A devotee of Sai Baba of Shirdi, Mumbai-based Ruzbeh N. Bharucha is one of the most influential spiritual writers. A former journalist and documentary film-maker, he has authored nineteen books, and his articles have been published in leading newspapers.
His collaboration with Zambhala-India’s yoga, music and life spirit festival, the first of its kind, gave birth to a series of powerful videos called ‘Ramblings with Ruzbeh N. Bharucha’. The 110th Master for the ‘Speaking Tree’, where he writes an immensely popular blog on spirituality; his daily Facebook page affirmations and mes- sages are a source of inspiration to thousands.
A. Radhakrishnan in conversation with Ruzbeh N. Bharucha.
What makes you write?
I am not really sure as to why I write. Despite writing numerous books, the process of writing being sharing one’s views and thoughts, I am only a story teller, communicating various stories to like-minded people.
Spirituality has so many facets and such great Masters have walked the earth, that it is always with a sense of joy and happiness that I write about ‘Them’ or in my limited way, try to share ‘Their’ philosophy and ‘Their’ lives. May be this is my way of sharing the Light with others.
What does your literary success mean to you?
I don’t know whether you can call me a literary success. Adulation, praise or even numbers have never mattered as I just have a story to share.
It immensely pleases me to read mails of people confessing how my books and philosophy have changed their lives for the better, and helped them overcome a tragedy or cope with life. The knowledge that my simple words and philosophy are helping people to walk the path and be better versions of themselves, is what truly inspires me to continue writing and makes success worth its while.
Tell us in brief about some books published by you so far.
My first book was The Last Marathon, based on spirit communication and life after death, while Devi’s Emerald is a book on Swamiji Vishnu Sadanand Nayak, who channelled Maa Mookambika Devi.
Then I got into writing on social themes. Shadows in Cages is the first English book in India to discuss the issue of mother and child living together in Indian Prisons. It got translated in other languages too.
My God is a Juvenile Delinquent, is on children who commit crime and their lives in juvenile homes. The Supreme Court placed it on the list of Recommended Readings for Judges presiding over Juvenile Courts. I also wrote a book on slum demolitions, called Yamuna Gently Weeps. The book and the film have been showcased worldwide.
Then there is the Fakir Trilogy. The fourth part shall be published early next year. This book has been translated in German too.
Books on essays and quotes on spirituality have also been published and a book called Conversations with Dada Vaswani: A Perfect Disciple, A Reluctant Master on my dear Dada Vaswani too has been well received.
Rabda is very close to my heart as it is about Sai Baba of Shirdi, a fiction book with His life as the main theme; whereas Sai Baba, The Messiah Of Oneness, is about his life and him as a human being, his routine and his philosophy. I am also very fond of The Perfect Ones, a book on various Masters and their lives and their philosophies.
ICE With Unusual Spirits is a fiction book about spirit communication, life after death and mainly the philosophy of Sage Thiruvalluvar who channelled through a drunken artist.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It took me a decade of writing various books which I would eventually tear up, till the first book The Last Marathon was published. It didn’t change my process of writing, but only motivated me further. Also as a stickler for schedules I only write on subjects that truly interest me. If a book can’t captivate me, how will it captivate my readers?
What kind of and how long do you spend researching, before beginning a book?
For a social subject, the research is exhaustive, possibly over a year. But if writing fiction, there is very little research and the book can be written faster. While the research for Rabda or Sai Baba, The Messiah of Oneness, took a few months, the books were written in less than forty days, which is my norm. The same goes for the book and documentary on Dada Vaswani and the book I am presently working on Avatar Meher Baba.
Do you want each book of yours to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
When you are writing about spirituality, there shall always be a connection. In every language, adding two plus two will always make four. Similar are the tenets of spirituality. The way to proper living is always going to be good thoughts, good words and good deeds.
Thus, whether I want it or not, connections between various books shall always be present. But each book has its own individuality, its own strength, its own substance, its own characteristic.
Thus, each book is an individual river, but all flowing into the ocean of Oneness.
How do you see your role in impacting and influencing society?
If somebody who reads my books can become a better human being, then I think as an author I have accomplished my purpose. If my books can make an individual lead his or her life with greater self-respect and dignity, then my role has been achieved. If my words can give strength to somebody to pick up their cross and walk onwards, then thepurpose is met.
Why are you a Sai devotee, despite being a Parsi?
First of all, I am a Zoroastrian by religion. Not Parsi. Parsi is a community amongst Zoroastrians. Secondly, Sai Baba is my spiritual Guru. Every ancient religion preaches each one to find themselves a Guru to help one to go through life with dignity, integrity and spiritually. I say my Zoroastrian prayers and I visit the Fire Temple and am very proud to be a Zoroastrian. Just as I am very humbled to have Sai Baba of Shirdi as my Guru.
Your view on the Hindu religion today.
Hinduism is a way of life. I truly believe Sanatana Dharma, which lays down the eternal duties of all beings, is an all-encompassing way of life. The only religion that has opened Her arms to all. I am not certain if everybody is following Her tenets to the spirit, but majority of people are trying to live their lives with as much dignity as possible, and keeping their heads above water.
What is the difference between being religious and spiritual?
In today’s time and day, religion has become a tool to divide people. Spirituality shall always try to unify people, as it goes beyond all rituals and dogmas, and focuses on oneness and living with dignity, self-respect and selflessness.
Is spirituality the answer to every question of life?
Spirituality is not a trip, but a way of life. I believe that what it truly teaches an individual is to give one’s best to life and to each moment, and then joyously leave the decision and the final outcome to the wisdom of one’s Goddess, God, Guru, the Cosmos, whatever one believes in, the Creator, knowing for sure that ‘They’ know what is best.
While spirituality may not give you all the answers, it shall endow you with the strength to go through life and face all its vicissitudes with a smile and grace.
What’s the most spiritual experience you’ve ever had?
Whenever I have been able to go through discomfort, hardship, disaster, calamity, with a certain sense of calmness, humour and dignity; those moments I believe are my true spiritual experiences.
Miracles are a way of life, not spiritual experiences, only affirming the presence of The One in every moment of our existence. I don’t need a miracle to prove Their presence or Their existence.
On Indian godmen?
I have been fortunate to meet very advanced children of God. Swamiji Vishnu Sadanand Nayak and Dada Vaswani, are two children of God, or as you would like to call them Godmen, who truly stood for everything that is noble, pure, divine and walked the path with dignity and purity. They have left their bodies but their lives are a living testimony of goodness and divinity.
Morari Bapu is another sage that I have deep respect and regard for.
Why is there evil in the world?
Good and evil come about because of the use of free will. So your question should be why do human beings use their free will in spreading evil than goodness? I don’t have any answer to that. It’s all up to each individual.
Prophet Zarathushtra writes that where ever there is light, there shall be a shadow. In the same way good and evil exists in each individual, and it is for the individual to choose between being good and spreading light or being evil and spreading darkness.
Do all religions lead us to God?
The true essence of all religions lead us to salvation and the final merger with the One. It is the distortion and manipulation in the name of religion which is leading to chaos, duality and bloodshed, which no real religion propogates.
Is there any real right or wrong?
Of course there is something right and something wrong. A doctor picking up a knife to save his or her patient is right. A doctor picking up a knife to kill a patient is wrong. There is nothing right or wrong with the knife. The intention shall decide what is right or wrong.
Which is the right way to do meditation?
When you are in the moment, you are in the ideal form of meditation. When you sit with eyes shut, you shall automatically be in the moment of silence.
How will I live, knowing I will die?
The only truth about life is that it never ends. We keep changing forms but life is eternal, be it in the body or the spirit world. We can’t destroy anything, we can only change its form; similarly we never die, we keep living in different bodies and in different dimensions.
What is my purpose in life?
To live each moment with calmness, joyous acceptance, kindness and spread the light.