FLYING ON SILVER WINGS
Life Positive has turned 25 this year. Still at the acme of her youth, the magazine looks hopefully at new horizons of success and prosperity to conquer in the coming years, says editor Shivi Verma
We know that life can be hard, tumultuous, and unpredictable. After the initial euphoria of starting something new and promising settles down—whether a marriage or a start-up—reality begins to stare you in the face as you encounter challenges, everyday problems, and even threats to survival. Many bail out as difficulties mount and the road gets tougher. However, those who stick around, battle it out, and keep hope and faith alive, get to touch milestone after milestone.
The 25th anniversary is the first of the major benchmarks touched by any team or organisation and Life Positive has done it this year. Founded in 1996, Life Positive has been a trailblazer in the zone of body-mind-spirit publications in India ever since its foundation was laid by chairman Aditya Ahluwalia 25 years ago.
Under the able stewardship of editors Parveen Chopra and Suma Varughese, LP grew and cemented its place in the community of sincere seekers in India and abroad. The magazine has been unique in the way it has focussed on the happiness and holistic well-being of the reader rather than serving them momentary distractions. Thousands have made a decisive shift towards positive living and creating a new life from the rubble of old and dysfunctional patterns, simply by reading Life Positive.
This also happens to be my ninth year in LP, having joined its edifying precincts in November 2011 as a senior correspondent. Ever since, I have witnessed the many crests and troughs undergone by this life-changing magazine. As I began working for Life Positive I realised many things. That reading and enjoying Life Positive was far different from working for it. For people working behind the scenes, life was full of hard work, chasing deadlines, and the stress of closing the issue on time every month. Ideas had to be brainstormed, careful judgement made about gurus to be featured, and everyday interpersonal hassles navigated with colleagues and seniors. Yet, at the same time, it was highly rewarding to be part of an organisation which prioritised the spiritual well-being of the individual and society over material pursuits. I coalesced with Life Positive.
The power and transformational impact of Life Positive was irrefutably proven to me when I interviewed Maitreya Dadashreeji in 2012, shortly after I had joined the organisation. Our office had received a letter, inviting us to profile a master in Karjat, a town on the outskirts of Mumbai. When I met the guru at the end of a long and arduous journey, I realised that I was facing a phenomenon and that there was something very special about Dadashreeji, who was 34 then. Many things happened after meeting him. I had not used a recorder but had remembered each and every word spoken by him while typing the interview one month later. I had strongly sensed the presence of Mahavatar Babaji standing next to me while preparing the article. No sooner had the interview appeared than the office phone began ringing unceasingly every day. Curious readers wanted to know more about the Master and wanted to meet him. Within a few days, a whole movement had started, as charmed by the interview, people began to flock to Dadashreeji in droves. Furthermore, all the feedback Life Positive received from readers who had met him was extremely positive. They said that they were experiencing inner states they had read about but never felt despite doing sadhana (spiritual practice). In that moment, I realised the momentous role Life Positive was playing in changing people’s lives for the better and how noble and divinely led our cause was.
Similarly, discoveries like Partha Gupta, Abhay Kumar Shah, and Sunil Parekh enriched the lives of readers in many practical ways.
In 2017, editor-in-chief Suma Varughese retired after 21 years of glorious service to Life Positive, passing on the mantle to me. When the responsibility fell on my shoulders, I realised that the editorship was, in essence, a way of serving mankind as well as the Divine. It is this conviction that makes me take all the challenges on the chin and keep going. I believe that the past 25 years were more of a foundation-laying time for LP and that the next phase of our mission is going to be all about growth and expansion. I feel personally held by my guru, and strongly feel that the stewardship of Life Positive has been taken over by God Herself, who is going to ensure that the magazine fulfils its purpose of engendering spiritual transformation in the lives of the masses.
Parveen Chopra, the first editor-in-chief of Life Positive (1996–2004)
It has been heartening to see Life Positive grow and change and adapt, and even beat COVID last year to reach the landmark of 25 years of uninterrupted publication. As founding editor, I feel vindicated. In an era when the barrage of online content has challenged print publications, the survival—success, if I may call it—of LP has shown that it defined an unmet need and grew its audience, keeping it engaged month after month.
When I passed the baton to Suma Varughese after eight years at the helm, I had the satisfaction that Life Positive was a runaway success editorially.
Hats off also to the able stewardship of the magazine by Suma who, in turn, passed the editorship to Shivi Verma. For me, it was a heady time when we started the magazine in 1996. It is said in the publishing world that world that each editor–and they are a headstrong lot–leaves his or her stamp on the publication. For me, it was a heady time when we started the magazine in 1996. We had to invent an editorial mix and format, formalise a voice (always positive and ‘chardi kala’ as the Sikhs say), and discover co-conspirators and contributing writers. We called it a ‘body-mind-spirit magazine’ and, on the insistence of some colleagues, added the tagline: ‘Your complete guide to personal growth.’
Having transitioned from the mainstream/news media, I infused a fair amount of reportage in the magazine and sought overlaps with mainstream life as our first task was to bring in readers. Suma, Anupama Bhattacharya, and Saurabh Bhattacharya hotfooted to different places to profile gurus and institutions. We recognised emerging trends. We collated and presented edifying stuff like teaching stories, haikus, and koans.
For this 25th anniversary issue, I can recall a few memorable cover stories from my time. The very second issue of Life Positive covered the sudden, explosive growth of Reiki and Pranic Healing. The issue not only sold out, but it also brought us a welcome stream of ads of ‘healing hands.’ The issues with Shirdi Sai Baba and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on the cover were also lapped up, particularly by their legions of followers.
In sum, LP has been respected and rewarded because we chronicled a shift in consciousness in a section of the Indian society, pollinating the field further for the full flowering of a spiritual movement.
Parveen Chopra is the managing editor of The South Asian Times, based in New York.
Suma Varughese, the second editor-in-chief of Life Positive (2005–2017)
Life Positive is 25 years old! What a proud and creditable milestone! Despite all the convulsions besetting the publishing industry, especially in the last one year of COVID-related lockdowns that has cruelly decimated the industry, Life Positive has kept its flag flying. What an incredible achievement. Nay, it is more than that. It is a miracle. I have always maintained that God is the editor-in-chief of Life Positive, and this is fresh proof that LP is indeed part of the Divine Plan.
Certainly, the magazine has never been more needed than now. COVID has proven to millions who were once immune to the spiritual space, how helpless mankind is. With the economy in shambles, with a virus hounding them, with no access to friends and extended families except through online media, where do they go for safety, security, and peace? And do they have a future?
It is Life Positive’s job to guide these souls safely to the New Earth that is waiting to be born. To help them understand the design of life and how to live it. To help them realise their purpose for living and to support them to grow and evolve.
What an exciting time lies ahead for Life Positive. I have always cherished the hope that the magazine will play a significant role in birthing the New Earth. I pray that the time has come.
It is now close to four years since I left Life Positive after clocking in 21 years with it. I remain as indebted as ever I was for the privilege of working for such a noble cause as raising human consciousness. If I had to choose among all the livelihoods in the world, this is the one I would unhesitatingly opt for. And to think that it came to me on a plate!
These apart, Life Positive gave me a cornucopia of gifts. I met and befriended scores of beautiful souls, I was privileged to meet some of the most evolved gurus on the planet, and I was exposed to the wisdom traditions across the globe. Through the articles we wrote and through our expos, I had access to a tremendous flow of wisdom and teachings that hugely enriched me. I am so grateful to God, to publisher Aditya Ahluwalia, and to former editor Parveen Chopra for having inducted me into the magazine. My eternal gratitude and blessings are with Life Positive and to all those who work with it. May LP enjoy the most auspicious of destinies.
Former editor, Society and Life Positive magazines, Suma Varughese runs the Zen of good writing course for aspiring writers.
Message from masters
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – Global humanitarian and founder of Art of Living
I am happy to know that Life Positive is celebrating 25 years of spreading positivity.
Serving the world is the best form of prayer, and uplifting someone’s state of mind, the best form of service. With its diverse wisdom-filled content, Life Positive has helped its readers lead a more fulfilling and balanced life.
May LP continue to spread this wisdom and keep up its contribution to the advancement of mankind’s divine nature.
Swami Chidananda – Vedanta teacher from Himachal Pradesh
Life Positive has always meant ‘something truly positive’ to me over the many years that I have known the magazine. I sincerely appreciate the service it is rendering to society by catering to the diverse needs of a heterogeneous population. I have noticed how each issue is a beautiful collection of many flowers brought together to make an amazing bouquet. Comprising contributions from practising experts, inspired explorers of life, and upcoming experimenters, the contents of LP get additional fragrance when the editor also adds her insights to the fascinating tapestry of man’s spiritual quest.
I compliment the entire team for serving us a nutritious and delicious meal with an awesome variety of items, issue after issue. The pages of this monthly magazine are filled with guidance of many kinds, which appeal to a variety of personality types. They restore and boost our faith in our Indian heritage and inform us about many therapies unheard of before. They provide, in simple terms, a good read that drives away negative emotions and brings us back on the path to life positive!
BK Shivani – Speaker and Raja Yoga meditation teacher
Congratulations to Life Positive for the completion of 25 years of divine journey. Your role in the media is more important than ever, and your contribution is earning you blessings from everyone whose lives have been touched positively.
We become what we watch, read, and listen to. Today, the information marketplace is not just inundated but is also capable of manipulating minds. On the other hand, the pure and powerful information carried in Life Positive is healing, empowering, and transformative. Every soul energised by LP empowers their fellow-beings.
The global vibrational frequency is going through a paradigm shift as we are entering the dawn of a New Age—one of happiness, health, harmony, and heaven on Earth. Every word from Life Positive is shifting the world to a higher vibration. Thus, every individual who is part of the magazine—as a contributor or a reader—is playing a pivotal role in creating the New World where peace is religion, love is the language, truth is in action, unity is culture, and happiness, a way of life.
Brahmarshi Mohanji – Founder of Ammucare, ACT Foundation and Mohanji Foundation
Congratulations and best wishes to Life Positive for its silver jubilee celebrations. Life Positive is bringing positive energy in our society through various articles, thoughts, and observations from numerous great personalities of Bharat and beyond. This is a great service to humanity.
People go through various life situations each day. They are often victims of circumstances which make them question everything. During such times, Life Positive comes like a breath of fresh air into their lives. The world needs hope and positivity today more than ever. This is the oxygen society needs now, to survive the current times of fear and suffocation caused by restrictions and economic meltdowns in the world.
I wish LP a continued purposeful journey in the years ahead. I wish Team Life Positive great stability and success in life.
Swami Mukundanandaji – Founder of J K Yog, world-renowned spiritual teacher, and a bhakti saint
Many organisations aim to serve their local or global community by disseminating knowledge and services to improve the physical and mental health of people. Life Positive has far exceeded its scope by making a real difference in the lives of people in India and around the world. I congratulate Life Positive on its 25th anniversary for its remarkable accomplishments. It has focused not just on isolated aspects of health but on the total integration of the body, mind, and soul. Its vision of overall well-being is based on scientific principles, underlying philosophy, the spiritual aspect, and practical application. Readers can choose yoga, meditation, life-coaching, or any of the myriad range of services offered to accelerate internal growth. Additionally, the therapists and healers are hand-picked and their methods are natural and safe.
I applaud LP for its dedication and effort toward a noble cause. Its zeal to help people heal emotionally and grow spiritually is highly commendable. Such an endeavour necessitates sacrifice, and Life Positive’s team seems to possess that spirit. I wish all its members continued success in their future endeavours as well.
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