Friday, November 30, 2007

The Airport

I was at Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai yesterday seeing off H&S. The heart was heavy as I knew I would not be meeting them for a few months. After they disappeared inside the terminal, I waited outside waiting for a call from them saying all was well.

This gave me a unique opportunity to watch life in the airport as a spectator. I have mostly been sent-off, this was one of those rare opportunities when I got to bid someone farewell and shed those silent tears after they were out of sight.

A large (and I mean LARGE) Gujarati family was bidding 4 members of their entourage farewell. 4 individuals were set to travel and about 40 had showed up to see them off. Whoops of joy, greetings in Gujarati (presumably meaning 'farewell' or 'bon voyage') rent the air as the 4 walked smilingly celebrity-like on the red carpet towards the departure door and into the vast-nothingness (for folks seeing folks off at CSIA) beyond.

A mother stood tearfully advising her son (presumably not to smoke, drink or date foreign girls) while the lad stood with his face turned away, half embarrassed, half in pain at having to bid farewell to his dear mom in a few minutes.

Several men-in-badges were escorting folks (mostly women with heavy baggage and a cranky toddler-in-tow and foreigners who didn't realize this was a ruse to relive them of their remaining pocket change and not the traditional Indian traditional send-off for guests) to the departure gate and beyond.

A frantic woman was trying to convince the security guard that she was late for her flight and hadn't brought her e-ticket along and that he should let her pass.

A familiar TV actor was waiting for his flight departure to be announced, drably dressed - presumably to avoid being recognized . That didn't work too well as we figured him out as did a couple of teens who wouldn't stop leering and pointing at him until he got uncomfortable enough to walk away.

A couple walks up and asks to be photographed. I oblige . The guy wants intimate (stop thinking evil !) pictures and the tries to get close to the girl who blushingly fends him off.

The call finally came - H&S had successfully checked in their bags and were at the departure gate . After a tearful phone farewell, I took the elevator down to the parking, passing arrivals on the way.

A huge crowd waited for the arriving passengers. Every now and then, a whoop rent the humid Bombay end-November air as a a loved one met with another loved one. Hugs, chocolates, flowers are exchanged -in no particular order as the loved ones walk away to a waiting car or auto-rickshaw.

Anticipating faces await further news about a delayed flight about to bring a loved one home.

The numerous literally fly-by-night drivers of rental cars await their passengers.

As I make way to the car park, I am thinking - How is this so different from life anywhere else ? An airport terminal is simply a microcosm of the busy urban life anywhere else in India. Here you get to see it all up-close and personal - if you are willing to observe .

My car leaves the parking lot and the mind thinks - everything I just saw is probably playing itself out again and again right now. The loud family, the couple, the frantic passenger, the TV actor ....everything, just that I am not the current witness.

Life happens. And we are just spectators who come and go. Life happens...

Jai Gurudev,

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Its My Life

The trials and tribulations of the last few months have often raised a nagging question in my mind - What about my life ? Selfish ? Yes.

This set me thinking - what indeed is my life ? Is it the student life at UW that I loved and now miss ? Is it the Art Of Living events in the Bay Area and Seattle that I loved participating in ? Or those mindless web browsing sessions that led to a load of bookmarks that I never looked at later ? Sleeping when I liked, waking when I wanted, taking a long walk on the rainy roads of U-district in Seattle ? Taking Art Of Living courses when I wanted ?

What indeed is my life ? And why is what-I-am-going-through-right-now NOT a part of it ?

After some introspection, it was clear what the problem was. I have created this perfect world where I can do what I want, when I want, let in who I want and pretty much think that this is the purpose of my life - even though the heart reminds me every now and then that it is not feeling so good. I want life to evolve as I wish fulfilling my desires and aspirations as I go along and want the universe to play along. Guess what dude - IT AIN'T HAPPENING !

Someone said "If you want God to laugh, tell him about your plans ! I know HE is laughing real hard right now :-) .

Back to Knowlege Point I and II of the Part I course !
  • Accept People and Situations As They Are
  • Live Life in the Present Moment
I was suddenly reminded of the beautiful knowledge given my Balwinder-ji at Long Kriya in Aundh, Pune a few weeks ago "Jo ab hai, wohi theek hai" (Whatever is happening right now is absolutely fine) .

The real cool thing about a really tough unpredictable situation in life is that while you are on the spiritual path with the worlds-coolest-guru , the knowledge rears its beautiful head to remind you of what you are not applying in your life. As Guruji said in Guru Poornima 2006 in the Bay Area "The sign of having a teacher, a master - is that you DO NOT WORRY !" .

Gotta do the next Part I again REAL SOON !!!

Jai Guru Dev,

Thursday, November 22, 2007


The last few months have been - well - interesting . Events unexpected have happened, life that seemed moving along predictable lines has taken a sudden turn. Uncertainty is in the air. Through all this the grace has shone consistently (though only visible to me when i was aware) .

How else could one explain sitting outside the hospital ICU as sick-loved-one was wheeled in a few months ago, wistfully thinking "Guruji, have you abandoned me" only to have someone walk past the NEXT minute with a book by Guruji in his hand and answering his friend's questions about the book with a "oh this is sri sri ravishankar guruji's book" .

How else could one explain returning on Gurupoornima night after attending a rocking satsang at Sanghvi Pune, starting pranayam, hearing a loud thud from the bathroom, running there and finding that sick-loved-one had fallen atop another-loved-one in a heap after slipping and discovering that neither of them was hurt one bit.

Or pondering how to get sick-loved-one to the testing center for a blood test when she could hardly get off the bed and then calling the test center who offer to send their person home.

Or not having been employed for the last 1 year and yet being able to afford the expenses that seem to keep piling up like crazy.

Or...the list is endless.

Though the heart feels the gratitude and the grace, the suffering, both physical and mental continue at times. Caring for a loved one is something I always wanted to do and now is my chance, but I'll admit - its not easy. It can be physically exhausting at times, especially over a prolonged period. One has to give up pretty much everything one is used to doing be it working, studying, coding, recreational activities, name it. Mentally the agony of watching a loved one suffer is hard enough. The mind jumps to the future and wonders - How long will this suffering continue ?

I was analyzing the reasons for this agony when I came across the following knowledge point.

Suffering is the product of limited knowledge - Sri Sri

I also remembered that the 2 points that kept coming up were the Part I knowledge points :
  • Accept the situation as it is
  • The present moment is inevitable
It struck me that my problem was just this. I wasn't accepting that this seemingly imperfect situation was just what the universe wanted me to face right now. Also if I stopped wondering about when this would all end, maybe life would not be so tough ! Right now the awareness is strong but I am unable to apply these points at all times. Help me Guruji !

Jai Gurudev,

Friday, November 16, 2007


So we managed to attend satsang with Guruji in Pune on Thu 16th Nov ! Wow what can I say ? I was praying non-stop that we should be able to attend especially with my sick-loved-one . It simply did not seem possible given the loved ones state of health, my family's -justifiable- opposition to putting someone who can hardly walk, in a car, late in the evening, and driving45 minutes to a faraway location. All I wanted was for my sick-loved-one to have a glimpse of Guruji. Also having missed Guru Poornima earlier this year and other opportunities to meet HIM in the US, I was absolutely not ready to miss meeting him when he came to my own city. But my heart said GO.

On the day of the event, things began falling in place. We found a hospital close by that was willing to rent us a wheelchair at a reasonable rate and a car rental with exactly the right size and price.

It was touch and go until the last moment. The sick-loved-one was mentally all ready to go but physically there were hiccups. She was too tired to move. Somehow we got her in the car and off we went. On the way too, I was wondering whether I did the right thing. Was it fair to impose decisions born out of my devotion on someone so obviously sick ? But my heart said GO.

I started doing kriya in the car to calm my mind and sent out a silent prayer to Guruji "We are coming. Please take care of us".

And how HE did ! We walked into the venue wheeling the sick-loved-one along and saw a capacity crowd listening to Guruji speak. We were at the back and noticed a familiar figure in the distance on stage about a 100 meters away. Hmm...I thought - maybe this is all we were destined for today. Still the heart was grateful for having made it this far without incident and for having accomplished the original goal -- getting a glimpse of HIM .

What happened next was unbelievable. A volunteer walks up to us, noticing the sick-loved-one in a wheelchair and offers to take us to a different location that would be more comfortable. He walks us down to - the V I P enclosure meant only for special invitees and celebrities ! We are ushered in and LO-AND-BEHOLD we were looking at Guruji up close and personal !
As if this was not enough, another volunteer finds a spot where my mother could see Gurudev in an exclusive manner.

Satsang with Sri Sri Ravishankar - Pune Nov 16th 2007

I was too busy praying and being overwhelmed with gratitude to even listen to what he was saying. The sick-loved-one's hands went up in prayer and and thankfulness ! We even made it though a meditation HE led.

The sick-loved-one wanted to leave and so we did. The cold evening air seemed so warm, the mind still numb and in disbelief at what had just happened, the heart so full ........

Guruji says "Take one step towards the divine and the Divine will take 100 steps towards you". This evening he fulfilled that promise to us, especially to the sick-loved-one

Dear Guruji :

Har saans meri pooja tumhari
Har pal mera prasad tera
Har kadam mera pradakshina tera
(lyrics from Vishuddhi - Gayathri) .

Enuf said .

Listen to the satsang talk (in Hindi) here .

Jai Gurudev,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


A beautiful quote from this week's newsletter :

If God Brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God.
Painful moments, trust God.
Every moment, thank God.

-- Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bal Bal Bach Gaye !

Anyone watching TV in India can't have missed that ad featuring a fat bald convict on the run from the cops. He enters a barber's shop and quickly sticks a strand of hair on his head and sits down on a chair. A cop enters, looks at the hoodlum with one strand of hair and a mug shot of him completely bald and walks away saying "Bal Bal Bach Gaye". Hilarious ...

Well it wasn't so funny when I was riding a cab back home after picking up H & S from Pune Airport. A few meters on Airport Road in Yerwada and I heard a SCREAM followed SCREECH followed by BOOM ! Some smart guy on a bike had cut right across the road and our cab had just run straight into him. As I slowly recovered from the shock and simultaneously checked on H&S and the mess in front of the cab, I froze.

The cab's front light was smashed, the bike had nothing resembling a petrol tank left and a thin young guy was standing in the middle of the road holding his head. The cabbie gets out and berates the bike-rider for trying acrobatics on the road.

Lotsa property damage but NO ONE was hurt. Not the cabbie, not the guy on what-used-to-be-his-beloved-bike, not the three of us in the back seat !

My mind went J G D !

The best part was that this event happened just meters away from the location of the Pranayam Dhyan Shibir to be led by Sri Sri Ravishankar Guruji this week !

The rest of the ride was spent silently thanking Guruji for what just did not happen ! Sri Sri often says that the grace of a Master protects us at all times !

How true !

He also says that our spiritual practices can alter our karma and change a catastrophic event into something much smaller ! W O W !

Thanks Guruji for the gift of Sudarshan Kriya, for bringing all my family members on the path, for saving us today and for your loving Grace !

If the grace is flowing thus even before the event, think of the possibilities during the event and after it. Make sure you get your tickets and attend. You have NO IDEA what lies in store for you.

Jai Guru Dev ,

Sunday, November 11, 2007

G is in the air !

Its Sunday (Nov 11th) here in India. Diwali is drawing to a close and yet for Pune, the festivities and celebrations are just about to get started ! Sri Sri Ravishankar (also fondly called Guruji) is going to be here on the 15th for a Mahasatsang and will lead a PDS (Pranayam Dhyan Shibir) from the 16th to the 19th . More details are here !

Guruji is everywhere ! I was driving down to Pune from Mumbai on the expressway and there HE was - on a huge larger-than-life hoarding . Banners at every intersection, the bus stops, shops, traffic light poles - its amazing the amount of seva the Art Of Living volunteers in Pune have done. I MUST remember to take my camera with me the next time I am outside.

The sheer irony of it all is that I may not be able to attend :-( owing to a family problem ! And yet I want Guruji to solve it for me !

We has a wonderful Long Kriya today led by none other than the engimatic Balwinder-ji. Every time I see him he looks thinner and more like Guruji himself. What a beautiful kriya and what beautiful knowledge and a surprise blessing ! Thanks Guruji !

V called today to register my dad for the Sahaj Samadhi meditation course with Bhanu Didi. You fulfilled that intention Guruji - now please bring us all to the venue for Mahasatsang and PDS .

Jai Guru Dev ,

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Guruji on Diwali

(Photo - Courtesy of

Sri Sri Ravishankar on the significance of DIWALI

Feeling or experiencing the infinity within this finite body, living the timelessness within the time span of life, uncovering the bliss within the misery. This is what you are here for.

Today is Diwali - the Festival of Lights. The streets and buildings are lit up with colorful lights. The four aspects of Diwali:

1. The lights: Symbolic of spreading the Knowledge.

2. Fire crackers: When the explosion happens outside, the explosion inside is diffused.

3. Gift exchange and distribution of sweets: Sweets dispel the bitterness and renew the friendship.

4. Feeling abundance: Brings awareness and gratefulness for what one has.

When true wisdom dawns, it gives rise to celebration, and in celebration you may lose focus or awareness. The ancient rishis knew this so to maintain awareness in the midst of gaiety of celebration, they brought sacredness and puja to every celebration.

Celebrate the Knowledge and feel the abundance,
for "those who have will be given more" !

Jai Guru Dev,

Monday, November 5, 2007

The UW Daily reports on the Art Of Living !

What an exciting moment ! The wonderful work being carried out by the Art Of Living Club at UW has been reported in the UW Daily. Read the article below :

Ever since the dynamic AOL Youth team started working on educating students at UW about the benefit of yoga, meditation in their lives, the AOL club activities at UW have really taken off . A 20 member YES+ course is in progress right now, being taught by none other than the dynamic Emily Peck (National Art Of Living Youth coordinator) .

The next Art Of Living YES+ course is starting Nov 13th 2007 near UW. Be there or be SQUARE !

Register here

Joy Gurudev !

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Jetlag and Daylight Savings

I just discovered that the most unfun thing to happen is to wake up jet lagged at 4:00 am only to discover that the US Daylight Savings (Fall Back) has also kicked in on the same day . That means if your watch shows 4:00 am it is actually 3:00 am ...OUCH ! And I feel as fresh as the morning dew . What to do ?

I was still so intoxicated from last night's satsang. So I walked around the apartment at 3:00 am singing whatever bhajans came up - thankfully I woke nobody up - all the folks in my apartment are graduate students from the UW who were either already up cramming for tests or still in their labs) . Here are a few :

1. Om Namah Shivaya (Avataran - by Sahil Jagtiani)
2. Krishna Manohara (Avataran - by Sahil Jagtiani)
3. Krishna Govinda (rendered oh-so-beautifully by Rishi Nityapragya - one of the gems of the Art Of Living Foundation ).

I then did padmasadhana and then started to look for more Rishiji Videos . I found these awesome ones on Youtube. If you are on Orkut just join the Rishi Nityapragya fan club, if not click on the links below :

1. Tere Bina Zindagi Me Koi
2. Krishna Govinda
3. Tu Bin Bataye

Rishiji's rendition of 1) and 3) made me realize - just changing the object of affection in the Bollywood number from a person to the Divine makes it all so much more beautiful .

Perhaps thats true of life as well .

Now thats certainly worth a 3:00 am waking - don't you think ?

Jai Gurudev ,

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Satsang Finally !

We had a beautiful satsang in Seattle at S&K's tonite - the first I could attend in many months. What amazing energy there was in that little room .

Sri Sri says "Satsang is the nest in which you can find repose. If you are a taker of happiness, you receive misery, if you are a giver of happiness, you receive joy and love"

There was so much joy in the room full of Art Of Living teachers and volunteers . Everyone was giving so much happiness and joy to others . I am truly blessed to have been able to attend this satsang .

Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, November 2, 2007

Pranayam Dhyan Shibir - Pune Nov 2007

Sri Sri Ravishankar, founder of Art Of Living is teaching a wonderful course - Pranayam Dhyan Shibir (Yoga - Meditation Course) in Pune Nov 16 - 19th . Combining yoga, breathing and guided meditation techniques and soul stirring knowledge, this course is a must for anyone seeking good health, peace of mind and spiritual growth . I took this course in the Bay Area, California last year and its was truly transformational . If in Pune in Nov, DONT MISS IT !