Sunday, November 30, 2008

Seva Provides Succor

The YES+ folks (youth group of Art Of Living) organized a blood drive yesterday at New English School in Pune. It was a heart warming sight to see so many young collegians, AOL teachers, young professionals trickle in, in groups and donate blood. Irrespective of whether this blood will reach the victims of the Mumbai tragedy, it was very therapeutic to go and donate blood. Somewhere somehow there was a feeling of having done something and the helplessness vanished giving rise to hope and faith.

'The day you feel hopeless, horrible, and worse, on that day get out of your room and ask people, "What can I do you for you ?" That service you have done that day will bring a revolution inside you. It will change your whole gramophone record.'

-Sri Sri Ravishankar

Kudos to the YES+ team in Pune for having acted promptly in this situation.

Are you young at heart ? Do you want to make friends with a bunch of young, cool and hip spiritually aware meditators and socially aware and active youngsters ? And gain the skills to enhance the quality of your life and that of others ?

Take the YES+ course happening in Pune in December :

Dates : Dec 15th - Dec 21st
Venue : Government Polytechnic (Opp E-Square)
Time : 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Contact : 9822082363, 9922053368

Jai Guru Dev,

Grace Unlimited

A beautiful account by 2 Art Of Living teachers recently rescued from the Taj. Their tale of how they turned from victims to being instruments in the most difficult times is a beautiful read. This certainly underscores the importance of the spiritual practices in daily life and in the role of seva and above all the Master's Grace.

Personally for me, reading this story was a reminder of how we are constantly taken care of, in the most difficult of times. As Guruji said in Guru Poornima 2006 "The sign of having a teacher, a master is that you do NOT worry" .

From Vikram Hazra's blog .

Rajita shares her experience

Jai Guru Dev,

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Beloved Mumbai

(Image Courtesy :

The TV reports that the siege has ended, the terrorists have either been captured/killed, the hotel guests either freed or being carried out in body bags, the soldiers and policemen either standing down or being buried.

It almost too surreal. Having worked in Mumbai several years ago and having walked down the very lanes and edifices that have been attacked so brutally by the crazed maniacs who so heartlessly mowed down people like weeds, I am still unable to believe it.

As Dad put it : The rakshasas of the olden days are still alive - they are called terrorists today.

Taj Hotel where I attended training, Metro where I watched movies, CST where I use to alight on my way to the Queen's Necklace.....memories come flooding back. Mumbai has been a victim to terror many times before and this horrible incident too shall fade in time from public memory, but the pain I am feeling right now is unfathomable.

Death spares no one . Usually such incidents in India affect the middle classes and the poor as previous incidents were mostly due to bombs set off in public places. This time the well heeled, Bollywood actors, corporate honchos, tourists, security personnel, the common man mowed down at VT - have all been victims.

Terrorism has no religion. A newspaper reported about how 6 members of a muslim family were mowed down at the VT railway terminus by the devils-in-human-form who were ostensibly doing this for the betterment(sic) of that community in this country.

Mumbai will arise again(it already has) as it has on many previous occasions, politicians will start the blame game, the heroes will be buried, and life will go on. But has anything been really learnt from this incident ?

There have been calls for a core group to handle just terrorism and better infrastructure and training to police. A lot of technology and intelligence will be thrown at this problem.

But as the lessons learnt from 9/11 and Virginia Tech last year tell us, no amount of technology can fathom the depths of evil in the human mind or hatred in ones heart. Only when minds are healed and hearts are won, can this war against evil be won. All the more reason to meditate and bring more people to the path of meditation and service.

Sri Sri says :

If every child in the world learns a little bit about all cultures, a little bit about all values, the whole scenario will be different. Then one will not think, 'Only I will go to heaven. Everyone else will go to hell'. This wrong education or lack of education has caused so many problems in the world. A sense of belongingness with the whole world - it doesn't matter what colour or race you are - is that shared value that we are talking about today. Even if one pocket in the world remains ignorant of these shared values, common values, the world will not be a safe place. So we need to address these issues with a lot of patience. It is not a job that we can do overnight, but through education and creating that sense of community, through inspiration and example .

- Sri Sri

We can clearly see the effect of some pockets of the world being used to indoctrinate youth in the name of religion, fooling them into believing that they are somehow better than the others, that they are the chosen martyrs who will achieve God by murdering others. Ironically these are our fellow human beings who are being misguided and used to promote terror.

A time for meditation and prayer, a time to honor the fallen, a time to rededicate oneself to the practice and promotion of human values around us.

Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sri Sri Condemns Mumbai Terror

Source :

Jai Guru Dev,

Thursday, November 27, 2008

An Award :)

I am inspired to join Art of Living, reading this blog. This award is for you.

Kiran just gave me an award :)

Thanks Kiran, much appreciated : All I can say is that your statement above makes the 80 odd posts on this blog over the last year or so - worthwhile !

I'll just dedicate it to my Guru.

Jai Guru Dev,

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What Can I Do ?

In the light of the tragedy that is currently underway in Mumbai, it is worth reading and acting on Bawa'a post about such incidents .

Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Hi

Jai Guru Dev,

Your Guru

A few days ago, I was having an argument with a RespectedElder. Things got a little heated. For a while the awareness and knowledge came up saying "Shut Up RR..Shut Up NOW".

Then suddenly in a blinding flash of anger, I said something I would regret for a long time to come.

Pat came the reply.

RespectedElder : Your Guru would never approve of this !

Me: (Eyes Blazing, Nostrils Flaring) : Don't drag my Guru into this !!!

RespectedElder : I WILL . Isn't this what you preach to me all the time ? THIS is the time you need to apply the knowledge He has given you. He WONT be proud of this.

RespectedElder was right. And knows how to GET me too :)

I was just wondering after this altercation : How much I love Guruji that I am willing to defend him against someone I have known all my life and love so much too ?

And how ironical ? Guruji DOES want to be in the middle of such altercations - maybe he creates them too :) ? After all it is in moments of such strife that he wants us to keep the awareness and apply his precious knowledge.

Guru Matru Pita
(Guru is Mother, Guru is Father)
Guru Bandhu Sakha
(Guru is Friend, Guru is Companion)
Tere Charano Me Swami
(At your feet Oh Lord)
Mere Koti Pranaam
(My countless salutations)

Jai Guru Dev,

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Long Term Investing

What is good investing ? For a completely finance-challenged person like myself, it would be investing in those things - money, education, possessions, health, relationships that would keep me comfortable in the long term.

Everyone invests for a return. Otherwise there is no point investing.

Good fitness means good health at an older age and less vulnerability to health problems. Having money means that when the rainy day arrives, we are not running helter-skelter to meet our needs and those of our family. Positive relationships would mean having good company and friendships and hopefully help when one needs it. A good education means increasing the probability of getting a good well-paying job.

For how long do these investments keep me company ? No longer than I am in this body. And how long am I going to be able to keep this body ? 1 hour / 1 day / 10 years / 50 years. Do I really know ? There is a finite time limit on the ability of my investments to give me a return.

Ever thought of investing for the real future ?

Sadhana - Sa (forever) - dhana (wealth) : that wealth that stays forever.

The scriptures tell us that the mind is just energy. Physics tells us that energy is never destroyed - just transforms from one state to another. Whether one believes in rebirth or not - it is a living scientific reality around us. How else do you explain a 1 year old infant suffering from an incurable disease or a 90 year old person living a healthier life than someone half his/her age. How does one explain Adi Sankara who united India with his knowledge and attained enlightenment at the age of 21 ? Or a Sri Sri Ravishankar who chanted the Bhagavad Gita at the age of 4 ? Or........

Numerous examples exist in our daily life that tell us of the effect of the mind and the impressions it carries from lifetime to lifetime. Mind - Energy - never destroyed but taking on different bodies from time to time and manifesting those impressions in that body. A cleaner mind with fewer negative impressions = a better and happier life in this body.

So - you are not this body. Your mind never perishes. You - the spirit never die !

Wouldn't you rather carry a cleaner and purer mind with you ? Would you rather not carry the rubbish of this life time on to the next ? In the light of this do not all other investments (though important) seem short term ?

Diversify your portfolio. Invest really long term. Invest in you.

Do the Art Of Living course.

Jai Guru Dev ,

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Many a times, my mind goes : Why this intense suffering ? No answers.
Karma is the closest explanation.

Karma - 1 word , the effect of several lifetimes. I've been saying this to myself and family members a lot these days - its our karma. A lot of folks have said this to me too. Its your karma.

Karma is an interesting concept. Too complex to understand or start a discussion here but suffice to say that it influences almost everything in life -- good and bad . In times of intense suffering, dwelling on this concept saves the mind in some ways.

Its easy to blame bad times on fate . Meri kismat kharaab hai ! (My bad luck)

The Yoga Vasishta says this beautifully of fate and self-effort :

In this world whatever is gained is gained only by self-effort, when failure is encountered, it is seen that there has been slackness in effort. This is obvious but what is seen as fate is fictitious and is not seen. Self-effort, Rama, is that mental, verbal and physical action which is in accordance with the instructions of a holy person well-versed in the scriptures.

So Karma. In Wisdom For The New Millenium, Guruji describes the 3 types of karma -Prarabdha (begun), Sanchita (piled up), Agaami (not yet come). Guruji says that prarabhdba karma is that which is yielding its effects right now and cannot be changed. Sanchita karma can be burned off, changed by spiritual practices before it becomes manifest.

Despite doing spiritual practices when the suffering becomes too much, sometimes the mind goes How much more prarabdha karma do I have ? :) At least the blame game does not start.

I was wondering - I read the newspaper and it reports how the high and mighty got away in a court case involving an accident just because they were rich. Or how someone innocent was murdered for seemingly no fault of theirs. Of how a mentally retarded child got raped.

For a moment one thinks GOD where were you ? Then it is clear - it was their karma. Cruel though it seems, there is no other explanation.

The same rule applies to me too - just because I think I have been a good person in this life, it does not mean I was a good person in my previous life times too. God knows what atrocities I performed on whom. If I want the murderers of modern society to pay for their deeds and if I rejoice silently when a certain perpetrator of a ghastly car accident involving a BMW was sent to jail, I must be ready to pay my dues as well.

How and Why should I be exempt from my mistakes ?

I sometimes wonder how God can watch the sufferings of all his children. However an omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient God has to be totally fair. He loves all equally and clearly ANYONE who abused their own discrimination/free will MUST be led in the right direction, through the path of misery - towards light.

There seems to be no other way to liberation. For only when the mind gets tired of the games of this world - the suffering, the misery does one move towards God in a real sense.

Not just offer fruits and flowers and dress up on occasions , but TRULY MOVE towards GOD through spiritual practices. A mind totally caught up in objects of this world cannot move towards God. Maybe thats why the need for misery as well. To see the true nature of this world.

Gautama Buddha walked away from his royal life when he saw the misery of this world. Lord Rama went through the same misery until Sage Vasishta taught him about his true nature.

As Guruji says in The Secret Of Secrets - a quote from the Bhagavad Gita :

Anithyam Asuhkam Lokam
(Impermanent and Unhappy is this world)

Imam Prapya Bhajasvamam
(Knowing/Having this attain me).

Without forsaking this world, but inquiring into and knowing the true nature of this world, we are able to move through life easily .

How beautiful ? You really must listen to Guruji's interpretation of this in The Secret Of Secrets - it'll move you to tears as it has me on many occasions. Oh Guruji !

For all this seeking to happen in my life A Guru was necessary. Despite being on the spiritual path, I am in suffering. But I am grateful to have a Guru who holds my hand through it. I am grateful for the Sudarshan Kriya to which I can surrender my miseries at the end of the day.

As is often said in the Art Of Living :

Having a Guru does not mean there will be no storms
It means that no matter what, the boat won't sink .

If I have learnt anything in the various courses (Part I, Advanced, Sahaj, DSN etc) that I have taken in the Art of Living - it is this.

Practice what Guruji has said, have undying faith in HIM and I WILL be free - no matter what karmas.

Dhyanam Moolam Gurur Moorti
Pooja Moolam Guror Padam
Mantra Moolam Gurur Vakyam
Moksha Moolam Guru Krupa

Jai Guru Dev ,

Pranayam Dhyan Shibir - Bangalore with Sri Sri Ravishankar

Bangalore City is blessed :)

Jai Guru Dev,

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Getting Away

Image Source :

Sometimes when life gets too crazy, I feel like riding into the sunset. Don't care on what : a bicycle, a motorcycle, a car, a horse, camel, a buffalo (nah not really!) ....somewhere, somehow just GO.......

Am I running towards something ? Or away from something ? Myself ?

And then I realize that I cannot run from the situation. And also with my MIND as a permanent - sometimes unwanted - companion, can I really go far ? Don't think so.

Been reading the Yoga Vasishta regularly for a few weeks now and it dwells so beautifully on the secrets and tendencies of the mind. A must read after you meditate - it elevates one to a different level of consciousness. A little secret - some lucky soul reads some pages to Guruji every day - phir meri kya zurrat ki mai na padhoon ?

Yoga Vasishta - not just a book, but a Guru's blessing.

But someday I will take that ride into the sunset and it won't be running away.

Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chandrayaan Lands

(Image Courtesy :

Yesterday Chandrayaan (Moon Vehicle in Sanskrit), successfully sent a probe to the moon with the Indian tricolor painted on all sides making it the 5th country to have a presence on the moon. The world has received this with a mixture of admiration, support, suspicion and downright derision. Nevertheless this represents a proud moment for all Indians - a country of 1 billion plus representing a sixth of humanity and the world's oldest civilization.

I read several articles on this great event leading from the launch all the way to the probe's impact on the Moon's surface but a couple of them touched me more than others. Not because they reported the event well but because they underscored how easily science and spirituality mix in India.

NY Times Piece :

Times Of India :

(ISRO chairman Madhavan Nair said on Friday: ‘‘We have planted the national flag near the Shackelton crater. In the month of Karthikeya, Chandrayaan has been wonderful to us and the Moon has been favorable.)

Astrology cheek-by-jowl with Astronomy :) :) ? A touch of Faith ?

In India the moon has a special significance in life. Every month the full moon day "Poornima" represents something beautiful - Krishna's Birthday,Buddha'a enlightenment, Guru Nanak Jayanti....... The effect of the moon on the mind has been understood by sages and seers since times immemorial.

The west has often struggled with these 2 pillars of modern day society. In the US, concepts such as intelligent design, creationism and Darwin's theory of evolution all fight pitched battles all the way from school board meetings to the US Supreme Court.

In India however, there is seldom any conflict. I grew up in the colony of a primer scientific institute in India and watched my father do his pooja every morning and head to work thereafter. The colony celebrated all festivals in a big way with no conflict whatsoever.

Who is more advanced - the West or India ? May seem like a moot question to most but I'd like to think that advancement of a civilization comes from advancement of its spiritual thought - not just by putting out more gadgetry (sophisticated and necessary though they may be) .

As Guruji Says :

Science and spirituality are like two ways of looking at the creation. Science regards life as matter and spirituality regards even matter as life. Spirituality elevates matter to the level of life, level of divinity and adds a sense of honour. While science brings us material and physical comfort, spirituality gives comfort to our souls. Science cultivates logic and spirituality develops intuition, another faculty of inquiry. Ancient rishis (sages) recognized this interplay between science and spirituality and said true fulfillment in life can come only through gyana (spirituality) and vigyana (science).


The time has come for India to reclaim her rightful place on the world stage. In order for this to occur, we need to become more confident and take pride in our cultural and spiritual roots. The spiritual wisdom, which was her glory in the past, has been almost forgotten and needs to be revived.

Sri Sri Ravishankar

Jai Guru Dev,

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Evil Twins

This one inspired by Rashmin's post.

Lets call them P1 and P2 - the conjoined twins.

P1 is the tail of P2 - a little known fact
The mind wants to run from P1 towards the waiting open arms of P2
P2 wears a strong perfume
The lure of P2 is hard to resist
She woos me assiduously promising me joy
I follow (rather my mind does) salivating
She delivers the fun - for a few seconds
Then smiles and walks away
Leaving me in a dust heap
To face the whiplash of her venomous tail
This lasts a lot longer than the fun
A sip of nectar revealing a pool of poison

Through time I have learnt to recognize that whiff
And run a thousand miles away
Sometimes though I indulge again
And get lashed brutally though knowing well I will
Despite knowing a greater and more permanent joy exists
Why do I let the small mind win ?
Again and Again

Self Effort Self Effort Self Effort
Transcend Transcend Transcend

In a dream I beheld P2 and asked
May I ask thy name ?
"Yes for sure - I am Pleasure and my twin here is Pain"

Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, November 7, 2008

At This Age

Through my troubled times and pain, I sometimes think - This is not an age for me to be stuck like this. I ought to be out - like everyone else - working, traveling, teaching, meeting friends for lunch, skiing, biking, doing advanced courses, living life !


So Should He.

And She.

And They.

One of my all time favorites by Phil Collins says it all :

One word : Gratitude.

Images Courtesy : National Geographic,

Jai Guru Dev,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

When The Earth Shook

It was sometime in May in 2002 (i think) in the Bay Area . Someone had told me that Guruji would be in the now torn-down Ricky's Hyatt hotel. I told two close friends of mine I was going and they said they would come along.

Later that evening I came home exhausted from work and decided to skip out. My friends called and asked me why I had not picked them up as discussed. My retort - I am too tired and cant go. C'mon they said - you promised. So i went over with them to the hotel. Interestingly these friends were not part of Art Of Living at that time.

Those were still the days when Guruji was somewhat accessible in the US - unlike the recent Diwali celebrations that saw about 3000 folks turn up.

We went and took our place - almost in the front and Guruji was seated on the podium. People were singing. A famous Indian businessman who was a devotee was in the front talking on his cellphone :) . Guruji was serenely looking around. Here is where I got my second look - just that brief moment - which seemed like eternity.

Then suddenly it happened - a small earthquake happened that shook the room. Just 2-3 seconds and it was over. A loud cheer arose from the crowd of devotees - I did now know I was one at that time - so i just stayed quiet and skeptical.

Then Guruji spoke about how lucky we were on this path - we have everything - the technique, the service, satsang, knowledge and the company of a Master. My small mind then interpreted this as self-promotion.

Then the Q&A started and ended. Someone shouted - Marry me Guruji. Guruji carried on unperturbed.

The evening ended and we all went home.

Looking back I can only think how lucky I was back then. I was not ready for him but he was there lovingly beckoning me to him. Today I thirst for his company and circumstances in life prevent me from meeting him. Ironical ?

Maybe it is because he is always with me and he wants me to know that.

But the longing to be with him only grows day by day.

From a oh-so-beautiful Meera bhajan sung by Lata Mangeshkar :

Payoji Maine :

paayoji maine ram ratan dhan paayo

bastu amolaka di mere satguru,
krpa kari apanayo

janama janama ki punji pai,
men sabai khovayo

Kharcha na koi chor na lutai
Din din badhat savayo (payo ji maine)

Sat ki naav khevatiya satguru
Bhavsagar taravayo (payo ji maine)

Meera ke prabhu giridhar nagar
Harash harash jas gaayo (payo ji maine)

Paayoji maine ram ratan dhan paayo

Jai Guru Dev,