Sri Mattu Harish Madhyastha, is an advertising professional and the publisher of ‘Indian Temples- Discover Temples of India’ magazine. On a spiritual quest to discover God, he travelled all the way north up to Himalayas and to Manasa Sarovar. During his journey of Himalayas he received spiritual knowledge, and learnt the importance of Sanathan Dharma. He had enormous number of speechless experiences as he interacted and lived with several number of Yogi’s for more than 18 months. He is also a social worker who has helped many children to attain their dream of quality education.
Harish Madhyastha had many valuable life lessons to share as he talked about spirituality, paths of life, his gurus and his passion for temples. Read on…
You have travelled through the length and breath of the country within very short period of time. What prompted you to do that? What have you learned from your travels?
Born and brought up in a traditional Brahmin family from Udupi, I used to serve at the Udupi Krishna Temple when I was young. I have interacted with many spiritual gurus of various mutts from a very young age. This experience left me with a purpose to discover God. It was that impetus that made me travel all the way to the north. I am well versed in all types of rituals thanks to my guru, Sri Vibhudesha Theertha Swamiji in Sri Admar Mutt, but I wanted go beyond these rituals and experience God in the same way that many of our gurus have done. I cannot talk about the lessons that I have learned in the course of my life, without mentioning my gurus. Yes, I have had not one but many gurus in my life. That’s because, as we evolve in life, the things that we need to learn increases and therefore, we need more gurus through the entire course of our life. Just like a 1st standard teacher cannot teach us in the 5th standard, we need a new guru at every stage of life.
Swami Shivananda Yogi at Devriyathal in Chandraprabha hill at Himalayas was a very influential guru who helped me to change myself and my path towards God. I learned about Shankara Philisophy and that encouraged me to read and learn more. All through our life, we have taken the existence of temples for granted, but we never questioned as to why we need them (if we need them). I learned this truth from my gurus in Himalays.
Two thousand years ago, there was no concept of temples in India. Man worshipped nature, did yagnas and cleansed his spirit with the holy smoke that emanated out of it. Temples were built basically for social service, for time keeping purposes and to celebrate village festivals. They came to represent Gods in statues that smile upon us, bestowing peace and good energy.
I also learned the concept of Yantra, Tantra and Mantra that has come to life thanks to temples, its architecture. Today, you can see this system in Kerala and coastal Karnataka alone. Our ancient Vedas were pure science that was taught to children in the olden ages. Sadly, there is no place for our ancient knowledge in the present schooling system. Vedas are all about nature and space. It helps us to visualize and chart the path of our life in a very positive manner. One thing that I have learned is temples can help us to find the inner peace that we seem to search for everywhere. We can experience self-realization, growth and merge with the nature only by worshiping in the temples.
Your experiences and life with the sadhus of Himalayas had a profound influence on you. What is the most important thing you have learned from them?
Yes. I had a great experience with sadhus on my travel in Himalayas. They have self experienced the truth and they will never think of living with the crowd. The kind of meditation they do, cannot be seen here. Their lifestyle revolves around control of their mind and senses. One important thing that I learned from them is to control one’s mind.
I also learned many a profound truth about karma, tantra and mantra. They taught me how to self experience God within us. They are not interested in money or property etc. Many sadhus have attained various sidhis like walking on the water, astral travel etc. that they have got after many years of tapasya and sadhana. They do not teach everybody. They wait for the people whom they are looking for. Many people like me travel all the way there for myriad reasons without knowing the purpose. But God has a plan in every small thing that we do. In my case also …my purpose of visiting Manasa Sarovar at the age of 25 was not for tapasya. One sadhu called me in my name and said he is waiting for me all this while. He looked around 70 years old to my eyes but he was 500 years old. After spending years and years with them, I strongly believe that our body can sustain without food. They don’t even take food for many days and years. They live by the help of nature. They asked me to go back after 18 months to complete my karma and come back to Himalayas.
You have launched your dream project Indian Temples magazine recently. What lessons have you learned from this venture as a publisher?
Publishing a magazine is not an easy thing. After travelling across the country, visiting many number of temples, I found that there is wrong communication passed around about our temples and religion Launching this magazine was my dream project for over a decade. I learned many lessons here as to how religion/temple has become commercial and how money talks everywhere. It’s not easy to change the system. There is no research based truth/articles/content available anywhere because its not promoted properly.
I wish to bring about a change in the way we understand religion. If we truly understand the science behind our Vedas, then we won’t be blindly following every belief or be taken in by phony gurus. I find it sad that ancient knowledge of Vedas today, needs the stamp of approval from the west, if it needs to become popular here. I hope to change that.
As a social worker, you have been working closely with many kids whose studies have been interrupted? Share your experiences with the readers and any lessons that you have learned from them?
There lot of brilliant kids not able to complete education because of low income of their family. I started this venture when I was Chennai in 2004. I took responsibility of one boy’s education from his undergraduate studies. He wanted to do journalism and by God’s grace he completed it. If you truly wish to make a change in a person’s life, teach him how to catch a fish rather than giving him the fish.
What are the most valuable life lessons you have learned from your spiritual journey?
I have learned that this life is a drama. Everybody’s destination is the same but the path we take to reach it are different. Sri Adi Shankara’s life and philosophy inspired and instilled me with values as to how to love one’s parents. He came back to be with his mother at her hour of need and took care of her. I have also learnt that God is within us. We just need to realize this but instead we go against nature and hurt others. We are not the creators, we are just part of the nature. We have no right to destroy nature.
Do you have a mentor/ historical personality/ guru whom you admire? What are the lessons you have learned from them?
In my professional life, I consider Mr. Christ Fernadez from Chennai as my mentor. He taught me many lessons about discipline and passion in the work. Among the historical personality, I admire Krishna and Chanakya. I also have a guru in Himalayas who has had profound influence on my life and life’s path.
Check out the official website of Indian Temples magazine here – http://www.indian-temples.in. You can also write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with him in Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/mattumadhyastha?fref=ts. He is also available at – 09886211138.