Sunday, October 12, 2008

Smiling Through

It was during Guru Poornima 2006 - my first and only so far - with Guruji . In a huge hall at the San Matep Expo Center, CA. We were all participants in the "Yoga and Meditation Seminar" (also called PDS in India), being led by none other than Sri Sri Ravishankar.

About 300 of us were twisted like pretzels in a difficult pose - grunting, sweating and breathing at the same time, when Guruji's soft ethereal voice wafted over the microphone "Smiling In a Difficult Pose Is Yoga" .

Boom..crash...flash of lightning...the whole town visible from a hilltop.....Aho !

Suddenly it was so clear what He was saying - If you can smile through tough times in life, you have attained that state called Yoga. This was the MOST amazing definition of Yoga I had ever heard in my life.

The essence of the Bhagavad Gita says the same thing. Krishna exorts Arjuna to fire the arrow, but from a state of calmness. In the midst of what would have been a world war in those days, when Arjuna was in the most tumultous of times in his life, Krishna asked him to be centered and do his duty - no matter how difficult.

Guruji says this very directly too - The sign of success is your SMILE.

Ah - that elusive SMILE :) :) . Every week, at Long Kriya, the teacher asks us to do the same thing again and again - S M I L E. At times I feel like...Grr...just get on with the pranayams already, but its clear that the goal of Art Of Living is not just to teach folks a few asanas and breathing techniques - it is to bring back that lost smile on people's faces.

Especially on faces like mine that look perenially like :( .

And this smile has to be from within - not the polite smile that masks the agony from within - not the "Tum Itna Jo Muskura Rahe Ho, Kya Gam Hai Jisko Chupa Rahe Ho" Smile, but the SMILE of the BEING ! The SMILE that shines through the clouds of darkness, misery, desires, failures, setbacks. The SMILE that makes others forget that they are in misery .

And after all who is not subject to miserable events ? Krishna had his uncle plotting his murder before he was even born and was hounded by him for years. Guruji's own mother Amma fell a victim to cancer when Guruji was about to address thousands at a satsang hundreds of miles away. Buddha had to leave his family and kingdom and walk away to attain nirvana. Jesus was nailed to the cross for showing people the path of love. The difference between these noble souls and us : The SMILE never went away even in these tough situations. These situations were just events to them, not problems.

When Will I really SMILE ? Well until then as they say in the Art Of Living "Fake It Till You Make It" !!

" You sell you happiness for peanuts! You sell your smile for pennies! I tell you, it's not worth it. The entire world is not worth your smile. Even if you are made the king or the emperor of the world, it's not worth giving away your smile. " - Sri Sri Ravishankar
Oh Gurudev, you have so much to give - am I ready to receive ? How much will I receive in this lifetime ? The Yoga Vasishta says "Self Effort" .

Jai Guru Dev,


  1. ***Especially on faces like mine that look perenially like :(

    LOL..same case here!
    Only for photographs do I smile hehehehehe

    ***The SMILE that makes others forget that they are in misery .

    Awwwwhhh THAT's the First thing on my wishlist, you put it so simplyy


    Jai Gurudev