Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year !

Let time celebrate your presence. People usually make a wish for the New Year, but this year, make no wish.Let the New Year celebrate you.If the New Year wants to bring nicer things, just let it.

Usually you are lost in celebration.When you let time celebrate you, you are a witness amidst celebration.

The New Year is fortunate because you are living at this time.When you are living for the sake of the world, the world is fortunate.You are not living for yourself,but for the world. Whatever the world needs or wants,you are here for that.

...............H.H.Sri Sri Ravishankar...

Lake Lucerne, SWITZERLAND,
JANUARY 1, 1997

This year, Guruji gave the following message to all satsangs worldwide before leaving for the Art Of Living German ashram :

Giving blessings for the new year, He said in celebration there is 'utsah' -
enthusiasm and with that also arises a sankalapa (intention) .

HE said this New Year let us all take a Sankalpa :

1. To conserve water
2. To plant trees and some vegetables/pulses - there is such shortage of food in the world
3. Plant trees - we give out impure air - these trees purify air. So to reduce pollution, it is imperative to plant trees

A Happy New Year to all my blog readers !

Jai Guru Dev,

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sights from the UW - Fall 2006

Posted by Picasa

Some pictures I took while attending Fall Qtr 2006 at the University Of Washington, Seattle. These pictures were taken in the "QUAD", the century old part of the university,housing some of its oldest departments and is currently under renovation. A sight to behold indeed - especially the cherry blossom foliage during Fall .

Monday, December 24, 2007

Another Journey Begins

I just finished my 4th Art Of Living Part I course at Pune yesterday. Heres a summary :

1. Before the course, I was worn out - After it I feel so light.
2. Before the course, I felt so disconnected, After it I feel so connected .
3. Before the course, I was scared , After it not any more.
4. Before the course, I wondered if I would finish, After the course - er well I finished it didn't I ?
5. Before the course I felt very egoistic, After the course much less .
6. Before the course, I had a bad cold , After the course, I am fine.

If you have done the course, please repeat it, if you have not, please DO IT at your earliest. What better time than the turn of the year to renew and refresh oneself , go closer towards the self and start a grand new year !

Jai Guru Dev,

You Life is a Gift

Sri Sri on the message of Christmas

You are the Christmas tree that points upwards with branches on all sides. At the time of year when other trees are barren, you are green with many gifts to offer.

You bear gifts and lights - not for yourself, but for others. Remember that all the gifts you are carrying in your life are for others. Anyone who comes to you, offer them your gifts. Your life is a gift. And you have come to unwrap the gift.

Sri Sri Ravishankar

A beautiful video on Sri Sri at the North Pole by Naresh :

Merry Christmas to all my blog readers !

Jai Guru Dev,

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Journey Begins Again ......Continues

After months of longing, I had the opportunity to take the Art of Living Part I course again today. A nice and small daytime course started at Aundh Pune.

With loved-one on the recovery path, it was easier to take this decision and actually sign up for a course during the peak morning hours (10:00 am - 1:00 pm). These hours in the last few months have been witness to the most hectic, frantic and exhausting experiences. How life changes and that too in a matter of days !

This will be my fourth Part I course and also the first one in India ! Cool ! My previous repeats have all been very interesting. Each repeat of the Part I course brings up something new in me. The same knowledge reveals itself in a new light, the practice deepens, the reverence for Guruji increases and the profoundness of the course (described by a favorite teacher of mine as "The essence of the Vedas"), reveals itself one more bit. Guruji says this about taking courses again and again "Punah Punaha" - Again and Again - until it becomes part of us.

I wonder what new light this one will throw up.

Oh - but "Expectation Reduces Joy" .

Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, December 14, 2007

Krishna Govinda ......

One of the latest Art Of Living Bhajans to rock satsangs in India ( and my current favourite) is the awesome "Krishna Govinda Govinda Govinda" number. Supposedly composed by Dr. Manikandan , this is a MUST LISTEN. Surprisingly easy to sing and so beautiful to hear, this one will surely rock satsangs around the AOL world for years to come .

Rendition by Rishi Niytapragya :

Rendition by the inimitable Bhanu Didi :

The lyrics go :

krishna govinda govinda govinda
govinda shyam murare krishna

govinda govinda paramananda ananda
govinda govinda paramananda ananda

ghanashyama ananda krishna

madhuranana krishna manamohana krishna

keshava madhava yadunanda ananda

krishna govinda govinda govinda
govinda ananda krishna

Jai Guru Dev,

Things get better

One of the points of the Art of Living Part I course points is "The mind focuses on the negative" . How true !

Over the last few posts, I've been blogging away about my pain and suffering . The last week witnessed an amazing transformation in the state of health of sick-loved-one. Last week the doctor agreed to take off one medicine that sick-loved-one was taking for months since it was prescribed at a time when they hadn't completely diagnosed the correct problem. Now that there is more clarity on the real problem, that drug has been stopped.

Just days after stopping that medication, sick-loved one's condition has improved by leaps and bounds. Seems like a lot of the symptoms we saw were really side-effects of the wrong medication.

Its really amazing - when I left the US, my AOL teacher told me - "You will be guided". And how ? Just when we were beginning to despair that sick-loved-one's condition was not improving, came the guidance - check with the doctor about this drug . I mean WOW !

And how hard it was for me to write this post. I shared willingly about the pain, suffering, agony and now when it was time to share the joy, the mind protested so much. Truly the Part I course is the essence of all knowledge. One has to sometimes walk through a furnace to live the knowledge, but its all so worth it.

In "The Secret of Secrets", Sri Sri Ravishankar talks about the 3 aspects of of any tough situation :

Tapah (Penance)
Swadhyaya (Self Observation)
Ishwara Pranidhana (Surrender to God)

The last few months have truly been an example to live this knowledge completely.

Thanks G U R U J I !

Jai Guru Dev,

Monday, December 10, 2007

Sri Sri As I Know Him

One of the most amazing Art Of Living publications is "Sri Sri As I Know Him", a collection of amazing experiences by devotees of Guruji.

If you haven't read it, you absolutely MUST ! Tales of grace fill up this small book - be they people healed from dreaded diseases, saved from imminent accidents, intimate interactions with Guruji that changed them for ever....all beautiful tales of grace that one cannot read with a dry eye.

H wanted a copy of this book and asked me to buy one. I could not get one while in India so I decided to bring my copy from Seattle while I was there. I thought I had packed it but when I came back to India, I could not find it. Life was so hectic that I had no time for an elaborate search. The day after H left, I started unpacking my stuff and THERE IT WAS .

Hidden beneath a larger book was the book in all its glory .

I was wondering why this happened. After all H had so longed for it. Why was it not found while H was here ? The answer has unfolded in the last few days.

I was reading an experience to sick-loved-one and tears flowed unabated like the Niagara Falls . This has become a daily reading for sick-loved-one especially the tales of healing. I have seen it bring renewed hope and kindle devotion .

Do buy and read this book. It is truly worth reading. Within India, find an Art Of Living center. Outside India, you may order it online here.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Vithala Vithala Vithala ...

If you haven't yet heard this bhajan rocking Art Of Living, India , you really must. I just got back from a rocking satsang at Aundh, Pune and someone there sung this so beautifully . The spirit was uplifted, the mind was so meditative, all was ONE !

Tha Bhajan is in Marathi and I could only catch 2 lines . (If anyone has the complete lyrics, please add them as comments to this post)

Kannatha Kannatha Vithalla
(God is in every atom)
Khshannatha Khshannatha Vithhala
(God is in every moment)

Both space and time surrendered to HIM ! SO B E A U T I F U L !

Here IT IS, so beautifully rendered by Amol Shende, Pune's own Art of Living ROCK STAR ! Listen carefully for Guruji's voice ! It was sung at the Mahasatsang held recently in Pune, India when Guruji also joined in with his mellifluous voice.

Jai Guru Dev,

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Toughest Thing

Finding an oasis in a desert is hard. Finding one and not being aware of one's thirst is a waste. Finding one, being aware of one's thirst but being unable to drink from the abundance is a torture beyond explanation.

Thats how I feel right now. A few years ago, I was part of the vibrant Bay Area Art Of Living community, participating in the various events organized by volunteers there including Guruji's annual visit there. I took life for granted and didn't take complete advantage of the amazing Saturday satsang, the regular Advanced Courses held there every long weekend. Last year I moved to Seattle, another enthusiastic and vibrant satsang but my academic schedule at UW made it difficult for me to partake of every AOL activity happening there. The pain of not being able to do enough seva was palpable when I was in Seattle.

Now destiny has brought me to another oasis in Art Of Living, my hometown, Pune, Maharashtra, India. What amazing spiritual energy exists here ! In just 6 months, the following teachers from Art Of Living have visited to teach Part I, Part II, DSN, Sahaj courses, lead music concerts, conduct volunteer meetings etc - Vikram Bhaiyya, Swami Maheshgiri, Swami Pragyapada, Swami Maheshgiri, Rishi Nityapragya and finally Bhanu Didi & G U R U J I !

My own ability to participate in these wonderful courses/events has been abysmal. And boy does it HURT ! Yes the circumstances are hard but I can help but rue those times when I had the chance but skipped a Part II course, a seva activity, a knowledge satsang or time with Guruji for something su much more mundane and useless.

In some ways this has been a test of my faith. It has also taught me how close I am to Guruji. Despite the disappointments, trials and tribulations, HE has stood by me and made me aware of it despite my constant complaints.

Guruji said this last year at Guru Poornima in the Bay Area : Something good - do it right away, something bad - postpone it.

My only advice to anyone on the spiritual path is this : Whenever you have a chance to do a meditation course, advanced course, DSN or any other AOL course, or find an opportunity to do seva, spend time with Guruji or any other senior teacher - DO IT RIGHT AWAY ! Its really hard for everything - the vacation, health, life situations, good weather - to come together and always support you in this regard. Don't lose this opportunity to strengthen yourself spiritually. You never know when you may need it - as I do now .

Jai Guru Dev,