Sri M: A Life Illuminated – Biography and Profound Teachings Of A Modern Sage

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Today we tell the story of Sri M, aka Sri Madhukarnath, a spiritual teacher, and will do our best to share his ideas.

Like with most spiritual guides, his role extends beyond the spiritual realm alone. He is also an author, speaker, educationist, and social reformer.

Born into a Muslim family in Kerala, Sri M was later initiated to Hinduism and learned under the guru Sri Maheshwarnath Babaji.

Specifically, we’re going to go over these topics:

  • Sri M Biography
  • Sri M Books, Talks & Initiatives
  • Teachings – Kriya Yoga
  • Dive Deep – How To learn from Sri M

His journey from a young boy to a yogi who inspires other people up to this day may be just what you need to take the next step in your transformation. Let’s dive into the story and teachings of Sri M. 

Sri M Biography

Sri M’s Childhood

Sri M was born on Novmber 6th 1949 as Mumtaz Al Khan. He was born in Kerala, an Indian state, in the city called Trivandrum.  

He was amazed by the stories of Sufi saints since he was a child. 

He says he met his guru Sri Maheshwaranth Babaji in his backyard, under a jackfruit tree, where he miraculously manifested. They talked for a brief moment, and then Babaji disappeared. 

This was the key moment in Sri M’s life, who was 9 at the time. 

When describing the meeting, he says:

“After the jackfruit tree incident, although outwardly I looked like any other boy of that age, my personality had undergone a profound change. A secret life went on within, side by side with the ordinary activities of day-to-day existence. The inner journey had begun and the first sign of this was that I began to meditate without even knowing the word meditation.[5]”

– Sri M

After this moment, Sri M began connecting with other Indian saints and Gurus, including Bhagawan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri, Chempazhanti Swami, Mai Ma, Kaladi Mastan and Yogi Gopala Swami. 

Sri M Travels, Seeking Guidance

At the age of 19, Sri M left his home to seek his master in the Himalayas. While traveling, he began to be known as a jigyasu – the seeker of Truth. 

For a couple of week, he lived in Rishikesh in the Divine Life Society, visited ashrams, practiced yoga and read religious texts. He continued to talk with the holy men in search of his Master.

He then continued to walk for more than 220km to Badrinath and began to think his search was a failure. He was on the edge of suicide, giving up hope. 

Exhausted and ready to jump into a river, the same guru who appeared under the jackfruit tree, Guru Babaji, appears again.

He then lived with Maheshwaranth Babaji for almost four years. He was initiated into the Nath tradition and awakened his Kundalini energy

Then, Sri M traveled with his guru to Tibet, and there he met the Grand Master, Sri Guru Babaji, known as Mahavatar Babaji on Nilkantha Hill.

Sri M claims that Sri Guru Babaji was his master in his previous life and that Maheshawaranth Babaji had the ability to appear and de-materialize at will, in any form he desires. 

Sri M’s Return Home: Starting A Family & Teaching

At this point, Sri M’s guru told him to go back home, start a family, and prepare for his life mission.

He traveled home, and met other spiritual teachers like Neem Karoli Baba and J. Krishnamurti. 

He spent some time in the Krishnamurti Foundation and the Ramakrishna Mission. In the Krishnamurti Foundation, he met his future wife, Sunanda Sanadi. They have children Aisha Ali and Roshan Ali. 

Then, his guru instructed him it was time to begin his mission, and in 1998 he started teaching and formed The Satsang Foundation. We will speak more about his foundation in the next chapter.

Sri M’s 7500 Kilometer Pilgrimage

Aside from his work, one of the most inspiring stories of his life is quite recent.

In 2015, Sri M went to a “Walk of Hope”, a 7500-kilometre walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir.

He started on 12 January, on the birthday of Swami Vivekananda who went on a similar journey with a group of fellow travelers. They walked through 11 states and the goal of the walk was to restore spirituality in India. The walk ended the next year, in Kashmir, on 29th April. 

Sri M Books, Talks & Initiatives

Sri M is a speaker, and began teaching in India.

Later, he was invited to many renowned institutions, including the WHO, the World Bank in the US and United Nations Office in Switzerland. 

He talked to large companies, including Yahoo and Google in the US, and renowned institutes in India like the Indian Institute of Managements, the Indian Institute of Science, and the Indian Institute of Technology. 

Furthermore, he received many important roles and awards.

Specifically, he was appointed as an adjunct professor of practice in the National Research Centre for Value Education in Delhi, and as a Chancellor of the Maulana Azad National Urdu University.

He was also invited by the Government of India to be a part of the C20 COre COmmitte, which has a platform for the Civil Society organization, voicing the aspirations of people and promoting social development to world leaders. 

In 2011 he wrote his book Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master – A Yogi’s Autobiography which instantly became a bestseller.

He also published a sequel called The Journey Continues in 2017. 

He also created other books, including the novel Shunya, a book On Meditation – Finding Infinite Bliss and Power Within, a collection of short stories called Homecoming and Other Short Stories.

He also published a translation of Patnjali’s Yoga Sutras with his comments, called Yoga also for the Godless, as well as many texts on meditation and the Upanishads. 

Unsurprisingly he received many rewards – one of the most renowned being the Padma Bhushan in 2020, which is one of the most important civilian awards in India, for his renowned service in spirituality.

After all of his achievements,  Sri M lives a simple life in Madanapalle. He guides the Satsang Foundation where he often leads satsangs. In his free time, he likes to write and paint. 

The Satsang Foundation is primarily focused on education and includes multiple schools:

  • Satsang Rural School 
  • Satsang Vidyalaya
  • Peepal Grove School 

The foundation also offers holistic treatments through the Satsang Swasthya Kendra, promotion of inner-faith relations through the Manav Ekta Mission, and the spiritual retreat built on the idea of dialogue between religions called Sarva Dharma Kendra.

Teachings – Kriya Yoga

Now that you know the importance of Sri M and learned about his huge legacy, a natural question comes to mind – what does he speak about that is so attractive to spiritual seekers and institutions alike?

His ideas are based on Kriya Yoga, but what sets him apart is that he prioritizes inter-religious talk and harmony between faiths rather than enforcing his beliefs.

Furthermore, he both shows in action and speaks about the interconnectedness of spirituality and everyday life. 

In his own words:

“Though my parampara is kriya yoga, I don’t think it suits all aspirants. I propound satsang even between two people. It cuts across barriers of caste and creed. Spiritual evolution is not diverse from regular living. Intervals of solitude are necessary but you cannot shut yourself totally. The world around you is your touchstone to spiritual practice.”

Sri M

When asked about how one can find the truth, Sri M says:

“Go to the core. Theories are of no use.” 

Sri M

Basically, he talks about the mystical truth beyond the theory and the outer appearance of religions, which is the same for them all. 

Kriya translates to a method or technique. However, one should understand the Truth will not be found with a technique. It only prepares you for true seeking.

Kriya yoga helps its practitioners to be free from overthinking. Becoming calm in meditation brings us to a state of joy and contentment, which is a foundation to finally seek and find the Truth. 

The practice of Kriya yoga focuses on balancing the breath, which is closely related to Prana, the life force.

According to yoga, we have many channels through which Prana flows through the body. The main channels are left-Ida, right-Pingala, and central, Sushumna. We need our energy to flow through it for any activity we perform, whether physical or mental.

However, if one wants to expand their awareness, one needs to harness all the energy and bring it to a single point. 

We lead this energy to the central channel, Sushumna, to the top of the head, or the Crown Chakra. 

In Kriya, this process is done with breath. One balances the prana with rhythmic breathing, and using the breath to lead the Prana to higher levels of the body, they also reach the higher levels of consciousness.

Therefore, Kriya, is not in itself the Truth, but can point one to reach it.

There are four basic rules Sri M teaches for Kriya yoga:

  • Practice at least once a day, ideally in the morning.
  • Do your best to remember the Truth in your everyday life.
  • Lead a simple life – moderation in everything.
  • Do not cause injury or harm to other beings. 

This path isn’t easy but the rewarding thing is, you are the only one responsible for the results. The effort and discipline count and Kirya yoga will certainly bring you closer to Truth. 

Dive Deep – How To learn from Sri M

Before we end this article, we want to share some resources for those who want to learn directly from Sri M. 

Here are some official resources from the Satsang Foundation:

Otherwise, you can read our articles about other gurus as well – find your next inspiration here:

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Sara lives in Croatia, near the sea, with her dog. She enjoys exploring nature, and making art. She is currently developing a series of children’s/YA stories and comics in her native language, which she feels complements her work and allows her to live her dream life – having yoga, writing, art, and nature in her every day.

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