By Punya Srivastava
Meet Ruzbeh Bharucha, whose book The Fakir, has elevated him to the status of best-selling author. Having freshly launched his latest book, he talks to Punya Srivastava on God, oneness, spiritual masters and his own journey
Author and channel of Sai Baba , Ruzbeh Bharucha Sporting a casual sweatshirt and a sense of humor which one normally would not associate with a ‘spiritual writer’ Ruzbeh N. Bharucha is as easygoing as his books are. He talks about spirituality and oneness, God and masters, all the while puffing away to glory. Bharucha, author of the best-selling The Fakir trilogy, does not appear to be standard seeker material, formidably disciplined, marching relentlessly towards his goal. He is a non-conformist, someone for whom spirituality is as freewheeling as breathing and who sees God as benevolent and non-threatening. “I don’t think God is a harsh task master who’ll punish us for doing certain things in certain ways; for our bad karma, in short. I don’t think God is even involved in our karmic journey. He is like an indulgent grandparent, rather than a strict school teacher with a cane in hand,” he says. In his latest book, The Aum of All Things, Bharucha explores the ultimate truth of Oneness, but even this concept is dealt with in an accessible, easy way. “The problem is that everybody wants to make spirituality a complex thing. And the truth is that it is not complex,” he sighs.
Born in Mumbai in 1967, Bharucha is married to Saina Bedi, Kiran Bedi’s daughter, and is father to a highly inquisitive five-year-old, whose curious questions he duly credits as one of the many causes of his latest book. After graduating from Jai Hind College in economics, Bharucha dabbled with many aspects of the media before settling down as a bestselling author. He was a journalist, editor and columnist with many publications as well as a film-maker on social issues. “I have always believed that art is more interesting than people and reality. In my final year of college, bored out of my head and disillusioned beyond belief with the education system, I, along with two friends, decided to bring out a professional magazine, Venture. To fill up the last few pages of the issue, I wrote a short story called The Misfit and realized I liked my world better than the so-called real world outside. Four years later I became the Executive Editor of Pune Tribune, a weekly newspaper.”
But what turned him into a fully fledged writer was financial instability. Being broke at the age of 29 marked a turning point in his life. He was editing High Spirits, a liquor magazine, for Indian Express when his financial status took a downturn. He approached a publisher who was quite impressed with his work in the liquor magazine and was asked to write a book on spirits (alcohol). Bharucha interpreted the word differently and the conversation went on smoothly until they approached the topic of ‘hangover.’ It was then that both the sides realized their gaffe. “But he liked the idea of a book on life after death and spirit communication and that is how The Last Marathon happened,” chuckles Bharucha.
Since then he has written books like Rest in Pieces, Shadows in Cages, My God is a Juvenile Delinquent and has made documentaries like I believe I can fly on Tihar prisoners, Yamuna Gently Weeps on slum dwellers. Following is an interesting tete-a-tete with the writer.
You are a journalist by profession. You have been an editor. You are a film-maker, as well as a writer. How easy or difficult is it to don several hats?
For me all art is about communication and being true to the subject and incorporating humor. Journalism is about reporting and not shoving your two-bits into the article. Editing is about shaping the magazine or newspaper with your vision and staying true to the original purpose of the publication. Film-making is journalism with emotion. As an author, all my work, be it on the paranormal, spiritual, or social issues, like mother and child in Indian prisons or on juvenile delinquents, has been about making a difference. Writing requires discipline. If I am going to spend a year or more writing a book then I want it to make some positive difference in the lives of my readers or the abandoned ones.
You have written 10 books so far. How has the journey as a spiritual writer been?
The Last Marathon has been printed thrice. The Fakir trilogy innumerable times and been translated in German and Hindi and now the Punjabi and the Bengali versions are being published. Every other day, I get mails or phone calls telling me that the books have brought the reader closer to Sai Baba of Shirdi or their master and how it has changed their lives for the better. It’s humbling to know that these books have helped people, and enabled them to face life and their problems with calmness and belief; with a faith that they are not alone, that their masters, the arch angels and their loved ones in the spirit dimension are with them. Tell me about your life before and after The Fakir happened. Earlier when I channeled or counselled, most people approached me via word of mouth and I had the time for other things in life. Now after The Fakir, time spent on channeling and counselling has increased. Also the faith with which people approach me is overwhelming. One can only give one’s best and hope one’s prayers reach the master. I have no illusions about myself and who I am. That has kept me sane. I am a human being with flaws and weaknesses, and even if words have poured out through me, I am still just a hippie on the spiritual beach of life. So the overwhelming response has been humbling and scares me senseless.
What keeps you going in this direction?
The need to justify the burden of my existence keeps me going. I have never been enamored by the world but if my presence, either via my books or the time spent in channeling, can make a positive difference in somebody’s life, then I will continue doing so.
What would you like to say about your latest book? What is it about?
The Aum of All Things is a book on Oneness. It is a book on how one can manipulate the five elements within oneself to work out one’s karmas and also try to bring about positive changes in one’s life and in all of creation. It talks about life after death and various kinds of dimensions and also of the ‘One’ source that we all have come from.
What has been some of the feedback you got for your books?
The most frequent feedback is that the reader has got closer to his or her master and that the books have enabled them to go through the highs and lows of life more calmly and with an acceptance of things that cannot be changed. Lots of readers have begun to help those less fortunate than themselves. An 80-year-old man wrote to me that he is no longer scared of passing over and the book has made him want to become a better human being.
What is the philosophy that you promote through your books?
No matter what one’s condition and situation and circumstance, to give one’s best to life and then leave the outcome to one’s master. The elusive term destiny is in reality, one’s own free will exercised in some lifetime; and thus our future destiny is determined by the use of free-will in this lifetime. Most importantly, your master and your loved ones in the spirit dimension are always with you. Eventually, we all are One and come from that One Source: The Great Flame. Life never ends, ignorance does. Also, the One who can make the thunder roar can also hear a butterfly sigh. Take compassion and large-heartedness seriously, not yourself. For me, God is filled with love and compassion and when one needs a whack, the Old Man very reluctantly obliges. He isn’t an authoritarian, neurotic dictator or a dogmatic school teacher, but more like an indulgent grandparent, who is filled with fun, frolic, compassion and can also be a disciplinarian if need be. God is cool and kind and has a wicked sense of humor and a faith – bordering on the ridiculous – in mankind’s ability to spread His Light.
How much of your experiences do you use in your books?
The Fakir books are all about my experiences of channeling for the past 13 years. I have clothed them in fiction but the messages and the situations are all real. I guess that is why they have been so open-heartedly accepted by thousands of readers. Art is autobiographical as the genesis of art comes from experience and the need to share the experience, in the hope that you touch as many lives and spread a bit of the magic that touched one’s soul.
What do you think are the key challenges we are facing as a civilization just now and what are the solutions according to you?
Somewhere we have lost the ability to practice compassion and that is where I believe is the genesis of our descent into chaos. We seem to allow religious and political heads to convey to us their interpretation of spiritual books and the moral code. We are moving away from the concept of Oneness and getting more and more fragmented into camps. We are allowing ourselves to be manipulated, be it in politics or spirituality. The importance of being rich and famous and being a winner seems to be now ingrained before the child takes his or her first baby step. The first move towards bringing about some sanity is to start going back to simple stuff like being filled with compassion and joy. Oneness should be priority. No ifs and buts.
What advice do you have for those on the spiritual path?
For me all spiritual ideologies might take you to the doors of heaven but it is only selfless love, compassion for all and complete positive surrender to the master that will enable one to enter and walk through that ever open but rather elusive door of heaven. Don’t take yourself seriously. We are humans and we are going to goof up constantly. Give life your best. Don’t judge others, neither yourself. We all are a composition of past lifetimes, karma, upbringing, peer pressures and various levels of hypocrisy. Just try to make your master happy and proud of you, and don’t get caught up in all the esoteric philosophies floating around. Help those in need, take one moment at a time and always remember that the only reality of life is that it never ends.
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