Published: 03rd July 2019
This guru has been to IIT and IIM but wants to connect with his students spiritually
Acharya Prashant left behind a lucrative career after graduating from IIT and IIM to shine the light of knowledge on others
They say that not everyone who wanders is lost, and not all who tread the trodden path are steadfast. At a time when people flock to the IITs and IIMs like sheep being herded to greener pasture by the ever-vigilante shepherd (the students being the sheep and the parents the shepherd in this context), one man decided to turn a blind eye to the lure of hefty paychecks and promotions and instead opened his third eye to the world of spiritualism. Acharya Prashant, the founder of the Advait Movement that is rapidly gaining pace across various social platforms, is something of a prodigy. He excelled at academics, securing top grades and honours, before studying at both IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad, besides also gaining admission to the Civil Services simultaneously.
He was almost spoiled for choice, one could say. Acharya ji, as he is addressed by his followers, wanted to seek out that which lies beyond the realm of temporary satisfaction. “I never truly left anything behind. One has knowledge, wealth, fashion, education and so on. One must decide what one should devote these attributes to, a certain cause or mission, so to speak. You can use them for saving disappearing species or minimising climate change. Since I have the required resources, I decided to dedicate my efforts to such critical causes,” says Acharya ji. He states that he has moved towards ‘something bigger’, something of a larger calibre. The Advait Movement provides solutions to those issues that cannot be solved by technology or science – wars, family conflicts, dualities, divorces and the like. It seeks to ‘address the minds of men’, which is where Acharya ji believes these problems stem. “The movement has components such as shabdyoga, which is the medium through which people come together and listen to each other’s views and opinions, and shoonya-smaran, which is essentially remembrance of the aforementioned knowledge.
Acharya ji feels that insufficient efforts and methods are being taken to propagate spiritual teachings in India. “We have Advait Learning Camps being conducted four to five times every month. I travel extensively to conduct these sessions, and prior spiritual learning is not necessary to partake in them,” says Acharya ji. His institute hosts Student Development Programmes (SDP) and Management Development Programmes (MDP), and his teachings are carried across to his audience via a plethora of ‘spiritual vehicles’, including books, articles, videos and transcriptions. With over 3 lakh subscribers, his YouTube channel has proved quite successful in establishing him as a major exponent of spiritualism. “For the Student Development Programme, which is now known as the Holistic Individual Development Programme, is essentially an initiation of youngsters into the spiritual way of living. The Management Development Programme, on the other hand, is aimed at working professional,” he says.
The spiritual teacher also subscribes to the opinion that introducing religious components in schools and colleges is essential for the betterment of the students. “Spirituality exists only because suffering exists,” he says. “Our ancient systems of knowledge, as seen in Nalanda, Vikramshila and Taxila, cannot be directly imbibed within the contemporary systems of teachings, because fields such as astronomy have changed dramatically. However, other fields remain relevant even by modern standards and can be adapted accordingly.”
Acharya ji serves as not only a teacher but also as a mentor and friend to those around him. With the world around us in political turmoil and social chaos, spiritual figures like him embody the eye of the storm – the source of peace within a violent hurricane of discrimination, hatred, crimes and wrong-doings.