Riley is a 10 year old, with loving parents, a lovely home and great friends. Then one day, out of the blue, the entire family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.
Riley has to deal with living in a much smaller and a very dingy new house, a new school and new friends. On top of that her loving parents suddenly don’t seem to be giving her attention any more. Her father’s business is not working the way it should have and both the parents are utterly stressed out. Her best friend from back home in Minnesota has suddenly found another friend… the list goes on. This is a lot for a fragile 10 year old to deal with.
The movie could have been another humdrum take on these rather everyday occurrences in many of our lives.
The good folk at Disney and Pixar give it an utterly enchanting twist, by taking us on an adventure inside the heads of the various protagonists while all these things are happening on the outside.
We all hear voices in our heads, right? What if these were real people with distinct personalities, managing us and our reactions and responses to the overwhelming circumstances that could happen in our lives?
How does a breakdown happen? How could a person bounce back from that breakdown to their normal, vibrant self?
That’s the real story of the movie. It’s a very serious topic, dealt with a supremely light touch.
It also answers the eternal question – What’s the purpose of sadness?
And dramatically establishes one of Art of Living’s key contentions “Opposite values are Complimentary”
Don’t make the mistake of dismissing this movie as another animated movie from Disney. It has amazing depth and though I am sure children will enjoy it, more mature people will appreciate it even more!
BTW, there is a very cute little short film called Lava that they show just before the main feature. Be on time, so you don’t miss it.
Khushi had a bike accident and broke her leg in awkward places. There was a long operation and now she is having an even longer recovery period. She calls me up now and then complaining about the excruciating pain that physio therapy causes her. She loves dancing and all I tell her is to remember how it feels to dance and just go through the pain… The last phone call she was a lot more chirpy, I think finally she is feeling much better.
She had written this poem. She said it was a childish attempt. But like a child, it has a sweet charm all of it’s own. Here it is for all of you to read
At times I’m merry
Everything around me so cheery
At times I’m sad
And my mood is really bad
At times I’m bizarre
Whatever happens I don’t care
At times I’m haughty
And at others I’m naughty
At times I wonder
Why do I have so many questions to ponder?
At times I feel empty inside
And I wish God would be on my side
At times I want my life to be pleasant like a song
But something here and there keeps going wrong
At times I’m really confused
And my mind gets almost fused
At times I want to fly
And just touch the silver sky
At times I question “why me?”
And what went wrong I’m unable to see
At times I spend a lot
And I wonder whether I’ll earn that much or not?
At times I cry
Wondering why people don’t give understanding me a try?
At times I’m with Santa, in my fairy land
In those blue skies, green fields and the beaches near the lovely sand
At times at the top of my lungs I want to shout
At others I just laugh, sing, dance and generally move about
At times I really miss my mom
And my heart yearns for things to be normal back home
But in the end I think it’s not just me
There are times when you’ve all felt just like me
There may have been times when I was sad or in doubt
But I really really REALLY love the way my life has turned out
– Khushpinder Kaur Sangha
We were taking a late night walk with Gurudev in Radha Kunj. Beautiful, secluded and enchanting at all times, but even more so at that time.
He was holding 2 beautiful lotuses in His hand and suddenly He said see you can smell a fragrance from these lotuses. You normally don’t get any smell from a lotus… Isn’t it amazing these have a fragrance?
We were all going wow to each other … another little show off miracle just for us, when… He walked a little further, turned back, smiled mischievously and said maybe they had left the lotuses with some jasmine flowers and they have picked up the fragrance.
There is a lesson here… Just staying with the ones who have fragrance, you will also become fragrant!
Of course a little later, the same lotuses started smelling of champa!
Gurudev will have taken 59 trips around the sun today. This year, He almost played a trick on all of us. It was originally “planned” that He would fly in on the 13th of May from Germany to Bangalore. So neither the devotees in Germany, nor the ones in India could be with Him on His birthday.
We were all quite upset about it. He would spend this precious day in the air with a few hundred people, most of whom would not even know it’s His birthday. We consoled ourselves saying, it is His birthday, and He should get to decide what to do on this day.
The last time He was in Bangalore for His birthday, He spent the entire day and a big part of the night, meeting the few lakh people who had come to the ashram to be with Him on that day. He must have been so physically drained after that. It’s definitely not how I would choose to celebrate my birthday for sure!
So in a way, spending the day on a plane, 35000 feet above planet Earth, relaxing, meditating and sleeping would have actually been a superb idea…
Then there were some whisperings in the ashram grapevine. Don’t tell anyone, but you know something?! HE is going to be in ashram on the 13th. Don’t tell anyone I told you… Of course soon it was the most talked about secret, and when ashram admin started to clean up Yagyashala, we knew for sure He was going to be in Bangalore on 13th May!!!
He always says all days are special. It’s how you live them… and all that. Still, a birthday is a birthday and for some unknown reason, I simply feel wonderful, or more wonderful than I normally do on my birthday.
This year in true South Indian style, we are having almost a mini navaratri with Poojas and Homas through out the day for love, peace and joy in the world, and in true Art of Living style, the ultimate party in the evening – Satsang with Gurudev!
Also, in true Guru style, He is giving all of us a very special gift. On 15th, 16th and 17th of May, just a day after His birthday, He Himself is going to teach the Art of Living Happiness program! Not once, but twice in the day – 6:00 am to 9:00 am and 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. There will be a few thousand wonderfully lucky people who will attend these courses with Gurudev and go back with stories to tell their grand children. I would say it’s worth flying down from the US to attend these courses. He doesn’t do this too often, and when He does, history happens.
Happy Birthday Gurudev!! You always manage to overwhelm us giving us more than we expect, before we expect, and when we absolutely don’t expect!
Bawa n Dinesh
I keep telling people to do something new. So I decided to do something new. I started to learn how to use Final Cut Pro, the film editing software for the mac.
For Abhi’s birthday I made him a video. Mayur shot the video on a cell phone, the music is by Prasanna and the editing is by me!!!
Recently I was asked a question, “How do I know the path I have chosen is right for me?”
You have to make it the Right path.
When do you need to make a choice? When you have two or more options, and all those options are equally good. If any option is even just a mite better than all the others, there is no confusion, simply choose that one and be done with it. Confusion arises when every option in front of you is equally enticing. Then you go into the infinite loop of What iffing, and spend too much time sitting on the fence, not willing to commit yourself anywhere. My advice is, if you are faced with equally good options, don’t think too much, just choose one. Anyways they are all equally good, so how does it matter what you choose!
Actually, it’s not so difficult to choose. The difficulty is to stick to your choice. As soon as you choose one, all the others start to look light years better. This is a habit of your mind. Most of what it has, it doesn’t want. Most of what it doesn’t have, it craves for. Recognize this and stick with your choice.
Remember the last time you went a to good restaurant? Remember how you went over the menu 16 times before ordering? And after finally deciding what you wanted, placing the order and having your meal bought to your table, remember how the food on other tables looked so much more mouth wateringly good? Chances are most of the people on the other tables are probably looking at your meal and having the exact same thoughts you are having!
When faced with a choice, quickly decide. Then make the choice work for you! Believe that you have made the best choice possible. Close yourself to the other options, knowing that they are no longer available. This is what you have. This is what you have chosen. This is the best. Right away it may not seem so. Trust yourself and go ahead. In time, you will realize that the particular path you chose was really the perfect one.
Gurudev said it so beautifully. All ways don’t lead you (to the goal).Only One way does!
PS The Ultimate “Right” Path is that of Sadhana, Seva and Satsang. When you walk this path diligently, you will not go astray.
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!
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
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.
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.
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”.
- Super regular Sadhana, Seva and Satsang will blow anything negative away from you!
- Go for a dip in the sea. Or take a full body bath with salt water few times a week.
- 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.
- If you know the Guru Pooja, chant it once a day.
- 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.
- Keep a tiny photo of Gurudev on your person.
- Wear some gold.
- Do house cleaning. Chuck everything you don’t use or don’t require. Or sell it all on eBay!
- 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.
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!
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!
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
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.
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. 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!
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.
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!
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.