President of the Sri Sri University in Cuttak, Odisha, Educator, Mentor of Change at the Atal Innovation Mission for the government of India, former banker and now an established writer, Professor Rajita Kulkarni Bagga’s accolades don’t have a full stop.
The global thought leader and transformational leadership coach who newly published her book ‘The Unknown Edge: A Mystical Journey of Self-Discovery’ took us on a spiritual tour in an uplifting discussion with Amish Tripathi, Director of the Nehru Centre in London.
Rajita’s cognisance and recognition of the value that meditation and reflection has gradually allowed her to dig deeper into her self-being. “The reservoir of strength, which is within us, can only be accessed by us through meditation. That is the biggest security we have.”
While she expresses her traumatic experience that left the city of Mumbai and the world in terror during the 2008 Mumbai Attacks, she reflects that “sometimes life shakes you and makes you realise what is really important”. Her description of the night her husband and she were stuck, like the many others at the Taj Palace in Colaba runs chills down every reader’s spine.
She narrates the ‘unprepared, uneducated and unseen incident’: “We went through a horror film. We missed the terrorists five times until we were rescued the next morning.”
The educator adds, “Such episodes help you understand what is important for you in life. We spend our life running after so many things but all you want is to be able to be alive.”
She also reflects on the teachings of the pandemic – to be healthy and alive. Such unprecedented times unveil the immense love that exists in the world, which Rajita claims are empowering. Indian rishis had always advocated ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ translates to ‘one world family’.
Isolation and loneliness can be tough monsters to fight. Britain is one of the new countries to appoint a Minister for Loneliness to tackle these ill effects of the pandemic.
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As a devotee of the spiritual leader Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Rajita sequentially deciphers the needs to have a guru for the …… “For everything in life, we need a teacher who can teach us. So how can one live life without the guidance of someone?”
She recalls the words of her Ajji (grandmother), “our parents are our teachers but there is a bigger guru who can show us the purpose of life.”
She immediately glued to the vibe, full of joy and happiness, at Gurudev’s preachings like bees to honey. “The way of life of an enlightened living master is the message, the knowledge and the goal all in itself.”
Ancient Indian scriptures embrace the concept that God, guru and Self are the same. “A guru makes you capable of realising that purity and reaching the dharma that you have taken birth for”, for divinity lies within us all.
The disciple explains that a satguru or true guru will help you liberate yourself and attain the purpose of your life. “When you find the right guru, your sorrow diminishes, joy builds up, sense of abundance dawns in life and your latent talents come out.”
Different people are ready to endure their spirituality at different points in life; some today and some in a different lifetime.
“A guru can explode and expand your thinking beyond the context of time and space as you can comprehend.”
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Rajita reiterates one of Gurudev’s principles on ‘life is a combination of destiny and free will’.
He recommends “looking at the past as destiny to free you from your guilt or resentment and the future as free will to keep you energised, enthusiastic and positive”. This switch can relieve us of the burden that anchors us down.
Indian teaching methods can be traditional yet open-minded spiritually. “If our foundation is not strong, how will the pillars stand? Students are grappling with mental, peer and parental pressure.”
The inclusion of enduring philosophical and meditational programmes in the curriculum at the Sri Sri University are in a way designed to revive the glory of Nalanda University and Takshashila University, amongst the oldest in the world dates back to the 5th century BC.
*Info: The Nehru Centre London