• Friday, June 14, 2024

Interview With Deepam Chatterjee, Author of 'The Millennial Yogi'

on May 20, 2022

Deepam Chatterjee is a retired Indian Army captain. He took up film-making after a debilitating spinal injury compelled him to leave the army. It was during this period that he spent time with various spiritual teachers, including the Dalai Lama. Later, he trained under Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and taught the Art of Living courses before embarking on a journey of self-exploration.

A keen researcher as well as a chronicler of oral narratives, Deepam writes and lectures on Hindu thought, meditation, spirituality, mysticism, mythology and wellness. He has translated a signifi-cant body of Sanskrit works into easily readable literature for young readers and mainstream audi-ences. His work appears regularly in newspapers and periodicals across the country.

Frontlist:  What does Ambition mean to you? Is it okay to be unsatisfied after fulfilling your Ambition in life?

Deepam: Often, we want to get stuff for ourselves and our loved ones, or to impress people. Even when you fulfill such ambitions, you are bound to feel dissatisfied.

Ambition should be like salt in a dish. Too much or too little makes the dish inedible. We all need that small push every morning to seize the day. Carpe Diem! 

Ask yourself, why do you do what you do, every single day. Why do you get that haircut, or buy a nice dress? What motivates you to earn more that what you need? Do you love sharing gifts with your loved ones,and to see the delight on their faces? Do you want to help people who don't have enough? Do you feel the frustration that you don't have enough to help those who need financial help and healing? Well, that's what ambition is for. Stoking this fire within yourself will fulfill you.

When you dream of having more to make this world a better place, you will feel completely different. Such ambitions will not leave you unsatisfied. However, when you decide to do stuff only to stoke your own ego and for personal pleasures, you'll often end up feeling tired and dissatisfied.

Frontlist:  This book includes age-old poems and music from many mystical traditions of India. What led you to decide on the same?

Deepam: The landscape of India's spirituality is vast and immersed in poetry and music. Surprisingly, although India is the land of great mystics, we don't have good literature on mysticism and spiritual fiction in English, by Indian authors. We still recommend The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho to students in schools! I felt that we should have good literature written in simple English that has universal appeal. Since there was none available, I decided to write The Millennial Yogi. 

Frontlist: You write on Hindu thought, meditation, spirituality, mysticism, mythology, and wellness. Which genre of writing are you closer to, and why?

Deepam: I don't compartmentalize. I love to write as thoughts flow. Genres are secondary. However, I have realised that, as time has gone by, my writings have veered towards Mysticism and Spirituality. 

But that being said, I write in many other genres for screen. It is exhilarating to get the brain to leap into different modes -drama, thriller, humour, romance, action, and even horror! 

My personal writings are introspective and experiential. I love exploring the psychology of the characters. The characters in my stories often mirror my own thoughts. In every genre, I like to explore the motivation of my characters, and hence, these myriad genres actually synergize and the stories delve into many subtle layers, which would otherwise have remained unexplored.

Frontlist:  Is it compulsory to travel the path of suffering to attain the status of a ‘Self-Help Guru’?

Deepam: Absolutely not! Spirituality is joyous and filled with adventures! We must have the awareness that we are on our own unique journeys. What one calls suffering need not be painful for another. However, we need to realise that when we constantly seek pleasures and comforts, we are sure to end up in a deep hole. Over indulgence in anything will make us sick. You might love ice cream, but try eating ice cream all day and night for a week! You will be sick! And you'll not want to look at an ice cream cone for days after that! There's a great secret here. Anything you derive pleasure from, can also be the source of misery and suffering. On the other hand, when you avoid going through painful experiences, you end up suffering too! There's a saying, 'whatever you resist, persists!' Pain and pleasure are two faces of the same coin. When one travels the path, one realises that both are illusory. 

One doesn't attain a status of a Self-help Guru. Its ridiculous. Everyone has their own personal journey.

We're all on the same boat... and just because someone got into the boat a bit earlier, s/he has a slight advantage. If you are on the path, you can only call out to the one's on the shore to hop in! We're all going down river, in the flow!

Frontlist: Share your advice on how to reclaim one’s life.

Deepam: That's what this book deals with! The second half of The Millennial Yogi deals with many methods and techniques that help the protagonist Jay heal and turn his life around.

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