Spirituality is ultimately a journey from the head to the heart and there are few cases as compelling as Rajaque Rahman’s.
Rajaque, who holds a masters degree in Mass Communication, worked as a journalist with publications like the economic times for close to a decade before he became an Art of Living teacher. He now travels extensively in North-East India to teach Part-1 and Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP).
He was first introduced to the Art of Living by a doctor, on one of his many attempts to find a cure for his severe migraines.
“Journalists are usually cynical about spirituality. Also given my background, it took a lot of convincing for me to attend the Part-1 course. Ultimately I decided to do the course in 2000,” says Rajaque.
“During the course, I found nothing against my religion or beliefs and the knowledge really touched me. It was love at first sight with the knowledge.”
He finds it hard to describe the many changes that the course had brought about in him.
“For starters, my migraines completely disappeared. I have not had a single attack in the last 12 years. But I feel that this is only a side-effect because I have grown in different scales since then. My whole perception and perspective on life has changed,” he points out.
“I now look at problems as opportunities to bring out my best. I have learnt to drop anger. The course has, more importantly, taught me to be free and comfortable with myself.”
He continued doing the other advanced courses until one day, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar asked him to do the Teachers Training Course (TTC).
“At that time, I had nothing planned. I was working for a magazine in the Middle-East. One day, I came to the ashram and Gurudev told me that I would be a good teacher and asked me to do the TTC. I quit my job to do the course because I was not granted leave.”
Rajaque became a teacher in 2005. He then went on to head the Art of Living’s Media Communication Bureau for two years before moving to the North-East as a travelling teacher.
“In 2008, I travelled to Muslim villages in Assam. It was difficult to make them understand and value the knowledge. But there were so many healing experiences, like high sugar levels suddenly becoming normal, that slowly people began accepting the knowledge. It was a humbling experience,” he recalls.
Rajaque points out that the lifestyle in tribal areas like Arunachal Pradesh, where he is currently teaching, is quite unhealthy.
“Making the knowledge relevant in places like these is quite a big challenge. But we have learnt to present it in a way that is relevant. Gurudev’s knowledge is universal, but we try to tailor the knowledge as required. People also come to the course to relieve themselves of their ailments. The local people are now getting involved in a big way.”
Rajaque has now brought the Art of Living to many districts in Arunachal Pradesh including Itanagar, Papumparey, East Siang, West Siang, East Kameng and West Kameng.
“We conduct a lot of orientation and awareness programmes. Right now we are making Art of Living relevant by educating people,” he explains.
He is also involved in the construction of a new ashram in the region, apart from acting as a mentor for the free schools for children that are being set-up.
Underlying all his efforts is spirituality, which Rajaque believes is the process of becoming comfortable with everything, including oneself.
“Usually one gets caught up in one’s thoughts and emotions. Spirituality makes one free from all prejudice and bondage. I have learnt to become a witness to my life. I just do my best and see how things unfold.”
The universality of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s principles is what strikes a chord with Rajaque.
“This knowledge is simple yet deep and can be accepted by everyone. I want to bring this life transforming experience to as many people as possible. My life becomes worthwhile even if I take to just one person.”
He feels that the first and only barrier to the knowledge is the process of coming to the course.
“As soon as one sits on the course, all barriers fall away. My parents initially had trouble understanding why I quit my job and went to the ashram. But things turned a full circle once they experienced the depth after spending time Gurudev. Now they consult me before taking any decisions.”
Rajaque admires the way Sri Sri connects with anybody he meets.
“In my profession, I meet all kinds of people. But I have never come across one like Sri Sri, who looks at humanity without barriers and considers everybody as his own. He thinks for all humanity and the world really needs him now.”
Writer: Harshini Vakkalanka