August 19, 2000


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Rajakumar is safe, claims yoga teacher

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M D Riti in Bangalore

"Annavru is not being held captive in the jungles," claimed retired police officer and yogi H S Naiker.

"This kidnap drama is just maya. The lesser spiritually evolved may not comprehend this. [Kannada film icon] Dr Rajakumar is a true yogi and siddha purusha. You cannot confine him where he does not want to be. He is not in the jungles.''

Naiker explained, "I am with him. I myself am not here at all."

He spoke to in chaste Kannada at his house at Jayaprakash Nagar, Bangalore, just before leaving for Rajakumar's house, where he is helping the family be tranquil and well, with yoga every day. "Our bond is such that we are together at all times."

Naiker, Rajakumar's yoga teacher for 21 years, replied to most questions in Kannada verse, song or with quotes from the scriptures.

Naiker is also Rajnikant's yoga teacher, having been introduced to the Tamil film star by Rajakumar many years back.

Naiker recalled his first sight of Rajakumar over three decades ago, saying, "In 1961, at a gathering of yoga practitioners at Ravindra Kalakshetra in Bangalore, I noticed a prabhavale on his forehead." he said. "This aura, which only a true yogi can spot, told me at once that Rajakumar was a spiritually highly evolved person and that he would be able to master yoga with ease. I realised that he had been a great yogi in his last birth and my bond with him began at that instant."

However, it was 18 years before Naiker became Rajakumar's teacher. "I could never describe him as my disciple," he said.

"I just share my knowledge of yoga with others. In 1979, I had been sent to Madras as a policeman, to help combat Naxalite activities. I stayed with my contingent and some others from the Andhra Pradesh police, in the police annexe. The facilities there were unsuitable for my yoga and meditation routine."

At this point, Naiker broke off into song.
I remembered the days past
And forgot my physical self
And I thought of Natasarvabhowma Rajakumar

"I went to Rajakumar's house in Madras, as I was very uncomfortable in the annexe," continued Naiker. "I had never met him formally until then. Some members of the Kannada Sangha in Tamil Nadu introduced me. He was initially suspicious about a police officer approaching him. So I asked the Siddaruda Swamy Mutt head, in whose sanctum sanctorum my father had been a yogi for many years, to tell Rajakumar about my genuine commitment to yoga. After that, Rajakumar began practising yoga with me.

"Then, whenever in Bangalore [he lived with his family in Madras], he would ask me to do yoga with him for a few days at a time. As time passed, pressures on him, with his acting career grew, and he became physically and mentally stressed out; he wanted to do more and more yoga with me. At that time, he was so busy shooting during the day that he would only find time to come to my house at 02:30 hours or 03:00 hours IST for yoga. I was at the police quarters in Bangalore at that time.

"As news of Rajakumar's daily nocturnal visits spread, crowds began gathering near my house late at night, waiting to catch a glimpse of Rajakumar, who was at the height of fame at that time. So we decided to shift our sessions, and also chose a later hour. We managed permission for a small room in the Bangalore palace compound for a few hours a day.

"I continued to be a police officer by day and a yogi in my spare time. My becoming Rajakumar's yoga teacher made no difference, as I have always taught yoga for free. As it is a spiritual exercise, you cannot charge anyone for teaching or facilitating it. After he retired, grew older and less busy, and built a huge house in Sadashivanagar, I began going there to teach him."

Rajakumar introduced him to another troubled film star, who was going through a period of stress, Rajnikant alias Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, formerly a bus conductor of Bangalore. "However, he had used different means of coping with stress," said Naiker, before he turned to spiritualism.

Prior to the abduction, Naiker would go to Rajakumar's house every morning at 04:30 hours and they would practise yoga for a minimum three hours.

"It takes that much time for both nostrils to open fully," explained Naiker [Strangely, Rajakumar's doctor said that Rajakumar used to walk for two hours near the doctor's house every morning, at the same time. No other early morning walkers in Sadashivanagar corroborated what the doctor said, though].

Sometimes, the yoga sessions would go on till 09:00 hours.

"Gradually, others in the family also got interested in yoga," continued Naiker. "His wife Parvathamma is also a great yogi now. His children are all well-versed in yoga, especially his second son Raghavendra. Rajakumar encouraged his daughters-in-law too to start practising yoga. Even his youngest son Puneet's wife has begun yoga with me."

Rajakumar's doctor says that Rajakumar's yoga helped him combat his osteo-arthritis of the knee.

"Yoga is not a form of treatment for ailments," said Naiker. "We view birth and death as the two biggest ailments!"

Now, his family and his doctor believe that Rajakumar's spiritualism and yoga must be helping him cope with prolonged captivity and the uncertainty of his future.

"He used to practise yoga wherever he was, for many hours day, even if I was not nearby," said Naiker. "I have been to Gajanur quite recently. It is truly a pavithra sthala [pure and spiritual place]. The fact that Rajakumar was there last before this incident implies that all is well with him."

It is this reassurance and his knowledge of Rajakumar's inner-self that makes the actor's family want Naiker close to them at all times.

"Now, yoga is keeping all of them calm and well. Ever since this unfortunate incident [Naiker refuses to call it an abduction, as he says you can never take a true yogi to any place that he does not wish to go to himself], I spend most of my day at Rajakumar's house, putting various family members through yoga routines whenever they are free. The family wants me around all the time. They say my presence helps find peace, because they know of my bond with Rajakumar."

The Rajakumar Abduction: complete coverage
The saga of Veerappan

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