In an exclusive interview with Spiritual Leader – AiR Atman in Ravi, Founder of AiR Institute of Realization and AiR Center of Enlightenment
AiR – Atman in Ravi was born in Bangalore on October 15, 1966. He became a successful businessman at a young age and revolutionized retailing in India with his stores Kids Kemp, Big Kids Kemp, and Kemp Fort.
However, he realized that life is not just about making money and shut down his business at the age of 40 to pursue H.I.S. work – Humanitarian, Inspirational, and Spiritual work.
As part of his humanitarian initiative, AiR set up three charitable homes to provide free medical treatment and care to the poor, destitute, and needy.
He also built the Shivoham Shiva Temple in Bangalore in 1995. AiR now believes that religion is just a kindergarten of Spirituality and people should go beyond it to truly realize God.
AiR’s guru inspired him to search for the Truth and answer questions such as “Who am I?” and “What is the purpose of my life?”
This led him to give up his life of achievement and fulfillment to pursue enlightenment. After a few years of intense search in retreat, he realized that we are not just our bodies, but also the soul or Atman. He changed his name to AiR and dedicated his life to helping people realize the truth.
AiR has published over 40 books, composed and sung about 1200 bhajans, and written several blogs, quotes, and poems based on his realizations.
He also conducts various initiatives, such as AiR Spiritual Retreats and talks, to help people evolve on their spiritual journey.
He is a TEDx speaker and is invited to speak at several organizations like YPO, Rotary Club, Lions Club, corporations, schools, and colleges.
AiR conducts webinars every week on Zoom, ASKAiR sessions every day, and Facebook Live to help people realize the ultimate purpose of their life.
AiR, please tell us about your background and what led you to the path of Spirituality.
AiR: I come from a retailing background from Bangalore owning KidsKemp, Big KidsKemp and Kemp Fort Mall.
I was a successful businessman for 25 years and climbed many peaks of success and achievement but at the age of 40, after making millions, I realized that life is not just about making money but making a difference.
I started doing Humanitarian, Inspirational and Spiritual work. As a part of Humanitarian work, I built 3 charitable homes for the homeless and the destitute.
I also built a Shiva Temple in the year 1995 in Bangalore. It is now known as the Shivoham Shiva Temple.
I now believe that religion is just a kindergarten of Spirituality and people should go beyond religion to truly realize God.
My Guru, my Spiritual Master, Dada J P Vaswani inspired me to explore Spirituality and go beyond my life.
He initiated me to go on a quest seeking the Truth about life, seeking the answers to questions regarding life, death, birth and rebirth. I gave up my life of achievement and fulfilment in search of the final peak of life – Enlightenment.
After a few years of intense search in retreat, deep in the mountains, I realized that we are not this body.
We are the Soul, the Atman. So, I changed my name to AiR – Atman in Ravi. This was my metamorphosis.
From then on, I started living as an instrument of God, doing His Divine Will. This life has led to several Realizations that formed the new mission of my life – ‘To Help People discover the way to Eternal Happiness through Enlightenment.’
Please tell us a little about your journey of Enlightenment and Realizations.
AiR: My journey of Enlightenment was my journey of overcoming ignorance. I went on a quest. I wanted to know, what is the way to ultimate happiness.
I was in quest of God – Who is God? Where is God? What is God? I wanted to know what was the purpose of life.
What was death? What was Karma? What was rebirth? All these questions led me on a quest. It was my Spiritual Master, Dada, who guided me on going on a Talaash and it is this Talaash that led me to realize the truth.
I asked questions. I overcame ignorance and the spark of Enlightenment shone on me with the grace of the Divine.
What are the core principles and values that guide your philosophy and teachings?
AiR: I do not have any such core principles and values. I only guide people to the truth. What is the truth? The truth is – ‘I am not ‘I’.’ The truth is – ‘I was born nine months before the birth date on my birth certificate.’ The truth is – ‘I will never die.’
That is why people will say that I passed away when the body dies. These are all the truth and I guide people to realize the truth.
Realization of the Truth, Self-Realization and God-Realization is Enlightenment and my mission of life is to help people realize the truth.
What is Eternal Happiness? How can one achieve it?
AiR: Eternal Happiness is that state of bliss, joy and peace, where there is no suffering. Eternal Happiness is not success or achievement that gives pleasure.
It is not just peace that comes from contentment and fulfilment. It is discovering the purpose of life. It is Enlightenment.
It is realization that I am a manifestation of the Divine. I am a Divine SOUL, the Spark of Unique Life that is a part of the Supreme Immortal Power, SIP, that we all call as GOD.
It is living in a state of SatChitAnanda – ‘Sat’ is truth, ‘Chit’ means Consciousness and ‘Ananda’ is eternal bliss.
SatChitAnanda means Eternal Bliss that comes from Truth Consciousness. This is a state of Eternal Happiness, where you are liberated from the triple suffering – pain of the body, misery of the mind and agony of the ego. You live in a state of everlasting peace, love and joy.
Kindly brief us about the AiR Institute of Realization, AiR Centre of Enlightenment and their specialization.
AiR: AiR Institute of Realization is an institution being created to continue the work of helping people discover the way of eternal happiness and everlasting peace through Enlightenment.
We want to institutionalize the work so that it lives on. And the AiR Centre of Enlightenment is the centre in which the AiR Institute of Realization would train Masters, who will help seekers to go on a quest, on a Spiritual journey to realize the truth, overcome ignorance and be enlightened and ultimately, be liberated from the cycle of death and rebirth and be united with the Divine.
How do you approach incorporating mindfulness and self-awareness into your teachings?
AiR: To be in that state of Consciousness is to attain thoughtlessness, what is considered to be mindfulness and self-awareness.
Therefore, we guide people to still the mind, to try to kill the mind. The mind is like a Phoenix. It would never die.
It will return with wings to try and tie us with strings. It is the mind that makes us blind and then, in thought, we are caught.
Therefore, the challenge is to still the mind. The mind is like a monkey. We have to cut its tail, the EY, that is Ever-Yelling and Ever-Yearning and make the monkey into a monk.
Therefore. We guide people on how to deal with thoughts, which become the mind. To be in that state of Consciousness, where you activate the intellect and you become the Master of your mind.
What is the importance of community and support in Spiritual and personal growth in life?
AiR: The focus in community is only to help people on the Spiritual path. Personal growth is Spiritual growth.
The community must realize that we are all manifestations of the one Divine. Therefore, to help the community attain the state of non-duality, to overcome the demons of anger, hate, revenge and jealousy, to live with love, knowing that we are all appearing different in terms of our body but in reality, we are all one Divine soul, one supreme energy that is in all.
How can one put across their message to individuals who may be sceptical or resistant to Spiritual practices or personal development? Non-believers – How can you bring about the realization of the importance of Spirituality in them?
AiR: The message of Spirituality is the message of the truth. If somebody is sceptical, it is because they confuse Spirituality to be another religion.
If they realize that Spirituality is a science, then people who are atheists or even agnostics, will start listening.
The non-believers are non-believers only because they are confused about God. How many Gods? How many religions?
How many scriptures? Spirituality is a university. It goes beyond all kindergartens of religion. While all religions are good, the reason people become non-believers, the reason people are sceptical is because there is no science behind religion.
But Spirituality is the science of the spirit. The principles of Spirituality are based on the truth, which any intelligent person can understand.
To realize that we are not this body that will die, we are the Spark Of Unique Life, the Soul, that is eternal and immortal. Therefore, these principles help non-believers return to be enlightened with the truth.
What would be your advice to someone who is just beginning their Spiritual journey?
AiR: If you are starting a Spiritual journey, remember that it is a science. Remember that it is all about realizing the truth. Remember that it has a purpose – to discover the purpose of our existence.
Why did we get a human birth? Why did we come on earth? Why is it that we celebrate our birthday on a day which is nine months after the day that we were actually born?
Why do people say, ‘Rest in Peace’ when a body dies? Why do we think, we will die, when in reality, we are all eternal Souls?
If you really want to join the Spiritual journey, then, be aware of these Spiritual questions. Seek answers! Realize the Truth! And you will be Spiritually enlightened.
How can one incorporate mindfulness, meditation and other Spiritual practices into daily life?
AiR: Every day, if we spend some time in silence, if we can still the mind, we can reach the state of Mindfulness, Thoughtlessness or Consciousness.
Meditation is to slow down the Mental Thought Rate, the MTR but it is just one of the several Spiritual practices.
One has to go in quest of the truth. One has to overcome ignorance. One must take the help and guidance of a Guru, a Spiritual Master who is himself enlightened.
These are all needed if one wants to progress in the Spiritual path. One’s daily life must not be devoid of Bhakti or devotion, Gyana or wisdom, Dhyana or silence or even Karma or doing the Will of the Divine, living as a Divine Instrument for doing the will of the Supreme.
Have you had any setbacks in your journey of Spirituality? If yes, what have they been? How did you overcome them?
AiR: There are no setbacks in the journey of Spirituality. For a true seeker of the truth, there is only evolution. We evolve everyday as we move forward in this Spiritual journey.
As long as we are sincere in our love for the Divine and attaining Liberation, as long as we are seeking answers for the truth, we will only move forward, we will evolve every day as we grow into a Spiritually enlightened person.
Setbacks will be overcome. We do not even account for such setbacks when you are on a spiritual journey because you realize that everything is like a show, a drama and we come and we go. Everything is an illusion. Therefore, we overcome our suffering and we are unaffected by the surroundings of the material world.
What do you consider your greatest achievement as a Spiritual Master on this path?
AiR: A Spiritually enlightened person doesn’t blow his horn on achievements. A Spiritually enlightened person realizes that we are nothing.
What are we? We are not the body, not the mind and not the ego. Then, who are we? We are! We exist! We are just a Spark Of Unique Life, the Soul.
We are a tiny speck of the Supreme Immortal Power, SIP. The SIP is everywhere and in everything. Therefore, realizing the truth is the greatest of all blessings and we don’t consider it to be an achievement because even this realization comes with the grace of the Divine and there can be no greater blessing than this.
A Spiritually enlightened person doesn’t need to talk of his achievement because he knows he is ‘nothing’ and by being ‘nothing’, he becomes one with the Supreme. He becomes ‘everything’.
|Are you an
Entrepreneur or Startup?
Do you have a Success Story to Share?
SugerMint would like to share your success story.
We cover entrepreneur Stories, Startup News, Women entrepreneur stories, and Startup stories