Feb 25

Guruji’s Photo

One of our teachers in the US got asked this question on a course:

What does Sri Sri think of his picture being displayed so prominently with a candle as it if were a religious shrine?

Here is my answer to it 🙂

Its an Indian tradition to honour the One who has given us this great Knowledge like this … i know of course, that this is not India, but Yoga, Meditation, Pranayama, all the things that we have done here  (on the course) are very much Indian, and so to honour that Person and that tradition, we keep this little photo of His and the candle. The candle signifies the light of Knowledge burning away the ignorance. It signifies purity of consciousness.

As far as Sri Sri is concerned, He doesn’t care whether His photo is displayed or not, whether a candle is there or not… all He says is Be happy and make others happy … but the candle and the photo definitely make me (bawa) happy … and now that you know what it means, it should make you happy too 🙂

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Feb 16

Extremely Busy in Mumbai

There is a lot happening here, and many days dont have the energy to write out anything for the blog … so everyone will have to forgive me for being irregular till march 18th 🙂

Meanwhile here is a joke:

Q. Santa Singh aur Art of Living me kya farak hai?

A. Santa Singh Sardar hai… Art of Living Asardar hai!!!!

(it’s hindi and untranslatable, so if you dont understand hindi, just laugh out very loudly)

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Feb 11

100,008

The Mumbai YES!+ Team has taken for themselves a formidable target… that of organizing a YES!+ course for 100,008 people! And that too within a space of just a few weeks. This mega event is scheduled to happen from 18th to 21st March 2010 at the K. J. Somaiya Grounds at Sion from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm. Meanwhile, Poona is not too far behind with a target of 25,000 and they are going to make it happen a week earlier, from the 11th to the 14th of March at gaflaflajhlj from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm. Since both these courses are happening just after the 12th standard board exams, we have opened the courses up for people who have just written their exams… After an entire year or maybe three of crazy hard work, this will be the perfect way for them to reward themselves and relax…

March 18th to 21st ... Be there!

March 18th to 21st ... Be there!

Mumbai already did Yuvaratri, three years ago at the exact same place with 75,000+ young people… We want to top that this time by making it a lakh and 8 people + instead of one evening, making it a 4 evening program that will have a lasting effect on all those who participate, and many, many more who may simply get benefited by the huge waves of Goodness and Sattwa that this event will unleash…

Yuvaratri

Yuvaratri

We will also have a live Ensemble with 300+ musicians, actors and dancers who will perform everyday. Auditions for this have already started… All the performers will also be doing the course!

The work for the event has started in earnest… We are approaching many colleges and educational institutions to send their students en masse for the course. Many hundreds of intro talks are being organized and registrations are pouring in… Many corporate houses are also being approached to sponsor deserving candidates as part of their CSR initiatives. We already have 1000 (part) scholarships, and we are aiming for at least 20,000.

This is an exciting time to be in Mumbai… We need all our readers and their friends and families to support us in this grand venture… Please tell everyone about the course and get them to it!

Come and be a part of this History in the making.

And if you can’t make it here, then please send us your prayers and blessings…

For more details, please visit the site dedicated to this course www.yesplusevents.org (this site is very much a work in progress, and you will see it evolve over the next few weeks)

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Feb 10

The HopeLine

Mumbai and Poona have seen a sudden increase in teen suicides. If you have not already read it, please read what i had written about suicide a pretty long time ago. It’s still very relevant and i feel it needs to be made available to many more people to read as well… As the two cities struggle with the tragedies, Art of Living has swung into action by launching a helpline in association with Just Dial. Only, we called it the HopeLine. It’s for anyone who needs to talk, but doesn’t have any one they can talk to about anything they wish to.

Please spread the word and let many people know about this. you may just save a life.

Meanwhile as it says on the poster, we have started the Better Parenting Workshops for parents, and the Stress Free Teaching Workshops for teachers in schools and colleges. These are free workshops and in less than 10 days more than 5000 people have undergone the training and many lives have been transformed. A father and son who attended the workshop told us later that they had intended to kill themselves the next day and that just being on the workshops had given them hope and that they now felt they had the strength to carry on. Many such experiences made us feel that the Mumbai Angels really need a huge boost in the Sattwa levels here…

Will tell you what we are doing about that tomorrow 🙂

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

ps the HopeLine number is # 69999999 and is valid on 10,000 pin codes, more than 1/3rd of India

Feb 9

Delhi Power Cuts

Just couldn’t resist this one! 🙂

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Feb 8

Goa

Guruji was arriving in Bangalore at 9:30 pm. Our flight to Goa was at 4:30 pm. What horrible timing!
We grudgingly left Bangalore ashram for the airport, hoping that maybe our flight would get delayed or some other such miracle. Didn’t happen. As we boarded the aircraft, we realized that it was the ATR. Possibly one of the most uncomfortable airplanes to ply in Indian skies. Take a truck and stick some wings on it. Add the noisiest propellers you can find. See, it flies!!
It managed to lurch its way to Goa in record time though, and soon we were safely on the ground. We had a pretty big reception… Hema, Devang and all the people from BITS Goa were there to escort us to Hotle Fidalgo … a blot on the landscape of Panjim. It’s a really ugly building. BITS Goa were having a TEDx event and I was invited to talk there… For reasons unknown, they had decided to put the speakers up in one of the ugliest hotels they could find :)…

Panjim Inn

Panjim Inn

After a very nice meeting with all the speakers at the Panjim Inn, a beautiful, old heritage building, we moved out of Hotel Fidalgo and went to Nanutel Resort at the other end of Goa, a picturesque little place on the beach at Betalbatim.
I finished off my presentation and rehearsed it a few times before going to bed at about 2:00 am. Next morning, we had a Sahaj course with 50+ participants and after initiating them, we went off to the BITS Goa campus for the TEDx.
BITS was holding their annual techfest Quark, and the campus was abuzz with activity… We made our way to the convocation hall where our event was scheduled.
I was slated to speak at the very end of the conference and so settled down to enjoy the rest of the speakers.
All were pretty good, some were brilliant, and inspite of the buggy projector and a few technical glitches, the TEDx BITS was a fantastic show.
The ones that stood out for me were, in no particular order:
Young Bennet Orlando, a 13 year old who is world champion solver of the Rubik’s Cube. He does it in 15-20 seconds! He does it with just one hand. He even does it blindfolded!
Mr. Himanshu Parikh of Ahmedabad who has pulled ½ a million people out of poverty by bringing in water and sanitation to slums there. He had some amazing facts ratified by Cambridge University, about how simply providing water and sanitation to individual families can completely transform the quality of life of that family and their neighbours. Cost per family a measly Rs 6000! An amazing, benevolent man. Was a pleasure listening to him.
Mr. Amar Sen did hand shadowgraphy. A source of light, a simple screen and his hands. He did an entire show which kept all of us utterly entertained. Simplicity and Innovation personified.
Mr. Chris Csikszentmihalyi, I defy you to pronounce his name 🙂 from the media lab of MIT, USA did a brilliant little presentation about what his students are working on. I utterly loved a blender that worked only when growled at 🙂

Bawa @ TEDx Goa

Bawa @ TEDx Goa

Mr. Arvind Gupta a physicist who works at IUCAA in Poona demoed his toys. Wonderful little things made out of everyday junk. He had all the engineers at one of India’s leading tech institutes enthralled with clever toys made with bits of paper, pencils, magnets, broken cds, bicycle tyre valves and tubes and other junk that others routinely throw away… It was really inspiring to listen to. His talk and Mr. Parikh’s talk were the ones which really made me feel… Science is exciting!

Speakers and Organisers of TEDx Goa

Speakers and Organisers of TEDx Goa

And then, of course there was my talk. It was one of those talks where everything works and falls into place at exactly the right times. Even I loved it. But I am not going to tell you anything about it other than the title which was “Mostly about Om”. Hopefully I should get a video recording of it and we will put it up on youtube and you can see it for yourself then ?

After the TEDx talk, we had another round of QnA with about 300 people from the BITS campus… I will leave it to them to put the transcript of what I spoke there.
Oh yes, there was an incident with the taxi drivers… but it got resolved before it could get interesting enough to merit more than this line over here.
The next day went by in a blur, the evening was very nice, we had a superb dinner at the Park Hyatt’s Italian restaurant, i would heartily recommend it… It was quite expensive, but really, really tasty. During desert, there was a lovely firework display outside which was a perfect ending to a brilliant meal. Later, we went for a midnight walk on the beach… and all too soon it was morning the next day and time to leave for Mumbai.
Harsha, Niraj, Jatin, Vaidahi, Poorva, Krupa, Archa and many others all took great care of us, as did the main organizers of TEDx Swetanshu and Shalini. A big thank you to all of you for making our stay in Goa so very nice!

PS I hope this loooong post makes up for my silence for the past week … Watch out for some really interesting stuff about Mumbai in the next day or 3

Feb 1

The Mum Test

This one is too nice to resist 🙂

A big thanks to Shivani from Melbourne who digs up the bestest and most obscure little pieces for all of us to read…

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

I was out walking with my 4-year-old daughter.

She picked up something off of the ground and started to put it in her mouth. I took the item away from her and I asked her not to do that.

‘Why?’ my daughter asked. ‘Because it’s been on the ground; you don’t know where it’s been, it’s dirty, and probably has germs,’ I replied.

 Moms know!

Mums know!

At this point, my daughter looked at me with total admiration and asked,’Mum, how do you know all this stuff? You are so smart.’

I was thinking quickly and replied, ‘All mums know this stuff. It’s on the Mum Test. You have to know it, or they don’t let you be a Mum.’

We walked along in silence for 2 or 3 minutes, but she was evidently pondering this new information.

‘Ohhhh… I get it!’ she beamed, ‘So if you don’t pass the test you have to be the dad.’

‘Exactly,’ I replied with a big smile on my face.

Jan 25

Seva

Dinesh wrote a beautiful article about Seva, i edited it and made it even more beautiful 🙂

‘Love expresses itself as Seva (Selfless Service)’.
‘Its impossible to know what true love is until you have done something selfless for others’.

When I did my first few Art of Living courses, I heard these lines, but never realized what they meant, and how much power they had…

In those early times, one night, I came home utterly exhausted. I saw that my mom and dad were sleeping. A thought wandered lazily in my mind, let me press my parent’s feet. But the overwhelming feeling was to instantaneously hit the bed. But the second I willed my spirit to go ahead and just do it, fresh energy surged through my body, all my fatigue vanished… That too in just a moment – it was like magic! (But then, so is love, a magic that is always sparkling, ever new!) That commitment of ‘I want to do it, come what may’, brought in a wave of liveliness, quite unlike any other I had ever experienced.

Over the years, like me, I have seen many, many people suddenly come alive with smiles and enthusiasm, ready to help and serve… Their tiredness and fatigue just dissolve like an early morning mist which simply evaporates as the sun rises. The immense joy and fulfillment that one gets by doing something for other people, by lending a helping hand is simply unparalleled and doing Seva can be quite an addiction ?

Seva - Lending a Helping Hand

Seva - Lending a Helping Hand

The energy and the inspiration are always there for the taking, you only need to care!

But unfortunately many, many people have a limited and myopic idea of Seva.

For most people, Seva is normally limited to going to a slum or a village and clean the gutters and roads, or giving money to a beggar (and feeling good about it), or giving away old clothes (and making space for new ones), or donating blood or going to an orphanage and spending time with the kids there, or feeding people, or merely wearing a red ribbon at an AIDS charity concert, etc (With a few exceptions, many celebs have mastered doing this kind of politically correct Seva). This kind of Seva typically increases the dependency of the people who are being “helped” on the “helper” and is done out of a feeling of pity and no belongingness at all.

Seva of course, is all this, but it can be much, much more.

First and foremost we realize that every soul on this planet is desperately yearning for peace and fulfillment. This, it can get, only through the Knowledge of the Self, through meditation and through the process of giving love. Making THAT happen would be the ultimate Seva. Because now you are doing your actions out of genuine compassion and care for people. And you are making them self sufficient, not dependent and obligated.

When I did the Art of Living series of Workshops I realized how they empower people to experience profound peace, unconditional love and enthusiasm and sustain those with Knowledge and meditation. This in turn allows people to be good and creatively do good, to achieve success with minimal or no stress and to celebrate and live life to its fullest.

Seva Result? - A Happy Planet! :)

Seva Result? - A Happy Planet! 🙂

Sa ae va (word Seva split in Sanskrit) means ‘to be like Him’, to be like God or Nature. The divine has created such amazing beauty, such abundant variety, just so that we can be happy. If each one of us can be happy and in turn can spread that happiness, we would be fulfilling the planet’s greatest need.

If we can make a fire in the hearts of people by kindling that spark of inspiration which is already there, to support each other’s highest ideals- Then that would indeed be Seva in it’s full glory and this planet will transform into a paradise, a true Divya Samaj…

This is my dream… what’s yours?

Jai Gurudeva!

love

dinesh (and bawa)

Jan 21

Antarnaad and The World’s Biggest YES!+ Course (so far)

We had a fantastic few days with Guruji at Poona.

Antarnaad saw 2500+ Hindustani classical singers on stage together, the world’s largest such gathering (its got into the Guinness Book) performing for over 80,000 people who had gathered in Poona’s S P College grounds to listen to them.

It was a superb program, with the likes of Shankar Mahadevan, Chitra Roy, Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Gayatri and many other really great singers singing with perhaps the biggest chorus they will ever sing with in their life 🙂 … The chorus had very difficult passages and they managed it flawlessly, even though they had about 2-3 days only of rehearsing the songs together!

A part of the Antarnaad Stage

A part of the Antarnaad Stage

Guruji didn’t sing much to my disappointment like He had in Bhramanaad, but He lead all of us into deep meditation and give some wonderful Knowledge about Indian Classical music, the origin of the 7 notes and the importance of chanting in sanskrit… a recent research shows that people who do regular chanting in Sanskrit, learn and pick up languages really fast and have a greatly increased aptitude in mathematics… He also emphasized on the importance of organic farming, saving the indigenous seeds and the local variety of cows, as well as protecting the girl child.

Guruji on the Antarnaad Stage

Guruji on the Antarnaad Stage

A brilliant job done by the Poona Antarnaad organizing team… everything was nearly perfect!

The huge ground was given over to YES!+ for the next 3 days and we had the biggest ever YES!+ course with more than 1100 young people participating on it!

Guruji gave a surprise appearance and wowed everyone on the first day itself! 🙂

People had amazing, life transforming experiences on the course and many have vowed to come to Bangalore for the Summer Magic course…

One girl asked me a question: I could smell chandan (Sandalwood) and jasmine while i was doing the Sudarshan Kriya, can you explain what was happening?

I answered: No. You cannot explain a miracle. If you could explain it, it would be science 🙂

Satsang

Satsang

The Poona YES!+ team did a phenomenal job in organising the course, and everything was really just right… Last day, just 45 minutes before the course was scheduled to start, the big LED screens were suddenly taken down on the whim of some foolish, malignant person on the Antaarnaad organizing team… teaching a course from that big stage without any screens would have been almost impossible, but our bright young people didn’t miss a beat! They simply organized a few plasma screen TVs in the ground and the course went on perfectly!

The Poona YES!+ Team with a few visitors thrown in... The guy in the red kurta is Tehmu

The Poona YES!+ Team with a few visitors thrown in... The guy in the red kurta is Tehmu

I stayed with Tehmu at his lovely home in Camp area in Poona and he took such good care of all of us, even Guruji decided to come visit :)… Guruji was there at Tehmu’s house for a few wonderful hours, before He whizzed off back to Bangalore… Tehmu is a great cook, and taught me how to make some really tasty stuff… will put the recipes up on the blog real soon 🙂

We are in Bombay now… planing some really big stuff here… it will all be finalized in a few days and then i will let everyone know about it…

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

ps While we were in Mumbai, Guruji suddenly sat at the piano in Vishalakshi during satsang, and banged out notes which of course sound surprisingly good! 🙂 Here is the link to the video

Jan 19

Meat Free Flights

The Art of Living and The Times Foundation have mutually appealed to the public to sign their joint petition to airlines to make flights meat free…

Here is the letter that will be going to all airlines…

Global warming has reached alarmingly dangerous proportions and governments all over the world now are taking measures to contain it. It is our collective responsibility to join in these efforts in all our capacities to save our precious planet.

Greener Flights Please!

Greener Flights Please!

A 2006 United Nations report summarized the devastation caused by the meat industry by calling it “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” Everybody today is aware that the environmental cost for producing a meat-based diet is monumentally higher than a vegetarian one. These costs have escalated to enormous proportions and now pose as very disturbing details.

Additionally, more and more people are increasingly becoming aware of the unhygienic and cruel practices involved in producing meat. Apart from the horrible treatment given to animals reared for meat, they are also injected with harmful chemicals and hormones to add bulk to their bodies, which show strong signs of being poisonous for human consumption. Consequently, health agencies are also recommending people to reduce meat consumption.

It has been established that if a small fraction of the population brings down the meat consumption, by even a little bit, it will do wonders for the environment. Leading researchers all over the world have started recommending a vegetarian diet. Therefore, we would like to solicit your support in declaring all flights meat free. Such a policy change would not only benefit the airline industry, by cutting cost and increasing profit margins, but also the environment and is both economically prudent and ecologically responsible.

It has become imperative that all of us attend to this issue. We, therefore, request all Airways to serve completely vegetarian meals during flights. To increase awareness among people, we have launched a massive signature campaign in support of this drive.

We look forward to a positive response from you.

Warm Regards,

The Art of Living India & Times Foundation.

Please click to add your voice to this initiative

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

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