South African doctor from Canada finds solace, identity at Sangam

Having spent 40 years in Canada, a Muslim doctor could not get his ailing wife cured. Around eight years ago, he met a yoga teacher, and came to stay in India along with his wife at his ashram. They not only found solace but a new identity.

Meet Swami Krishnanand, born as Mohammad Tahir Babu 74 years ago in South Africa. His wife, who passed away recently, died as Swami Savitri.

Swami Krishnanand now provides medical advice to inmates at the camp of Kriya Yoga Ashram and Research Institute on Mukti Marg in Sector 10 here. A student of Kriya Yog, an ancient form of yoga, he helps organise classes at the ashram's main campus.

Sitting in the camp, ahead of the regular Kriya Yog classes that are going on during Kumbh Mela, the soft-spoken Canadian Muslim recalls, "My wife had rheumatoid arthritis. We tried every possible cure. But the medications only aggravated her symptoms."

Son of a tailor from Port Elizabeth (South Africa), Tahir Babu is a qualified physician and a specialist in paediatrics and allergic diseases. He spent his first eight years as a doctor in South Africa and then moved to Canada. By that time, he was married to Swami Savitri or Indrani Savitri Catherine, a qualified nurse. She passed away on January 25.

Indrani, born to a Tamil father and South African mother, always wanted to become a Swami and so Yogi Satyam, the head of the ashram, gave her the deeksha before she breathed her last. "She was always interested in spirituality," says Swami Krishnanand, who himself got the deeksha in January last year.

The couple met Yogi Satyam in 2004 and got drawn towards this ancient form of yoga in which people are trained to feel one with the universe.

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