Since his teenage age of just 19, Swami BV Padmanabha has lived a life of brahmachari. After Nince years of vowed celibacy, he received his Guru Maharaj, the sacred order of resignation and was given the name of Swami Bhaktivedanta Padmanabha. His life work has been dedicated to helping others and his practice of Bhakti Yoga.
Mirko Betz, our South America reporter caught up with him at Eco Yoga Park in Argentina to find out more about this inspiring man.
YT: Swami, please tell us about yourself, who (do you think) you are and what do you do in this world?
Swami BV Padmanabha: I am a spiritual living being, “made” of sat-cit & ananda
-eternity, consciousness and bliss- and (in a general way) I am here as everyone of us, to discover my ultimate identity as such and act accordingly, and of course try to share that message (by precept but mainly by example) with the rest of my universal family that is not yet aware that they are my family.
YT: What is your recipe for happiness?
Swami BV Padmanabha: Try to do away with selfishness in your heart forever. ThatÂ´s the root cause of all disease. Try to live for giving, sharing, loving, serving, and your life will be sublime.
YT: If you were food what kind of food would you be?
Swami BV Padmanabha: I would choose to be some food that may create the most uplifting effect in the consciousness of people, no matter which food it may be externally, but the inner purpose”¦but a vegetarian dish please, prepared and offered with devotion.
YT: What book have you read more than once?
SBVP: Bhagavad Gita. Twenty times approx..And counting”¦
YT: What movie have you seem more than once?
Swami BV Padmanabha: I generally do not watch movies. For me it is enough with the daily movie that life has to offer me, which is full of all the ingredients of a bestseller (action, mystery, comedy, etc.)”¦ And the most interesting thing is that you will never find a repeated chapter!
YT: What place in the world have you traveled for pleasure?
Swami BV Padmanabha: For me, “for pleasure” means “for purification”, so in that sense, every destiny is a pilgrimageÂ´s site, every corner of the world becomes a sanctuary. But if I have to mention one, I would mention our special Eco Yoga Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I choose to travel 5 days every week of the year.
YT: What is your favorite song here today?
Swami BV Padmanabha: Well, my favorite song is an eternal sound of liberation, a constant hit that has been never out of fashion from my heart. It is the most recommended mantra for this present age we are living, trough which we can attain freedom from all ignorance, and the supreme achievement of divine love:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare (any version)
“Oh my Lord, please let me be an instrument of your love.”
YT: What is your favorite pleasure?
Swami BV Padmanabha: Prayer.
YT: If you were a superhero, what would your superpowers be?
Swami BV Padmanabha: Mmmm”¦for me to be a superhero means to have the capacity of awakening enthusiasm and inspiration in the hearts of other souls, so they can change their lives for better, more and more. And if such a thing would occur (that I may become a superhero of that type), I would immediately choose to be blessed with the virtue of humility, so I donÂ´t actually consider myself a superhero, but just a humble servant of all.
YT: If you were given a million dollars donation – how would you spend it ?
Swami BV Padmanabha: Many options”¦Maybe I would invest in a big massive publicity campaign with some short and strong messages and pictures that may create awareness in modern society, about the direction peopleÂ´s lives are taking, and the various means to create a real practical change: vegetarianism, ecology, yoga, meditation, spirituality, etc.
YT: Someone who knows you well wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title would be?
Swami BV Padmanabha: “A change is possible (and necessary) for all”.
YT: If you were to be given any important social position, what would you chose?
SBVP: Sincerely speaking, I am not interested in any position anywhere, except for the position/chance to become a servant of all and try to help everyone to become fully aware of lifeÂ´s deepest purpose, and I am sure enough that here, in Mars or any other planetary system, there is a big necessity of this type of information, wherever it may be the place.
YT: If you had only six months left to live, what would you do with the time?
Swami BV Padmanabha: Well, in one sense six months is a lot of time, since I do not know if I will have six seconds/minutes/hours/days/weeks/etc. left yet in this present life, so my personal attitude is to try to live life as if each moment is the last one, and I am completely sure that anyone who has this mentality will reach his/her goals more quickly, and will have so many less problems.
”¦Sorry, I forgot to answer the question: I would sing to God in the company of like-minded people, with as much devotion as possible.
YT: If you could meet someone living or dead, who would it be and why?
Swami BV Padmanabha: Difficult/Impossible to only choose one. But all the ones I would choose, would be great evolved souls and I would try to hear very attentively their instructions on how to do things properly.
YT: What was the most embarrassing moment of your life you feel comfortable sharing with us?
SBVP: The most embarrassing moment of my life was having lived my life for my first 20 years, 100% identified with my physical & subtle body as the all-in-all and only trying to satisfy that aspect of my life, totally unaware of my spiritual identity.
YT: What was the bravest thing you ever did?
Swami BV Padmanabha: Try to daily kill my false ego more and more, and some day realize my true nature as what I really am. I consider it requires lots of strength (divine grace) to be able to go against the worldly current and fully embrace higher realities, no matter how crazy you may appear to the uninformed eye.
YT: How would you describe yourself in three words?
Swami BV Padmanabha: Seeker. Student. Aspirant.
YT: Why do you practice yoga?
Swami BV Padmanabha: I practice (bhakti) yoga because trough such means, I find the perfect way of establishing a pure loving relationship with the Divine and everything and everyone around me.
YT: Why do you teach yoga?
Swami BV Padmanabha: I teach (bhakti) Yoga, because Yoga is a natural food for all.
Yoga in general, and Bhakti specifically, speaks to us about the most common goal for all to achieve: pure love, and the practice of devotional service, the means for such goal, which represents the highest form of union (yoga), trough loving reciprocation.
YT: Who is your greatest teacher?
Swami BV Padmanabha: Another almost impossible question to answer, since one is totally surrounded by plenty of gurus, from oneÂ´s own spiritual preceptor to a simply tree or any other person/situation that is surely giving me the most necessary lesson I need to learn in that particular moment.
But anyway, I will mention my official initiating teacher (diksa-guru) in the bhakti yoga tradition, who is the one that most strongly taught me how to recognize the plurality of teachers at every step: Swami B.A. Paramadvaiti.
YT: Given the one time opportunity to speak to the entire world, knowing everyone is listening, what would you say?
Swami BV Padmanabha: “Dear brothers and sisters, maybe you do not know me, and you may ask yourselves what I am doing here speaking to the whole world. I would simply like to share some few words that I consider are most urgent and important, and that in my personal case and in the case of many other people, have changed their lives forever, for good:
Try to never forget that the only purpose of all this (life) is to learn how to be 100% happy, how to attain such an awareness that everything around you becomes a friendly partner of your journey towards the divine. Be open to the change. Change is a friend who comes with a revolutionary approach and positive intentions, and we have to let him do his job.
The change we need to experience, the transformation in our heart is being clearly manifested trough all the different present situations you are experiencing now. Pay close attention to them, and learn to discover the keys for the secret of life lying in their domain.
Time and energy are very valuable jewels, so please do not waste them in things that are here today and gone tomorrow. Try to invest in eternity. Try to go home, the land of the heart, that place that only speaks the language of love, the land of no return.
Try to deeply understand the purpose of coming here, and thus project yourself beyond the limits of time and space, identifying with that country that lies far above the temporary realms.
Everything is a state of consciousness. So begin this journey now, right here, and if you do so, you will be able to finish your journey right back here again in full self-realization. You have all the tools required for attaining complete success.