Thursday, August 21, 2008

Achaah Akinchan Aprayanthna

The Daily Sutra arrives everyday. Occasionally the mail brings in a beautiful knowledge sheet. Sometimes though the sutra / knowledge sheet are like a bolt of lightning. So clear, precise, addressing just the problem I thought I was having and could not overcome.

I restarted my regular practice of Sahaj Samadhi meditation a few weeks ago as life began to normalize a bit. Somehow though the meditations were quite disturbed...thoughts, more thoughts, resolutions ,plans, projects, title of my next blog...all kinds of stuff that didn't quite help the meditative process.

'T' forwarded this beautiful knowledge given by Guruji at the recently concluded TRM (Teacher's Refresher Meet) at the Art of Living Bangalore Ashram.

Guruji gave the secret to go into meditation/samadhi. He said just remember three things before you go into meditation.

1. Achaah
2. Akinchan
3. Aprayanthna

Only when your mind is established in these three you can effortlessly go into samadhi.

Achaah - Being desire less! I want nothing; no desires for anything worldly or spiritual else the mind is either caught up in the outside world (people-relationships, bills, payments, laundry etc.), thinking about it or looking for some spiritual experience (light, fragrance, out of body experience etc.) in meditation. This is the biggest impediment to get into your being.

Desirelessness is bliss!

Akinchan - I am nothing! Dropping the 'I' for sometime, else the mind gets irritated even on the smallest of disturbance, noise. Even a door bell, barking dog or sound of utensils in the kitchen can drive you away from the center. And the mind goes 'I am meditating and people are making so much noise! I need to teach them a lesson!'

Dropping the 'I', I am nothing!

Aprayanthna - No effort! Meditation is effortless; you don't need to put any effort. Like you go to have a massage, you just lie down and the masseur gives you the massage, you don't have to do anything! Do you?

Let the divine work for you !

- Sri Sri Ravishankar

Needless to say - the kriya and meditations have been much better since. I just hope that this knowledge stays in my awareness each time I sit down for kriya or meditation.

Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cross Country

August 15th was India Independance Day. Belated Happy 61 India !

To commemorate the glorious occasion, Art Of Living, Pune organized a tree plantation at 10 locations - part of Mission Green Earth. I happened to attend one at Baner Hills at Baner, Pune.

Getting there was tapas - no less ! Once I entered village off the main road i went off completely and overshot the entrance to where the plantation site was supposed to be. I called the coordinator who told me to head back to the village and climb a *few* steps to a temple and cross over to the plantation location.

I started climbing the steps to the temple. Nice trek I thought - haven't been exercising a lot lately ! The steps kept going and going as if testing my resolve. I reached the roof top and looked around.

No Trees Being Planted - No People - No Nothing !

Panting, I went to the roof and looked far out - about a mile away on another hill were a group of people. W H A T ! - the mind went. I just climbed thrice as many more steps than I sometimes have to when the lights fail and the elevator in my apartment gets stuck .

I called the coordinator and he confirmed my suspicion. Waving to me from a distance he told me to get over T H E R E IF you can. The mind went - I am already late - whats the point - lets go back.

But something else said - you've already come so far - keep going .

Long story short - I got there - and helped plant just 1 sapling - as if it was waiting for my arrival. The coordinator, G, had a nice comment as I arrived, panting, gasping for breath - "Kriya Ho Gaya Aate Aate" ? (Did you finish Kriya trecking over here ?) :)

Sure Did G !

Though I didn't do much to save the planet on this day, I did learn an important lesson. It reminded me of what the teacher said last week at Long Kriya.

Dus Nikalte Hain - Ek Pahunchta Hai ! (Ten start this journey - One Arrives) .

This path too is full of steep precipices, long treks, moments of hesitation and despair - but its important to keep going.

As Longfellow wrote in "A Psalm of Life"

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

जय हिंद ! Jai Guru Dev !

Monday, August 11, 2008

On The Path

Just read this Sutra ..isn't is amazing how Guruji clears the fog and makes the most difficult things seem so simple !!!!!

"You see how a plane moves through clouds, fog and mist as it lands on to a landing strip. Its focus is on a narrow strip and does not mind all the obstacles in its way. You too should be untouched by the difficulties and keep on the track of your path"

Sri Sri Ravishankar

Jai Guru Dev

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Shravan Rudra Puja - Pune

I was privileged to attend the Shravan Rudra Pooja at Indraprastha, Pune yesterday. Graced by Swami Saumyatej from the Art Of Living Bangalore Ashram, the pooja got underway at 7ish with a powerful slow chant On Namah Shivaya. We chanted for quite a while and I was reminded of the Guru Poornima Advanced Course I took 2 years ago. This chanting was so calming and soothing at the same time.

A satsang started right after and a couple of amazing bhajans later, the Rudra Pooja started. I wanted to meditate right through but could not as this was my first Rudra Pooja and I wanted to witness it. It was amazing watching Swamiji with his eyes either closed in deep meditation or attending to the pooja rituals.

After the pooja performed so beautifully by the pujaris from the Bangalore Ashram, the satsang started again. Rapturous, beautiful, soul satisfying, rocking.....words fall short. I wanted to stand up and dance but the hall was packed and no-one else was :) . The chief pujari chanted Shiva Manas Puja - so beautiful.

Amol Bhaiyya was there - can you spot him ? :)

Swamiji spoke after all was done and reminded everyone of Mission Green Earth, to plant trees and inspire at least 10 others to plant them too.

As I left, the rains came down - seems to have become a habit right after any AOL spiritual / seva event in Pune. I wonder why :)

UPDATE : This is totally funny. My camera has a video feature that I am completely unaware of. Somehow when I pointed my camera towards the stage during the preperations for the pooja, my camera captured some video, and I had no idea or intention of shooting video.

Jai Guru Dev,

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mission Green Earth Pune - August 3rd 2008

Another day in paradise - or rather baby steps in trying to make one .

Art Of Living Pune and the Bomb Disposal Co at Pune collaborated in yet another leg of the Mission Green Earth tree plantation drive. We arrived there at 11:00 am ish. right after Long Kriya. The commandant of the unit welcomed us into his office where we all congregated before setting off to the vast sylvan expanses of the army estate to plant trees. As N said, this is already a green campus - we're here to make it even more green .

It was pretty amazing to see the kind of arrangements the commandant and his unit had made for us. Pits had been dug, saplings were neatly set bedside the pits. Both the commandant and his men accompanied us on foot for the entire three hours that we would be there, dirtying their hands along with us, planting saplings, digging pits, collecting plastic bags and garbage. Truly a lesson in leadership - by example !

All age groups of AOLites were represented, the youngest to the senior most. A common running thread was the smiles, a strong sense of camaraderie and bonding ever growing as the morning progressed .

I ran into little S who told me she had done - 8 Art Excel courses - that's right 8 ! Considering my recent woeful record in doing courses, I momentarily wished I had never asked :). And she wants to join the army when she grows up ! Its little ones like her who are truly going to make a difference in tomorrow's world.

As the morning ended, it was time to stop and take stock of what had been achieved. 300 - no less - trees had been planted by this wonderful group ably assisted by the commandant and his staff. It was a pleasure working with the folks that guard our borders - seeing their commitment to making this planet a beautiful place was heart warming.

We ended the plantation with a impromptu bhajan !!! The commandant sang along with us. With a song on my lips, bliss in my heart, rain drops on my head I started back home.

Once again I had the experience of pure joy - one that only seems to come up after an act of seva.

300 done, thousands more to go. Will you be part of the bliss ?


Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, August 1, 2008

Mission Green Earth - BMCC Pune August 1 2008

I got an email a couple of days ago that Dinesh Bhaiyya was going to be at a Mission Green Earth program at BMCC college, Pune. No having met bhaiyya for a long time, I decided to go. Dinesh Bhaiyya didn't make it, but I was witness to a great event co-sponsored by BMCC and Art of Living. It was heartwarming to see the college top management show up and spend a considerable amount of time inspiring the several students gathered there to be a part of the tree plantation drive that was to follow.

I went there with the intention of actually getting my hands dirty by planting some saplings, but the enthusiastic students and faculty pretty much stole the show :) and I was left a gleeful spectator clicking away with gay abandon.

Then the miracle happened. 2 minutes after the saplings had been planted, the skies opened up. Like a benediction from heaven, the rain poured, as though showering blessings on the participants of the wonderful action just performed.

On my way back the rains refused to stop drenching my skin with water and my soul with bliss. I stopped long enough to take this picture of the YES+ course with Bawa and Dinesh currently in progress at Indraprastha - something I longed to attend but could not under my current circumstances.

Until the next opportunity .......


Jai Guru Dev,

Laxmi Taru

With global warming a distinct reality, vanishing winters, failed monsoons, deforestation, large scale tree-felling making way to the massive malls and huge apartment complexes in India , Gurudev has asked people all over India to plant as many trees as possible. One such special tree is called Simarouba . Guruji calls this plant "Laxmi Taru".

A massive plantation drive is on in Pune and other parts of India to plant as many such trees and others bearing fruits and flowers . Pune has taken on an initative called "Green Pune", as part of the Mission Green Earth project, a 100 million tree plantation campaign.

Laxmi Taru is said to have the following benefits :

  • This tree consumes highest amount of Carbon Dioxide and purifies the environment and can help in reducing the heat.
  • It can grow on barren land and reduces or stops the soil erosion.It requires very little water to grow. India has 60 million hectares wasteland and this land can be used for growing this tree.
  • Its seeds can give edible oil, non edible oil and diesel. The seeds have 60 to 75% oil as against 30 t0 35% in peanuts, soybean. One tree can give around 15 to 30 kg seeds and from that can get around 2.5 to 5 Lt oil and equal amount of oil cake which can be used for bakery items,vegetable oils,soaps,cosmetics,bio-diesel.
  • It has medicinal value, can be used to treat malaria and diarrhea.
  • The pulp of the seeds can be used for compost or drinking juice.
  • The cover of the seeds can be used for making of card board.
  • The wood of the tree can be used to make light furniture.
Saplings of Laxmi Taru are available at many satsangs in Pune. Here is one growing beautifully in my apartment garden .


Jai Guru Dev,