Why she matters: An entire generation addicted to soap operas and their melodrama is now seeking spiritual succour, thanks to Brahma Kumari Sister Shivani’s constant reminder to move from the base to the sublime, finds Sanghita Singh.
Who would’ve known then that a simple, young Rajyoga meditation teacher, who made her television debut in 2007 with a talk show would become a phenomenal spiritual sensation? Sister Shivani currently has a fanbase of nearly 11 million across online platforms, travels the globe for her discourses and still finds it difficult to keep pace with all the frenetic demand for her presence across India. But does she get time for herself ?
“This time is for myself. It’s more like sharing what you’re learning,” she says. Her Gurugram home, where we meet, has a pristine atmosphere. She’s in her signature white, her natural simplicity and purity her only jewels besides a golden brooch that reads ‘Om Shanti.’
For 26 years, she’s dedicated herself to service and is the Brahma Kumaris’ brand ambassador by default. She calls her various public appearances “media sewa” and is committed to spreading the benefits of Rajyoga meditation and helping the world move from body, position, gender and role consciousness towards “soul consciousness.”
The Path to Positivity
People from all walks of life come to her with diverse concerns. “Earlier, they spoke about stress, but in the past 15 years, it’s been more to do with relationships. Post Covid, it’s been a lot about untimely deaths.”
The panacea she offers parents is to alter their “lifestyle issues that deplete emotional health, especially with the way we use tech and consume content.” And for those hooked to their mobiles, her latest app, ThinkRight.me, is a step towards using technology to turn inward, with in-built reminders to think and act right.
One of the reasons she appeals to the hoi-polloi is her ability to offer simple solutions for life’s gigantic problems. Her tools range from affirmations to offering prayers before meals, gratitude and spreading “white magic” through positive vibrations.
The Inner Light
From being an engineering student in Pune hardly inclined towards spiritual life, her journey into being a mascot of the Brahma Kumaris is an unusual story of destiny.
“Initially, I went to the centre because my mother did. Sometimes, I’d just drop her and pick her up. It started like that… Then I met the people and liked the energy. I used to lead a so-called normal life, doing things most girls my age did. I ate out, shopped, socialised with friends, consumed non-vegetarian food…” she confesses.
Gradually, she realised its merit and became entrenched in the lifestyle and the lessons from their Mount Abu headquarters taught at the centre. And by the time she married businessman Vishal Verma, she was ready to make extraordinary choices.
“For me, celibacy was from day one of my marriage. I had made the decision even before we tied the knot. Lust is in the mind,” she says, matter-of-factly.
Vishal keeps a low profile, choosing to concentrate on his work, while she carries on spreading the word of the organisation. Is there any room for disagreements in her domestic life, or has she mastered them all?
“As your soul is fuelled, your acceptance levels increase. It’s like your fitness regimen. The more you work out, the heavier you can lift. Twenty five years ago, it’d have been behavioural anger. Then it was about my tone, my vocabulary and how I’d communicate. How often is it happening? How long is it staying on my mind?”
“Gradually, you begin to reach a level where it’s not verbal, loud or long. Next comes polishing yourself and looking at your ego at a more subtle level.”
She looks infinitely calm, and you know she walks the talk. Her day begins at 3.30 am, no matter which time zone she’s in. From meditation to mindfulness, Sister Shivani doesn’t miss a single chance to trek up to her highest self at every given moment. If you watch her at close quarters, you’ll know she’s no ordinary traveller, but a seasoned pilgrim for whom the summit is familiar territory.
To see who else is on the list, grab the copy of HELLO! India’s August 2023 issue right here!