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How a spiritual urban yogi seeks contentment in chaos

In an exclusive interaction, Indie devotional singer and spiritual urban yogi Shivali Bhammer spoke about redefining spirituality with modern-day practices for millennials and applying the teachings of admired masters and gurus in her daily life.

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Q. You are a glorious global sensation earning the unique tag of a spiritual urban yogi devotional singer, share with us your fairytale storybook?

That’s very kind! Who comes up with all these tags? That’s all they are, tags, and as a soul, my story continues to unfold in unexpected ways. Some fantastical and some thought-provoking. Being spiritual is a constant quest, and whilst I am very grateful to be able to have learnt Vedanta and studied Philosophy so I can offer some insight, we are all students in life and those who preach probably need to learn the most. My life is anything but a fairytale — as a teenager, I had this fixed notion of how I expected my life to turn out and certain milestones I would effortlessly reach. My life hasn’t panned out like that, to some people I have achieved a lot but I feel behind in so many ways. My fairytale is to live in grace and accept this moment for what it is. Each turn in our life represents an opportunity for us to evolve. The good and bad experiences are chapters, and the fairytale resides in our ability to find our contentment in the chaos.

Q. You emphasise Spirituality 2.0, a guide for modern-day practices for millennials like yourself. Tell us more about it?

Spirituality 2.0 is about simplifying spiritual practices and creating achievable targets in your daily life. Controlling your social media usage, spending five minutes calling an elderly family member and showing you care, writing in a gratitude book, taking time out for meditation and most importantly being careful whom you associate with. Now, through social media, you can become ‘friends’ with almost anyone but make sure you have positive influences in your life and focus inward. Remember in Shakespeare’s play, Iago brought the downfall of a great leader like Othello. In the ‘Mahabharat’, Karna’s association with Duryodhana cost him his life. Keep your circle small, we do not need to be popular, we need to earn respect. There is a lot of distraction outside of us, quickly weed out anything that doesn’t serve a higher purpose.

Q. You’re a stunning spiritual yogi who has managed to shine and be supremely impactful in a male-dominated world. What are your views on this?

I have nothing to do with being stunning. I come from very attractive parents, 100% of people who know me would argue my mother is far more beautiful and my dad is a blue-eyed Indian so that says it all. I am mediocre in comparison. You have to shine from within, and if you are a woman, you make sure you fight the good fight for your place on the world stage. Why are spiritual/religious preachers predominantly male? I don’t get it, and when I don’t get something, I go after it and change it. 

Q. You follow and look up to all the classic admired masters and gurus, Morani Bapu, Sister Shivani of Brahma Kumaris, Swami Ji Chidanand Saraswati of Parmath Niketan Ashram. How have their teachings benefited you in your varied career choices, as we add in a motivational speaker and a talented writer?

It’s really simple, Morari Bapu teaches you ‘satya, prem and karuna’, truth, love and compassion. I try to imprint those three words in my mind and live by them. He is a fantastic orator and uses humour and storytelling to engage his audience. Sister Shivani teaches you the power of positive thoughts and taking ownership of your own feelings and emotions. Her style of teaching is very logical which is what I love. Swami Ji of Parmarth Niketan teaches you to talk less and do more, just look at his clean up Ganga initiative. Preaching, motivating, writing, is not enough — you need to back them up in action. With all these spiritual/religious influences, I gravitated to devotional music and the rest was a natural transition.

Q. What advice can you give future thought leaders and visionary’s with dreams and stars in their eyes yet battling with the Covid world we reside in?

Covid-19 pandemic won’t be forever, use this time to work on yourself. I spent seven months living alone and I created a tightly disciplined day for myself that enriched my body, mind and intellect. Don’t wallow in self-pity because it’ll waste your time, which is so very precious. Every time you feel you ‘cant’ do something, think what you ‘can’ do and run with it, you never know what will manifest. I would also add you can’t plan to be a thought leader. Just be authentic, fearless and true to yourself and others. That authenticity makes you extremely unique and attractive to the world, this will open doors without you having to even push. Also, give up caring what people think — if you live your life by the standards of others, you will never reshape the world. Be bold enough to trust yourself. Lastly, continuously educate yourself. That doesn’t mean just reading about successful leaders but observing everyday life. I love watching my peonies bloom, I smile as they slowly unfurl a little more every day, no rush, no fuss but perfectly timed with their internal rhythm. There is perspective in everything. 

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