden spoons in your mouth, and some are born on the streets. Talking to God is a way of absolving your bad karma. Then grace shall flow from Him immediately, and you will not have to wait for lifetimes for your wishes to materialize.
The third step is a prayer to God to remove your pride and vanity, which are the root cause of all problems. You cannot commune with God until they are removed. Tell God sincerely every morning, “God, please remove my pride and vanity with which I am operating and teach me to be humble.” Get rid of the ego thus, and you’ll be able to see and talk to God directly.
Now we come to the fourth step. When your ego is gone, what else is there within you? Nothing. Steps one, two and three have made you surrender to God unknowingly. As soon as you start cultivating this habit, without your knowledge, all of you will close your eyes and think of God. This is step four, and this is called meditation. Once you practice meditation, many things will be revealed to you, like who you are. You’ll forget the identification with the body, and will see and experience your real Self.
Surrender and communion with God will help you unload your karmic bags, freeing you of the cycle of suffering. The happiness and prosperity that will come to you thereafter is permanent. Grace and blessings are showered upon you, and all the different forms of that one Almighty God will reside in your house, making it a powerhouse of divinity.
Follow these four steps, and experience divinity, filling your life with love, light and bliss.
(Guruji has spoken more elaborately on the topic in his booklet, Develop Your Inner Personality)