Those who have seen ‘Kamana Billu’(1983) know that Kannada film industry legend Dr.Rajkumar is not only an actor but also a yogi.
‘Kamana Billu’ director Dattaraj remembers shooting for a scene one particularly chilly morning. “We were taking some shots of yoga postures of Dr. Rajkumar in the early morning. The whole team was shivering with cold. But Dr. Rajkumar, who was only wearing a loin cloth, went on calmly doing yoga, without even a hint of a shiver”.
For Dr Rajkumar, Yoga was a passion – a way of life. However, not many know that the Kannada star was drawn to yoga only in his 50s. It is said that Rajkumar, who even a decade after his death still continues to rule the hearts of Kannadigas, used to practise his asanas for five to six hours a day.
There is a strange story behind Dr. Rajkumar’s fascination towards Yoga. HP Naikar, who is considered to have been Dr Rajkumar’s Yoga guru, believes that the Kannada cine star was great yogi in his previous life.
“It was not me who was his teacher, I feel it was he, who was my guru. Not just in this life, but in all the previous ones as well,” said Naikar. “I met Dr Rajkumar for the first time in 1960. When I touched his body I realised, he was not merely an actor, in his previous life he was a yogi. He had attained higher levels of yoga siddhi” added Naikar.
After this incident Naikar had to wait for 20 years to meet Dr. Rajkumar, even though he travelled several times to Chennai his visits never were fruitful.
“One fine day I arrived at the door of his house. His health was not quite well; hence his wife said that he is out of station, just in order to avoid frequent visitors like me. I convinced her saying that I am not just a fan of Dr. Rajkumar, I am coming from Siddarudha math of Hubballi, I want to discuss with him something related to Yoga”
Dr. Rajkumar overheard this discussion and came out to meet me, he said.
The actor then explained his physical illness to Naikar. From that very first meeting Naikar started teaching Yoga practice to Dr. Rajkumar and within a few days his physical ailments disappeared.
After starting yoga, Rajkumar, who used to be a regular at the gym stopped all those exercises completely devoted himself to yoga. With Yoga Dr. Rajkumar not only started gaining physical strength but also mental calmness and experience of spiritual throb.
In the beginning Rajkumar under the guidance of Naikar used to start his yoga practice every day at 2.15 am and continued till 8 a.m. But Rajkumar was not satisfied, he wanted to experience the ultimate levels of yoga. Dr. Rajkumar often told his yoga teacher that he wanted to reach the level of siddhis.
“He wanted to experience Parakaya pravesh siddhi (entering into other’s body), ateendriya jnaana (telepathy). He would tell me, 'I have been practising for 20 years but I am not reaching to those goals”.
"These siddhis are not actually the goal of yoga practices. In the path of yoga experience, siddhis may happen or may not happen," he says. However, Naikar then adds, in the final phase of Rajkumar's life he achieved whatever he wanted.
"Dr. Rajkumar left his body seven times. Eighth time he prayed to God for the obsolescence of desire (trishna)." Naikar
“People say that I have taught yoga to Rajkumar for 28 years. But I know that I have not taught anything to him. In these 28 years I exposed and revealed to him whatever I had learnt from him in the previous lives. In this life he is equal to my father and equal to my guru,” concludes Naikar.