Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Note To Self

In the Art Of Living, we often talk of buttons getting pushed. A button here represents situations that fall outside our comfort zone, situations  that cause discomfort as we dislike doing them, situations that change the status quo, our way of life for the better - even if they cause short term grief.

One such major "status-quo-changing" event has shaken India - a surgical strike on black money a.k.a demonetization. It has waken and shaken the honest and the corrupt alike. The corrupt are now like rats on a hot tin roof - they can't stand at the same place any more. Jumping off the tin roof means giving up their corrupt ways, surrendering their ill-gotten gains and paying taxes and penalty on the surrendered money - a highly unpalatable option to many for whom corruption and the luxuries it affords, have become a way of life. The honest are now forced to stand in long bank lines to  withdraw what is rightfully theirs. There can be a sense of indignation at someone else's wrongs becoming pain points for them.

Though the public of India has realized the good intentions of Hon. PM Modi ji and have thrown their lot with him, the corrupt (seeing their ill gotten wealth evaporate and become liabilities for them), are ganging together to use the angst of the common man as an excuse to force the Govt.'s hands in rolling back what is arguably the boldest social reform decision taken by any Govt. since independence.

Guruji has spoken about how we need to support the Govt. wholeheartedly in this reform initiative. Let us all meditate, help others in financial and logistical need, support each other and Modi ji in this fight against corruption. Let us stay aware that nobody uses our pain for their own gain.  Let us join hands for the true "Acche Din"  not too far away.

Jai Hind  !

Jai Gurudev,

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Grace Garments

Someone told me about this place on my last visit to the Ashram last year. I did not have the time to track it down. This time when I went there for Shakti Kriya, I decided to take a walk along less beaten paths away from the Ashram Kitchen.  As I passed Soudhamani (the realty project of Art Of Living), i came across a foul smelling patch of garbage. I wanted to turn back but kept on as I wanted a walk. As i crossed the dump, a couple of  people from the ashram zipped past me.  I was a bit surprised and followed them. As i entered the village of Udipalya, lo and behold, the first landmark was  the mythical "Grace Garments", I had heard so much of  :-)

Visit it the next time you are there. Your wallet may remain a lot heavier if you were shopping for traditional  Indian attire !

Jai Gurudev,

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Random Perspectives

Its been a complete year since my virtual pen touched the paper of this blog. The last post was about Guruji visiting the kids we had been working with and at that time it seemed like everything in life had reached its pinnacle. There was no point blogging about anything any more.  It also seemed that most folks have moved on from writing lengthy passages to the succinct brevity of facebook and twitter. Life also became incredibly busy and went through some significant events and blogging got relegated to the background.

So what changed ? Firstly - Art Of Living is hosting a  blogger's conference  at the Art Of Living International Center, Bangalore. So blogging is clearly not "so yesterday". Secondly and more importantly, I read Guruji's recent comments on how we need to share good experiences in life and not just keep them to ourselves. So i decided to start blogging again.

2012 was a  mix of good and bad (isn't that what life's all about anyways ?).  A long pending academic goal was finally accomplished. A dear one passed on. Spent more time with loved ones. Life became more and more about seva-sadhana-satsang. Taking on more seva responsibilities opened up dimensions in my life I did not know existed. I once went for 5 days straight on 3 hours of sleep a night (this coming from someone who's  eyes start transitioning from the slumber to the waking state no earlier than 8 AM, deserves some credit). Guruji visited Pune in Nov 2012 and I was fortunate (for the first time in many years) to be an active seva volunteer. I was able to assist several Part 1 courses which opened my boundaries, made me more people-friendly and firmed up my decision to be an Art Of Living teacher. I spent 19 days at the beautiful Art Of Living Bangalore Ashram in Oct during Navarathri, taking an advanced meditation course thus fulfilling a longing of  several years.

The year ended in India on a somber note with a ghastly incident waking up India to a daily reality - the abuse of women in the worst possible manner - a four letter word - R A P E. Hundreds of  Nirbhayas fall prey each day to the negative tendencies of lust and hunger for power and domination, ironically in a country where the  divine is worshiped as reverently in its female form as in the male. A lot of  (justified) anger and indignation has been (and continues to be) expressed. The govt, police and  justice system have been blamed. Parents have been blamed for not raising their sons right. Many theories have been spouted. However very few voices of sanity have been heard in the din. Unless the educational system incorporates tools to handle the negative tendencies of the mind, until every well-heeled citizen is willing to step outside his/her living room and work towards bringing opportunity and spiritual practices to the less-fortunate in society, many more Nirbhayas will continue to suffer the worst forms of humiliation and exploitation. Having worked with juvenile offenders as part of  our seva projects and having observed the stark conditions and deprivation in which they live, it is unfair to think that they would rise to do something better in life unless someone showed them the way. They do not look at newspapers/blogs/facebook/twitter or several of the avenues used to express the indignation and angst at Nirbhaya's passing.

We (rather) I need to do more.

Wishing you a PEACEFUL and HAPPY 2013 filled with opportunities to discover your inner self and serve others !

Jai Gurudev
(Victory to the Divine inside you).

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

He Came !

It finally happened ! On Jan 15th, Guruji met with boys and girls from the Remand Homes where over 80 Art Of Living volunteers from Pune have been working for the last 3+ years. What a moment !

 Jai Guru Dev,

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Tera May 2011

We had a lovely time with kids at a home in Pune yesterday. We celebrated Guruji's BDay a day late but with the same fervour, love, masti and joy ! This has become an annual event for us now along with other festivities such as Diwali and Guru Poornima.

We started with bhastrika and Ram Dhyaan and 130 kids meditated with pin-drop silence. Then the kids put up a bhajan performance followed by a  lovely dance performance - something they had been rehearsing for many weeks now !  Then we distributed certificates for participants of a vocational trg course our seva team had sponsored. Then satsang started  :)

The kids sang and danced with unadulterated joy as volunteers joined them. Finally we all had prasad together.  Finally a child came up with a card (in photo above) that he had made for Guruji. He had been working on it for 4 days !

Everyone left with their heads empty, hearts full and hands, having been an instrument in bringing Guruji's grace to the kids.

Just one request Guruji : Keep us all in your service forever !

Jai Guru Dev,