Interview: Author Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna

Interview: Author Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna

Author’s Background: Author Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna, born into a traditional Hindu family in New Delhi, was introduced to the meditation at a young age. Alongside the family’s practice of Bhakti Yoga (devotional yoga) and Karma Yoga (yoga of selfless service), this early exposure to mindfulness laid the foundation for his spiritual journey.Despite achieving success as a professional swimmer and earning a degree in fashion retail and merchandise management, a significant turning point arrived with his participation in the Indian reality show “Big Switch!” While winning the show was an accomplishment, the most profound impact was the internal shift it ignited. He transitioned to managing his father’s business and became the business head of a fashion label.

Neel Preet:Guru Shri Siddhartha, your book title,“Shiva’s Grace” is truly intriguing. Can you elaborate on the role of Shiva in your spiritual journey and the book’s message?

Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna: Whatever we say about Bhagwan Shiv is less. It is like defining the infinite but I will still make a tiny attempt from my little mind since the question was put forward.Bhagwan Shiv is the soul of yoga, bhagwan shiv is the body of yoga, bhagwan shiv is the path of yoga as well as the purpose of yoga. It is through the Grace of Bhagwan Shiv that we begin our journey of yoga and it is through Bhagwan Shiv’s grace that we achieve yoga and unite with him also, hence the name Shiva’s Grace was the most obvious choice for the book’s title. The book provides insights on the most effective way to achieve yoga, offering a systematic viewpoint.

Neel Preet: Your bio mentions a pivotal moment where encountering underprivileged children sparked a search for deeper meaning. How did this experience shape your understanding of spirituality?

Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna: I think each person on earth goes through several life altering moments. I like to think of these moments as an opportunity provided by the universe to look into the depths of our heart. We can do this on our own or the universe will put us into a position where we will be forced to do this, since I was not doing it on my own, I believe the universe forced me to. The incident was about a few kids being happy just because they got to eat the same food like us at the show and were able to eat all 3 times. It was a moment that truly made me think about the shallow life I was living, where no amount of material happiness was giving me a permanent state of happiness while the kids had their happiest day in life just because they had normal food 3 times a day. The encounter that day made me sit down and reflect upon life and the choices I was making and where it would lead me. That day is etched in my memory as it set me on a course that I am on today .

Neel Preet: The book summary highlights “ancient wisdom blended harmoniously with modern-day insights!” Can you give some examples of how you bridge the gap between traditional yoga practices and contemporary life?

Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna: What people see as modern today, people of tomorrow will see it as ancient, and what we think of ancient today was one day also modern. This is the nature of humanity. If you look at the ancient texts, it’s not that the practices didn’t exist, and they wrote it out of thin air, even the ancient rishis and yogis compiled various knowledge into a summary based on their experience to address the issues of modern humans of those times, I with my experience have attempted to do that only. We are at a moment of time where a lot of vidya (knowledge that leads one to self realisation) is being confused and mixed with avidya (that form of knowledge which does not lead to self realization) and in the name of modernization many important and vital aspects of yoga are being discreetly but continuously being sidelined and I think this is unfair to yoga and those who practice yoga. Yoga being a dialogue between Bhagwan Shiv and Mata Shakti is eternal and timeless, it was as much releveant 5000 years ago as much as it is today and itll remain of the same value even 5000 years from now. The challenges faced by humanity today, whether it is lack of clarity on why to do yoga, how to do yoga, where to do yoga, who to go and do yoga with or how much of it to do, all of these and many more questions been answered and the way it has been answered is a simple systematic approach which just needs to be applied by anyone to get the best results and achieve yoga.

Neel Preet:You emphasise the importance of self-discovery through yoga. What specific practices within yoga do you find most helpful for achieving this?

Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna: Right from the onset of the yogic path, there are these pearls hidden inside deep within our body, mind, character which keep getting reveled. The deeper we go within the path of yoga, the deeper we go within our own self. If a student practices yoga and applies yoga in daily life, with each breath, with each word, with each action, with each situation they will discover more about the self. A continuous practice once perfected will automatically lead one to self realisation. All tools of yoga are important in this pursuit, whether it is following the yam and niyam which purifies the character and reduces the impact of the gunas, or the asana, mudra and kriya which removes the toxins from the body and perfects the body, or the pranayama which stabilizes the prana and the mind or the mantras which cleanses the energy as well as raises vibration, or the continuous meditative processes that channelize the prana towards the chakras. No tool of yoga is less important or more important, when practiced under a guru they all play a pivotal role towards self realization.

Neel Preet: The Himalayas and ashrams are featured prominently. How do physical environments play a role in spiritual growth according to your teachings?

Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna: An ashram is a place where one is taught to discipline the mind, conquer the ego and perfect the yogic Sadhana and Himalayas are naturally occurring ashrams if we could call them to be. Himalayas on their own merit have immense power of transformation and perhaps hold the most important energy centers aswell as pilgrimages. No great book of Hinduism is complete without the mention of Himalayas and no yogic Sadhana is ever complete without traversing the Himalayas. Himalayas and it’s ranges are mentioned in Rig-Veda Samhita. The Himalayas is called “Himavanta” during Vedic Times. It is of such importance that even Mata Shakti took birth in the Himalayas and is known as the daughter of the Himalayas, while Bhagwan Shiv is always depicted meditating in the Himalayas. Even what we call as the highest jyotirling on Earth, the holy Kedarnath Dham which is also described as the 3rd eye of earth is located in the Himalayas. We also have our Ashram in Gangotri the birth place of Mata Ganga and is famously called the Ram Mandir Ashram in Kankhu where we spend time every year doing our yogic Sadhana, even a single day spent there energizes us for the whole year. I would suggest everyone to take some time off and visit our Ashram in the Himalayas to go deeper into what they are trying to achieve through yoga.

Neel Preet:“Shiva’s Grace” includes heartwarming stories and personal anecdotes. How do you use storytelling to convey spiritual wisdom and inspire your readers?

Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna: From time immemorial, stories have played a crucial role in trying to put across messages, be it Ramayan which teaches us the importance of Dharma or Mahabharat which teaches us about our inner and external struggles and how to deal with them, it is through the stories that we are inspired to bring about revolutionary changes in our life. Stories are a fun yet powerful medium to express ideas that go beyond generational gaps and geographical identities. It was a very conscious decision to use stories affectively to put our message and inspire others, that if they could do it, then so can you.

Neel Preet:The book delves into the profound teachings of sacred texts. How do you encourage readers to approach these texts in a meaningful and relevant way?

Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna: The term Sacred texts already invites the readers and students to approach these texts in a sacred manner. If one approaches these texts as just written words, then they will always filter it with their ego and take what they want to, rather one should approach these texts as sacred and holy and surrender themselves to these texts, then these texts will reveal to you what you need and sometimes the difference between success is what we want versus what we need. Life is a big mystery and we always don’t have the answers, but our ancestors have made attempts to answer all this for us, we should be grateful that such beautiful texts are available to us and can resolve all of our life problems.

Neel Preet:You received recognition from esteemed figures in Hinduism. How does this recognition impact your responsibility as a spiritual guide?

Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna: In all fairness I have been blessed with the love and guidance of many noble souls of India right from birth, to be in their company in its own is a great reward. I just hope that their blessings and love will continue to shower upon me for all great things in the end are a result of blessings. I count my blessings everyday and remind myself of the responsibilities that come with it and also seek forgiveness for any mistakes that I may have knowingly and unknowingly made on the way. I try to give my best and if I’ve made a mistake I try my best not to repeat them. We all have the power to be a saint or be a sinner, and through these noble figures present in my life I am constantly reminded of my path to be a saintly figure and follow the tenants of Dharma as much as I can. An example of this being, I was asked by a noted government official not to chant mantra during their official event, I simply refused to be a part of that event as it stood against the very foundations of Dharma. Let me remind you, many a times the path of truth and dharma is a very lonely one, but it is also the most satisfying one.

Neel Preet: Beyond “Shiva’s Grace,” do you have plans for future books or teachings you’d like to share with the world?

Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna: Oh, to be honest, Shiva’s Grace is not a stand alone book. It is a part of a 7 series of books all based on yoga which deal with different aspects of yoga. We have created a comprehensive series of books on Yoga. We have divided the book into seven parts to make it easier to read. To truly grasp Yoga, one must explore these parts as interconnected sections, rather than separate books. This work is a journey towards self-discovery and transformation, offering foundational principles and advanced practices. Each part provides a unique perspective on Yoga, guiding readers towards holistic wellness and spiritual enlightenment. Whether you are new to Yoga or an experienced practitioner, these 7 books will help you find inner peace and spiritual growth. I plan to release one new book each year in all formats, so the next book available successively will be –
#2- Shakti’s Grace: Sounds of the Universe (A book about Mantra Yoga)

#3- Ram’s Grace: Enlightened Bodies, Quiet Minds (A book about Karma Yoga)

#4- Krishan’s Grace: The Song of the Soul (A commentary on Shrimad Bhagawad Gita)

#5- Siddhartha’s Grace: The Guru Within (A book about applying the Guru’s wisdom)

#6- Patanjali’s Grace: Threads of Consciousness (A commentary on Yoga Sutras)

#7- Gorakhnath’s Grace: A Celestial Union (A commentary on Hatha Yoga)

Neel Preet:“Shiva’s Grace” promises a path to inner harmony and self-realisation. What is your ultimate hope for readers who embark on this journey with your book?Guru Shri Siddhartha Shiv Khanna: I am hoping that through this book we will minimize the damage that commercialization of yoga has done upon yoga and the practice of yoga and the readers will have available to them a straightforward yet systematic approach to yoga which allows them to reach their full potential and become a yogi or a yogini.I hope that the readers are aware while they read the book and also aware when they apply the teachings of the books. We are always there, so it means for any questions they are free to reach out or come to us in person to go deeper into the teachings at our Ashram in Gangotri or Rurkee in India

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