Apr 20

Shivaratri: a trail of miracles…

Let me do the Sri Ganesha on this blog with our account of Shivaratri. After a fabulous PDS (Pranayam Dhyan Shibir) in Mumbai with Guruji which was full of meditations, miracles and early mornings, we felt a nagging sensation in our heart that we did not have enough. (He mentions somewhere it being a sign of love and Seva – a feeling of ‘not enough’). So we decided to join the caravan onto to Surat for Shivaratri.
The noon before Shivaratri, on the way from Dadar to Bandra station to catch our train, we took a divine detour so as to say goodbye to Guruji in Ghatkopar. As we went to his place, he was giving a video byte to Zee TV. As we were already running late, I gestured to him with palms going round and round indicating ‘railway’ and lip-synched Surat. He acknowledged with a raise of his eyebrows and an impish smile (everything reveals itself in good time). We somehow caught the train in the nick of time, rather the train stopped and caught up with us and took us to Surat… but that’s a story I will leave for another posting?
For us, Surat is synonymous with Jigish. Bawa’s tryst with this city goes back to 1994 when he would conduct Basic courses at an unbawa hour of 4am with Jigish assisting. Foreseeing Jigish’s 3 bedroom small house would expand magically to accommodate 56 people during the shivaratri festival, we opted eventually to move to Jyotika and Bharti’s house. That house, like most of Gujarat has mastered feeding to an art-form.
People say shivaratri was blissfully divine. For Prasanna and me, it was chaotically divine. We were supposed to give a live commentary on TV of the puja proceedings. The presence of the Governor, accompanied by his paranoid security, sealed off our location settings. Then Sanskar TV’s bit of video and lot of audio decided to give up on us. So we ended up doing ‘Nishkaam Karma’ – fruitless effort, not to mention we had rollicking fun in the bargain.
Towards the end of the puja, we just dropped everything (read surrendered), and settled down to meditate. The bhajans started, and their tempo kept ascending until at it pinnacle, Guruji went into a soumya Tandav (Shiva’s Dance). The moment it begins, truly the entire universe comes to a stand still, the whole body is flushed with a million volts of energy, every cell in it is alive with sublime sacredness, and the very soul resonates with vibrant silence. In that very instant you know, you have done boundless benevolence to be there or have been showered with unconditional blessings to be physically present there.
He conducted ‘Hara Hara’ meditation with the invocation mudra and invited the divinity to settle here and now with all of us.
What Guruji said was…
The amazing journey from duality to devotion and devotion to oneness is shivaratri. For Love and Devotion there needs to be two, duality is needed… but Devotion when intensified leads to the Knowledge that there is only one!
The ancients texts asks us to become one with shiva and then worship him. So we do puja after enlivening the Shiva Tatva in every cell of our body. Shiva is the embodiment of innocence and we sit for puja with that innocence and fullness.
Shiva is worshiped with flowers and thorns. He accepts both. We too surrender both our positive and negative qualities. We offer ‘good’ qualities so we are not afflicted by its ego, and the ‘bad’ qualities with which we start identifying ourself.
Neelkanth and Bhadra – Shiva’s throat turned blue when he drank the dreaded poison signifying that we too have the power to take on negativity and transform it into benevolence. Offer all the anger, hatred and self-deprecating qualities. Shiva will only give something good and beneficial in return.
Shiva is also fury personified – he shows anger towards injustice and wrongdoing. It is a crime even to tolerate injustice. In that sense Shiva is complete.
At the onset of puja, we take a sankalpa for peace, prosperity, success and happiness for all those present in particular and for the whole world in general. It is a beautiful process of taking sankalpa by bringing into our consciousness the vastness of space and time and collapsing that into the here and now. A sankalpa taken in this charged, full-of-feeling atmosphere bears fruit easily.
Usually people go to places of worship with lots of demands and wishes, but people usually come to Guruji full of gratitude… no demands here, people are content and fulfilled already… That’s the specialty of Art of Living. And that’s what makes a Pooja with Guruji so much more potent and powerful!
Shiva is also the lord of the 5 elements (Bhootnath) – earth, water, air, fire and space. Honoring the elements is true worship of Shiva. In today’s age, people are most concerned about the environment. Being sensitive to the environment has been tradition of India since time immemorial. We respect the earth – before digging for a construction site, we do Puja. We worship the rivers and mountains… Infact puja itself done with all the 5 elements – flowers, water, rice, fire, fragrance everything is used. Awakening of the principles of these elements in us is puja.
The next day we did the Rudram again at 4:30 am and divinity seemed to talk hold of the very air and infuse it with sparkling joy.
The PDS started with Pankaj conducting Yoga gracefully, enthusiastically and with laughter and lightness. Guruji would lead meditations 30-35 minutes and they never seemed more than 5-10 minutes. People in hundreds experienced healing from illnesses, pains and sufferings. The sharing by participants brought out how Joy and good luck increased dramatically for countless many.
The arrangements were pretty smooth and things seemed to move with clockwork precision with hardly any friction. Rishi Vidyadharji seemed to be behind this organizational miracle. There were 26 teams altogether for Guruji’s visit and the man-in-charge Rishiji has absolutely zero conflict with anyone. That’s the power of Sattva. He would do Gurupooja everyday and meditate with everyone together. Guruji later on said that Karmaphal ki siddhi hoti hai sattva se. Aur sattva aata hai silence aur sadhana se. (Any action bears fruit only with Sattva. And this Sattva comes only through silence and meditation).
There was also an advance course being attended by 3000+ people being conducted by Rishiji…
Guruji sparkled with humour and Wisdom during the Youth Meet, and answered questions while playing random notes on a synth that was on stage… The notes somehow sounded fantastic…

Apr 20

A Big Family

Bansal (Ramnik) told me this one while we were in Jalandhar… can’t resist posting it here:

A guy was talking to a friend saying that he was part of a really big family! He had 25 brothers and sisters!!!
The friend asked didnt the Family Planning people ever visit?
“They did, but went away thinking our house was a school!!!”


Apr 20

QnA – 7

Preeti from Singapore collates and sends me all the questions you guys ask… it was her birthday and so maybe she got to ride in Guruji’s car (she made the date and walnut cake for her birthday for Guruji, He and everyone else loved it btw :)), here is first part of her mail to me… Happy Birthday Preeti!

Dear Bau
Batch 7 – a bit late sorry – just back from chasing Guruji upto Jakarta.
Had a fantastic time and the most wonderful traffic jam experience ever.
The 5 min distance between Shangrila and Ritz Carlton was covered in something like half an hour and I was in Guruji’s car !!!
:) :) :)

Q. My Dear Bawa Bhaiya,

I did my first yes plus advance in bangalore with You and Dinesh Bhaiya recently in December. i want to ask three questions:

1.lazyness is my biggest enemy, how to get rid of it ?

2.when is next yes plus advance in bangalore for coming vacations and how one can know bout upcoming courses and events in Ashram ? I feel that this site does not provides up to date information. guide me please !

3.I am doing B.Tech in Electronics and Communication from Thapar University, Patiala(Punjab). I have decided to devote my whole life for spreading the message of “Love ‘n’ Joy” in entire world.. as Full Time Yes Plus and Corporate Teacher. So please tell me what are the eligibility requirements for the same ?

I will be waiting for your wonderful(as usual) replies !

A. Simply start doing stuff now! not next week, not tomorrow, not in an hour… right now start.. and that’s it! Do your Sadhana, Seva and Satsang regularly. And finally keep a close watch on what you are eating… no non veg, smoking, alcohol, also cut down or completely stop white flour (maida) and white sugar… this will help you physically come out of laziness.. Definitely exercise, jog, swim, goto a gym whatever. Do all this starting now! :)
We are working on the site to make it better and better… Web dev team, please take note, make schedules etc more visible and up to date pease :)
First complete a few (min 4-6) Adv courses, a DSN and a Sahaj Course. Listen to Knowledge talks by Guruji, the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, The Narada Bhakti Sutras and the Ashtavakra Gita talks, read on on the Knowledge sheet books… Organize and assist on LOTS of YES!+ courses… and then come for the Teacher’s training program in Bangalore Ashram… Hope to see you and many others become really good teachers very soon!!!

Q. I plan a lot of things but have difficulty in doing them.
How can i be more committed to my plans?

A. Stop so much planning, start more doing… start this now :)

Q. Hi, I want to know that what WAYE is doing for unprivileged, orphan, handicapped, left alone elders and lots of indian dying due to malnutrition or unavailable treatment. If WAYE is really doing these significant work then i will be very happy to join u and help u in this noble work.

A. WAYE’s mission statement is “To prevent mainstream young people from going marginalized and inspire them into societal reform of their choice”
WAYE is not a “me too” NGO who basically targets the poor and the underprivileged, and gets funding from various sources to complete “projects”. There are thousands of organisations that take care of these marginalized people, none to take care of normal people. That’s why normal people become marginalized in the first place! WAYE seeks to and has had great success in preventing people from becoming marginalized (stopped them from becoming alcoholics, smokers or drug addicts, protected them from HIV, educated them about female feticide, the list goes on…)
WAYE and YES!+ are for normal people who want more from life. Who would like to contribute more to the planet…
Art of Living as an organization really takes care of almost all aspects of Social Service there are: from taking care of orphaned children (we have almost a 100 from kashmir and meghalaya in the bangalore ashram), to women empowerment, to chemical free farming, to disaster relief, to slum rehab, drugs rehab, rain water harvesting, planting trees, mediating in war torn areas, prison rehab courses… please visit the www.artofliving.org for more details on the Seva projects that Art of Living does…
It’s alos interesting to note how people say, if Art of Living is “really” doing things… it’s so easy to doubt good things isn’t it? :) It would be nice to start watching the intellect as well a bit… what say? :)
In any case, You are welcome to join :)

Q. Jai gurudev,
I am Giridhar Kodakalla, who did basic,yes+ and dsn courses in chennai with Kavitha madam and Atika madam.
I was really unhappy to know that DSN happened last week when i was out of chennai.
I know that AOL group is into so many programs to help society and for education for children. But there is one thing which i would like to know whether AOL is taking care of -Food and care for Infant Orphans.

When my 8 months old son Sai Sujit cries for food, we have 3 people trying to feed him. Sometimes he might need little bit more milk and he starts crying when we take out the milk bottle. Being his parent, i try my best to work quickly to fill the milk bottle. Once he finishes his dinner/lunch, we would be relaxed as the kid starts playing again.

When i see him crying, i really feel sorry for so many poor infants (may be orphans) who don’t have any one to serve food or who might have some guardians to serve food, but they might not be able to serve them the required food/milk.

Is there anything we can do to feed these infants?
There is only one reason why i posted it here. If Art of Living decides to support any noble cause, i know, there are millions of people across the world who would think and work to make it happen.

Thanks for opportunity to post a question.

Glad to be associated with YES+ and AOL.

A. One major thing that can be done is changing our own food habits and the food habits of people around us. PLEASE go vegetarian. STOP eating meat of all sorts right now. 800 million people are dying from hunger and hunger related diseases every year and the number keeps growing… but only 10% of the population of the USA needs to go veg to be able to feed all these people… They are not doing it… will you?!

Q. Hi, I come from a broken family with lots of issues and lately have started feeling disillusioned, what can i do?

A. Do your Sudershan Kriya everyday. Get involved in some Seva activities in your area. Go and swing in Satsang :)
Think more about others… You have a broken family, millions dont even know what is family… learn to count your blessings…

Q. I am from IIT delhi and did the YES!+ under you in march, 2006. One day you told us that hindu mythology gives beautiful messages if interpreted correctly. You even gave a couple of examples (ganesh-shiva incident and something about radha-krishna). I have a special bond with Krishna and really love his personality.
The other day i was discussing mahabharata with one of my friends. he commented upon how krishna had behaved un-sportingly and used deceit to defeat the kauravs. He further said that thus krishna didn’t set a good example wrt dharma, unlike rama. I was unable to give him a satisfactory answer, though i am convinced that there is some good hidden teaching in krishna’s actions.
please help.

A. Krishna was an avatar. It requires great depth to even begin to understand His actions. Please read the entire Bhagwatam and you will see that what He did was perfect! There is too much to say on this topic and frankly it requires study and sincerity. Don’t bother about convincing your friend… If he had enough curiosity, he would study more and comment less :) And you can continue to love Krishna, Bhakti rules! :)

Q. Recently i have done YES++ at bangalore ashram. I am finding that my interest towards the materialistic things, opp. sex, money and even in the studies is decreasing. my parents are getting freaky and have also started prohibiting me for my participation in AOL activities. what to do ,please help me.

A. Hello!! Please do not blame Art of Living or YES!+ for loosing interest in “materialistic” things… have you perhaps considered that you are being a bit lazy? and are using “Knowledge” to cover that up?
Guruji has never ever aught us not to act in the world… coz doing no action is also action!
Meditate, get Shakti and get out there and do Seva… and excel in whatever it is that you are doing in life!

Q. Bawa i have done the yes+ course held in LPU Jalandhar.
I want to know whether I have to give up non-veg food forever to fully utilise the Sudarshan Kriya? Will it harm my body or its vibrations ?

A. Yes. Like i mentioned above and like i have repeatedly talked about in all the courses i teach, STOP EATING NON VEG FOOD! DO IT NOW!!
And as you go deeper in the Knowledge and in Seva and Sadhana, answers to all those other questions of yours will come to you… for now, know one thing: You are on this planet to give…

Q. bawa please ask guruji to talk to me…

A. write a mail to Him yourself. His email id is guruji@artofliving.org
and you can talk to Him whenever you are meditating… and He does talk back to you. You only need to learn how to listen…. and the answer to how do i learn to listen is: Sadhana, Seva, Satsng and Silence (Adv courses)

Q. These days i am just whiling away all my time Bau..
No 100% in anything.. Be it work/seva/sadhana..
I have suddenly become super lazy and i dont feel like doing anything..
Feel very wierd! what to do?

and also at work place i am finding it very difficult to cope up.. in terms of grasping new stuff etc.. most of the times whatever is said in meetings is a bouncer.. and i take too much time to understand small little things.. my response time was never soooo bad bau!
i have become verrrry inefficient! what to do???

A. Read the answer above on laziness… check your diet please! Stop Sugar and maida…

Q. hi Bawu! how r u ?im frm nagpur n im now vounteer too.n im very happy.u know bawu,i talk to u daily .u r good frnd of mine,whenever i see ur face it makes me happy n smilie.love u bawu too much.i have a problem n waana discuss with u,help me out……..
My parents are having a problem with AOL. They think that AOL is the HINDU dominated foundation.last day of ustav at nagpur,u had given two free passes to take the persons whom u want,so i had give it to my parents.but when SATSANG started,they were not happy… they heard the name of lord ganesha n shiva….. frm that time they had this impression.we r BUDHIST…
now pls help me how to convince my parents.waiting for your reply Bawu.say hi, to dinesh bhaiya too.

A. The Dalai Lama Himself has visited the Bangalore Ashram and is one of the founder members of the IAHV which is a sister organisation of Art of Living. If He has no problems, why should your parents?!
Tell them to stop being so narrow in their outlook. That Wisdom and Knowledge from anywhere should be taken and appreciated…

Q. hi bau how r u?? how is dinesh bhaiyya?? i’m in my engeneering 1st yr n have done the yes!+ n the adv course as well recently n am regular with my kriya n other practices. i’m happy with myself but i often imagine things like “if i do this then people will acknowledge me n praise me”. i understand that its my ego thats working but how do i control it??

A. Doesn’t matter if you like a bit of praise… i like it too :)
infact Devas are said to be “Stuti Priya”, meaning they love Praise :)… so dont think its ego, think its the Divinity in you :)
in time, even that ned for praise will go… you dont have to do anything about it ok ? :)

Made a really tasty lunch today using an old forgotten recipe from by darling Grand mother… got to write it out and post it… you guys will see it soon :)

Jai Gurudeva!

Apr 19

MTNL Nightmare

Am in Mumbai right now… and can you imagine?!! There is no working internet connection!! I cannot believe this would happen!
Our Dadar House has been disconnected coz of some network failure, and where i am staying at Vishwas’s house MTNL refuses to even accept an application form! They have a 4 month back log… and today we found out when we went to MTNL to get reconnected in Dadar, that they dont have any unlimited download plans at all!! Welll… they do, they charge Rs 20,000 per month for it… What a rip off!!
I think more of us should be writing to MTNL and whoever the concerned ministers etc are against this utterly preposterous pricings!! Add to that, their utter incompetence when it comes to fixing problems (their technical people have not even heard about a mac!), their people wanting a bribe almost every step of the way (I refuse to pay ofcourse), the interminable waits on their so called helpline… i dont think its worth it… Oh yes! and when they say unlimited, they mean unlimited hours!!! How utterly archaic!

After repeated experiences with MTNL internet services, on a scale of 0 to 10 i would rate them -6!!

Grow up MTNL!

End of Rant

Apr 16

How much?

Dad sent me this mail and i thought i have to share it with all of you!

Hi Everybody, Over the weekend, I filled up my car’s fuel tank, and I thought fuel has become really expensive after the recent price hike. But then I compared it with other common liquids and did some quick calculations, and I felt a little better.

To know why, see the results below – you’ll be surprised at how outrageous some other prices are !

Diesel (regular) in Mumbai : Rs.36.08 per litre
Petrol (speed) in Mumbai : Rs.52 per litre
Coca Cola 330 ml can : Rs.20 = Rs.61 per litre
Dettol antiseptic 100 ml Rs.20 = Rs.200 per litre
Radiator coolant 500 ml Rs.160 = Rs.320 per litre
Pantene conditioner 400 ml Rs..165 = Rs.413 per litre
Medicinal mouthwash like Listerine 100 ml Rs.45 = Rs. 450 per litre
Red Bull 150 ml can : Rs.75 = Rs.500 per litre
Corex cough syrup 100 ml Rs.57 = Rs. 570 per litre
Evian water 500 ml Rs. 330 = Rs. 660 per litre
Rs. 500 for a litre of WATER???!!! And the buyers don’t even know the source (Evian spelled backwards is Naive.)
Kores whiteout 15 ml Rs. 15 = Rs. 1000 per litre
Cup of coffee at any decent business hotel 150 ml Rs. 175 = Rs. 1167 per litre
Old Spice after shave lotion 100 ml Rs. 175 = Rs. 1750 per litre
Pure almond oil 25 ml Rs. 68 = Rs. 2720 per litre

And this is the REAL KICKER…
HP deskjet colour ink cartridge 21 ml Rs.1900 = Rs. 90476 per litre!!!
Now you know why computer printers are so cheap ? So they have you hooked for the ink ! So, the next time you’re at the pump, don’t curse our honorable Petroleum minister – just be glad your car doesn’t run on cough syrup, after shave, coffee, or God forbid, printer ink.

Start Investing now! Things are expensive and your income needs to keep way ahead of your expenses :)

Apr 16


I have developed a new workshop called “Financial Literacy”. We had a 2 hour stint yesterday night in Delhi for about 50 people, the second time i ran this workshop, the first was in Mumbai. Everyone loved it!

So that’s the third one that i now teach which is a non Art of Living Workshop. The first two are Mathemagic (2 hours of hard core maths made fun) and Understanding the Classics (4 hours of really beautiful music from the great masters of music from the west)…

Apr 16

The Big Chill

A visit to Delhi is incomplete for me unless we go eat at the restaurant called “The Big Chill”. Very good food, and for those of you who eat chocolate and sugar, unbelievably tasty deserts.
We had an extended 2 hour lunch there. Started with Hummus and Pitta Bread. I must say that my hummus is tastier! :) Then went onto some leafy salads with sun dried tomatoes which were excellent. Then a fairly good tomato basil soup. A huge Baked potato topped with cheese and mushrooms, the skin of the potato is crunchy and tasty…
Then we had Cannelloni which was cooked to perfection, along with Lasagna which was very nice. The penne with mushrooms could have been much better… We also ordered pizzas (4 cheese and al funghi) which were strictly ok, i had just a bite from them, they don’t serve whole wheat pizza, so i was not too interested… and then i abandoned my no sugar dictat for some really super delicious deserts.
Shavina had a Mississippi Mud Pie, which is basically chocolate with more chocolate topped with chocolate, floating in chocolate and has some more chocolate stuffed in if there is any place… a chocoholics dream come true… i just looked at it, didn’t eat any :) I dont think Shavina would really have cared to share it :)
We ordered Blueberry and Strawberry Cheese cake which were excellent, and a banana and vanilla thick shake, which was even better, but everything paled into insignificance to the mighty Banoffe Pie. Biscuit crusts, layered with cooked banana, gooey sticky super tasty caramelized toffee, and topped with some thick cream, sprinkled with shavings of dark chocolate (which i carefully removed). If there is ever a reason to eat sugar, this is it!:)
i had four mouth wateringly delicious spoonfuls of it!
We were a group of 14 people i think, Vishwas and Meghana had a flight to catch so they left a bit early, but Jogi joined us and i think more than made up for both of them… The bill was a little less than Rs 5000. The portions are generous and the service is pretty good. The ambience is very nice, All over the walls there are posters of movies and old pepsi and coke ads, the chairs are comfy. The music which can be loud and blaring and pretty intrusive… but seriously, other than the pizzas and the mushroom penne which were disappointing, the rest of the food was superb. A very satisfying and enjoyable afternoon out.
I am back to eating no sugar at all… in fact i didn’t have any dinner either :)
On a side note, after that sugar shot, i felt quite drowsy and can feel the acidity in my stomach… Sugar once or twice a year is fine, but not more than that for me for sure!

Flavours is another fantastic eating joint in Delhi, owned and run by an italian, they serve whole whet pizza too, and are just slightly more expensive than The Big Chill. They have maintained their quality over the years, though i wouldn’t eat any deserts there :)… The soup, salad, bakes and pizzas there are fantastic!

Jai Gurudeva!

Apr 16

Amritsar and The Golden Temple

Shavina was teaching a course in Amritsar and so we decided, that instead of going to Delhi from Jalandhar, we would goto Amritsar and spend a few hours there and come back to Delhi with her by train.
We left Jalandhar at noon and went through the very beautiful Punjab country side. There are fields full of wheat, swaying in the wind, getting ready for the harvest… It was the first day of the month of Baisakh, called Baisakhi… the herald of the coming of Spring, of Harvest time, and throughout the road, there were many, many people celebrating, dressed in vivid colours, cooking on the roadside and giving out food in gratitude to whoever stopped to eat.
Dinesh and Vishu wanted to goto the Wagah border. Thats the border between India and Pakistan. Did you know that Amritsar in India and Lahore in Pakistan are almost twin cities? There is hardly a distance of about 50-60 kms between them… I was not keen on going there at all :) and only wanted to visit the Golden temple, the seat of the Sikhs in Amritsar… and so, events arranged themselves so we could only go there :)
We reached early afternoon to Anish’s home in Nanak University, where we had a bit of a lunch. Neetu, his wife had made very interesting nibbles: a generous chunk of very mildly spiced paneer, with a small chunk of pineapple and half a juicy strawberry, on toothpicks. Looked very festive and tasted delicious!
Then we had a Knowledge session with the volunteers and some of shavina’s brand new YES+ graduates… It was very nice… Dinesh has taken notes and i am sure he intends to post about that very soon! But i will tell two things here:
Give a motivational speech to the volunteers.
I said,”Next…”, and everyone laughed… Then i said that’s what volunteers should keep saying… Next, Next… ok this is done, now what?!
and another question was define Devinity (spelt wrongly) in one sentence. So i promptly replied,” Devinity is a spelling mistake!”
Rest of it i will leave for dinesh (his email is dineshg@artofliving.org please do write to him and post on the blog also asking him to start posting! i think a few pressure tactics are needed now:))
Then after that session, there was just enough time, either to goto the border, or goto the Golden Temple… it was obvious where we chose to go! The Golden Temple…
On the way we passed the Khalsa College. The building is magnificent and graceful. Bansal commented anyone studying here would really not like to graduate! Its supposed to be more than 300 years old and its a huge red brick palace with lovely domes and minarets, straight out of a fantasy novel set in ancient India… There were some Temple officials waiting for us, so we didnt have time to explore this really pretty place, and just took a round of it and drove on to the Temple itself…
We reached the very imposing white structure in just a few minutes drive from the University. There were loads and loads of people… in colourful turbans, and vivid Salwaars, almost everyone was in a great mood, smiling, laughing and super disciplined!
We were met my the Temple Officials and were taken inside by them through a short cut to be able to avoid some of the rush. You have to cover you head in the Temple, i donot know the significance of this, and forgot to ask… even Parsis cover their head in the Fire Temple. As you enter you wash your feet in a trough of water… and pass through massive gates, and there on the lake you see it. It looks awesome! And as soon as you enter, you can feel the energy of the place, pulsating and vibrant!
The Akal Takt, the political seat of the Sikhs is also here and its built at an angle to the Temple, to show that though its in the hallowed grounds of the Temple, politics and religion dont mix.
The Lake is supposed to have healing properties, especially for the skin, and its very very deep, and really really clean. big fat goldfish and catfish swim in it. There is a place where you can take a dip which is cordoned off by rails. The water is sweet and cold and inviting. We didn’t take a dip, but went in all the way to the Knees and listened to the Chanting from the Guru Granth Shahib, The holy book of the Sikhs, which is also considered their (last) Guru. The entire walkways around the lake and the walkway to the temple itself is made of white and black granite and marble. With beautiful designs. And amazingly, even with the thousands of people who had come to visit on this very holy Baisakhi day, it was spotlessly clean! We went on to the Temple and as we got closer, i could feel the intense devotion of people in the air. When you enter the temple (its quite small), there was a group of people sitting on either side of the Guru Granth Sahib, some listening with rapt attention, others lost in devotion and meditation… and One Sardarji, who may be the equivalent of the High Priest there reading it, chanting it, with a beatific smile on his lips. He had deep, soulful eyes and the whitest, fluffiest beard i had ever seen. He embodied devotion… There was a kind of hush around him, as well as an air of celebration…
We did our pranams there and moved out of the sanctum to goto the first floor of the temple where a huge Granth Sahib was being read by another person. This one though was hand written, and had quite an aura about it. Then we went to the terrace and had a lovely view of the entire campus. The white imposing welcoming structure of the gates to the Temple, the walkway, the gently rippling lake, all lit up festively for the Baisakhi Celebrations.
They have huge kitchens in the temple where a Langar (communal getting together and eating) happens everyday… very tasty food. Our guide informed us that today more than 10,000 Kgs of rice had been consumed!
We left the main temple premises via the walkway on the water and then did a parikrama (walking around) of it. On the way, we passed the Samadhi of Deepji Sahib. He was a fierce soldier, and he had only one wish, that he would like to die at the feet of his Guru. He was fighting 27 Kms away from the Temple, the place where we were standing, and he was beheaded. Legend or History says that his devotion to his Guru and his wish was so strong that he rode the 27 Kms, holding his head in his hand, and came to where his Guru was, and died at his feet!!
The sikhs have been a very brave people, and repeatedly they have protected India and Indian interests. In fact when the muslim kings went on rampant conversion drives, the Hindu priests had gone to the then Guru of the sikhs to help them. He did. He was killed by auranzeb (a monster to rival the most notorious dictators of history, its quite strange how we in India have actually named a road after him, he was responsible for killing more hindus and sikhs and others (in millions) who refused to convert to islam, than a few European dictators put together) gruesomely, and his young son was entombed while still alive. A huge Salute to the Sikh community, to have such open hearts, such humour and such commitment to India!
We posed for a few photos, one is attached :)
And then, too soon it was time to leave… We were given gifts, a beautiful photo of the Temple and some books about Sikhism, which i still have to read up. Will post about that once i do… Btw, if i got a few details wrong, please forgive me, but i was so caught up in the waves of devotion and gratitude that permeated the Temple premises, that maybe i didn’t remember everything and the above is only what my impressions were… may not be totally accurate :)
My quest for the shoes finally ended in Amritsar. I must tell you, there is a Reebok shop opposite Khalsa College and we went there to see if they had the shoes i wanted. They didn’t. I asked the owner if he could find out if some of the other Reebok branches in Amritsar had the shoes i wanted. He called and said no they didn’t. I had a feeling he was lying… turned out he was! I was pretty amazed at his behaviour. All over the rest of the country, the people in the shops have always obliged by calling other branches and giving accurate information… in any case, we went to the shop on Lawrence road, and finally found a pair of shoes that i liked and that fit! :)
If you are ever in Amritsar, do visit the Golden Temple. Give yourself at least 2-3 hours over there… We didn’t have time to meditate or do Kriya… There was too much rush, but shavina says when you go there on other days, its not so crowded and you can easily get a corner to meditate…
As we left the Temple, there was a superb display of fireworks, bringing a perfectly beautiful evening to a grand close…
The train we took to Delhi was coincidentally called “The Golden Temple Mail”…

Jai Gurudeva!

Apr 14

QnA – 6 (v short for a change)

Q. Gurudev’s vision is one world family… but what to do when in your won family, there is a lot of strife, tension, jealousy, etc, and it seems as if things will never be alright… How do i handle this?

All families have some problem or the other, and typically while you are in the problem, its going to feel as if its been there forever… and will go on forever… but remember circumstances and people do change over time, and something that you thought was a big problem may be trivial over time… and may even teach you new skills, and bring out new talents in you…

Practicing Art of Living techniques and Knowledge doesnt eliminate problems from our lives, it simply gives us efficient ways to cope with them… We, through our actions (which are now much more dynamic and effective) manage to handle the problems in our lives… of course Guruji’s Grace does bring us that unseen, unfelt good luck and great timing… but thats another story :)

So Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam or a One World Family is possible, and we can all make it happen, even if there are problems in our own family… we just need to expand the definition of family :)… and in my personal experience i have seen, when i take on bigger challenges, bigger problems, then the ones i have pale into insignificance and almost manage to solve themselves :)

There was another question about a person having trouble doing Kriya in a small room with lots of people… for that person, i would say dont worry, some people have very low tolerance for this type of physical conditions, and you leaving before the Kriya starts is absolutely fine… Do find a bigger hall, or a better ventilated place for all the people there, they will surely thank you for it :)

There was also a question about viewing the TV episodes if you are outside India… i really dont know if its possible, i think ETV is a subscription channel… but we do have people taping the programs and should soon have a DVD/VCD with all the episodes which you could get for yourself :)

Jai Gurudeva!

ps Sonia, you said there was a poem you sent about Curious Lives and i didnt publish it, and so you were scared to comment more… you could have thought about the possibility that i didnt recieve the poem :)… btw, if its bad, i wont publish it :) :) :)!!

Apr 13

TV Schedule

Some time ago, during the YES!+ Winter break last year, dinesh and i recorded some talks (episodes) for ETV… They are going to be aired… here is the schedule:

The Art of Living Special episodes in Yuva Bharat

12- April Study for knowledge

19-April Social Responsibility

26-April Energy Management

03-May Youth & Spirituality

10-May Leadership & Team-building

17-May Self-management

24-May Stress management

31-May Communication & Creativity

07-june Q&A special

Channel Name Telecast Time
ETV- Bangla 9.30a.m
ETV-M.P. 9.30a.m
ETV-U.P. 9.30a.m
ETV-Bihar 9.30a.m
ETV-Rajasthan 9.30a.m
ETV-2 (Telugu) 10.30a.m
ETV-Oriya 10.30a.m
ETV-Gujarati 9.30a.m
ETV-Kannada 8.00a.m
ETV-Marathi 10.05a.m
ETV-Urdu 10.30a.m

Do watch and post here about how you liked them :)
Also wirte to ETV about the programs …

Jai Gurudeva!

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