He is a 55-year-old Chilean lawyer who likes to wear multiple hats. Pablo Cánovas not only holds a master’s degree in economics and taxation, but also studied defense, with a specialization in the European region. It also develops clean energy projects. He has been practicing yoga since the age of 18 and still practices saadhana every day. Indophile, he has not only studied the Bhagavad Gita in depth, but has also lectured on it for the past decade at various yoga centers.
He also participates in a group where they do yagyas (sacred fires) and chant mantras. He is also president of the Gita Foundation, founded a year ago and dedicated to disseminating knowledge about India.
Pablo Canovas talks about his fascination with India and its culture with Huma Siddiqui
Here are some excerpts:
When did you realize your passion for India?
My first contact with India was when I was 18, I’m currently 55. My brother gave me the book Autobiography of a Yogi, by Paramahansa Yogananda. I read it with great interest, I was fascinated and especially impressed by its stories of Benares and the Himalayas and its insatiable attempt to seek its spiritual master. Then there was a second decisive book, “The Secret India” by Paul Brunton, the mother of a friend gave it to me, in this book, Brunton, tells his route until he meets his master Ramana Maharshi, the search for the master also touched me, and as it finally appears. From that moment on, I wanted to get to know India and check for myself the experiences that these authors were telling.
When was the first time you visited India and what attracted you the most?
It was in the year 2000, 20 years ago, following the comments of several people who suggested that I go and see Sathya Sai Baba of Puttaparthi. So, taking advantage of my studies in Spain, I heard about an offer of plane tickets, at a very good price, so I brought the tickets, and I traveled to India, to the ‘Ashram of Sathya Sai Baba. The place was beautiful and clean, and it was the first time I had come face to face with what the Indians call a master, it was a shocking experience for me as if time had stood still, it was etched in my memory. In this ashram they were selling different Indian books, so I bought several. There I started to read the Ramayana and brought the famous Bhagavad Gita. From that moment I started to know about Indian literature, a different philosophy from Western philosophy, one that is more concerned with the logical order of argumentation, it was intuitive and multidimensional, and full of moral teachings, and it touched me very positively.
Do you practice yoga daily? Do you also train your family and friends in Yoga? What are your favorite asanas?
Yes, I practice yoga daily and have taught friends and relatives, but I am not a yoga teacher, I encourage the practice whenever I can, as it is very beneficial in all aspects of somebody. I practice Surya Namaskar and the Asana that attracts me the most is Sirsasana, which is in my daily Saadhana.
You have a Foundation called ‘Gita’ – tell us more.
The foundation is a project to disseminate knowledge of India and other ancient cultures. We did it at the end of last year, with a group of friends, and it’s only just getting started since the pandemic just broke out and we couldn’t go on, and an alternative was the videos on the Rig. Veda.
You came to India for Kumbh Mela – how was it?
I was in Kumbha Mela last year, invited by Indian government, it was a wonderful experience, and I want to come back later, to stay for several days. I was pleasantly surprised by the organization, as there are millions of people there every day. They gave us books and we visited the site where he was that year, 2019, in Prayagraj. Then I gave lectures on Kumbha Mela in my country, on its meaning, age, origin and how it is one of the pillars of Indian culture.
You translate Rig Veda into Spanish. Please say more.
I have studied the Bhagavad Gita for about 15 years, even teaching it in study circles. And, five years ago, after reading some Aurobindo commentaries on the Vedas, and how they had been misinterpreted by the Western mind, I decided to directly study the text of the Rig Veda. This is how I came across the Rig Veda, commented on by Prof. RL Kashyap, disciple of Aurobindo and Kapali Sastry, where there is an attempt to recover the deep esoteric meaning. They said that this way many mantras made sense, otherwise they didn’t, and with the advantage that Professor Kashyap has the computer, unlike his predecessors.
So with this full version of the Rig Veda, I started to study it, and I was surprised, because what I was reading did not coincide with any of the comments I had read, from different analysts, even Indian commentators. . So after five years of studying, taking advantage of the pandemic, I felt I had to share it and started recording it on youtube, with comments from different academics, and a few small contributions that I dared to do. to do.
In translation, I am currently finishing the first Mandala, but in videos there are 6 intro videos recorded, and from the text of the Rig Veda, we are at Mandala 1, Shukta 4, since one came out a week, we are just start, but go ahead, step by step. It is a project that will last a long time. The purpose is to share that Indian thought has reached unprecedented levels of depth, a text like the Rig Veda is something very grand, perhaps the highest form of human thought, and the highest explanation of the relationship of man with divinity, a relationship of cooperation and brotherhood. There is no punishment for God; no terrible sins; no human sacrifices (according to TV. Kapali Sastry); nor punished in hell; nor is there any renunciation of the world of desires. It is simply a relationship between man and God, and how to move towards it, step by step, following mantras, with dedication and healthy intention.