2000 BC: Here eat this root
1000 AD: That root is heathen. Here, say this Prayer…
1865 AD: That prayer is superstition. Here take this Potion.
1925 AD: That potion is snake oil. Here take this Pill.
1973 AD: That pill is ineffective. Here take this Antibiotic…
2012 AD: That anitbiotic is poison. Here eat this Root! … And say a Prayer
Om Namah Shivaya!
I used to think that the only sensible use for papaya was in Body Shop’s foot cream… until Tanu made this absolutely fabulous salad for me. That’s when I finally understood why God created the papaya!
1 Raw Papaya
2 tsps sugar
a pinch of salt
1 generous handful of peanuts
a bowl of ice
With a peeler peel the papaya. Cut in half. Then with the peeler scrape out thin slivers of the papaya. Use mainly the green part, don’t use the inside red part.
Put the slivers in the ice bowl and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
Roast the peanuts without oil until nice and crunchy. Let them cool. Rub them to remove the husk.
Just before serving, squeeze the juice of the limes into a small bowl. Don’t over squeeze otherwise the juice will turn bitter. Add in the sugar and mix well till it dissolves. Add the salt.
Add the chilled papaya slivers into the serving bowl, add a few peanuts to it and drizzle with the lime juice.
Have it on hot summer afternoons as a prelude to a light soup or lunch.
Dinesh and I have been running the Cafe at the Bangalore Ashram with a fair measure of success, thanks to our tireless and super dedicated team who totally own the place as their very own … And we thought we should now do something more than just cook food and serve it for our very loyal foodies who come to eat there.
Starting this Friday 13th evening thru Sunday 15th afternoon, we are going to be teaching people how to cook. Simple stuff with a high show off quotient
Some of those recipes are already there on this blog …
Yet another excuse for you to come to the lovely Bangalore Ashram!
For some time now there have been a few people writing nasty stuff about Art of Living on their blogs. These people are alleged ex-Art of Living people who are on a self appointed mission to “expose” the Art of Living Foundation and Sri Sri and almost every senior teacher/swami/office-holder you can think of.
Here’s my take on it.
Don’t you at least have one friend in whose life you were a part of the beautiful times he/she were experiencing in a relationship for months or years – the high of life, the wonder of love… But if and when it ended in a break up, weren’t you also party to the tirade from that same friend about how lousy the whole time was, how everything from the word go was a pack of lies, how their partners used them, psychologically played with them and their emotions, how they were naïve then and they are wiser now, and how their naivety was taken undue advantage of, etc, etc …
The age-old case of the Jilted Lover.
Or is it the case of the Mercenary Creative Writer?
I urge you to take a creative writing challenge. You can choose any person really. Mother Teresa, Mahtma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, The Dalai Lama, George Washington, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Albert Einstein, Queen Elizabeth or any other respectable and revered person of your choice who had contributed immensely to the world in any field.
Closely study their lives, their writings, their biographies, the history of that time and now write a story of how you were their secret girlfriend/boyfriend, or their right hand man/woman and in the backdrop of historical facts (provable), what genuine people around them (names confirmable) used to say all sorts of negative things (unprovable) about that person and how the leader’s entire life was a well hidden pack of lies and deceit.
More points for how you and other gullibles were exploited, abused, traumatized and victimized and it was only your innocence, stupidity or helplessness that made you stay with them for those “horrible” 10/12/15 years of your life.
Such is the plight of about a dozen or so teachers of the 15000+ teachers worldwide who have “finally chosen” to stop being part of the Art of Living.
Wikipedia defines their activity quite well:
A poison pen letter is a letter or note containing unpleasant, abusive or malicious statements or accusations about the recipient or a third party. It is usually sent anonymously. Poison pen letters are usually composed and sent to upset the recipient.
These people write poison pen blogs.
Why do they do it?
Though driven by volunteers, the Art of Living Foundation has a proper organizational and financial structure in compliance with the Laws of the Land.
The Art of Living wisdom or techniques do not compete or conflict with anyone’s ideologies or beliefs, but in fact, beautifully complement them. Because of its principle of ‘deepen your roots and broaden your vision’, people of all religions, countries, background and social status, feel at ease. Its vision of a one world family and making life a celebration on our planet and its mission of a violence-free, stress-free society with peace, prosperity, good health and happiness for all the Beings on this planet resonates with one and all.
Well, not all. A few bloggers, anti social elements and terrorist organizations may beg to differ, but we don’t mind.
So there are two options left for us to consider.
These bloggers are cowards (to hide behind anonymity) with purely malicious intent. Of course they justify saying, if they come out in the open, they will be target of violence or victimization from a multi-national globally strong organization with a solid well-wishers’ base like the Art of Living.
Or they may be brave and have the most benevolent of intentions like – lets write all this garbage, and if people trust it instead of the Art of Living and Guruji, then they are not qualified for spirituality or for Guruji’s Grace or Wisdom. So they are in effect filtering the ‘chaff from the grain’, “inspiring” those who are faithless or in doubt and on the fence to move away so that only the sincerest of seekers remain…
Inspite of all they have written, somehow, a bit of compassion for them comes and I see it this way: The more these people try to malign Guruji, the more they are thinking of Him, the more they will become like Him and will find a good spot in the heavens just like the demons of yesteryears, whose one-pointed focus on killing Lord Krishna uplifted them to the best places in heaven.
bawa n dinesh
ps We have not provided links to these blogs because we don’t want you going to those sites to read the poison they have written. We don’t do Sadhana to clean our minds everyday to go and get our minds polluted by the filth on these sites. Besides, going there increases their “hits” and their “popularity”. So if you ARE a part of the Art of Living, please don’t visit these sites and inadvertently and mistakenly help them by increasing their hits. It is unfortunate that this will happen, the way Search Engine Optimization works on Google.
Guruji is at Boone Ashram in the US. There are many people who say … it doesn’t matter, He is always with us and all that. I don’t really agree with them
To be with Him physically is something else
But when He is not there physically with us … all that longing can turn into poetry … Dinesh wrote, i didn’t edit!
One who has made me say goodbye
to all sorrows and anxieties as we ply
thru life, before and even after we die…
To that Guru’s lotus feet,
my heart and mind I apply.
When we smile, sigh or cry
there’s one unblinking eye
which is watching us all
with a loving presence
very strong and nigh
one can faithfully ever rely.
To that Guru’s lotus feet,
my heart and mind i apply.
who had given me this Eye,
of knowledge and an eternal
unconditional love supply…
making me effortlessly move
from small i to big I…
To that Guru,
a million pranaams my
heart does, and whereby,
all my feelings blissfully lie…
Today’s Guru Poornima,
The 3rd of July
This sensation i can’t deny
of feeling feather light & flying high,
knowing even the beauty of the full moon,
I can defy,
Which Makes me wonder why,
was I the one chosen by,
My master, My Guru,
who to my
Is the very essence,
of the earth, the waters and the wind,
the sun and the infinite blue sky.
dinesh (n bawa)
There has been some noise about Guruji, Sri Sri Ravishankar not having completed His degree (B.Sc) at age 17, or not having completed His degree at all. Well we rummaged around at Bhanu Didi’s house and found this:
So He finished His studies in March 1974, when He was 17 going on to 18 and gave His exams in October coz He couldn’t take them in April. His name should be there in the records of St. Joesph’s College for anyone to check out. The wikipedia article which says He graduated at 21 needs to be updated (whoever does this, please do it) and these people who write and talk this garbage about Guruji, the Art of Living and it’s associated activities can only be tagged as spineless cowards with malicious intent … I would once again invite them to move out from behind their computers and stop cooking this spiteful stuff in their heads and start to at least try and make a real difference to our beautiful planet.
bawa n dinesh
bawa n dinesh
What a ironical way to end the blogging silence than a post on Cricket
I was asked to write ‘Lessons on Life from cricket’ for the Speaking Tree. My first thought was that the only lesson that can be learned is ‘Life is precious, don’t waste your time, Do something worthwhile”. But I felt i need to rise up to the demand… and this is what came out…
8 Lessons on Life from Cricket
1) Pitch n weather: Having your facts right will help you plan your strategy effectively.
2) Toss and Turn: Luck plays a little role in life, but not much if you are talented and willing to work hard. Just in case, it plays a big role, be good and do good in life; Karma catches up.
3) Best batsmen bat first, Best bowlers bowl first: Play to your strengths, put your best foot forward.
4) Field setting, Bowling, Batting: Live in the present moment and be spontaneous and willing to change and improvise.
5) Chasing/Setting targets: Play the game of life without the burden or feverishness of getting somewhere so you can play your natural game and enjoy it too.
6) Records: Individual achievement is good, but put the interests of your team first.
7) Regrets: If you give your heart and soul into something (really put your 100%), there is no room for regrets.
8) Game: Life is a game and full of glorious uncertainties. Meditation and Spirituality makes you player not a pawn.
We were on board the beautiful Golden Pass trains in Switzerland to get to Gstaad from Milan and everything was so beautiful, that i almost forgot about the pain in the ankle. Was reading a book by Guruji, He was saying “What is that which propels our mind towards the senses and the senses towards the objects of senses? … Why is a question asked in misery … Why me? What starts an enquiry. What? … What? … What? Your breath is moving in and out, What is it that makes it do that?!” … It was truly wonderful to ponder on this while looking at the gorgeous beauty all around me.
We reached Gstaad to Hotel Steigenberger. A very pretty little place. And sky high prices, and definite touches of racism.
Our kids didn’t know the “European way” of doing things – for example, they would hold the bread at the breakfast buffet with their hands (omigod!!) while cutting it. And they talked loudly while eating. The manager complained to us about this horrible behaviour. So I gave them a quick lecture about table manners and told them to observe other people and how they were eating, and learn how to fit in with keen observation. Turned out that many of the europeans were also holding the bread with their grubby hands. But that was ok. An Indian doing it was not …
Then there were the peanuts. They served a bowl of mixed nuts (mainly pea) when anyone ordered any drink in the lobby. Many people of course emptied the bowl into their pockets … The manager had very strong exceptions to this. I really don’t know why. Clearly those peanuts had been touched by hands (thankfully they didn’t give spoons along with them), so they were “soiled” and by rights the hotel shouldn’t recycle them to other customers given their don’t touch the bread policy. And if they did recycle them, then why would they have any problems with people touching bread?
When some of our kids ordered pizza in the restaurant, and asked if they could be cut and bought to the table, a snooty type of a waiter replied, you have knives on the table. Use them! It was shocking that anyone could talk like that to any guests in their own hotel.
All this unpleasantness was offset by the pianist at the bar. A guy called Michel who played beautifully and sang pretty well too … We became good friends and he invited me to play many times.
We found out later that Gstaad is one of the most expensive places in Switzerland. Why our travel agent would book us in such a place when she knew all were on a shoe string budget is quite beyond me – It was another one of the sucky things she did. BUT, the place was really amazing, and in town there was this fantastic Italian restaurant called the Rialto which welcomed our business and fed us the most delicious food. Their casata ice cream was sooooo yummy. And the manager there – he was the perfect host! The first time we went there in a small group, me, dinesh, shavina, her baby, devang, vishu and JD. So we said we wanted a table for 6 adults and a baby. He said nope. You want a table for a baby and 6 adults!
He said, that (the baby) was the future, then pointing to himself (he is 75 years old) said i am the past … and you are all the present. But that baby is the future! He went on to fuss all over Aadya. His parting shot was, we will make anything you want for the baby – not for you, but for the baby. Baby wanted to eat french fries … And so did vishu, so vishu chimes in saying the baby is very hungry … First time i ever heard of the future feeding the present
We had dinner there 3 times during our 5 day stay in Gstaad – And what a welcome we always got when we compared it with the place we were staying at…
So cheers to Michel and the manager of Hotel Rialto in Gstaad for making our stay there so much more fun!
We had a trip to Jungfrau one of the tallest peaks in Europe and a boat ride on Lake Lucerne. Jungfrau was my idea. Lake Lucerne was the travel agents’.
Jungfrau was brilliant – everyone had loads of fun playing in the snow – except for me who mainly looked at the lovely snowscape for some time before pestering Dinesh to go one level down where we could wait it out for the others to come. Dinesh being Dinesh made not one word of protest and me, shavina, aadya and him went down to where we had a superb long lunch with nice haagen daaz ice cream while we waited for the others to finish their frolick in the snow
I had originally asked that we stay somewhere in Interlaken, she put us in Gstaad. Then for a 2 hour boat ride, she makes everyone drive 6 hours back and forth to Lucerne when there was a perfectly good, huge lake 15 minutes from where we were which also had boats. And the boat ride was just the local ferry. I did mention that our travel agent sucked right?
From Switzerland, we went on to Paris… But that’s for next week…
Berlin was fantastic, the World Culture Festival rocked… There are videos and photos and write ups and stories all over the place, so won’t say much about that… except that it was REALLY fabulous!
Dinesh and i can now claim that we performed at the Olmpic Stadium in Berlin! We were part of the chorus that opened the celebrations on both days. Chandrika Tandon and Michael were brilliant at teaching us how to sing as a team… Everyone said we sounded fantastic
The lazer show at the end was mind blowing, no video does any justice to it … You HAVE to have been there!
Wanted to buy kitchen stuff and we went to this really nice kitchen shop in Berlin (Kochtail on Invaliden strasse) that was run by an american called Joe.
It’s a charming little shop and has many, many things for baking and some really nice nifty gadgets. We bought a lot of stuff there and paid and were about to leave when we realised that Joe didn’t have the VAT form with which we could claim our VAT back. He very graciously asked me to pick up more things for free to offset the VAT. And he gave us a nice discount too! Yay Joe!
After Berlin, we went on to Venice, where i had a spectacular fall… Various passer-bys stopped looking at pigeons and went a horrified ooooohhhhhh… no one laughed. Was looking at hats in a road side stall and walking down the steps of a bridge. Bad idea. I fell and kept falling for a few seconds more than i thought a fall should last. Result was a super sprained ankle which had swollen to the size of a small apple or a big tomato in 6 seconds and was Painful (note the capital P). I had blurring of vision, the whole world seemed to become extra bright and fade to white… and then it came back… with Pain.
So somehow hobbled back to hotel, where we iced it and i had arnica and belladonna and waited for Seema to come. Seema is hot shot homeopathic doctor… also an adv course teacher
She was very proud of me and the way i had taken care of my ankle.
So, a lot of Venice was just 4 walls in my hotel room (on the ground floor, next to the urinals) which overlooked a garbage dump. I had asked our travel agent to get us a room with a view in Venice. My fault that i had not specified the view… Our travel agent was pathetic, and i can say right away that we had a super great time in Europe inspite of her. Almost seemed as if she went out of her way to make things as horrible as possible… but that’s another story.
Decided to go visit Massimo (one of our super teachers in Italy) in Milan, and left Hotel an hour before the train. It’s a 7 minute walk, but with the ankle the way it was, figured it would take an hour. When we reached the sidewalk, we could see the station tantalizingly across the canal. We had asked the hotel manager (not nice person at all) if some water taxi could take us across, he said 60 euros for a 10 second ride. I said no, we will walk. Hotel Capri sucks.
While hobbling along the sidewalk, a water taxi guy who was parked, took one look at me and asked me to hop (?) in. We were at the other side in less than 10 seconds … I promised him his photo on our blog and here it is. If you are ever in Vencice and he is driving you, please tip him extra
So, was 40 minutes early for the train and there was nothing to do except sit on the steps of the railway station and pose for a few photos. The smiles were quite tough to do, but the pain had become much lesser, no need to use capitals any more. Next to me, sitting on the stairs was a guy holding his wife’s ankle. I asked her if she too had twisted it … She had not, however, he turned out to be a trained physiotherapist from Delhi, who had done his schooling in Jayanagar, Bangalore!
He asked if he could help. I said Be my guest. He made me do a few moves and declared that it was not a fracture or a torn ligament, only a super bad sprain. Keep it raised and iced. It will take it’s time to get alright…
Hobbled to the train and got to Milan. Massimo managed to get me a wheel chair, and i was spared the long walk from the train to the car. His wife to be had made delicious khichidi with nice thick dahi, we tucked in and had a great night’s sleep… Next day was the journey from Italy to Gstaad in Switzerland…