Om Swami

"If Truth be Told "

(Black Lotus Press)

By Margaret Evans

From internet multimillionaire to self realised monk now sharing his wisdom with millions around the globe is an extraordinary journey by any measure.

Even more remarkable is that Om Swami has achieved such a transformation by his thirties.

This charismatic spiritual leader shares his story in his memoir If Truth be Told and, as befits a young man who made his millions by grasping the potential of the internet well before others, via his blog omswami.com

Born in India - in fact his birth and path to sainthood was foretold by a mystic whom his deeply religious mother had consulted - Om Swami was always a precocious child who devoured two books a day from early childhood, played chess and gave readings to an ever-widening circle of clients drawn by his deep understanding of Vedic astrology. Yet even then, Om Swami was conscious he was just skimming the surface and his own search for meaning would be a lonely and difficult journey.

In his increasingly restless search for new areas of knowledge to master, he took the fortuitous step of enrolling in an advanced computer course, was spotted by the editor of a financial publication and began writing a regular column on the share market. And so began his meteoric rise in the world of business and the internet - while, deep within, the teenage boy knew his true calling was the life of the spirit already nurtured by sessions of intense meditation.

Now an Australian national, Om Swami’s link with this country began at the age of 18 when he enrolled in a diploma course in information technology at a Sydney college. His departure from his family, none of whom had ever been on a plane before, and facing the future with a mixture of excitement and trepidation gives the reader a hint of the courage needed to break from all that one knows in search of a new life.

Om Swami’s brilliance as a programmer and business savvy propel him to extraordinary success - it’s a decade of constant travel, international offices, posh cars and fancy clothes. In fact, the constant flitting from one continent to another as the whorl of business consumes him - 18 hour working days seem the norm- becomes a little dizzying for the reader and it’s easy to sense it finally becomes all too much for Om Swami. At 30, he embarks on the greatest challenge of his life and renounces all his worldly goods to become a penniless monk.

This segment of the memoir as Om Swami leaves behind his distraught family and friends and sets off in search of a guru to lead him on his journey to self knowledge, and ultimately God, leaves a powerful impression with the reader. It includes four months spent with a false guru whose coarseness and cruelty strip the young man of every vestige of pride lingering from his past success. When he eventually leaves the guru’s ashram having been virtually starved and his bank account looted, he takes the mystic’s path to the Himalayas where more privations await him. Some of the depictions of his life in a dilapidated hut with nothing but slippers to wear in deep snowdrifts and a thin quilt to ward off the icy winds, or meditating for so long that spiders weave their webs from the crown of his head to the roof are achingly vivid. Reading this book in a cold winter here in Australia made me dismissive of the odd arthritic twinge in comparison!

After months of intense suffering assuaged only by a strict regime of meditation and tantric sadhana directed towards his goal of self realisation, Om Swami finally experiences the divine vision he has been yearning for when the Mother Divine appears before him. It’s clear that for Om Swami the moment is intensely real and deeply transformative.

His goal realised, he comes down from the mountains to reengage with the world and reconnect with his family once more but now as a spiritual being rather than as a brilliant and driven young man.

As to be expected from one of such fervour, Om Swami is now forging a new path as a spiritual adviser to apparently millions of followers around the world.What stands out to me from his videos online as well as his memoir is that this is a man who seeks truth and is not afraid to speak it, a quality so rare and precious in our world of shallowness and cynicism.

Follow Om Swami’s blog at

omswami.com

Margaret Evans

Margaret Evans has a background in teaching, journalism and publishing. She is the editor of NOVA Holistic Journal.