Aaravindha Himadra is the Founder of the international organization Sambodha Inc. Since the turn of this century, Aaravindha has provided spiritual support to thousands of people from all over the world. Aaravindha Himadra and Sambodha’s community of expert teachers help spiritually minded people find and empower their own unique directions in life. Sambodha encourages compassion and fosters meditation techniques. Much of the Sambodha knowledge is exclusively unique though other aspects are more eclectic in content.
Aaravindha Himadra has a large following in Europe. Arkana publishing released his book, “Immortal-Self” in Germany where it has been a best seller for years. It was recently published again by Sounds True publishing in the United States. Aaravindha Himadra also writes a blog on Aaravindha.com. He lectures on two platforms. One platform is for the general public, the other is a teacher training program that is frequented by people from every corner of the world. The teacher training program takes five to seven years to complete.
Aaravindha Himadra attended college with a major in psychology. He completed all but his last semester when he decided that Western academics was not the journey meant for him. Instead, he answered the call for awakening spiritual essence.
Aaravindha started his first bookstore which also provided herbal healing medicines. He taught yoga, that also supported the growth of his business enormously. Later he moved to Seattle to open a larger bookstore, and a small philosophical school called “The Visionary.” A short while later he met Ashayrah, his soon to be wife. Aaravindha’s teachings are meant to raise consciousness. The teachings are designed to help people self-empower, live better lifestyles and to live more tuned into their environment and their own spiritual voice.
How did you get started with Sambodha? What inspired you to do so?
As I grew up, I was determined to bring some relief to the suffering in the world. I saw too much of it in my childhood to not be affected by it. I had a very strong proclivity towards spirituality, and I could feel spirituality was alive in all people, even if it was temporarily hidden. I was not drawn to religion due to the dogma that exists in that realm. I wasn’t opposed to religion. I was just more oriented toward a freer kind of thinking. I knew very young that we could all make our own connections to our chosen spiritual lives. I was born with my own spiritual sight, which wasn’t always comfortable for me. But it did help call me to study new kinds of cutting-edge knowledge, such as neuroscience, quantum physics, and human psychology, which I endeavored to integrate into philosophical and altruistic thought. I found a strong connection to the hidden spiritual values buried in ancient Sanskrit. Sanskrit is a language that can lead one to different areas of knowledge that related directly to our spiritual growth. In 2006 I was invited to the Himalayas to meet a group of reclusive Masters who are my tradition of teachers. I was given the opportunity to carry the mantle of their tradition of knowledge to the West. I have dedicated my life to that tradition, and that purpose.
How does your firm make money?
I do quite a bit of pro-bono work. Not everyone can afford to do seminars and classes. If they are simply unable, I often allow them to come regardless of their monetary standing. I also offer other books that I have not yet published publicly to the attending students. I also do my webinars and blogs without any cost to the viewers. I offer short seminars, typically between one to five days long, and longer teacher training seminars. But there too, we try to offer a few scholarships and reductions for people who are on a tight budget. Financial gain is not our prime motivation for my work, but it comes to me regardless. Which helps me expand and develop my work into new arenas.
How long did it take for your firm to become profitable?
We have been profitable from the beginning, in that we can always provide any needed materials and lease the spaces we might need. I have one organizer who works for me full time. And a few other helpers who work whenever we need them. My wife also works diligently with me on most all my projects. We also look for other people who occasionally help through work trade. We do enough profitable work to manage our lives comfortably. We live contentedly.
When you first started out did you ever doubt that this would work for you? If so, how did you handle it?
I have a tendency to be optimistic. I believe that being positive is more productive than worry. Challenges in life are nearly always opportunities. If I embrace those opportunities, they become my prime leverage for success. If people avoid problems then they’re destined to fail. Success is about being in touch with each moment. Always uphold a humble approach. As things come up, be flexible enough to change your direction. It is not always healthy to have a fixed goal. In fact, it is better to have a loose direction that calls or inspires you. Then changes come easily if you need to make them. Make the journey to success a discovery and be willing to take opportunities when they arise.
How did you find your first students?
My very first business was a small book store and yoga studio. I also sold a variety of natural and herbal healing medicines. I started out by offering yoga classes along with a philosophical background knowledge. I called the course the Royal Path, which relates to Raja Yoga. I put up posters and purchased a small ad. Two people showed up for the class. That was a bit disconcerting. Soon after that, I met with a reporter who wanted to do an article on me. She did a three-page spread including photos. That changed everything. My business was in a small town, so the article engaged many people rather quickly. Some people organized against me to say it wasn’t Christian, which was to be expected in a small town north of Portland over forty years ago. Yoga was pretty new to that area then. I really stood out. Some people found it wonderful, while it scared a few religious fundamentalists who had no idea of what it might be. However, I stayed true to my vision and gave a lecture to a packed audience. The lecture was to educate people on the fact that yoga was far from non-Christian. It took a bit of convincing, but in the end, it led to my next class being attended by 78 people, and the rest is history.
What is one marketing strategy other than referrals that you use to make your work known?
Our good reputation carries us through thick and thin. In general, most people believe in what we’re doing. I also think people still read numerous online magazines. Occasionally we post there. The social networking world now completely dominates the marketing world. That’s been our primary medium for connecting with new communities and distant people. Although, social networking has two sides to it. One side is filled with misleading knowledge and misinformation. The other side provides a real opportunity to say truth, genuine things that might otherwise not get out into the world. Meeting people directly is the most important means of connecting. If you truly love the work that you’re doing it will always show up as brilliant in a presentation. We try to present information that is always heartfelt and in an open-minded way. We try to bring out the best in people. We aspire to present our work to engage and inspire people.
What is the toughest decision that you have had to make in the past few months?
The toughest decision I had to make in the past few months is how to deal with critics. There are two ways to deal with them. Either stay steadily on your own path or fall into their trap of becoming reactive and distracted from your work. There’s that destructive side to some people, who can’t seem to find contentment unless they’re acting out some kind of intolerance. I’ve had an endless line of lies told about me over the last 35 years. It never ceases to amaze me what a few people might manufacture to further their own need for attention. The more popular I become, the more frequent that is, no doubt because critics need their audience. It reminds me of how difficult it must have been long ago for people to have chosen their right to believe under the watchful eyes of the inquisitors. I deal with that today by simply choosing to stay centered and in my own tradition.
What do you think makes you successful?
Without a doubt, my love for people is what makes me successful. I have a very deep and profound love for most everyone that I meet. I see myself in them, remembering I was asking the same questions in a life not long ago. I try to look for the blue pearl in everyone. Most often that works out. And I lose nothing if it doesn’t.
What has been your most satisfying moment in your work?
The most satisfying time is when I can look out into a crowd and see the curious eyes and smiles in the faces of people attending my lectures. I look into the crowd and see inquisitiveness, realizations, hope and sometimes even tears. Other times I see the ‘a-ha light’ going on. When we start on the questions, I understand that they are giving me the honesty that I give to them. It inspires me to no end.
What does the future hold for your and business? What are you most excited about?
Our future is extraordinarily bright. The business is growing enormously. It’s a bit like a wildfire hitting the horizon. We have a very large following in Europe. Because of that we have to find ways to rent ever bigger spaces and rooms. We are also planning to create a new structure of our own to provide a place teachers can work together in a common spiritual knowledge guild. We will be releasing a new healing system within the next few years. I also have a few new books in the works. We will be doing six or seven seminars this year. Long ones. As of now, some of the seminars are nearly sold out. If it goes beyond that, we’ll find bigger spaces.
What books have inspired you and would you recommend?
My favorites books are poetry books, and those really deep Eastern esoteric books that no one really likes to read. I go to them to remember the works of the great masters of the past. My two favorite poetry authors are Rumi and Hafiz.
What is a recent purchase that you’ve made that has helped your business?
We are going to create numerous videos in the future. We recently invested in some really fast computers, and very good quality video equipment.
What would you tell the reader that you feel of most value today?
We live in a harrowing time. At times it seems everything is going wrong in our environment, in overpopulation, in endless wars, and so much corruption in the political scene. It seems it’s not only being allowed to continue, it appears to be getting worse. I believe that life becomes like this when we lose our moral compass as a humanity. But to believe it’s never really lost. We could find it again if we would just pull back a bit, turn our gaze away from the wrongs and look for our solutions in our hearts. There’s an old saying, “you are the one you’re praying to.” This leads me to ask you all a question. Could it be, if you laid down your feelings of helplessness and picked up your heart-torch as a beacon for others to find you, to allow them to all join you in our return to love? Could it be that the difficulties we now face as a whole is also a call for you to personally answer, rather than hiding in feelings of helplessness? Could it be that is why you are alive now?