The Mystique of ‘M’
By then, M was more than convinced that it was not a mere overworked fancy that magicked the stranger into being some years ago. Weren’t the subsequent events proof enough of the authenticity of that experience? How else could one explain the way in which he came by spiritual knowledge, as if fortuitously? Or, to risk a bit of levity, was it the case of the mountain coming to Mohammed? It was not that he was an unwilling adept, but, given the religious persuasion he was heir to by birth—however unorthodox his immediate family was—it would not have been easy for him to indulge in pursuits that would certainly have dubbed him an apostate. (Interestingly, he learned about yoga from a book his father borrowed from a friend. This book was B.K.S. Iyenger’s Light on Yoga).
M’s spiritual adventure was not merely intellectual. He rigorously trained in ashtanga yoga by Shri Sharma, a yoga teacher of repute near his place. A tantric instructed him in certain mantras and lent him Arthur Avalon’s Serpent Power. He also read Swami Chinmayananda’s Japa Yoga and Gayatri and began to chant the Gayatri Mantra regularly. His appetite for knowledge was voracious. He befriended the librarian at the Public Library in Thiruvananthapuram and this helped in ensuring a steady supply of books. Books and books and more books; he devoured them all—the Upanishads, the different Gitas, Yoga and Vedanta texts. His reading had a gratuitous outcome; he discovered that Sanskrit was none too difficult to learn; and he did learn it. It was a necessary means to first hand comprehension of the Hindu scriptures.