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Interview – Harsh Vardhan Dutta (A story and The Man)

A full-time entrepreneur, running a digital marketing and content agency, Harsh’s entrepreneurial journey started in 2005 and since then he has built his business with hard work and zeal. More about him? He has been staying in Delhi for 20 years and that’s why you will find a lot of Delhi in his book too. He is passionate about learning, reading, movies, documentaries, and spirituality.

Q: How did you become a writer?
A: Well, if you had asked me at 18 what I would like to become, the answer would have been a writer! It’s all I ever wanted to be. That’s the reason I started my career working for a publishing company, though my career drifted towards marketing gradually.
A Story and The Man started as a kind of memoir, an outlet of sorts until I realized it had the potential to become a book. I was encouraged by family and friends to whom I read out the first few chapters.

Q: What inspires you in life? What is that thing which gives you the required zest to pursue your dreams?
A: To be honest and modest, I have always been motivated. For me, I need a strong purpose to keep going. The purpose is everything to me. Every day, when I get up, I jot down the purpose for the day, week, month, etc. I am self-motivated in that sense.

Q: Your story is unconventional. No one would be able to fathom what lies ahead. Do you think it’s a wise way of writing when the reader expects something and gets entirely something else?
A: Honestly, when I wrote the book, I did not think of it that way, and left it to my editor who suggested the prologue as an indicator of what lies ahead. I often liken my book to the movie Guide which is a commercial movie for the better part and then takes a spiritual and metaphysical turn at the last moment. I know the last chapter is not what most audiences would connect with, but those who can connect, I hope will find it fascinating. There are some readers who have gotten in touch with me to discuss the last chapter.

Q: How did your interest in metaphysics arise? It’s an uncommon line of thought. I haven’t met/know anyone with such an interest.
A: ☺ Well, those who know me know that in 2014 I wrapped up business and stayed in ashrams for two years. I was in an existential crisis at that time, having faced some trauma and lost the zeal to be in an institutionalized society. I needed to clear my mind. There were too many questions and too few answers. Most answers didn’t appeal to me. I am glad I went on sabbatical. I learned most from the Bhagavad Gita and yogic philosophy, which is very different from the pop-culture yoga that we see every day. In fact, I have a lot to say in the space of spirituality and I have recently started a blog as my mouthpiece, and you will soon see podcasts also.

Q: Mind and matter. Mind and material. For most, the choice is easy. But if one has to choose what matters most in the long run, how do you suggest one should go forward?
A: I think to each his own. When I have had people asking me to articulate my so-called mantra of life I give them what I believe in but also tell them to check if it works for them. I believe there is no right or wrong. What might work for me might not work for someone else. I think what matters, in the long run, is your own consciousness, from a spiritual point of view. We don’t want to be arrested by the whims of life; the way we have been designed it is easy to slip to the pleasure of the senses or epicurean ways of living. Our thought processes are also very conditioned and most find it difficult to accept the spiritual path of living, even if they are practicing it.

Q: Metaphysics is abstract. How does one justify its authenticity over what is reality?
A: Ah! That’s a tough one, perhaps a topic for another book. Haha. I am honestly not trying to validate any philosophy. As I said, don’t take my word. I am no Godman. I had certain questions and found a few applicable answers which worked for me and appealed to my intellect. In pure yogic terms, Yoga is equanimity of mind. Every thought or feeling releases a chemical in the system. Our patterns and behavior are regulated by those chemicals. If you can learn to regulate the biology of your system, you are a yogi.

Q: Whom do you look up to in the field of metaphysics? Whose ideologies resounds with your own?
A: I have read Hatha Yoga Pradapika, and it goes much beyond the twists of the body that is now believed to be yoga. I also admire certain discourses of Osho. Then there are modern-day physicists like Dr. Joe Dispenza who are scientifically validating ancient practices. I have also been influenced by the works of Om Swami.

Q: A message for your readers.
A: Read my book ☺

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