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I do not have much time for such social or cultural activities. My time is divided into pooja, yogabhyasa, astrological consultations in person, in post and via internet. Some people come to learn astrology and depending on their abilities I teach something I know. I do not award any certificates nor conduct flashing seminars. I do not even confine to a syllabus. But, I am strict about the tests I conduct. Unless and until the student learns what I desire, I will go no further. I require them to make their own studies, to think, make some experiments and come to me only after their ground work. That way it would help them to develop individually - just like what my grandfather did with me!
Yes, certificates, honorary titles can influence the first comer but not always. My clients never ask me about my titles and certificates and I too have forgotten about them. I used to visit a famous astrologer every year. He was my well wisher. He was the first astrologer to receive doctorate from governmental university - there was a row regarding this and vice-chancellor had resigned under pressure from the Governor of the State. During the early days, he used to sport doctorate certificate prominently. Gradually, he lost interest in such valuable treasures and year after year it lost the prominent place and just before his passing away, it stood near a broken chair on the floor! To set up a medical practice, a new doctor needs to display his qualifications but as the days go on, nobody looks at his certificates as the client hood builds up faith based on the recommendations of their friends and relatives.
I was initiated to yogabhyasa (asana, pranayama, dhyana) at the my age of 10 years by Sri Raghavendra Rao. Unlike the present cult gurus who mix 2-3 asanas with a dog like breathing (swana pranayama)- as if it is the ultimate- my guru taught only asanas for a complete year. It was followed by pranayama for the next year, when we perfected in asanas. The final year was for chakra awareness. Nowadays, all these can be learnt in 90 days! My friend on 91st day started teaching others. You may find many young boys in summer holidays, spreading good news. If you ask them, "Brother, have you read the Book in full?", they would fumble , "I have taken to religion just 3 days ago, for I wanted to spend the holidays in saving others' souls." I did not spend a single paisa to learn Yoga, as in those days people would teach for social service and they were respected by all! Some of the yoga postures, have been showcased. Take a look at them and start yogabhyasa, in your own way. And encourage your children and friends to practice yoga.
Pictures of Rudra Homa conducted on Mahashivaratri, 2008
Some more pictures......
Born and brought up in a religious Purohit (priest) family, I was initiated to jyotishya (astrology), purohitya in my younger days by my grand father Sri Narasimha Murthy Jois, who was honored by Sri Sri Shankarachaya of Sringeri Sharada Peeta, Karnataka. In my school days, I thought that my grand father was an easily available psychologist for the villagers and astrology was sheer non-sense that gives livelihood to Brahmins (usually poor). I was able to make the charts and deduce the results, but did not believe it works. Indeed, it was a hard time to some astrologers (including my kind but short tempered grandfather!) But one thing, I would do my ground work before I talk - unlike the rationalists. A well known rationalist asked me once, "what is meant by ayanamsha?". Not knowing this basic fact, he had grown a popular rationalist. I explained that it is an astronomical phenomenon and it does not deserve to be included in his criticism of astrology.
By the Grace of God, astrology was spared from him for a day or two! I renewed my faith in astrology after several experiments and fell back on my grand father for further guidance - of course, with double speed to make up the loss of time. I was licensed to independent practice at my age of 17 years by my grand father. For the fun of it, I took Jyotishya Praveena examination conducted by Indian Council of Astrological Sciences, Madras and was qualified in first class in the year 1991. I found the next course boring (as I did not subscribe to the effectiveness of Kalachakra dasa, Astakavarga and Saham etc.,) but was supposed to go through the same once again to have a good score. I deviated to KP system (has lot of literature but few practical examples!) and was qualified through the Universal Astro & Occult Sciences, Hyderabad. I was not satisfied with the efficacy of KP ayanamsha and decided whatever I have learnt from my grandfather is far more superior than any astrology courses. During those days of interaction I came across astrologers having no wisdom, astrologers full of wisdom, astrologers craving for political influences or money, astrologers fighting with each other and astrologers awarding titles among themselves. I served as a faculty in ICAS, Secunderabad till my closest friend National Secretary Sri Sai Nath expired. Actually, I was never for such social activities but it was only because of Sri Sai Nath I attended the conferences and meetings. After his passing away I did not feel like continuing these activities.