Journey to redemption
Amar Nath Wadehra

One Master one Disciple
by Jyotii Subramanian. Yogi Impressions, Mumbai. Pages IX+174. Rs 250.

One Master one DiscipleBORN feet-first, Jyotii appeared destined for an unusual life. A pampered child, she grew up listening and learning Carnatic music and wearing ahead-of-the-time dresses, thanks to her entrepreneur mother. Belonging to a family from Kerala’s Palakkad district, she had spent her childhood in Bengal and Bihar before finally moving to Chandigarh (the move was triggered off by a chance eavesdropping by her father on the sweet-nothings that his teenage daughter was exchanging with a lad over the phone).

Despite a hawk-eyed father and a possessive, albeit liberal mother, she managed to live an unconventional life. While still a college student, she married a Sikh farmer. The marriage—opposed by their respective families—turned out to be a stormy one. A marriage on the rocks and the consequent separation would convince the reader that the author was surely hotfooting it to the Doomsville.

But, then things began to take a different turn. During her separation years in Australia, she had a couple of para-normal experiences that hastened her reunion with her family in Chandigarh. Although the relationship with her husband hadn’t fully come out of the woods, there were enough reassuring positives.

‘Visions’ and ‘spiritual experiences’ became instrumental in taking her into the fold of Yogiraj Siddhanath—affectionately addressed as Gurunath by his followers. Thence started the journey to redemption that is still continuing.

The book’s title and the blurb on its back remind one of such books on spiritualism as Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi and Dr Paul Brunton’s A Search in Secret India. There are references to karma, especially when Jyotii rationalises one of her particularly heart-breaking relationships, or when she describes a Red Indian Chief as her grandfather in a previous life.

There are other such details that make one reflect on the mysteries of life. For example, the interplay of contrary forces that mould one’s destiny becomes apparent, not immediately but when the proverbial dust has settled. So, she is able to understand the influence of the spiritual undercurrents only after she is extricated from the darkest phase of her life.

Skeptics might well question the need for having one more ‘New Age Guru’ when already there are a legion of them promising to improve our here and hereafter. Others might look askance at this guru’s corporate style approach—a dedicated publishing house with a website that sells books, audios and videos; each book comes with a postage-prepaid business reply card to enable readers to enroll in the mailing list.

You might also be wondering at the propensity of our gurus and godmen for partiality towards the well-heeled. Nirvana may not come cheap ’n’ easy, but read this book for what it really is—the saga of a tortured but resilient soul’s successful bid for solace, courtesy her preceptor.