Mr Sanjay Bhatia, Retd IAS officer and former chairman MbPT

Retired IAS officer Sanjay Bhatia recently appointed as Upa Lokayukta of Maharashtra brings out his quest for understanding the purpose of life and explains how Heartfulness Meditation provided succor in his personal and professional life

Meditation is the way to a life of serenity. More regularly and more deeply one meditates the sooner one finds oneself acting from a center of peace. That in nutshell should explain the glow of enlightenment that one sees on the demeanor and articulation of Mr Sanjay Bhatia, IAS, recently appointed the Upa Lokayukta of Maharashtra.

The retired civil services officer (1985 cadre), a mechanical engineer and Masters in Business Administration, has served in different capacities in State and Centre with 35 years of unimpeachable service. Mr Bhatia’s stints in holding different portfolios are well known in public domain but his transformation from a self-seeker to a liberated man free from worldly cravings brings to fore an astonishing story that only a select few are aware of.

In his close-knit circles, Mr Bhatia is fondly called a Yogi. However, what metamorphosed an unbending, workaholic IAS officer into a compulsive meditator is best expounded by Mr Bhatia himself in a very free-flowing audio-visual narrative that also highlights his efforts to propagate and underscore the importance of meditation in personal and professional life.

The Bhatias have been practicing meditation for almost 20 years now but the denouement has come through various stages after starting at the age of 39-40.  Mrs Anuradha Bhatia is herself an IRS officer and now an acknowledged preceptor of  Heartfulness Meditation

Mr Bhatia traces the times when their lives were overtaken with “personal egos, competition and aggressive pursuits. There was no thought for any meditation, let alone peace. It was as if there was an existential crisis where we seemed to have no clarity on the very purpose of life. The trigger came when we were shattered by the loss of two dear relatives. I began to wonder what the essence of life was. I started reading books on Regression Analysis and Life after Death. However, the 30-40 odd books that I read, didn’t address my concerns much.”

“After starting with Transcendental Meditation, I did a eleven-day course in Vipassana. It was a “feel good” experience so I not only continued, I introduced to my staffers at the electricity board in Maharashtra. Although it helped, I still had no clarity on the purpose of life. My pursuit took me to Yoga which I learnt and practiced but this too gave me only health. The search for the larger perspective I had set out for was still elusive so I took to Brahmvidya and Gyaanyog. Despite  this course of experimentation, I was getting frustrated since what I was looking for remained incomprehensible.”

“It was during an election duty in Baghpat when I visited several ashrams and temples  that I came to know from a young collector posted there about a meditation centre. He referred the superintendent of police Mr Mishra to me. The SP introduced me to some meditation sittings that involved yogic transmission. These were meant to cleanse your inner self. It was a rejuvenating experience that took me from spirit to spirituality. I realized my concentration and creativity had gone up several notches. But what was welcome was the wisdom and sense of intuition that came along. It changed my social life completely. From a seeker and a party person, I changed to a man who understood the sanctity of a giver.”

Mr Bhatia recalls how his wife was also energized into becoming a preceptor. “Even my children have caught on to the blessings of meditation – the need for Emotional Quotient (EQ) along with Intelligence Quotient (IQ). The atmosphere in the house changed dramatically and I started coming to grips with what life actually entails. I began to realize that my priorities should be Spirituality, Health, Relationships and Work in that sequence. While on a personal level this was a welcome enlightenment, there was also discernible change in organizational transformation.”

Making out a case for meditation as an effective tool in effecting organizational transformation, Mr Bhatia explains how the move to introduce it helped. “I saw the trust levels climb up in my interaction. During my CIDCO posting in 1997, when the government was falling short of land for the proposed airport in Navi Mumbai because the project-affected persons were not cooperating, I took the PAPs and CIDCO employees on the path of meditation. It worked like a miracle and the entire land acquisition process moved smoothly thereafter. The cultural and creative changes as also the development of trust happened because of meditation. Personally, I was a man transformed. My concentration levels had gone up considerably.”

A strong votary of Heartfulness Meditation, Mr Bhatia holds sessions to explain
in an autobiographical manner how his journey into the spiritual realm drove him to find the true purpose of life and brought about a change in the people around him. “Like most IAS officers, I was a highly competitive person with an A+ personality (wherein B is introvert, A is extrovert, and I was an extreme extrovert) with a lot of ego. To me, life at 40 meant work, party, again work and some sports. Unlike in other meditations, in this one, you do not concentrate on anything, and improved concentration is a result of this meditation. – Improved efficiency through intuition – Normally, we try to attain wisdom, which is a combination of knowledge and our years of experience. However, there is something even beyond and that is intuition. Once the intuition is sharpened, it results in tremendous improvement of work efficiency. “

The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, or gives you a sense of meaning, joy, or passion. Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. That glow is evident on Mr Bhatia’s visage.

Mr Bhatia being greeted by Governor of Maharashtra Honorable, Mr Bhagat Singh Koshiyari after administering him an oath of office of Upa Lokayukta.