Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Diwali !

As has become our annual tradition, we celebrated Diwali this year with children from a remand home in Pune. They danced - we clapped , we sang - they danced - we had sweets together - everyone was in deep bliss and in gratitude to Guruji for this wonderful path, techniques and knowledge that can touch the soul of a king and an orphan equally.

Wish you all a blissful, knowledge filled, satsang filled, love filled, joyous Diwali 2010 !

Jai Guru Dev,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Truth About Negative Blogs

If you've been running into "garbage blogs" that are defaming Guruji and the work of Art Of Living, and felt your blood boil - you are not alone. I just came across this great rebuttal by Swami Sadyojatah,  on the blogs of at least 2 senior Art Of Living faculty and thought I should highlight them as they provide an inside perspective on what could be motivating people to write rubbish about Guruji and the Art Of Living Foundation.

Jai Guru Dev,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Guru Poornima 2010

Guru Poornima was a serene and blissful one this year unlike the last 3 ones filled with angst and pain at not being able to spend it with Guruji.

We had a beautiful Guru Puja, rocking satsang and a feast a day earlier i.e. Sat in order to allow for folks to enjoy the main Pune satsang on Sunday.

For many of us remand home volunteers however, it was a different affair - our first Guru Puja at the remand home followed by a serene satsang, distribution of certificates to kids who had completed various vocational training courses sponsored by AOL volunteers and finally a sneha bhojan with the kids. I can't post pictures due to sensitive reasons, but the above one with decorations was snapped by a volunteer using his camera.

Seva is Divine !

Jai Guru Dev,

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What A Beautiful Response !

Jai Guru Dev,

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Nov '07

Once in a while to satisfy my ego, I take a peek at what Google Analytics has to say about visitors to my blog. A few vain moments I spend, reveling  in statistics such as "Top Content", "Map Overlay" (a feature that tells you which cities in the world your visitors are from), traffic sources (whose blogs drive traffic to mine) etc. Somewhere every writer longs to know who his/her readers are I suppose !

Aside from the postings which make up the bulk of the traffic, I often notice an entry that seems to evince strong interest among readers of my blog -  November 2007. Whats so special about this time period - well it was the month when yours truly began to partake in this sweetly addictive past-time called blogging.

Why - I thought - would anyone be interested in something I wrote so long ago. After all those were my early posts - written mostly with a burning desire to check who was reading my stuff - whether it was worth reading or not.  And then I realized, this was something I do at times too !

When I visit a blog and like something I read, the first attempt is to find out WHO this person is :-). Many a times, blogs (such as mine) do not provide such information. Then my mind goes automatically to the next most intriguing piece of information : What does this person blog about ? How did they begin their blogging  journey? What motivated them initially to start this blog ?

Voyeurism of a kind ?  A peek into another person's mind/psyche ? Idle curiosity ? Whatever !

November'07 was certainly the start of something sweet, something creative, something that has been fulfilling to me as a blog author - albeit anonymous. A way to share the precious experiences and joy my Guru has given me with my readers.  A way to be inspired and hopefully inspire. A way to share and care.

Jai Guru Dev,

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ho Yahi Gunjan Sa Mann Me

My favourite from Antarnaad :

Lyrics :

ho yahi gunjan sa ma me hoton par tarana
satya sundar jeevan path par hey eeshwar le jana

ho yahi gunjan sa ma me hoton par tarana
satya sundar jeevan path par hey eeshwar le jana

sadbuddhi ko nikat rakhana durbuddhi ko door || 2
na kare woh kam kabhi jo tumhe na ho manzoor
lobh lalajh ke janjaal me lobh lalajh ke janjaal me
hame na uljhana

satya sundar jeevan path par he eeshwar le jana

raj karta is dharti par buddhi se insan
bhool na jaye ham lekin yeh kis ka hai vardan
tumhine di he buddhi malik tumhine di he buddhi malik
tabhi to tumhe pehchana

satya sundar jeevan path par he eeshwar le jana
satya sundar jeevan path par he eeshwar le jana

ho yahi gujan sa ma me hoton par tarana
satya sundar jeevan path par he eeshwar le jana

he eeshwar le jana (high) || 2

Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, May 14, 2010

Tera Main 2010

We had a wonderful time celebrating Guruji's Bday with kids at the Remand Home in Pune where a large seva group works consistently to bring peace and opportunity through Guruji's grace. Nothing was more fulfilling for the volunteers than celebrating the glorious occasion of HIS Birthday with the underprivileged (could they still lack privilege with HIS presence ?) kids.

Dance, music performances by the kids, a lovely rocking satsang, aarti to Guruji's photo, cutting Guruji's cake, distributing snacks to the kids...all made for a perfect evening !

Jai Guru Dev,

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Verifying Yoga

Just came across this really interesting article about a yogi who was studied by the Indian medical establishment to understand (verify?) his amazing claims about the complete lack of food or water to survive for the last few decades.

And here is the western perspective .

Reproduced below in case the link goes away :

Surviving without a morsel of food and water for more than 70 years sounds humanly impossible, but Prahlad Jani, an 82-year-old Indian, claims to have eaten not a single grain of rice or consumed a drop of water since the early years of World Water II.

Despite living practically on thin air, Jani, popularly referred to as Mataji, has suffered no ill effects and is sharp in mind and perfectly healthy in body.

At a press conference at the Sterling Hospital in Ahmedabad, Jani said, "I am fit and strong today and even the doctors agree. They ran every test possible for 15 days and proved that I do not need food to keep me strong. I am strong and healthy, because it is the way God wants me to be."

A series of medical tests conducted Baffled by his ability to survive through such a long period without sustenance, medical experts conducted a battery of rigorous tests.

A team of 30 doctors, including specialists from Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), closely monitored Jani for 15 days starting from April 22, 2010.

Surprisingly all the medical reports- cardiac [pertaining to the heart.] , MRI [magnetic resonance imaging, a non-invasive procedure that produces two-dimensional view of an internal organ or structure, especially the brain and spinal cord.] of chest, abdomen [between the chest and the hips that contains the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and spleen.] and spine, EEG reports were normal.

Dr G Ilavazahagan, director of DIPAS stated, “Clinical, biochemical, radiological and other relevant examinations were done on Prahlad Jani and all reports were within the safe range throughout the study. He is healthy, his mind is sharp.

“What is truly astonishing, and something we have no explanation for, is that he has not passed stools or urine. To my knowledge, that is medically unprecedented."

Doctors conducting the test stated, “During the tests we found that in Prahalad Jani’s bladder [a hollow organ that urine drains into from the kidneys.] , the amount of liquid fluctuates even when he does not pass urine.

“We did blood tests for haematology, biochemistry, hormone profile and the reports were in the pre-determined safety range throughout the observation period as per the protocol.”

Investigated earlier in 2003 Scientists had earlier tried to get an insight into how Jani has endured decades of fasting in 2003. He had undergone medical investigations under the supervision of Dr Sudhir Shah, a consultant neurologist from Ahmedabad.

He was closely watched for 10 days in a special glass-walled room with the toilet sealed to verify that he felt no urge to urinate or defecate.

He was allowed a small amount of water for mouthwash which was then collected and measured to make sure that none had been swallowed.

Despite such a starvation of diet, his body exhibited no signs of damage and he was normal and perfectly healthy.

Scans revealed some urine accumulation in his bladder, but this seemed to be re-absorbed by the body because it was never passed.

A yogi’s explanation to the unexplained mystery :

According to a mystic from Himalayas, yoga helps normal people survive without food or water.

Individuals who have renounced the world in search of spirituality adopt extreme practices of standing on one leg or refusing food and communication for years on end.

While the article made for fascinating reading, what was also interesting was the extent to which modern science had to go to understand the powerful effects of yoga. I don't dispute the need for scientific verification to eliminate false claims made by quacks and such, but that an Indian doctor should find such effects "baffling, astonishing and inexplicable" bears testimony to the extent to which westernization has completely taken over Indian scientific thinking & practice.

That someone born in the land that gave the world Yoga, Ayurveda and other wonderful practices not to mention glorious texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Vasishta, should have no clue as to the effects of the practice of yoga shows how much damage the last 400-500 years of British rule has done in covering up tens of thousands of years of glorious Indian heritage. Our modern educational system fails completely in uncovering this aspect too. Thanks Macaulay !!

In this context, Bawa's series on "The Technology Of Spirituality" is truly worth watching. High time India woke up to her true heritage - the glorious practices of spirituality that it has created and given so freely to the rest of the world.

Jai Guru Dev.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Progress ?

Regular readers of this blog will notice a familiar theme to this post. I've used different words to express the same quest, the same angst, the same ponderings....but nevertheless they remain my deepest questions.

When will I progress ? The question comes up often especially when the times are hard. For tough times seem to impede progress. But that begs the question "What really is progress ?"

Often I defined progress is defined of a set of personal and professional milestones leading to that proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.Where is the rainbow and is there really a pot at the end of it ?

Back to hard times. Do hard times mean progress has stopped ? What kind of progress ? Personal. Perhaps. Professional. Perhaps. But a deeper introspection suddenly reveals that the "progress" I am missing is just an exercise in bloating my ego. A set of achievements that will mean nothing to nobody when I leave this body. Nothing that is truly long term - across lifetimes. The futility of running after "progress" suddenly strikes home as does the inevitability of the PRESENT MOMENT.

Guru says "The sign of success is your smile" :-) :-)

And when does one have to make a real effort to smile ? Its during the tough times right ? Whats so great about grinning from ear to ear when the sun is shining, the birds are singing, the coffers are overflowing, the belly is overfull ....? Its adversity that really challenges one to address this question "What is Success ? What is Progress ?"

After much agonizing I realize that real spiritual progress happens during the tough times. After all it is during these times that one really has to practice and live the points of the Art Of Living Course - acceptance, not resisting, living life through the opposites, living happily in the present moment......

Its quite amazing. This knowledge has been built for one to navigate the choppy waters of life. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita "Anithyam Asukham Lokam, Imam Praapya Bhajasvamaam".

When I accept that all my hankering for achievements is so temporary and meaningless, the mind calms down and bows to the present moment.

I have to be grateful for this knowledge to be made available to me in this lifetime when the Master giving this knowledge is in his physical form. And yet the question remains "Why this creation with all these problems at all ?" If it is all just a play, why is it so painful at times ? If all goes back to the source, then why leave it at all ? Can illusions be so painful ?

Pain is inevitable - Suffering is optional - Sri Sri Ravishankar.

Jai Guru Dev

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What W Wants

A few days ago, during the final days of my visit to the US of A, I was given an unenviable task by a female relative - that of buying a gift for another female relative - and this gift had to be a piece of apparel. I agreed, little knowing what I had signed up for.

So I entered a store and demurely walked to the section featuring female clothes. As I uneasily ventured close to the section, horrific memories long forgotten began to arise in my mind. Long waits inside small stuffy shops with little or no ventilation, in the heat of summer, where I stood watching dear female relative calmly ask the shop attendant to unload the entire shelf of clothes on the counter while she even more calmly sifted through the pile sorting them into "Strong Possibility Of Buying", "Can't Make Up My Mind About This One", "Maybe" and "No Way". I would stand and wonder what on earth would take her so long to make up her mind. If my male relative or me wanted to buy a shirt it was basically - Walk Into Store, Look at 2-3 choices, Pick 1, Pay, Walk Out" - In and Out in 10 minutes TOPS. And here we were for almost an hour and dear female relative seemed in no mood to make up her mind. And when she did, the long waits outside the trial room lasted another 30 minutes. Another 30 minutes of price haggling followed before a triumphant She and a miserable I walked out of the store, bags and my poor aching legs in tow.

Anyways I digress.

It'll all be over soon, I told myself. After all you are alone. Little did I know the fate that awaited me. It is said that manufacturers and advertisers and stores design the entire store around the female shopping psyche. How True ! As I walked down the innumerable aisles that comprised the female apparel section, I was conscious of a foreboding feeling and a growing sense of helplessness - perhaps the kind that someone who was told to climb a hill would feel when he discovered that the hill in question was Mount Everest and that he had neither the skills nor the required oxygen for the journey.

C H O I C E - C H O I C E - C H O I C E !
C O N F U S I O N - C O N F U S I O N - C O N F U S I O N !

What to buy ? Will she like this or that ? Is this too fashionable or not enough ? Am I paying too much or too little ? What about the color ? O M G what size was I supposed to pick up ? Eek!- I am thinking like a woman !!!

A sweat broke out on my brow as I faced increased doubts about my ability to complete my mission. Silently I cursed the moment I had eagerly signed up for this assignment. I have run 10K races, gone for days without sleep but this was totally out of my league.

A sudden movement behind me caused me to turn suddenly. It was a female shopper who looked uncomfortably at me as she passed the section where I stood in utter confusion. She gave me a look - not quite THE look - but something with a mixture of pity, contempt, irritation - almost like "What are YOU doing here ?" I turned away only to face another female shopper. This time, the look was quite like the one you see a lioness give to a animal (on National Geographic Channel) that has trespassed on its territory. I retreated 2 steps.

All right I told myself - lets get this done and get OUT !

Not that easy right ! Many confused choices and rejections, cold unfriendly stares and buckets of perspiration later, I picked something I thought was right and ventured out of the section, ran to the aisles, paid for the item and almost ran into the parking lot, relieved the ordeal was over.

A few days later I handed the bag with the apparel to my female relative hoping for an award of some sort for all I had been through. What I got instead was a disdainful look and words to the effect "I should have never asked you to do this in the first place. Do you even think she will wear something like this" ?

Shocked and hurt, I walked away licking my wounds. I silently wowed never to accept such a task EVER again. My thoughts went to a movie I saw a few years ago "What Woman Wants" starring Mel Gibson. In that movie, Mel went through similar torment until he was struck by lightning. That finally gave him the ability to think and reason like women. Wow - does one have to be struck by lightning to gain an insight into the female psyche ?

I have nothing against women. You make wonderful mothers, sisters, aunts, nieces, friends, classmates, colleagues, bosses. But PLEASE PLEASE don't ask me to shop for you again - EVER !!

Ain't nothing spiritual about this post right :-) But it was a life's lesson well learnt !

Jai Guru Dev,

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bliss in Texas

I had the privilege of attending a Art Of Silence (erstwhile known as the Part II or Advanced course) at the beautiful Sri Sri Ashram in Regan Wells, Uvalde, Texas. I did not have the foresight or will to carry my camera so the above photo is from the Ashram website. Likewise photos below are from the internet or were taken by other participants.

One word describes how I felt upon boarding the flight to San Antonio - Disbelief. One word describes how I felt upon reaching the Ashram - Disbelief. One word (ok two) describes how I felt after the course - Intense Gratitude.

Our teacher was none other than the Divine Tanu Ma (Tanuja Limaye), wife of Rishi Nityapragya. I had attended a couple of satsangs with her before but an entire Part II course was a whole new experience all together. Word fail how the days just zipped past in a flurry of sadhana, seva, knowledge, meditation and satsang.

Sriram (a wonderful Sri Sri Yoga teacher from TX) led the morning sadhana. An amazing personality - you have to meet him to know him.

The rest of the day would be spent in intense, beautiful, enlightening and humorous sessions with Tanu Ma. The evening satsangs were amazing. So many amazing singers, so many good instrumentalists, such a rich variety of bhajans - just bliss.

It isn't possible to put a Part II course in words, so I'll stop trying. So if you are curious, just go take one. (of course you need to have done the Part I course first).

The last 3 years have been interesting - both painful & enlightening at the same time. I was looking back an an old blog post from 2007 and was wondering how the last 3 years seems like such a dream despite its trials and tribulations. One thing that was totally affirmed after this course was how Guruji has held my hand and cared for me so much all these years when I could not do a single course. And now this shower of blessings in the form of a silence course. I am in awe and surrender.

I met M in the flesh - actually in the spirit :-) - on the course ! An amazing coincidence given that we were simply following each other blogs for the last year.

My gratitude goes out to Tanu Ma, the organizers and the other wonderful folks on the course that made it such a cherish able experience. A special thanks to S who on finding that I was shivering in the Texas (YES TEXAS) cold, gave me a sweater and prevented me from freezing to oblivion.

As Guruji said in a knowledge tape on the course (not verbatim) : Wake up and see - there is no suffering. If it is still there, give it to me. What an amazing state to be in - one with no suffering !!!

Gratitude stays, the longing for the next Advanced course begins. Until then "Jai Jai Radha Ramana Hari Bol......." !

Jai Guru Dev,

Friday, January 15, 2010


Guruji what do we tell people that have been through a calamity?

H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Tell them to give all their worries to me. Disasters and calamities also have a positive side to them. They bring people together.There is a new creation after every calamity. Nothing is permanent. In every crisis there is an opportunity. The Chinese word for crisis contains the word opportunity in it. Every crisis reminds you to smile, makes you aware of the impermanence of everything, even ourselves. So instead of sitting and blaming, lets see how we can move forward, rebuild and help others.

IAHV, the humanitarian sister organization of the Art of Living
, is already mobilizing relief efforts in Haiti.

Please donate generously at : IAHV- Haiti Disaster Relief Online Contributions

Jai Guru Dev

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Spellbinding Evening

It was an affair to remember, to cherish, to experience, to meditate, to dance, to be grateful. 2750 voices sung as one, swaying to the baton of Shri Shashi Vyas. Chitra Roy's mellifluous rendition of "Sarya Vyapini" as none another, Shankar Mahadevan in his element as he rendered "Bhola Shankara Bhola", powerful politicians behaving like meek rabbits in HIS amazing presence, a superbly enthusiastic Pune crowd.....ANTARNAAD!

Surely the gods and angels in heaven would have taken a break from their evening duties to watch the program on Sanskar channel :D . The evening reminded me of a similar event in the not-so-distant past - Feb 18th 2006, during the Art Of Living Silver Jubilee when thousands of south indian instrumentalists rocked Jakkur Airfield. Well Antarnaad was the first such event where vocalists were involved.

Imagine a satsang where 2750 trained voices chorused along with the lead singer. The conductor must have felt like GOD - one twitch of his hand and 2750 voices rose in crescendo. Words run out....

Jai Guru Dev,