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

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

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

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...

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

The snowball

The snowball

Not feeling cold any more!

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

Mom, Farida Aunty (her best friend) and Guruji

Guruji and us at the Weisshorn

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.

Wonder what he is doing ... :) :) :)

Wonder what he is doing ... 🙂 🙂 🙂

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…

lotsofwhiteflowershg

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

Jul 8

Arosa – The Advanced Course

Katja, Christoph, Werner, Neringa, Jaya, Tatiana, Bruno, Urmilla and Aberhard, Tina, Spencer … so many more from the European team were there and they all welcomed us and took such care of us, even pampered us 🙂 It was perfect.

Tina, Spencer, me and Andreas

Tina, Spencer, me and Andreas

The Kulm is a 4 star Hotel and the volunteers of Art of Living were running every service. From the kitchen and dining to the laundry, even the spa. And they were doing it with a staff of about 30-40 people!

Neringa was the over all coordinator for the course and she did an absolutely fabulous job!!

Neringa was the over all coordinator for the course and she did a fabulous job!!

Andreas from Norway more or less adopted us. He is Rashmin’s student and had heard of me and dinesh and he did all he could to spend more and more time with us. He worked in the kitchen and so apart from the terrific food that was anyways served, we would go and cook up even more stuff every now and then.

Dinesh, me and Andreas on one of our walks

Dinesh, me and Andreas on one of our walks

He really took care of us. And Arosa was even more fun because he was around 🙂

The Advance Course of Arosa was very different. We started with Yoga early in the morning and then had a fantastic breakfast. Croissants, pumpernickel bread, whole wheat bread, a variety of cereals, juices, 2-3 different types of flavoured butter and super delicious swiss cheese… What a spread! 🙂

Then everyone did some Seva or went for a walk in the mountains. From the second day, Guruji went for a walk with groups of people. Then at around 11:00 am we all assembled for a Geeta talk with Guruji in the town hall, the only hall big enough to have all of us comfortably seated. Guruji would talk at length on the selected Shlokas for that session and then lead us into deep, deep meditation after some pranayama.

We would walk or bus back to our respective hotels to a scrumptious lunch which would have some European food and some Indian food along with 2-3 different types of desserts and some of the most amazing fruit flavoured lassi i have ever tasted.

Lunch!!

Lunch!!

After that meal, it would be time to rest for a bit, have a session of hollow and empty and then we would start off for an early satsang, all of us usually walking from the hotel down to the town hall with Guruji in the lead. There would be just a few bhajans beautifully sung after which Guruji would resume His talk on the Geeta. He would take a few questions from the audience every evening, and lead us into meditation again. The evening takes a long time to fade into night and even when we would finish Satsang at about 9:30 pm, it would still be light. Most people would then bus back to their hotels for a brilliant dinner.

Satsang

Satsang

Many people would sit in the lobby around the fire, or just hang around for some time after dinner before heading for bed. I had found a piano and would play every evening for a few people who would find me. Guruji would be meeting groups of people almost throughout the day. He would also take tours of the hotel, going into the kitchens and dining areas and seeing to it that everything was running smoothly and more importantly that everyone was happy.

Bruno and Tatiana were in charge of the Western Kitchen...

Bruno and Tatiana were in charge of the Western Kitchen...

...while Sundar Mama did the magic with all the Indian Food

...while Sundar Mama did the magic with all the Indian Food

By now, you will have guessed with all those walks and food and time with Guruji, that there was no Silence on this Advance course. Yet, the depth of meditation and the sparkling wisdom of Guruji was as if we had been in Silence for a few weeks! I have said it myself many times, it’s not the techniques, it’s the Grace, the power and shakti of the Guru that makes things work in Art of Living. Once again, i was privileged to see this in action.

Guruji

Guruji

This was really an Advanced Course! 🙂

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Jul 5

The Big Mind

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. 16

Watch the video on Youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Jul 2

Arosa Arrival

Arosa - Tram Train

Arosa - Tram Train

We entered the lobby of the Kulm Hotel, and many, many friendly faces gave us welcoming smiles and yells of Jai Gurudev! and we felt we had come home. On the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alps, here was an oasis of Sattwa.

Satsang had just got over and Guruji had gone back to His room. We checked in and were shown to our beautiful, comfortable rooms. Dinesh and i were in the Kulm on the floor just below Guruji’s and Vishwas and Nikhil were just down the road in another Hotle called the Club Robinson. We freshened up a bit and went up to Guruji’s room to see Him.

I had not been in His physical presence for quite some time and even after being with Him for 19 years now, my heart was still racing as we stole into His room for our first darshan with Him in 3 months. Seeing Him smiling His twinkling smile of greeting  made me feel so nice… He nodded us gently out of the room, saying go rest…

Went back to our room, and I had a bath, a long one, and went to bed.

The morning was fresh and cold. It had snowed a bit during the night and there was a delicate silence in the air.

Early Morning (see i do wake up early!) Fog

Early Morning (see i do wake up early!) Fog

There was a perky fog, which was clearing up and after we finished our Sadhana had gone completely leaving a clear bright sky and mountainsides with patches of snow.

We had arrived a day before the scheduled arrival date and went around the hotel for a bit, getting to know what was where and who was in charge before eating a hearty breakfast. The whole day people trickled in and dinesh and i were quite busy helping people settle in, sneaking in a few walks and spending some time with Guruji who was absolutely resplendent… Lunch, dinner and Satsang came and went. Tomorrow the Advance course would begin with the Bhagavad Geeta discourses.

(Our) Room with a View

(Our) Room with a View

Arosa awaited us. And so did much Knowledge, laughter, Wisdom and deep meditation…

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Jun 28

Silence

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. 15

Watch the video on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Jun 26

The Bernina Express – Getting to Arosa

After meeting wonderful people and doing some super hectic sightseeing in Vienna, Florence and Venice, we settled down for a day of travelling from Milan to Arosa…

Dinesh doing what he did very enthusiastically in every train in Europe

Dinesh doing what he did very enthusiastically in every train in Europe

We (me, Dinesh, Vishwas and Nikhil) took the first available train out of Milan to Lugano. We could have gone to Chur the boring way, by going from Milan to Zurich and then taking another train from there to Chur and reached in about 3 to 4 hours… but we chose to take the scenic route with the Bernina Express which starts from Lugano and goes to Chur and takes a whole 8 hours to do so! This year is it’s centenary year, and it was nice to sit in a train that has been chugging along for a whole 100 years!

Other than forgetting one bag in the train as we scrambled to get off the train at Lugano, it was a fairly uneventful journey there from Milan.

You need to register a complaint in order to get your bag back. Whether they find it or not, they make you cough up 50 euros just to tell them to look for your lost bag. It’s quite expensive to be forgetful on trains in Europe 🙂

In any case after sorting out all that we stepped out into Lugano and were taken aback by the sheer beauty of that place!

Beautiful Lugano

Beautiful Lugano

A deep blue lake on one side flanked by tall majestic mountains, the tallest of which were snow capped, giving us our first glimpse of snow on our trip here. Some low clouds added mystery to the already enchanting scenery. A pretty, vibrant town, compact and full of life is Lugano. But we were only there to catch our bus which would take us to Tirano from where we would take a heritage train to Chur. This bus-train combo is called the Bernina Express.

The bus set off through beautiful picture post card perfect countryside which would alternate between a the happy abandon of Italy and the paragon in neatness of Switzerland as the road wove in and out of Switzerland and Italy along the border of the two countries.

Lakes, mountains, quaint little churches, undulating roads, fields of flowers, vineyards, lovely houses, waterfalls all whizzed by as the bus made it’s way over 3 hours to Tirano. The only thing I missed was not being able to open the bus windows and feel the wind on my face.

Soon we were at Tirano and quite hungry. We had a superb meal of pizzas, pasta and salad, all lovingly cooked and totally vegetarian at a small restaurant near the station, while Dinesh sat in the lovely little train guarding our luggage. We got lots of food for Dinesh and when he didn’t finish all of it, ate some more in the train. Then with a shrug and a shudder the train started pulling out of the station.

me and dinesh with the Bernina Express

me and dinesh with the Bernina Express

We were the only people in our compartment and soon took over all available seats to get the best possible views. The windows were tall and went almost all the way up to the top of the coaches so gave us a beautiful panoramic view of the splendour of the swiss alps in all their grandeur.

As the Bernina Express write up on the website says:

“It is called the most beautiful link between the cool North and the warm South. This view was shared by UNESCO in 2008, when it designated the Bernina-Express between Thusis and Tirano as a World Heritage Site – the third train route in the world to receive this honor.

Greens of the Plains where summer had already come...

Greens of the Plains where summer had already come...

The Bernina-Express passes through 55 tunnels, crosses 196 bridges and overcomes gradients of up to 70 pro mille without cogwheel drive. The train carries travelers from Chur, Switzerland’s oldest city, into the stark mountain world above the fog line and past the Morteratsch Glacier. It then travels southward, right into the charming ambience of Veltin.”

Of course we went the other way round, from Tirano to Chur. The train climbed steadily higher. We would pass by the banks of a lake and then suddenly recognize it in a valley.

A lake we passed earlier in a valley

A lake we passed earlier in a valley

Gradually the gentle green vegetation of the plains gave way to the rugged hardy trees of the mountains and soon, we began to see patches of snow which had still not melted.

Rugged Mountainsides

Rugged Mountainsides

The train stopped at many quaint little stations of towns whose population could have been the population of one building in Bombay, anything between 50-500 people…

As we climbed higher still, a strange quietness descended and suddenly we were going through snow. It was snowing. For Vishwas, nihkhil and dinesh it was the first time that they saw snow and at the next station, we had our first snow fight.

Snow!

Snow!

Me Vishwas and Nikihil at Alp Grom, one of the Highest stations on the route

Me Vishwas and Nikihil at Alp Grum, one of the Highest stations on the route

Then the train went into the glacier proper and for almost 45 minutes there was only white, white and more white. We saw a house where the snow had piled up till the roof and a lake that had completely frozen over. It was winter at its best, Santa could easily set up shop here!

Dinesh in the snow at Alp Grum

Dinesh in the snow at Alp Grum

Climbing higher and higher into the Mountains

Climbing higher and higher up into the Mountains

All too soon, we were descending down to Chur from the winter wonderland of the glaciers and as the vegetation turned green all over again, we napped for a bit.

Check out the house almost buried in the snow

Check out the house almost buried in the snow... Wonder what those fence type thingies are for

Soon we were in Chur and the train to Arosa was in an hour. Only it was not a train, it was more like a tram. We met a native german guy, blonde hair, blue eyes type who took one look at our very Indian clothes (kurta pyjama) and came over and talked very pleasantly with us in absolutely fluent hindi… he then tried to convert us to the “one true religion” Islam.

Thankfully, the tram for Arosa was scheduled to leave in just a few minutes and we extricated ourselves from him and piled into the bus where another, this time pleasant surprise awaited us… Naushad joined us!

He was free and on a whim called up Guruji and asked if he could come to Arosa, and Guruji said yes ok come, we need someone to translate to hindi! 🙂 … and so there he was on the tram. It was really nice to see him.

The tram started moving and as a slow night was falling, went through gorgeous chasms and valleys and in about an hour or so got us to Arosa.

The Kulm Hotel - Arosa

The Kulm Hotel - Arosa

Arosa is breathtakingly beautiful. A gorgeous lake greets you as you step off the tram/train station. Surrounded by huge mountains, it’s a valley up in the mountains. There was still snow all over the place in patches and it was deliciously cold. The entire town was deserted, their winter season was over and the summer season was yet to start. But one hotel was all lit up, and vibrant and cheerful… The Hotel Kulm!

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

ps sorry for not posting this on Thursday, but things have been a bit of super hectic during our Summer Magic program here at the Ashram… They are all in silence now and i have some time 🙂

Jun 21

Be a Gopal

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. 14

Watch the video on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

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