British adventurer Bear Grylls, who hosts the popular Discovery Channel show "Man Vs Wild", has mentioned about how Prime Minister Narendra Modi has actually spent time in the jungle as a younger man, citing the experience as the reason why he showed no apparent discomfort when he was out shooting for the extreme adventure show.Indeed, in a special episode of the show shot at Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand and aired on Monday, Prime Minister Modi remained calm in the face of the adversities that nature tossed at him.
For the 45-year-old adventurer, Prime Minister Modi's composure despite extreme weather might have been a revelation. However, those in the know, recall his sturdy phase in the younger days - the two years he spent in the Himalayas in search of God - which Grylls mentioned as his time spent in the jungle as a younger man.Not much is known about those two years. Now, some details have emerged about that time in the Prime Minister's life. According to Kalindi Randeri, author of "Narendra Modi: The Architect Of Modern State", he was irked by family issues, which is why he decided to embark on a journey to the Himalayas to seek the truths of life.Randeri writes in her book: "One dark night Modi left his home and simply vanished away."
For the next two years, Modi stayed in the caves of Himalayas as a monk, she writes, and during this time, he met another monk there.The monk asked him his reason for wandering in the Himalayas and Modi replied that he was there in search of God.Then the monk told Modi he was too young, and that he did not need to wander in the Himalayas in search of God. He could find God by serving people and society.So, Modi returned among people, but not to family life.At the age of 17 in 1967, he went to Belur Math and became an ascetic. There he met Swami Madhavananda.The Prime Minister terms those two years in the Himalayan wilds as an urge to understand the spiritual world.
"I was 17 or 18 when I left my home and was thinking about what to do next. I was trying to understand the world and wanted to see the spiritual world. Then, I stayed in the Himalayas, amid nature. It was a wonderful experience," he said.Subsequently, Modi started his political career and joined Bharatiya Janata Party. The rest is history.On Monday, the Indian secret service had closed the airspace at Corbett so Grylls had to get down from his helicopter at one point and walk for 6.4 km to meet Modi. He waited for two hours to meet the Prime Minister, and was anxious about taking him into the jungle, given its wet and cold conditions.Prime Minister Modi, however, was in no mood for anxiety. Out on his jungle adventure, his calm demeanour all through made one think that, perhaps, memories of those two years of his youth in wilderness, searching for God, played in his mind all along and egged him on in his new adventure."The strength that I gained after my stay in the Himalayas is still within me. I met people who believed in minimalist living and leaving no carbon footprints," Modi said at one point.
Modi's connect with nature, even at a young age, was not just about his personality. It was about survival, too, as is evident in an anecdote he shared, revealing how his family at times did not have money to buy soap. "We lived in a dry region. During winter, dew gets gathered and forms a layer of salt in such places. We used to collect it and soak it in warm water and use it as detergent even for taking bath," Modi said.The Prime Minister also said that he didn't have a great life growing up.The Prime Minister seemed to enjoy every bit of his wild experience at Corbett. Although he did mention this did not feel anything new, since he had lived in the Himalayas this way.
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