Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Interesting Life

Swami Maheshgiri is known as one of the power-teachers of AOL . Dad took a course with him last year and was impressed with his enthusiasm and powerful style. I just came across this link about his life prior to and after meeting Guruji - nice reading .

Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, September 26, 2008


A few days ago, i was taking a walk on my apartment complex . I passed by a bush of flowers that folks from the apartment pick everyday for pooja offerings. A new building recently came up nearby and the bush has grown over the dividing wall into the other side.

Passing by I heard someone remark - look our plant has grown over to the other side - they get the fruits - er - flowers of our labor now .

My mind went back to several years ago when as a child I watched my family and the neighbor jostle over a big mango tree that was just over the border separating our 3 houses. The roots lay firmly in the neighbor's garden but the heavy branches grew over to our side resulting in a lot of friendly and sometimes not-so-friendly arguments between the 2 neighbors about who the mangoes really belonged to.

I also suddenly remembered a song composed by the lyricist Javed Akhtar , for the Bollywood flick, Refugee . They go something like :

पंछी नदियाँ पवन के झोके
(panchi nadiyaan pavan ke jhoke)

कोई सरहद ना इन्हे रोकें
Koi sarhad na inhe rokein)

सरहदें इंसानों के लिए है
Sarhadein Insaano ke liye hain)

सोचो तुमने और मैंने क्या पाया इंसान होके
(socho tumne aur maine kya paya insaan hoke)

A rough near-literal translation would go :

Birds, Lakes, Breeze
No obstacles (borders) stop these
Borders are for humans
Think what you and me have gained by being human

Add Trees to Birds, Lakes, Breeze...

What if we all gave up our pettiness and shared freely with our fellow beings ?
School children sharing their lunch with hungry friends, toys with needy kids, teens mingling freely with others and avoiding the cruel group ism that disfranchises a few, adults helping others find jobs and succeed in them, society looking out for the have-nots . Small steps with a profound impact on society and its ills.

What a wonderful world this would be, What a wonderful world this would be !

I realized why Guruji's vision of a world with Human Values is so important. He said at the US Art Of Living Silver Jubilee function : "Technology has made the world a global village, Human values will make it a Global Family" .

All the more important why its important for me and you to bring more folks to the wonderful Art Of Living programs that make this process a lot more easier and natural.

Jai Guru Dev,

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kya Cool Hai Guru

Read Dinesh Bhaiyya's ETHEREAL post at

Jai Guru Dev,

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beauty Lies ...

(Image Courtesy :

We've been watching Guruji's video commentary on the Shiva Sutras the last few weeks just before Long Kriya. The commentary is in Hindi. Each tape is a new revelation, a new simple technique to unlock the mind . This time he talked about "Thark KuThark ViThark" .

HE started by saying "Beauty Lies in the eyes of the beholder". Suddenly a closed door in my mind got unlocked. So far I had interpreted this knowledge as meaning that each individual had their own concept of beauty and that an object or person that did not seem beautiful to person X might actually seem very beautiful to person Y.

But what Guruji was saying here was that "Beauty Lies Within". We are Beauty and what we see (behold) outside is simply a reflection of that beauty.

I mean WOW !

I've heard this in different ways before but never as an interpretation of "Beauty Lies in The Eyes Of The Beholder" .

Guruji often says that if we see something beautiful like a flower, we should then withdraw our attention from the flower to the beautiful feeling of beauty arising within . It became clear why HE was saying this after today's kriya.

On my way home, I was then wondering why I don't see everything as beautiful - the way Guruji does .

Simple Answer : I am not Guruji :)

Complicated Answer : I am seeing everything through the confused, contorted filter of my mind, my senses, my cravings and aversions, desires and biases and until these filters are removed, the REAL beauty of a person / situation WILL not shine through .

Sathyam Shivam Sundaram !

I guess thats why Guruji says Punah Punaha - More Seva - Sadhana - Satsang - Part II courses , Knowledge !

Aho...Oh Guruji Tussi Great Ho !

Jai Guru Dev,

Saturday, September 20, 2008

ROCK ON Amol !

Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, September 19, 2008

That First Look

It was Guru Poornima 2001 at Lake Tahoe, CA , USA. A few of us who had recently completed Part I (then known as the Basic Course) were driving up to meet Sri Sri Ravishankar - the founder of the Art Of Living Foundation. My thoughts were varied as we drove up.

I was not yet a devotee. I had only just finished my course. I had no clue or direct experience of AOL as an organization. It was the July 4th long weekend and all my friends were out traveling / celebrating .

I vaguely remember my sharing at the end of the Basic Course -....ramblings....more ramblings....teacher says ' say 1 thing' ....I say: "This is going to be an important part of my life from now on" .

Well it was important enough for me to say "No" to my friends on a long weekend and join a bunch of singing, ecstatic folks driving 5 hours north up to Lake Tahoe to see someone, I knew nothing about .

When I look back I realize, this pull was irresistible, I had no other choice.

We were accompanied by people that were mostly strong devotees. Occasionally they would ride along for a small part of the journey and sing bhajans or talk knowledge or discuss Guru stories. All this was strange to me.

Finally we reached the beautiful South Lake Tahoe and drove along to the resort where Sri Sri was conducting an advanced course. We parked and started walking towards the venue when IT happened.

A frail looking man with flowing hair and a beard was walking towards a car parked in front of the venue. Accompanying him were about 10 swamis - evident from their shaven heads and saffron robes. Those were the days when Sri Sri was still relatively accessible in the US. He walked to the waiting cars and waited for the swamis to take their seats first . I still distinctly remember him saying "Banni....Koothkoli.....Koothkoli" (Kannada for 'Please come - be seated').

As he passed me, I waited and stood still not quite knowing what the appropriate response ought to be. I was not yet in love - just saw Him for the first time - respect I did have - not really sure . Thus spake my mind as He passed me and gave me - the look - and as I bowed - walked on .

"Banni ...Koothkoli.....Koothkoli"....the cars were filled up and He was gone . Little did I realize then that the LOOK would change my life forever.

My next opportunity to see him was at satsang that evening - my first satsang with HIM. The room was abuzz....Divya, John and other old-timers rocking the satsang, folks in the room seated with eyes closed, folks at the edge swaying in a trance....all strange yet strangely comfortable and acceptable. 'J' and I were asked to sit close to the stage which we did...and after a while we left. We had decided to only stay for that day (looking back I feel like a fool) .

As soon as we left the room, we looked at each other and said the same thing " I still don't think he is God or anything :)" . Looking back I always smile broadly.

Looks :

A devotee , NR , now in the Bay Area, tells me of his look. Guruji arrived for satsang in the Bangalore Ashram and passing him , gave him the look. Since that moment, NR did not smoke or drink or while his weekends getting drunk with friends. His life changed and he is an AOL teacher today .

Someone shared something beautiful about their "look" today - so beautiful and true : His look was more loving than a mother's, more concerned than a father's ,more intimate than a partner's and more caring than a friend's. I could not have said it any better.

Over the years there were many more such looks - each one a definitive milestone on the path of grace and growth . More about them in later posts.

Did you have a look that influenced/changed your life ? Please share it in the comments.

Jai Guru Dev,

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ganesha Never Leaves

Yesterday marked Anant Chaturdashi, the 10th and final day of the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Pune. Anyone that hasn't been to Pune during these days is missing something.

This is also the day the Ganeshs idols are taken out in procession and immersed in the sea. This ceremony is called "Visarjan" . To read more about its true significance, read Bawa's insightful comments by clicking on the following links.

Ironically at Long Kriya yesterday, they were raising funds for the Bihar flood affected victims by selling some beautiful idols of Ganesha. Upon asking who made them and why they were being sold on the last day of Ganeshhotsav, I got the following answer :

These beautiful Idols are part of the 1000 Idols, hand-crafted by Mr.Anil Kamble, an Art Of Living member, in a Non-Stop 72 Hrs marathon (a record) and has been covered by several Newspapers and News Channels like NDTV, AAJ TAK, ETV MARATHI, STAR etc.

Mr. Kamble also happens to be a senior faculty of the Sumeru Academy of Digital Arts .

I was stunned to see the creativity and love of this one individual who went out of his way to do something to help the less fortunate. I immediately bought 3 beautiful idols for myself and as potential gifts. It is said in India that whenever a Ganesh comes to you, it brings good fortune.

I am indeed fortunate to be the proud owner of a work of art or should I say a labor of love of Mr. Kamble .

My hat's off to you Kamble-ji. May your tribe increase !

Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, September 12, 2008

Blogging is Sharing - Really ? :)

Blogging starts out by being altruistic, purely about sharing ones life and experiences with whoever is interested. At some point, the lure of stats takes over analytics, geo counters, live updates of who is arriving on a blog...blah blah. Move over altruism, its time for real time voyeurism ! Not that there is anything wrong, just an observation.



Jai Guru Dev,

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Voice Said

Something came up before, during and after Long Kriya today. Here it is .....

Jealousy arose on seeing someone grow
A voice said - don't compare, look how much you've grown

Anger arose, fury clouded the intellect, the smile refused to shine through
A voice said "Make your anger expensive, make your smile cheap"

When will I be a teacher, why have others raced ahead of me ?
A voice said "Be grateful Be content, All will come to you "

When will the barriers fall, when will i be free ?
A voice said "Wake up my dear - you are already free"

Why is it all so hard, why am i so stuck ?
A voice said "its easy, your ego is making it hard"

Why is it all so helpless, why do i feel so weak ?
I am with you always, find your strength in me

Why is it all so cloudy, why is it all so dark ?
A voice said "its all light, it is your eyes that are closed"

I gave money and more money to causes
A voice said , "I don't want your money, I want you"

Why does my mind race ahead, why does it want more and more ?
A voice said repeatedly Achaah, Akinchan, Aprayathna

Why do none listen to my entreaties to do the course ?
A voice said "you are not doing quite enough my dear !"

Why don't people come close to me ?
A voice said, "they want to but you push them away"

Why the distance , why for so long ?
A voice said " Keep the longing, for it never dies"

Why do I feel so friendless so neglected ?
I am your company your friend, your solace, your everything

Dearest Guruji ,

Please help me find contentment
Please help me be grateful
Please help me give more of myself
Please help me be more useful to others
Please help me break the barriers
Please help me find refuge in just YOU

Jai Guru Dev,

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Art of Living For Bihar

As anyone following the news in India these days would know, the state of Bihar in northern India has been devastated by floods. Hundreds of villages have been inundated and lakhs have been left marooned, homeless, hungry......

Art Of Living and its sister organization, IAHV are working actively in the affected areas to bring material and other relief to the victims .

Details/updates :

Sri Sri Ravishankar, the founder of Art Of Living has appealed to everyone to support this cause.

How can YOU contribute?

CREDIT CARD: Please go to our secure website to make a donation. (Choose Disaster and Trauma Relief - Bihar Flood Relief)

CHECK/MONEY ORDER (in the USA only) : Please make them payable to IAHV and mail to: IAHV, 12121 Quadrille Lane, Bowie, MD 20720.

For in-kind contributions or volunteer in the affected areas, the local VVKI offices can be contacted to donate money and other supplies .

Pune Contact :

Pune Information Centre. 405, 'Citi-Centre' Bldg.,Opp. Ayurved
Rasashala, Karve Road.,Pune. (Tel.: 020-25411821, 020-64002463, 9423005328)

UPDATE : Guruji visited Bihar to personally meet the victims of the flood disaster and review Art Of Living's relief work . Here is a wonderful video of Him addressing some affected victims :

Jai Guru Dev,