Aug 12

Hamburg – Berlin – Frankfurt – Bangalore

From the German Ashram, we went to Hamburg, which is one of the prettiest cities i have ever been to. It oozes charm and beauty. The weather was perfect. Deep blue skies and an abundance of trees and lakes. Hamburg actually has more bridges than Venice!

The sun sets very late in the evening here and when i asked what time the satsang was, a volunteer replied 7:00 in the afternoon

Guruji enthralled everyone by speaking in fluent German for the first 10ish minutes! Christoph who was translating, first translated Guruji’s german into English my mistake Even he was quite surprized.

Guruji in Berlin

Then we went on to Berlin for another satsang, where we met up with Amit and Seema. They were thrilled to see us and we spent quite some time with them. There was an event with Guruji at the Indian Embassy for which we went and then another one to which dinesh and i did not have passes to go to… so, we went and did a bit of sightseeing and shopping and of course sampling the local pizza which was delicious!

There was a brilliant toy shop in Berlin where i got a few more board games to add to our collection and some cool toys for aarman, ahun and bhuvana. There was another superb shop that sold everything handcrafted out of wood… very cute, lovingly made old world style toys.

Dinesh and the Dragon!

We may be having Art of Living’s 30th year celebrations (next year) at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin… nothing is really fixed yet, but it has high chances that it may happen there, possibly sometime in June.

Dinesh really doesn't like dragons too much :)

Everything was handcrafted and made of wood

We stayed at a very modern hotel in Berlin. All severe minimalistic lines and decor. The one huge thing i liked about that hotel though was a fish tank! It was 7 floors high, right in the middle of the hotel above the reception, and had a million litres of water in it! Schools of beautiful fish swam around in it and looking at it was most relaxing. Looking at this beauty, again i wondered how people can be so cruel as to want to eat these lovely creatures… The morning we left, there were 2 scuba divers in it, scrubbing the glass, cleaning the tank up from inside

1 million litres of water in the middle of a hotel!

Too soon, it was time for a long drive from Berlin to Frankfurt. Andreas drove us almost non stop all the way, about 6 hours through the night… In Frankfurt we stayed for a few hours at Gunther’s beautiful home, before leaving for the airport to get on the plane to Bangalore. Guruji was on the same flight and we met up with Him on the plane. I got to spend a few hours with Him … and the 9 hour flight was over almost before i realized it…

We took some time clearing immigration, customs and waiting for all our luggage, Guruji went on ahead to meet the people outside the airport. In a bit, we met up with dad and so many others who had come to receive Guruji… who then waited back to receive us

Went home, met mom and everyone else and then finally reached our real Home – Our beloved Bangalore ashram … just driving in through the ashram gates felt so good… and snuggling into my bed with my own pillows was such a treat!

Europe was fantastic… but nothing beats coming back Home!!

Jai Gurudeva!
love
bawa

Aug 9

Skepticism

For 7 years, every week Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) used to send out a page of Knowledge to be read out and discussed at the satsangs happening all over the world. He used to call it the Knowledge fax … This was before email became popular enough for everyone to use

Every week we waited eagerly for what Guruji would say through these Knowledge Sheets, many times we would be with Him while He dictated them out and we compiled them. The atmosphere would always be full of wisdom coupled with big doses of mirth. And the Knowledge sheets themselves are always profound, sometimes quite funny…

Dinesh and i decided to do a commentary on them, reliving those precious moments spent with Guruji, reading them out for you and peppering them with stories and examples of how this Knowledge from Him has come alive for us in our lives.

Re reading them now, after so many years of Sadhana, Seva and Satsang has made us realise just how beautiful and precious these words from Him are … We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves making these videos, we know you will love watching them too.

Knowledge sheet no. 21

Watch Part 1 on Youtube

Watch Part 2 on Youtube

Watch Part 3 on Youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Aug 5

Lake Luzern and Bad Antogast

After an absolutely awesome stay in Arosa, it was time to leave. Guruji didn’t send us off with the others… He asked us to wait for last minute packing etc. We thought that we would ride in one of the cars that would follow His, but we lucked out! He asked me and  dinesh to drive with Him down to Lake Luzern where a boat ride awaited us.

Guruji at the Waterfall

As we were driving down from Arosa, we passed a stunning waterfall. From one angle it looked just like the waterfall in the Guru Parampara photograph. Guruji made us stop the car and He just went and started posing in front of it and everyone was taking pictures. Then all of us went ahead and posed with Him. It was so much fun! Many, many pictures later we resumed our journey to the lake.

We too posed with Him!

Guruji was working on His emails and correspondence in the car but in between told us a lot of stories about His teenage years in Switzerland. He spent 2-3 years in Switzerland, some of which were in Arosa…

There were 2 boats that had been hired and Guruji was supposed to go from one to another but at the last minute taking popular opinion everyone crammed into just one boat with Guruji.

We were on Lake Luzern for almost 4 hours (2 and a half hours more than scheduled) as Guruji showed us the many places He had studied and meditated at. He made sure He met everyone on board and went from the front of the boat to the back many times, gamely posing for photos with everyone.

A bit of History

We even visited Weggis and the Hotel Alexander where i had been for the Yogasara Upanishads almost 15 years ago, the first time i was out of India. I excitedly pointed out what i thought was my room to all who would care to see it :) We also passed the pier on which one of Guruji’s most loved photos had been taken. It was a cruise into the history of Art of Living.

Kashi had his camera and I read out a Knowledge sheet on the boat, after which he “interviewed” me, we had a small audience who also threw some questions at me…

We reached our destination and then got into another car and drove to the German Ashram a few hours away. It was night as we pulled into the Ashram, it’s warmth radiating in the cold night.

The ashram was full to the brim. Many people had come from all over Europe and the world to be with Guruji on His birthday, and we had no room to stay. All hotels in a radius of a few kilometers around the ashram were booked to capacity as well. Guruji gave us His own meeting room to stay in. Only a wall separated us from Him in the night!

In a day it would be Guruji’s Birthday!

13th May dawned. Finished Sadhana and met Guruji before He went off to be greeted by everyone there. We had actually wished Him at midnight but shhhh! don’t tell anyone! .There are advantages to be sleeping in His meeting room

Cooking dinner in the German Ashram Kitchen

Dinesh and i went down into the kitchen to help cook for the 2000+ people who were expected that evening for dinner.

Our team, under my guidance and Tatiana’s suggestions made a pasta and a salad. Pooja, Shilpa, Dhara, Pratibha, Shweta, Dinesh, Mayank, Priya Mani, Andreas, and a host of Art Excel kids helped. To give you an idea we used 25 kgs of Mozzarella cheese in the pasta and about 30 kgs of Parmessan cheese in the salad. Also 40+ tins of olives, and 50+ bottles of Olive oil! It was really good!

We dressed up and went to Satsang in Oppenau town hall, our ashram was simply not big enough for the crowd of people who were there. A great satsang, a fantastic time with Guruji and a superb meal (!) later, we returned to our beds…

The cake was made in house at our Ashram Bakery!

I made a mistake. I will not go into details, they are quite embarrassing, but when i told Guruji later about it and what could i do to correct it. He smiled and said something really amazing!

He said mistakes happen because of doership. To try to correct a mistake will involve even more doership and typically land you into more trouble. To correct a mistake is a bigger mistake for a Sadhak, a meditator. You simply accept the mistake, confess it to Guruji and move on.

The next day, a whole group of us went to Baden-Baden. Andreas volunteered to drive. It is simply a thing that you HAVE to do when you are at the German Ashram. Baden-Baden has a bath house and is about an hour or so drive way from ashram. They have all sorts of fountains and pools with all temperatures of water from cold to hot, also steam and sauna rooms. Some of it gentle, others with great force. It’s hydrotherapy at it’s very best. We had a fantastic 4 hours in there before returning for satsang to the ashram…

Baden Baden

Another super day at the Ashram and it was time for the German tour with Guruji…

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Aug 3

Sakha Your Reliable Sense

For 7 years, every week Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) used to send out a page of Knowledge to be read out and discussed at the satsangs happening all over the world. He used to call it the Knowledge fax … This was before email became popular enough for everyone to use

Every week we waited eagerly for what Guruji would say through these Knowledge Sheets, many times we would be with Him while He dictated them out and we compiled them. The atmosphere would always be full of wisdom coupled with big doses of mirth. And the Knowledge sheets themselves are always profound, sometimes quite funny…

Dinesh and i decided to do a commentary on them, reliving those precious moments spent with Guruji, reading them out for you and peppering them with stories and examples of how this Knowledge from Him has come alive for us in our lives.

Re reading them now, after so many years of Sadhana, Seva and Satsang has made us realise just how beautiful and precious these words from Him are … We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves making these videos, we know you will love watching them too.

Knowledge sheet no. 20

Watch the video on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Jul 26

Discipleship Ends

For 7 years, every week Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) used to send out a page of Knowledge to be read out and discussed at the satsangs happening all over the world. He used to call it the Knowledge fax … This was before email became popular enough for everyone to use

Every week we waited eagerly for what Guruji would say through these Knowledge Sheets, many times we would be with Him while He dictated them out and we compiled them. The atmosphere would always be full of wisdom coupled with big doses of mirth. And the Knowledge sheets themselves are always profound, sometimes quite funny…

Dinesh and i decided to do a commentary on them, reliving those precious moments spent with Guruji, reading them out for you and peppering them with stories and examples of how this Knowledge from Him has come alive for us in our lives.

Re reading them now, after so many years of Sadhana, Seva and Satsang has made us realise just how beautiful and precious these words from Him are … We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves making these videos, we know you will love watching them too.

Knowledge sheet no. 19

Watch the video on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Jul 22

Knowledge from Arosa

Guruji spoke at length two times a day on the 6th chapter of the Bhagavad Geeta, for almost an entire week.There were many stories, deep wisdom and much mirth. I have just written out the essence of what He said of what struck me… When the dvds come out for this set of discourses, please get them and listen to them again and again…

Chapter 6 of the Bhagavad Geeta

Krishna says One who acts without expecting fruit of action is a Yogi.

There are two attitudes while performing any action, one is to perform it expecting joy out of it, the other doing it as an expression of joy.

A Yogi is one whose actions are expressions of joy.

You care about the result, that is why you are performing the action, but you are not dependent on the result to give you joy. An action is fruitful in both cases, an action giving adverse result can help you in improving or enhancing some skills in yourself, while if result is of your choice it gives you satisfaction.

Intentions or sankalpas keep coming in our mind. This is natural. But holding on to them does not let us rest. Before sleeping you anyways drop all sankalpas, only then can you rest. To do this while awake is to have wakeful rest.

How to Meditate?

Sit comfortably to meditate.

The Golden Principals of meditation (wakeful rest) are:

For the next few minutes:

I want nothing

I will do nothing

I am nothing

This is mental renunciation, running away from the world does not make one a Yogi. Even a small desire, like i want a glass of water will not allow you to meditate. So just for a few minutes you say, i want nothing. Later you can have all the wants again. For now, for a few minutes, I want nothing.

For the one for whom the journey on the spiritual path has just begun, effort is the way. For example- If I have to take a train, I have to go to the station, buy a ticket, and sit in the right seat. This much action is needed. But once on the seat you need to relax, knowing that the train will take you where you need to go. Running around in the train will not help you get to where you need to get to any faster. Not catching the train in the first place is another mistake.

Generally people either do nothing right in the beginning  or they don’t relax later, they don’t know when to stop doing.

Effort is required to do Pranayam and then effortlessly meditation happens. Once i have done my pranayamas, i will do nothing. Like when you are getting massaged, there is nothing for you to do. Just be there and the massage happens. Similarly do nothing (after doing your pranayamas, etc) and meditation will happen.

A person who feels he is someone cannot meditate. If you feel you are the greatest, you are rich or poor, you are useless or stupid. meditation will not happen. Let go of whatever identity you have. You are nothing. Just relax. Then meditation happens spontaneously and effortlessly.

What are the advantages of meditation?

Meditation purifies you removes toxins from the body, by wiping the past impressions. Otherwise life is only seen through glasses of the past. Eg if one servant stole something, you start thinking every servant is a thief. Yoga cleanses both the body and mind.

Meditation frees you from sorrow. From the childhood you keeps crying for one thing or other. When you are a child it’s a toy. Then as you grow it’s for friends, later for grades and jobs, then for partner… It is never ending. Meditation frees you from this.

Meditation brings skill in action and improves perception. Yoga takes you from being most unlucky to most lucky. Most unlucky is one who’s desires never get fulfilled. Luckier is one who desires and after sometime they get fulfilled. Luckier is one who desires and those desires immediately gets fulfilled, but luckiest is the one who even before he desires, finds that everything has already been provided. Regular consistent meditation will take you to this place.

Also meditation makes you become compassionate, get siddhis, enhances immunity, improves voice, makes you shine.

Meditation elevates the conscious mind.

Meditation brings success in ones endeavors, skill in action and happiness in ones being.

Love and Happiness are given as a gift to you. Its a gift for the merits you have earned. Merits are earned through good gestures, seva. This is the reason why charity has been an integral part of our tradition.

Make your mind your friend.

Your mind can be your friend or enemy. If mind is bombarded with multiple impressions it becomes your enemy. It is the mind which perceives through the senses. It is not the ears that hear, it’s the mind that hears through the ears. Similarly with the other senses.

Inward journey is Yoga, outward is Bhoga. Unless inward journey is taken you cannot even enjoy the outward. Nothing appeals to you. When union with inner being happens, mind becomes your friend, otherwise it will be your greatest enemy.

If the water is still, a clear reflection can be seen. In a mind that is still, the universal mind reflects. Then you are anchored within and the opposites do not touch you.

“Save the mind at any cost” is the message of the Bhagvad Geetha.

Don’t hate the sinner, hate the Sin. A yogi sees everyone with the same perception. Every one is playing an outer role inside they are same. For the director of a movie, hero and villain are exactly the same.

Focusing on the being gives inner strength.

Qualities of a Yogi.

A yogi is moderate in activity and rest. Every baby is a yogi. And every Yogi is a baby. He is united with the universal spirit.

Anyone who is an expert will not get perturbed or disturbed in his area of expertise. A chef in a kitchen will move with ease and grace while cooking. Never clumsy or careless.

A Yogi moves with ease through life. He is graceful doing anything, because he has attained proficiency at the root of everything. He feels at home everywhere. His intuition works. This is the spiritual connection. Having attained this there is nothing else the yogi wants to gain in life. He will not worry or feel feverish about getting more. Problems don’t move him who has attained the highest.

When he gets things or loses somethings he is not affected. A yogi does not get blown away by fleeting moments because he realizes all is maya, illusion.

Never rely on emotions. They are momentary. No one cares about them. Base life on wisdom, on that which is not changing. Hook onto that which does not change.

Some good comes out of every mistake. Greatest endurance (tapasya) is tolerating stupidity. Your patience increases by enduring stupidity. While dealing with stupid people your communication improves. You either become frustrated or gain patience.

That which you reject, you feel is not a part of you. And that you appreciate you feel is a part of you.

Yogi is one who see’s every one as one self. You don’t want any one to think bad about you, similarly why would any one want you to feel bad about them. Such a yogi who wants to live happily and wants every one to be happy is the best.

Mind Matters!

You cannot control wind you can only predict it, the mind is like that, so what should you do? How can you make your mind your friend?

By dispassion and practice.

Mind goes towards pleasure- how long can you see something? How much can you eat? How much music can you listen to? How much sex can you have? How much money, fame or power can you have? None of these outside things give you great pleasure.

Capacity to experience through senses is very limited, but the desire to enjoy is unlimited. The way out is Vairagya or dispassion. (Raga is craving and Vairagya means I am satisfied).

You need to cleanse the system and remove negative thoughts. For the intellect Knowledge and wisdom is needed, for emotions it is music and for the body ayurveda and some massage.

Anyone who does anything good will never suffer. As much good as you have done that much you will enjoy. If one doesn’t find perfection now he enjoys a comfortable position in the other world and is reborn in a well to do family or in a yogi’s family. Our karmas take us in those direction and at some point of time those impressions will carry them to finish the journey. There are many life times. Sadhana is the real currency!

Greatest role one can take is that of a yogi. He is better than someone who does a lot of work. Yogi is higher than a wise man, an ascetic or a scholar. A yogi knows intuitively, in his vibration there is love. With faith if you understand this, you are the greatest.

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

ps the above was compiled through notes that Vasudha took. I have taken the liberty of adding a bit of my own language and examples to make it more readable

Jul 19

Freedom and Discipline

For 7 years, every week Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) used to send out a page of Knowledge to be read out and discussed at the satsangs happening all over the world. He used to call it the Knowledge fax … This was before email became popular enough for everyone to use

Every week we waited eagerly for what Guruji would say through these Knowledge Sheets, many times we would be with Him while He dictated them out and we compiled them. The atmosphere would always be full of wisdom coupled with big doses of mirth. And the Knowledge sheets themselves are always profound, sometimes quite funny…

Dinesh and i decided to do a commentary on them, reliving those precious moments spent with Guruji, reading them out for you and peppering them with stories and examples of how this Knowledge from Him has come alive for us in our lives.

Re reading them now, after so many years of Sadhana, Seva and Satsang has made us realise just how beautiful and precious these words from Him are … We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves making these videos, we know you will love watching them too.

Knowledge sheet no. 18

Watch the video on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Jul 15

Weisshorn

One evening in Satsang, Guruji announced that He would take all of us up to the highest peak in the area, the Weisshorn the next day in the afternoon. We would go to the peak first and then do the Geeta class. That night the organizers told Guruji that there was a storm and snow warning for the next day and that it would be difficult, possibly dangerous to go to the peak. Guruji just told them to relax and make all arrangements for the trip to happen…

The next morning, there was a heavy ominous fog and it was snowing.

A foggy gloomy day

The weather was still inclement as we went to the town hall for the Geeta class. Guruji told everyone that we will first do the Geeta class. After His discourse, the weather was still hostile. We could see from the tall windows. He just asked everyone to close their eyes and lead us into the usual deep meditation. We must have meditated an hour or so… When we opened our eyes, the sun was shining cheerily through the windows, the snow had totally stopped and the clouds had cleared away!

Many people piled into cars and drove up a steep mountain road, while some braver ones (like us) walked. We even did a bit of cross country up the mountain.

Some people walked part of the way before hopping into cars

From there, it was a gondola which took us up right into the peak of the Weisshorn almost 1000 m above Arosa. A gondola is not a boat. It’s just a big bus compartment, from which they have removed the wheels and stuck a thing on the top which is on a sort of a ski lift/cable car.

A gondola

The snow had not melted up on the Weisshorn, and it was soft and thick and a winter wonderland awaited us. Guruji was in His element. He started a few snowball fights, took photos with everyone. I was wrapped up well to protect against the cold and He pooh-poohed me and said how much warm clothes you are wearing! He threw a snowball at me which just took away the cold and i was content with just a shawl and after playing and running and rolling in the snow for a bit, got rid of that as well!

Me and Dinesh on the Weisshorn all shawled and jacketed...

The snowball

Not feeling cold any more!

Mom’s leg was hurting and He just held her for a few minutes and her pain went away… and she actually forgot her age completely and she too rolled in the snow down a small incline.

Mom, Farida Aunty (her best friend) and Guruji

Guruji and us at the Weisshorn

We made a snowman, some snow angels, took even more photos, rolled down a small hill, rolled down again for videos and photos, you get the picture :)… All too soon it was time to return back for Satsang.

Later in the night, I asked Guruji that there had been a storm warning, how had He been so sure that it would be clear? He laughed and said the storm can wait… my devotees cannot!

That night there was a snow storm and when we woke up the next morning, everything was a pristine soft white…

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

ps i can’t find the videos of us rolling in the snow, when i find them, i will put them up here

Jul 12

The Only Thing You Must Remember

For 7 years, every week Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) used to send out a page of Knowledge to be read out and discussed at the satsangs happening all over the world. He used to call it the Knowledge fax … This was before email became popular enough for everyone to use

Every week we waited eagerly for what Guruji would say through these Knowledge Sheets, many times we would be with Him while He dictated them out and we compiled them. The atmosphere would always be full of wisdom coupled with big doses of mirth. And the Knowledge sheets themselves are always profound, sometimes quite funny…

Dinesh and i decided to do a commentary on them, reliving those precious moments spent with Guruji, reading them out for you and peppering them with stories and examples of how this Knowledge from Him has come alive for us in our lives.

Re reading them now, after so many years of Sadhana, Seva and Satsang has made us realise just how beautiful and precious these words from Him are … We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves making these videos, we know you will love watching them too.

Knowledge sheet no. 17

Watch the video on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Jul 9

A Time to go Inwards

Guruji has indicated that the next few months, upto around the middle of October are not so good and He has advised that we keep three things in mind

1. No adventure trips at all. No trekking, rafting, mountain climbing, etc

2. Cut down on partying and night outs

3. Drive slowly, carefully and don’t leave your house till you have finished your Sadhana

For these few weeks, please be more sattwic, eat at home more, not outside as much as possible…

What i see in this, is it’s an opportunity for all of us to go more inwards. Clean up our life and start up some really good habits.Do all your Sadhana, Surya Namaskars, Padma Sadhana, Sudarshan Kriya, Sahaj. Also do chanting, Om Namah Shivaya and the Guru Pooja if you know it.

Start to read the Bhagavad Geeta and the Yoga Vasishtha … You know you have been wanting to do it, instead of that trek, sit home and read these books. Doesn’t matter if you don’t understand or it is too deep for you, just reading will open something up in you… Read these books just after meditation.

Go Inwards.

Be safe…

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

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