Bhanumathi Narasimhan is the younger sister of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Innocently at first, and with joyful awareness later, she has followed her brother, her Master in every step. Walking the path, she has witnessed the unfolding of the mystical life of the Master at each turn and would like to share these insightful and precious moments with every one of us.
Inspired by his vision for a stress-free world, she leads the women welfare and child-care initiatives of the Art of Living. From a small free school with 30 children of construction workers, the gift-a-smile project now supports 435 schools with over 58,904 underprivileged children.
Bhanumathi is also a meditation teacher. Her workshops have brought an experience of deep inner peace to thousands worldwide. Trained in her younger days as a Carnatic singer, people across the world wake up to her melodious voice in which she has rendered sacred chants and soulful bhajans through several albums.
She has previously authored two books, Tejasvini and Lalitha that expound the spiritual significance and mystical meaning behind popular Hindu scriptures and practices.
As the chairperson of the International Women’s Conference (IWC), her vision is to make a global connection of responsible women to catalyse positive transformation in society. Over 5000 women from 80 nationalities have participated in these conferences so far with eminent speakers from diverse spheres.
When asked about how she balances so many roles to perfection, she says, “My mother continues to be a great source of inspiration to me. She taught me by her example how to take responsibility for one’s own life. My grandmother taught me to see the smoother and happier side of life. My aunt taught me the value of independence. My husband taught me the value of freedom, my children and grandchildren, the value of innocence, my father, friendliness and my brother, love and compassion towards the whole of humanity. My guru has taught me to combine all these values appropriately and move on joyfully in the journey called life. When you have the right guidance, your life is an ocean of contentment.”
She holds a Master’s Degree in Sanskrit Literature from Bangalore University. She is married with two sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. She lives in Bangalore, India and travels all over the world to spread the message of meditation and service.
The Making of “Gurudev: On the Plateau of the Peak”
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a person who has touched millions of lives – what was he like as a child? Did he know that this was his path? How did he reveal it? What challenges did they face? What was the family like? Bhanumathi Narsimhan, Gurudev’s sister, speaks about her new book, Gurudev: On the Plateau of the Peak, a first of its kind biography of Gurudev that chronicles the spiritual master’s early life. The book, already a bestseller on Amazon released on the 11th of January’18.
Q1) How did you contemplate on writing an intimate account on Gurudev’s life? How did the idea take shape?
The decision to write the book was not taken in a moment. The idea has been building for a long time. So many people would ask me, “How was he as a child? What games would he play? What was he like in school, how were his college days, when did we find out about his chosen path?” So many questions! Each time I would be able to answer a few but it inspired me to pen down these precious memories so that I could share them with everybody.
Q2) The world knows Sri Sri as a humanitarian leader, and spiritual master. But, what is it like to be the sister of an enlightened master? How is he both as a brother and Guru?
I feel deeply grateful whenever I think about it—to be the sister of my Guru! And there has never been a conflict. I have always followed him, innocently at first, as a younger sister following her elder brother, and later, as my Master. You feel completely secure and taken care of when you have a Master in your life. Even when he was travelling, teaching and giving talks, he made it a point to be present for all the important occasions in my life. He was there for the baby showers, he was there when my children were born. He was always there.
Q3) What is a reader likely to find in the book? And how is it different from other books written about him?
Most of the other books are based on Gurudev’s wisdom. I suppose this is the first biography that shares moments from his younger days. I have shared several personal experiences for the first time. So I am sure it will be different!
Q4) Have you revealed any secrets about him in the book?
He is an open book! There’s nothing mysterious or secretive – only mystical and sacred!!
Q5) What can we look forward to in the book? How will it impact the young seeker’s mind?
This book is for everyone who enjoys reading. It’ll be a joyride. It’s for those who know him, those who don’t, and those who are curious. There are no conditions. Anyone can take the journey with me.
Q6) As a writer, how thrilling it has been for you to capture the mystical essence of Gurudev’s life through your pen? Could you provide us a glimpse into your journey of writing the book?
It has been a magical journey. It is always a joy to recollect our childhood and younger days, the days of travels, teaching, the coming together of the world as a family – I went through them innocently, but when I look back, the wisdom beyond the events is now clear to me.
I was writing bit by bit, whenever I found the time. I’ve written in hotels, in the Bangalore ashram, the German ashram, wherever I could find a quiet corner. Spending some time by the sea in California worked wonders. Words would flow out effortlessly as I gazed at the waves from the window. Each time I’d get new insights and the journey kept continuing.
But I had to complete it sometime!