An Indian actor's tryst with spirituality  

By Vinod Khanna as told to Suma Varughese

I've always been interested in spirituality, because my family was inclined that way. Annual pilgrimages to Rishikesh and Hardwar were de rigueur.But I consciously turned to spirituality when I was quitting college to work on my first film.

I was attracted to by a picture of Paramhansa Yogananda, and read his book Autobiography of a Yogi, in one sitting.I felt I knew this man and his thoughts instinctively. Later, in America, a psychic told me that I had been an American disciple of Yogananda in my previous birth and I had died in World War II.Yogananda's book triggered off my interest in meditation.Within a year, I learnt transcendental meditation. I also attended J. Krishnamurthy's discourses. Soon, I reached an impasse.

Trancendental meditation relaxed me, yet Krishnamurthy was dead against it. The dilemma was resolved when I met Osho, whom I immediately recogised as my guru. He made it clear there was no path without a guru, and that one progressed to the state of no-meditation through meditation. Osho's stress on witnessing the Self changed my life. To find the observer as my goal. I went through many therapies and practices. Walk and watch yourself walk, breathe and watch yourself breathe. At the end, you realize that the observer is the observed. When I took sanyas, monkhood, in 1984, my marriage to Gita broke up.

On returning to Mumbai in 1986, I had to rebuild my life. Today, I'm married again and have two children from this marriage. I'm also back in films, but my priorities have changed. Acting is today a small part of who I am. I would rather spend time with my children or talk to friends. Fame and power no longer entice me. I'm launching my son Akshaye into a film career with Himalaya Putra, an Indian movie. But my real responsibility is to pass on my spiritual experiences to him and siblings. My wife has also become a sanyasi ( a nun, the Osho way ).

As for me, I suddenly realized that I was in a stste of let go. Today my mind is silent. But awareness is total, all questions have dropped. I live life moment to moment. There is no anger, jealousy or desire. Instead, there is empathy, compassion, love. My self-acceptance is complete. I'm 200 per cent comfortable with myself. Smoking and drinking are habits of the body. If they stay, they stay, if they drop, they drop. I can also accept others easily. You become aware people are who they are because of condiitioning. I believe there's a great power holding us together. I trust that power. I surrender to it.



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