Sri M (born Mumtaz Ali Khan) is a living yogi and a disciple of Sri Maheshwarnath Babaji who in turn was the disciple of Mahavatar Babaji. Sri M is also known as Sri Madhukarnath ji. Sri M lives at Madanapalle, Andhra Pradesh, India. In 2020, he was conferred with Padma Bhushan award, the third-highest civilian honour of India.
Sri M or Mumtaz Ali Khan was born on 6 November 1948 into an affluent and liberal Muslim family in Trivandrum, Kerala.. In chapter 2 of his autobiography Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master, Sri M describes meeting his Guru Sri Maheshwarnath Babaji, who appeared in the garden of M's home in Trivandrum. M saw a distinguished and youthful-looking stranger with matted hair standing near a jackfruit tree. After a brief conversation, the stranger disappeared. This was a turning point in Sri M's life, who was nine years old at the time. Sri M says of this meeting: "After the jackfruit tree incident, although outwardly I looked like any other boy of that age, my personality had undergone a profound change. A secret life went on within, side by side with the ordinary activities of day to day existence. The inner journey had begun and the first sign of this was that I began to meditate without even knowing the word meditation." Following this awakening, he made contact with a series of South Indian saints, including Bhagawan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri, Yogi Gopala Saami, Kaladi Mastan, Swami Abhedananda, Chempazhanti Swami, Swami Tapasyananda and Mai Ma.
Quest for self realisation
According to his autobiography, Sri M left his home at the age of nineteen to find his master in Himalayas. After getting exhausted by the endless search, he finally met Sri Maheshwarnath Babaji—the same person he had met when he was nine—at the Vyasa Cave, beyond Badrinath. He lived with his master for three and a half years and learnt many things. According to the book, he got initiated into the Nath tradition and got awakening of his Kundalini fire. He, along with his master took arduous journey to Tholingmutt in Tibet. His desire to meet the Grand Master – Sri Guru (Mahavatar Babaji) was also fulfilled at Nilkantha Hill with the grace of his master.
The author claims that Mahavatar Babaji, referred as Sri Guru in this book, was his master in a previous life. Sri M's guru Maheshwarnath Babaji is said to have the power to materialize and dematerialize, and assume any form on earth and beyond.
After spending three years in the Himalayas as a wandering yogi with his master, Sri M claims that he was asked by his master to go back and prepare for his life mission. He returned from the Himalayas and travelled all over India, meeting many spiritual gurus such as Neem Karoli Baba, Lakshman Joo and J. Krishnamurti. He also spent a considerable amount of time in the Ramakrishna Mission and the Krishnamurti Foundation. While he was associated with the Krishnamurti Foundation, he met his future wife Sunanda Sanadi, with whom he now has two grown-up children. He started his teaching phase some years after his Master died.
He now heads the Satsang Foundation, which runs two schools in Andhra Pradesh: the Peepal Grove School and the Satsang Vidyalaya. The Peepal Grove School, which is a boarding school, was inaugurated by the former President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in 2006. Satsang Vidyalaya is a free school meant for children in the Madanapalle area where Sri M himself lives. He also writes in Speaking Tree, a spiritual forum run by The Times of India.
A documentary film called The Modern Mystic: Sri M of Madnapalle was made by director Raja Choudhury in 2011.
In 2015, Sri M undertook a long journey on foot (padayatra) called "Walk of Hope" from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, covering 7500 kilometres. The walk began on 12 January 2015, marking the birth anniversary of the saint Swami Vivekananda, who had himself undertaken a similar journey more than a century ago. With a group of dedicated fellow travellers, Sri M walked through 11 Indian states. He considered the Walk of Hope an exercise to restore the innate spirituality of the nation. The padayatra ended in Srinagar, Kashmir on 29 April 2016.
In April 2017, Sri M published the second part of his autobiography. The Journey Continues surpasses the earlier volume in apparently miraculous incidents (in the introduction Sri M speculates that his readers might believe he "had finally gone bonkers"); here Sri M recounts in detail many of his previous lives over a period that spans more than 2000 years, during which he (or she, since in several lives M apparently was a woman) was associated with numerous saints of India.
Wisdom of the Rishis: The Three Upanishads (Ishavasya, Keno, Mandukya). Trans. Kamal Aswami. Satsang Communications, 2002.
Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master. Magenta Press, 2010.
Jewel in the Lotus: Deeper Aspects of Hinduism. Magenta Press, 2011.
The Little Guide to Greater Glory and a Happier Life. Magenta Press, 2014.
The Upanishads: Katha - Prashna – Mundaka. Magenta Press, 2017.
The Journey Continues: A sequel to Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master. Magenta Press, 2017.
Shunya. Westland by Amazon, 2018.
On Meditation : Finding Infinite Bliss and Power Within. Penguin Random House India, 2019.