For someone who started as a horticulturist in Australia, to become an accidental student at an ashram, to today being one of the most ardent story tellers of Sanatan Dharma — Prem KV’s journey has been both inspired and inspiring. Here are some excerpts of his conversation with Deepti Verma, Organiser’s News Coordinator Audio-Visual.
A lot of modern-day Hindus are rediscovering our glorious past, and the significance of Sanatan Dharma for the overall well-being of humanity. Your stories and videos on Youtube, with over a million views, are the perfect example of this. How did your journey start?
My childhood was spent in India. And like most kids I was curious about why we go to temples, how a piece of stone becomes worthy of worship, why we do the pujas and havans that we do. Just like most kids, the response I got was, “shut up and follow”. Our parents and grandparents didn’t question the rituals, as it came naturally to them. My paternal grandfather was a siddha vaidya and astrologer, and my maternal grandfather introduced me to the teachings of Thirumoolar. So the atmosphere for seeking was ripe. It just needed nurturing. When I went to Australia and started studying horticulture, curiosity about the cosmos ignited once again—while studying a cell under a microscope. This made me seek answers again and started this journey for me.
‘Questioning has been a part of our culture. Arjun-Krishna, Shiv-Parvathi—their discourses are the basis of our faith. Questioning should stem from a space of seeking or curiosity and not ridicule. Then one will find all the answers and continue on the path of evolution. That’s where Sanatan Dharma is the most unique’
Tell us about the 15 years you spent in seva and sadhana.
I first visited the Isha Foundation in 2008, for editing Sadhguru’s videos. I was involved in yoga classes and all the other ashram work for 15 years. It was then that I got some answers and I thought the young generations have to understand the beauty and science behind Sanatan Dharma. It has to be understood not as rhetoric for other religions. But as a way of life. Everything in the Sanatan Dharma, from the time we wake up to the time we bathe, to what we eat, how we pray is in sync with nature, the human body, the planets, and the cosmos. The inter-linkedness had to be understood. That’s when I came across Amish Sen, who invited me to Mumbai to learn the art of storytelling. I knew that the visual medium and social media were the best ways to reach out to younger audiences and millennials. Amish told me that I had to master the medium first for it to be impactful. From 15 years of monkhood, I entered the world of money, camera, finances, and commerce. It was not an easy switch, but one that had to be made to meet the desired impact. Today we have a million views on our YouTube channel, so the journey has been rewarding and encouraging us to go on.
There is a movement going on for reclaiming our temples and dharma? Where do you see yourself in it?
You know when the Sabrimala issue happened, a lot Hindu friends also started questioning the logic behind it, and started debunking the faith. This is the group we should address first. Our firefighting with other groups is good, but we need to simultaneously work on our foundation. Sanatan Dharma is the most beautiful, scientific, focused on human evolution, way of life. The way we create consecrated energy spaces called temples, why we conduct havans or chant mantras. There’s a reason behind everything, which is not only for connecting with the divine but expanding our own potential as a human being. This needs to be told and learnt, and that’s where I see myself as a storyteller and researcher. I have lived this journey and benefitted from a Guru’s grace and our rich culture –all experientially. So I want to share that with the future generations.
‘The young generations have to understand the beauty and science behind Sanatan Dharma. It has to be understood not as rhetoric for other religions. But as is. As a way of life. everything in the Santan Dharma, from the time we wake up to the time we bathe, to what we eat, how we pray is in sync with nature, the human body, the planets, and the cosmos. The inter-linkedness had to be understood’
What are some of your upcoming projects?
By Guru’s grace and a lot of digital support we always manage to crowdfund for our upcoming projects. The one closest to my heart is the one on Kashi. If you see the aerial map of the city, you will see how the hundreds of temples make the shape of a perfect yantra. The oldest inhabited city in the world, it has produced the maximum number of Siddhas or geniuses. I’m really looking forward to bringing forth the beauty behind its architecture, culture, science, and spiritual power. Besides that, we are working parallelly on documentaries on Agastyamuni, Adi Shankara, and Gorakhnath.
You hail from the southern part of India and the first documentary on Sadhguru Shribhrama is also based there. What do you have to say about the Aryan vs Dravidian debate, when it comes to Sanatan Dharma.
I don’t take part in these debates as they are self-sabotage for our dharma. Let’s not make our religion into something political. We should continue questioning and seeking answers. Questioning has been a part of our culture. Arjun-Krishna, Shiv-Parvathi—their discourses are the basis of our faith. Questioning should stem from a space of seeking or curiosity and not ridicule. Then one will find all the answers and continue on the path of evolution. That’s where Sanatan Dharma is the most unique. Look at Ganesh Chaturthi or Durga Pooja. We bring the deities home and hope to learn something from them during that time. Those periods are meant for self-evaluation and evolution and then the deities are visarjit (immersed). These aspects of our Dharma need to be told.