Mar 30

Nasturtium Surprise Salad

Nasturtium is a pretty plant that grows very easily with very little care and has gorgeous orange and yellow flowers. What I didn’t know till now, was that both the leaves and the flowers are edible, taste amazing and are fabulous additions to any salad!

nasturtium

 

Here is my recipe for a fantastic starter.

300 gms fresh paneer, crumbled

7 small pieces of (preferably) green garlic, washed and finely chopped

2 sprigs of baby spring onion, washed and finely chopped

2 generous slices of pineapple, finely chopped

1 large tomato, peeled and finely chopped

7-8 fresh basil leaves, washed and finely chopped

5-6 slices of jalapeños, finely chopped

20 (Big) Nasturtium leaves and flowers with their stalks, washed well

1 tsp (or less, or more depending on how fiery you want it) of red chilly flakes

2 tbsps of pomace olive oil

salt to taste

Nasturtium leaves, flowers and the filling

Add olive oil to a heavy bottomed pan and on medium heat lightly sauté the garlic, jalapeños and pineapple for about 5 minutes.

In a bowl combine all the raw ingredients along with the lightly sautéed ones.

Leave to chill in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes. The mixture should NOT be hot or even warm.

Add some filling into the each leaf and fold it. Poke the stalk through the back side of the leaf to the front to hold everything in place. Decorate with a flower.

 

Serve cold as a salad. Just pop the entire leaf into your mouth and enjoy the explosion of freshness that happens.

Prepped for eating

You are welcome to modify and add or subtract anything you want to the filling. Just remember that the filling should be cold otherwise the leaf will wilt and loose its fresh green colour.

The leaves and flowers can be used in a salad with a simple olive oil, garlic, chopped basil leaves and lemon juice dressing.

Katherine taught this recipe to Anand who is Prama Bhabhi’s chef, who taught it to me. I have of course modified it to my taste, but the inspiration is Katherine.

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Mar 19

The Evil Eye

Many times, I have been asked, what to do if someone has cast an “evil eye” on me. Kissi ki nazar lage toh kya karna chahiye.

The first thing to do is to not bother about it. Gurudev had once said, this is all simply on the periphery and will just vanish in no time. He said any sort of “curse” is always peripheral and will go away very fast. However, a blessing comes from deep within and will stay for a very long time!

Having said this, there are a few things you can do if you are feeling that you are the victim of an evil eye. Typically you will see that for absolutely no reason, you are being unwell, losing money, having minor accidents, friends not talking to you, etc. It could of course mean you have been in too many polluted places, too many shopping malls or are being careless and simply not being nice to people around you. However if that’s not the case, then it could be some petty jealousy of someone has rubbed off on you and you have become the victim of an “evil eye”.

sri-sri-ravi-shankar

The ULTIMATE cure to any Evil Eye!

 

  1. Super regular Sadhana, Seva and Satsang will blow anything negative away from you!
  2. Go for a dip in the sea. Or take a full body bath with salt water few times a week.
  3. Get someone, typically an elder woman (it works great with younger ones as well) to do the nullifying the evil eye ceremony on you (Nazar uttarna). Or go to a priest you know well and ask him to do it for you.
  4. If you know the Guru Pooja, chant it once a day.
  5. Chant Om Namah Shivaya everyday. It is very powerful protection, but it needs to be done every day. It is said that even if you have chanted consistently for 10 months and then missed a day, you will have more or less nullified it’s power.
  6. Keep a tiny photo of Gurudev on your person.
  7. Wear some gold.
  8. Do house cleaning. Chuck everything you don’t use or don’t require. Or sell it all on eBay!
  9. When you know you are feeling really good, or looking really nice, wear a black mark somewhere on your body.

Sometimes, it’s just time for you to be unlucky … Wait it out, and sooner or later you will be fine. While waiting, definitely do No. 1!

Coming to ashram and sitting for a Pooja, or getting a Pooja done will help very big time.

Jai Gurudeva!

Love

Bawa

PS All this sounds extremely superstitious, until it happens to you … Hopefully you never have to bother about any of the above and this post is totally irrelevant to you. Pray that it remains that way! :)

Feb 27

This and That

Anshika was one of the first followers of my blog. She started following whatever I had written since she had been 14. I had run a few contests on the blog many years ago and she had managed to win a dinner with me! :)

Anshika

It never happened and this time while in Delhi, I bumped into her at Avinash’s course. She seemed vaguely familiar until she told me her name. Then I recognised her immediately! We are having dinner tonight and she is coming over for it :)

Shavina Dinesh and me

 

I have always wanted to see the Taj Mahal. My grandfather used to tell me of it’s beauty when they had been on a family vacation there ages ago. There was a talk in Agra about Cranio Sacral Therapy organised and I quickly agreed to it. I had been told that it’s nothing really spectacular or anything but I still wanted to go see it.

Taj Spire silhouette

I have to say it’s an absolutely stunning, amazing, enchanting monument. If you have not seen it, you must! There is just so much Grace in that building. I do wonder why there is a kalash and Lord Shiva’s half moon on the dome though. Those are very “hindu” motifs for such a “muslim” monument.

Some time ago, I did a facebook QnA session. Here are some of my favourite answers… Some are with tongue firmly in cheek!

Q. Stress?????

A. Meditation!!!!!

Q. Career or relationship. What to choose?

A. Think you are on your death bed. What would you not regret choosing at that point? That’s the one you should choose.

Q. How to stop over thinking?

A. Start working!

Q. If more confusion comes after doing Sadhana, what to do?

A. Sadhana brings clarity. But you need to want that clarity. Clarity means you will need to start to work. So many choose to remain confused.

Q. How to be in a relationship of 2 different castes? What should come first, love or caste?

A. If you are in a relationship like that, keep notes. However it works out, you should be able to get a nice book out of it!

Q. What’s the shape and size of the Atma? It’s in an ant as well as an elephant. How is that possible?

A. It’s a highly elastic right angled triangle. Fits anywhere!

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

 

 

Feb 13

Gowri and a Viral Fever

When I went to Chennai in the first week of February, Gowrishankar (Gowri) came to receive me at the airport and as we were driving home didn’t seem to be completely alright. He had a vague feeling of being a little unwell, like the beginnings of a flu. There didn’t seem anything to be worried about at all, nothing that a good night of sleep wouldn’t fix.

Then at night, a fever started and around 5 am spiked at 104.5. It was accompanied by a little bit of shivering and a terrible pounding headache. He was burning hot to touch and just slightly delirious because of the fever and the headache. I started to give him Cranio Sacral Therapy (CST) and felt something was wrong in the tummy. He said he had no pooed for 2 days.

First, I let Gurudev know and asked for His blessings.

I called a few of my doctor friends who knew about CST and spoke to them about what I felt. They prescribed an anti biotic that would work on the stomach called Taxim-O, and crocin for the fever, along with an antacid. If the fever didn’t go down, they asked me to get him to a hospital and have tests done. The medicines bought the fever down just a notch to 103 for a few hours before it went back to 104.5.

We went to the OPD of a hospital near by and the usual long list of tests was prescribed. I was repeatedly told by the staff to leave the room while they were doing their “procedures”, which I repeatedly ignored, firmly maintaining that I was not leaving the room. I really wish hospitals wouldn’t do this. To keep a person in obvious pain and trauma alone with strangers could be so utterly fearful and can only add to the trauma of the person. Besides I knew what medication he was already on. This they didn’t even bother to ask, I volunteered the information that was hurriedly written down.

The doctor there was sure that it was a severe upper respiratory tract infection and was insistent that we admit him. I was equally insistent that we will not admit him because I knew there was nothing wrong in the chest, it was the tummy – but I had no way to convey this to the doctor. They put him on a paracetemol intravenous infusion. While putting the needle in, I was again asked to leave. I didn’t. They had to poke him twice before they managed to get it right. It was done in a hurry and it really pained him. When will these “health practitioners” learn to treat people and not bodies?!

A chest x-ray turned out to be exactly what I expected. Completely normal!

They wanted to keep him “under observation” for two days. I asked what they wanted to observe and assured them that if there was anything even remotely untoward, I would bring him back right away. The paracetemol infusion had got his fever down to 103. They said they cannot let him go with such a high fever. There are so many bugs floating around in a hospital, and a person who is anyways weakened will surely catch some infection while “under observation”. Later I found out that there is actually a term for this. Its called nosocomial infection. There was no logic in letting him stay there. Somehow, I managed to get him away from there.

Once we were home, there was still a very sick Gowri to take care of. His fever was 103. He had a tremendous headache and his joints were aching like crazy.

Adeno-Associated virus

His brother came to visit and was hinting that we admit him. Even Gowri was saying that he wanted to get admitted. By then, I was pretty exhausted and I needed help. I called in Spandan who fortunately was in Chennai and I asked Ankita to fly down from Calcutta right away, just in case we had to actually admit him into a hospital.

Spandan came and started CST and worked on him for about an hour. He broke into a sweat, but in a little while, his fever was back. We did some acupressure on him as well which again helped reduce the fever for some time.

I was talking to Kapil and Ankita many times, and they were trying to decide what to do. The paracetemol was obviously not working. We were giving him Dolo 650. Later I found out that many times this particular drug can be fake. Be very aware if anyone asks you to take it. Better to have a simple crocin. The two of them decided to give him brufen.

The brufen seemed to work. His fever was down to around 101. His headache was still very bad. Kapil took a cue from me and asked me to give him a strong laxative. A laxative later, Gowri pooed for the first time in 2 days and felt much better. His headache was dramatically reduced and the look of relief on his face was priceless. The headache was still there, it was still bad, but it seemed more bearable. Somehow we made it through the night. Lot of CST, lots of love and major amounts of prayer.

Ankita arrived the next morning and took charge. Fresh juice, fruits, vitamin C and a regimen of drinking water was put into place. His fever was still at 102-103. Around afternoon, he pooed again, but the fever didn’t abate. It was then that Ankita decided to give him CST. Using this fantastic technique, she managed to bring the fever down to 100, in just 45 minutes. Of course he had had a brufen earlier, but I strongly feel that the CST which is a fabulous adjunct boosted the effect of the drug.

After that, he started to recover, slowly but surely, and every hour, Gowri looked better to me. Through this, all his blood reports came in and showed normal, except definitely indicating a viral infection. No malaria, no typhoid.

He seemed to be getting to normal and then his Dengue report came in. He tested positive. His platelet count had dropped to around 80,000 from 1,50,000. He also developed a classic Dengue rash on the 6th day.

Extremely yucky raw papaya leaf juice few times a day for 2 days got his platelets back to a healthy 1,45,000 in 2 days. For his rash we gently applied some nice coconut oil mixed with a little bit of powdered camphor. CST sessions continued. The rash flared up for a day and had almost vanished by the time I left Chennai. What should have stayed till the 14th day went in 3 days.

After Ankita’s CST session, there was no fever at all. He feels tired all the time and his body aches but other than looking like he has had a really tough work out in the gym, everything has settled down nicely. Last I saw him, he was back on his phone, talking and messaging to the mystery people he is always talking and messaging to. Things are back to normal. More or less. Gowri has been incredibly lucky!

So what worked?

Gurudev’s blessings, CST, a strong(!) laxative, CST, Brufen, Accupressure, CST, Taxim-O, CST, coconut oil mixed with powdered camphor, CST… and love! :)

Jai Gurudeva!

Love

Bawa

PS Anyone can learn Cranio Sacral Therapy (CST). Sri Sri University will be  offering the first Government recognised certificate program for learning CST. The first (July) batch is full, apply now for the next batch starting in November.

Jan 29

20 Years

20 years ago, at 6:00 pm, Dinesh walked into my life, when he came for a course that I was teaching at IIT Bombay. Thank God he never left. He sat to my right smiling and in the break just before Pranayamas, came to me and said, “ What should I do to be able to teach this course?”

A few years earlier, I had asked the same question from my teacher, Rajshree, at the exact same time. She had laughed at me and said, “First you complete the course!”.

I said the same thing to Dinesh.

It’s been 2 wonderful decades of me and him being with each other and having the love of all of you.

Dinesh and me

Thank you my boonkie ping for being with me…

And thank you Gurudev for letting me have Dinesh in my life and inspiring both of us onto the glorious path of Sadhana, Seva and Satsang and aiming to become the best we could be!

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Jan 10

What is Stillness?

According to Ayurveda, the three doshas are basically the manifestations of the interactions of the five elements air, water, fire, earth and ether or space. Good health is simply balancing all the elements.

5 elements

It is interesting to note that the four elements air, water, fire and earth exist in space. That space is all pervading. Everything is in space, happens in space, yet space is not affected by any thing. Space participates 100% in the Dance of Creation, yet is 100% detached. I feel this is exactly the stillness that bio dynamics talks about.

Stillness simply IS!.

Everything, everywhere and everywhen (refer to Interstellar :)) happens out of stillness. An intention of motion, an intention to incarnate, creates the universe, you and me. We are born of and return to Stillness.

Here are a few instances when stillness has become obvious for me.

During the Silver jubilee celebrations of the Art of Living, Gurudev conducted a short meditation. There were close to two and a half million people assembled there. At one point during the meditation, Gurudev made all of us chant Om.

Think about it. The sound of half the population of New Zealand chanting Om together. The Silence after, can only be described as Stillness. It was as if the entire Creation had paused for a few minutes. An ethereal, indescribable peace settled around us all. Nothing moved. That for me was Stillness.

Another time we had gone for a hike up a mountain in Ireland. There were many of us and we were a boisterous bunch. Huffing, puffing, laughing and joking, we made our way up the trails, pausing here and there to catch our breath and take a few photos of the phenomenal natural beauty around us.

A few of us managed to go a little faster and were waiting on the edge of a deep green copse, which further lead into a forest. I really wanted to pee, and I went into the copse to relieve myself. After emptying my bladder, I was going back to the trail, when I felt a tug to explore the forest and go deeper in.

Meanwhile the others had caught up and decided to have a picnic and had opened all the food and there was much yelling and joking and laughter coming to me through the trees. I went just a little deeper into the woods, maybe a few feet and very suddenly there was a hush in the air.

There was no reason why the sounds of my friends had dwindled so dramatically. I felt drawn in and went further and a sense of calmness and contentment settled over me. I feel goose bumps even now as I remember it and write about it. There were old, old trees around me. I felt loved, welcomed and at utter peace with myself and everything around me. There was an age old Silence there. I wanted to sit there and meditate, not leave at all. It felt as if I had gone deep inside me and found that elusive wonder that everyone is looking for manifested outside, there in that forest. This was “Stillness”.

Woods

I went back out to the party and took two more of my more sensitive friends to the Stillness in the Woods. It was as wondrous for them as it was for me. It seemed to all of us as if some ancient spirit of calmness had made His home there and shared His tranquility with all those fortunate enough to find Him. The sudden hush, the greenness, the beauty, the love all came together perfectly in those moments. We were gifted Stillness that day.

One more time was a concert at the St. Chapelle in Paris. It was a lovely evening and we had decided to attend a classical music concert at the St. Chapelle. It was beautiful old baroque music. Written by the great masters in the 1500s. It was a small chamber orchestra and the lead violinist played like an Angel. He was a virtuoso and gave life to the music in ways I couldn’t have imagined. At the end of one of the pieces, the beauty and the Silence was so profound that no one even clapped so that that fragile spell the orchestra had weaved for us not be broken. That was Stillness.

Concert at St. Chapelle

Silent Night sung with devotion by a skilled choir brings about Stillness.

Chanting Om often brings me to the fringes of Stillness.

Meditation almost always leads to Stillness.

Sudarshan Kriya is Gurudev’s gift of Stillness to the world. For everyone to experience even if it is just for a few moments the awesome majesty of the substratum of Creation.

One of the reasons I love Cranio Sacral Therapy (CST) is that the therapy itself can bring about Stillness in the person being treated as well as the person who is treating.

I have given around 70 odd CST sessions so far and I have experienced Stillness a few times. This one stands out.

I was giving CST to a mother with a very spirited child who bounced all over the room while the treatment was going on. When the mother went into Stillness, the entire room seemed to go silent and the frisky little one, suddenly became quiet.

The mother’s breath was a gentle murmur and mine too was hardly there.

It seemed like we were floating on a bed of light. There were a few minutes of utter calm and then she stirred. Much later, when she opened her eyes, they were shining and she knew something special had happened that day.

Stillness is special! :)

May everyone have many, many moments of Stillness in 2015 and beyond.

A very, very Happy New Year to everyone!! (It’s a little belated, because I wanted to get this post just right and make it really special for all of you)

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

 

 

Dec 29

Weeweechu

Pedro and Rosita are gazing at the beautiful full moon. Extreme romance is in the air.

Pedro turns to her and huskily says, “Hey mamacita, let’s do weeweechu…”

full-moon

“Oh no, not now, let’s look at this gorgeous moon!!”, says Rosita.

“Oh c’mon baby, I love you soooooo much… let’s you and I do weeweechu, it’s the perfect time”, Pedro whispers into her ear.

“But I wanna just hold your hand and watch the moon!” replies Rosita.

“Pllllleeeeaaaasssseeeee corazoncito, just once, my little calabaza, do weeweechu with me.”

Rosita looks at Pedro. Deep into his eyes. “Ok, one time, we’ll do weeweechu.”

Pedro grabs his guitar, strikes a chord, and they both sing…

“Weeweechu a Merry Christmas,

Weeweechu a Merry Christmas,

Weeweechu a Merry Christmas…

and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!”

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Dec 21

A Quick Note on Grace

Q. How do Grace and Seva make things work? Shouldn’t commitment and hard work also be taken into account? I am a big believer of commitment and perseverance. For example, if I have done a lot of Seva, which is supposed to make Grace flow in my life but if I do not study much, how can the Grace get me great grades on my exams?

There are people who say they are super committed but do not do much (Art of Living or otherwise), and simply rely on Grace to make things work for them. Are they wise?

I know these are painful questions. Will it be all right for you to answer these questions of mine? I am not many years old in Art of Living, thus this whole idea of Seva, Sadhna and Satsang is very slowly getting seeped into my system. Thank you.

A. Grace is all about making the impossible possible… Only after through your perseverance and hard work you have already achieved the possible.

Grace is about going to a level you can’t even dream of.

waterfall

Sadhana, Seva and Satsang are definitely not going to help you clear that exam if you have not studied. They will, however, definitely help you crack that exam beyond your expectations if you have been sincere with your work.
When commitment is not coupled with action, it is no commitment. It’s just a lot of hot air, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

These are by no means painful questions, but they are painfully learned answers when Grace is misunderstood or used as an excuse for laziness.

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Nov 26

Interstellar

I don’t like Chris Nolan’s movies. There, I have said that out, however blasphemous it may sound to many, many people reading this. I didn’t like the Batman series – too dark and dismal for me and I felt that Superman was made into an unnecessarily psychotic, depressed and slightly confused person – Hardly the Hero I have always thought him to be. Inception was for me strictly ok types.

When I heard about Interstellar, at first I decided not to watch it. Dinesh, Abhi and others went and watched it and said I might like it… And so one afternoon Gowri and I went and saw it.

What a movie it is!! It is one of those rare gems of movies that come along once in a decade or so. It unfolds itself at a grand leisurely pace – slowly, surely and masterfully. There is no hurry at all and yet the pace can become quite frenetic. A movie for the discerning viewer and the junta all at once.

Interstellar

It’s a movie that leaves you relaxed, sitting back in your seat, and on it’s edge with excitement at the same time!

At it’s core, it’s a simple love story. Father and daughter. Circumstances drag them apart. Will they meet again? And, if yes, how will that meeting be? Given wormholes, time dilation, quantum mechanics and the imminent end of life on Earth as we know it – the answers at the end are complicated but ultimately satisfying. There is a lot of science in the movie and overwhelmingly difficult ideas are explained in the simplest of ways – What would the 4th dimension be like? Why is a wormhole spherical?

There are many nods to classic sci-fi films – Close Encounters, Contact and 2001 – A Space Odyssey were the ones I caught. The special effects are outstanding. Everything seems so very real. I later learned that very little green screen was used in the movie and it shows. This movie misses a perfect 10 from me only because of the music. It’s good but not great. Everything else is absolutely flawless. This movie is going to sweep the Oscars and for all the right reasons!

There are moments of utter exhilaration and abject disappointment and to me as audience both felt fantastic. I wouldn’t watch this movie in a big group. I would watch it with just one or two really close friends. It leaves you teary eyed, contemplative and smiling at it’s end… and wishing it went on for just a little longer. I am so glad I watched it with Gowri.

I hope it kindles interest in outer space again and the governments of the world restart their space programs in a much bigger way.

Interstellar is not a movie, it’s an experience.

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Nov 13

What’s the Purpose of my Life?

I am asked this question on almost all courses I teach and as usual it popped up in the DSN Dinesh and I were teaching in Delhi.

Here is my answer:

Have you ever had a really good lunch on a Sunday afternoon? There was all this delicious food and you overate. And then after the meal is over, all you want is a nice comfy bed? When you get on that bed, what do you do? Because you have overeaten so much, sleep doesn’t come, but you manage to daydream sweet nothings… Right?

Look at Lord Narayana here. He is surrounded by goodies, someone is pressing his feet and he is on a beautiful ocean… seems like He just had his lunch and by the looks of it, He has eaten a tad too much! :)

What do you think He is doing?

Lord Narayana Daydreaming

He is daydreaming of course! And you and me, we are in that dream. We are figments of God’s imagination after a superb Sunday meal!

So, do the characters in your daydreams have any purpose? No. Isn’t it?

Similarly, we the characters in His daydream, you think we have any purpose? Not really!

But now that we know we are His daydream, our purpose is… to make His dream interesting!! :)

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

PS Don’t overdo it and wake Him up! :)

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