By Suma Varughese
Dr. Newton and Dr. Lakshmi Kondaveti, renowned practitioners of past-life regression, talk to Suma Varughese on how spirituality has shaped their lives and thoughts
Dr. Newton Kondaveti and his wife, Dr. Lakshmi, look like fresh-faced youngsters just out of college. And yet, in the spiritual world, their names command tremendous respect and love. If past-life regression is virtually a household practice today, a great deal of the credit goes to this Hyderabad-based couple, who was among the early pioneers of this technique.
Their indefatigable efforts to popularize science has created a huge industry and thousands of practitioners. Today, they claim to have conducted more than 100,000 past-life regressions. This apart, they have founded several organizations such as the Life Research Academy (LRA) whose purpose is to conduct courses on past-life regression, inner child work and breathwork; and Association for Regression and Reincarnation Research (ARRR) which supports research on reincarnation and past-life regression. Their most ambitious plan is the Life University, which is a prototype of the ancient universities of Takshashila and Nalanda. Their vision is as lofty as it gets: to see every individual on Earth becoming a realized master. To this end they have traveled to over a hundred countries to conduct workshops on spirituality. Well, if this does not materialize any time soon, it won’t be their fault! This affable down-to-earth couple has been a part of Life Positive Expos from the beginning, and over the years one has learned to have a real affection and regard for them. Read on for insights into how they conduct their spiritual lives.
Both of you have achieved so much since you entered spirituality. Looking back, did you ever think all this would have been possible?
We followed our hearts from the beginning. We knew that every dream would manifest as a reality if we were consistent in efforts. We truly believed that everything was possible, not just for us, but for everyone. Every dream can be translated into physical reality.
What is the source of your inspiration?
During meditation, I, Newton, recalled and relived many of my past lives including one as an Acharya at the ancient university of Takshashila, where I was teaching reincarnation and the law of karma. I got the following insights: Our external environment is a reflection of our inner climate consisting of our thoughts and beliefs. Most of these exist in the subconscious mind, and therefore we are unaware of their existence. Hence we are mostly unable to fully experience the things that we wish in our lives – be it good health, fulfilling relationships, prosperity, abundance, and above all, joy. By removing the negative blockages in the subconscious mind, and overcoming self-imposed limitations, people can unlock their unlimited potential.
What limiting blocks and beliefs did you have to breakthrough?
Dr. Newton: I had some strong self-sabotage patterns running through me because of a difficult childhood. Even before I turned 17, I had become a heavy smoker and drinker. I never felt good enough, and I was convinced I would not succeed in life.
I was raised by my grandmother until I was six years old, and that left me with a sense of abandonment. I used to think I was not good enough to be brought up by my mother. During school events everyone’s parents used to come except mine. I used to feel ashamed as if something was wrong with me. These experiences deeply scarred me.
How did all this change?
Dr. Newton: The first turning point occurred in 1987 at age 17, when my father gifted me with the book, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. This changed my life totally. Something in me opened up and I got in touch with my inner potential. I read it hundreds of times, and eventually it enabled me to overcome my basic belief that everyone would abandon me. Like the central character of the book, I became a rebel and began to question accepted norms and practices.
The second turning point occurred in 1989, during my days in medical college when I met Brahmarshi Subhash Patri, an enlightened master. Meeting Patriji was a shocking experience. I had expected that spiritual masters would be gentle and loving. In him I sensed very aggressive energy.
At that time, Lakshmi and I were reading the scriptures in search of answers to life. “Stop your search,” he thundered. He taught us ‘anapanasati’ meditation and told us to practice it for three hours a day for the next 40 days. “Do not speak to me till them,” he said. We started the practice but it was a great struggle because the monkey mind would travel here and there, but by the 40th day, my mind was empty. I could sit quietly and there was only awareness. This heralded the beginning of my journeys into consciousness. Around that time, I also had an out-of-body experience which convinced me that I was not the body. I also had an ESP experience during my ENT exams. I had not studied at all, because I was consumed with spirituality. The night before, in my dreams, the paper was revealed to me. I studied for two hours and I stood first in class. This convinced me that there was something greater than the mind, and further fuelled my spiritual search.
What about you, Dr. Laxmi?
Dr. Laxmi: The first turning point in my life occurred when I was barely three years old when I saw a poor animal, who had no clue about what was in store for it, waiting to be sacrificed to the goddess at the temple. At that moment, a feeling of love and care for all animals and fellow beings stirred deep within me, and the seed of transformation was sown. At that tender age I was able to convince my parents not to eat meat.
The second turning point in my life occurred when I read the book, Bliss Divine, by Swami Sivananda. As I grew up, my love and care towards animals grew stronger, and I was strongly motivated to do something for their welfare.
How have you channelized your love for animals?
Dr. Newton: We have about 20 dogs in our own house and you should see the love and compassion with which Lakshmi looks after them. When we visited the Canary Islands, we swam with the dolphins on her birthday. Lakshmi communicated with them, and hundreds of dolphins began to swim around her, even kissing her!
I too have had a wonderful experience with a whale in the same place. A mother whale and baby whale were swimming close to me. Suddenly, the mother whale left her baby and came towards me. She looked deeply into my eyes. It must have been for a fraction of a second, but for me it was like looking into infinity. And she gave me the experience of mother love. I felt I knew what it was like to be loved by a mother. From that time on, I forgave my mother.
Looking back, how do you think the two of you have changed since your advent into spirituality?
Teaching is the best way of learning. We became eternal students of the ‘soul science’, and this workshop taught us humility and
simplicity. Today, we would define ourselves as being both empty and full. We are empty of our masks and egos and full of aliveness. We are aware of the popularity and success coming to us. We are not touched by it.
How has spirituality influenced the way you live your life?
The quality of our life changed, and our perspective towards life has changed forever. Every moment is filled with wonder, and every person has become very important to us.
How has spirituality helped you in your relationship with each other?
Our relationship has become stronger and deeper and has forged into a powerful soul bond. There is mutual respect, love, freedom, and a commitment to assist each other in this spiritual journey.
Would you call yourselves soul mates?
Yes. Definitely. We have gone through many lifetimes as soul companions coming together to help each other and work towards a common purpose. We love and care for each other. There is no room for fear and complex emotions. Ours is a beautiful friendship that has been flowing between us across lifetimes. For instance, we were once Buddhist monks living in a monastery in Tibet. We met in medical college. Lakshmi was the only one who would listen to me while I talked about Jonathan Livingstone Seagull and spirituality. Eventually, she joined me in the search and we got married. From the beginning she was highly evolved. Unlike me, she had no character flaws.
What impact has spirituality had on the way you deal with money?
One of the beliefs about money that I have carried within me is that money is anti-spiritual and ugly. But an authentic exploration of life and spirituality taught me that money is neither good nor bad. It is just energy. In the right hands money can be used for co-creating wonderful realities.
Have you made any changes to your diet and eating habits?
We have become vegans slowly since the last three years after we realized that we were harming cows by injecting hormones to give more milk. Human greed is causing us to exploit nature. Occasionally, when we know that the milk is coming from happy cows, we drink it.
What is your daily routine like?
Very simple. We enjoy our morning coffee and breakfast. Then we go out for a walk in nature. Meditation practice follows. If there is any group meditation or workshop then till evening we are teaching. We love to go to villages and meet villagers whenever time permits us.
Why do you not have children?
Both of us are passionate about teaching and traveling all over the globe to raise consciousness. We felt we would not be able to do justice to the great responsibility of raising children. But babies can be of different natures, and right now, our dreams are our babies.
Your Life University is a big dream. How far have you travelled in making it a reality?
Life University work is progressing well, though there were many initial challenges. The first phase of Life University was completed by November 2011. A pyramid for meditation that also functions as a conference hall with a capacity to hold 400 people is ready. We are now in the middle of constructing residential facilities for seekers, students, and guests. Our other initiatives are spiritual agriculture, bala maitreyas (Little Buddha program for children), women empowerment, soul science and meditation in rural villages, and prosperity consciousness in the villages.
What are your other dreams?
To establish many life universities around the globe and this can transmit pure wisdom to people to assist in their evolution.
To form a spiritual bridge between countries with the help of ‘Life Ambassadors’ from all over the globe.
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