A metallurgical engineer based in Hyderabad, Chidambar Rao was a seeker since his younger days. He would read books by different Masters even in his college years in search of something else in life. From college to marriage to work, he lived an ordinary existence, until life unfolded in an unimaginable and tragic way that ultimately led him to find peace and inner strength.
In 1992, when Rao was 32, he suffered a heart attack, after which he slowly recovered. But his physical problems had just begun.
Two years later in 1994, he suffered a major car accident in which he was lucky to come out alive. On the highway, about 80 kms from Hyderabad, a truck came and collided head-on with his car, which also carried his wife and little boy at the time. His wife could not sustain the injuries and passed away on the way to hospital. His son had a temple fracture and a crushed right cheek which needed immediate plastic surgery.
Rao himself had 7 broken ribs, the steering wheel of the car had punctured his chest, his liver was crushed, his diaphragm displaced and right hip fractured. 80% of his liver was removed and his hip replaced with steel rods and bolts. “I was in ICU and on ventilator for more than a fortnight and was bedridden for six months. This accident left me devastated with a body which could never be normal again. With all these complications of body and its effect on my mind, I became very cautious. I just willed myself to come out of all this and understand the deeper meaning of life and death.”
A few years down the line, Rao was in the grip of diabetes and blood pressure. Although he was still capable of working, he decided to quit his job and raise his 11 year old son, as well as look after his mother who was psychologically unwell. Constantly searching for peace in his mauled body, mind and emotions, he tried a few yoga programs in Hyderabad before he happened to sit in the Dhyanalinga at the Isha Yoga Center in 2002.
As he sat in this space, his mind and body experienced a peace and tranquility unlike anything he had ever known before, but for which he was so intensely longing. Rao became keen to take Isha’s Inner Engineering program with Sadhguru after this, and upon his return to Hyderabad was surprised to see hoardings announcing Sadhguru’s visit to the city to conduct a three day workshop. He immediately registered for the program. “This program changed my entire life for good. I became thirsty for more and more, and did all the Isha programs within the next four months. During one of his talks, Sadhguru said that being born in India one must make a pilgrimage to the Himalayas, at least once in life.”
Despite all his physical limitations, the desire to visit the Himalayas arose within him. At that time, Rao had difficulty walking, both his legs had been operated and doctors had advised him not to even climb the stairs. With the Isha practices he had learned and continued to do, his physical condition had improved, but still he doubted whether he could reach the Himalayas. Despite all odds, with full faith in Sadhguru, Rao decided not to pass up the opportunity – in 2004 he visited the Himalayas successfully. Subsequently, he trekked twice more to the Himalayas, took a week long trekking trip to Sahyadri mountains, and with Sadhguru reached the sacred Kailash mountain and lake Manasarovar. “If I look back and see, it seems impossible that anyone can go through all this. It’s very difficult to believe, even for me. If you look at this logically, it looks difficult to believe that someone can go through all this and still be alive and active.”
Today, many of his physical problems have subsided “My blood pressure and diabetes are under control, the doctors have cut out certain medications. I do my Isha practices and asanas every day and walk 3-4 kms. All I can say is without my initiation into Isha Yoga practices, all this would have never been possible. Without the practices Sadhguru gave, I would have been in a mess. I do not have words to thank him.”
Chidambar Rao is now a full-time resident at the Yoga Center in Coimbatore. His son is doing his master’s in mechanical engineering in Germany, while Rao’s mother has come out of her depression and lives in Hyderabad with his brother.
From the hospital to the Himalayas, he has found his way home.