Apr 23

An Inconvienient Truth

Its a movie about global warming. Its the movie that got Al Gore (the hero), the Nobel Peace Prize. Its thought provoking, scary and told with humour and sensitiviy… It offers few solutions, but does provide some hope…
It also fails to mention that eating Non Veg food, and the meat industry contributes to 27% of global warming (that’s more pollution than all the vehicular traffic of the world put together) , coz Mr Gore himself is a meat eater, and that fact wouldnt have gone down well with the (decision making) people in the US and the Nobel Prize committee…

Its a well made film, that completely fails to give THE one solution that could really help our planet… unfortunate when politics, and personal ambitions are even in this time of crisis that the film so fantastically shows are put first…

Whoever is reading this, please know, that when you eat non veg food or just watch others eat non veg food and dont educate them, you are contributing to global warming and the rape of our planet…

You stop, and then gently educate and make others stop… for the sake of your health, the animals and our planet…

Jai Gurudeva !

Apr 22

Robert Fulghum

I recently picked up a book called “What on Earth did I do?” by Robert Fulghum. I have read all his other books, the most notable being “All i really wanted to know i learned in Kindergarten”
All the books are simply small essays, almost never more than 4 pages long. He has a very wry wit, and a plethora of experiences of people of all sorts and places of all types… and he takes great pleasure in sharing it with us… Some of his stories are very funny, some extremely thought provoking and poignant… almost all without exception very interesting…
Here is an author for people to explore, who dont want to read “fat” books… though the book is fat… every little story in it is very thin, very enjoyable and hugely re readable…
It would be interesting to make Mr. Fulghum do an Art of Living course, take him to bangalore ashram and make him meet Guruji, and see what he writes about it…
Meanwhile, he has written maybe 7-8 books, and every one of them is quite superlative… i am about half way thru this latest one and though none of the essays in this one are laugh out loud funny, i am enjoying them and taking my time over them…
The trouble with books, especially good books, is that they take so long to write and just a few hours to read…
Happy Reading!

Apr 22

The Spiderwick Chronicles

A superb, scenic, old , old house in some of the most beautiful countryside of the US, with autumn colours in the woods make the setting for this really nice fantasy, adventure movie…
Add 3 children, a screamy, brave older sister, 2 boys who are twins and maybe 12ish with very different attitudes (one guy fights with sister, the other just walks away… Why didnt you help me??? … sorry i dont do conflict!)
A struggling mother of the 3 who is obviously recovering from a useless husband who left her, and so is nicely out of the way most of the time… AND
a house brownie who turns into a small monster when angry, but can be made to cool down with honey, some funny, ferocious goblins, a hobgoblin who loves to eat birds, a griffin, a book of secrets that should not be opened, an evil, evil ogre who wants it…
Shake well…
Stir in some really tender scenes with mom and kids
season with cool fights between good kids and bad goblins
garnish with a lot of comic moments…
Serve in an ice cold auditorium in the middle of summer!!

You simply cant resist it… I loved the movie and so did all who came with us… and after all those special effects, you walk away with the feeling that maybe, it is just possible that maybe fairies do exist… all you need is a hobgoblin to spit in your eyes (ewww…) to make you see them!!

Apr 22

Multiplying Milkshakes

Can be 4 separate milkshakes as well (see earlier post on milkshake):

Apple + Cinnamon or
Banana + Walnuts + Vanilla or
Vanilla + Cinnamon or
Apple + Vanilla tastes fantastic as well :)

You may as well try apple + Banana (add very little banana to keep the flavour of banana from overpowering the delicate taste of apple)

Lots of Dates + Raisins + Walnuts + Vanilla makes a great shake as well… you guys get the idea? Keep adding and subtracting and you will see your range of milkshakes multiply!! Good maths huh?! :)

Apr 22

Granma’s Recipe (modified!)

My Granny used to make this. I was just a runt of a boy at that time and dont really know all that used to go into this amazingly tasty meal she would make, but from what my taste buds can recollect and a few notes from my mom’s cooking diary, here is a recipe based on what we would eat at those awesome joint family parties every year. She used to use chicken or meat, i know better than that, so i use Soya Chunks instead.

You will need:
5-7 cloves
7-8 cardamom
5-7 pieces of cinnamon
2 Tablespoons of dhania-jeera powder
salt to taste
1 Packet Nutrella Nuggets (Soya Chunks)
1 liter of Dahi
200 ml Coconut milk
5-6 medium potatoes
3 medium carrots
a handful (or a bit more) of green peas
1 full coconut (desiccated)
some ghee (totally depends on you how much you want to use)

Grind into a powder: 5-7 cloves, 7-8 cardamom, 5-7 big pieces of cinnamon
Cook a packet of Nutrella Nuggets (Soya Chunks), and squeeze them dry. To cook soya chunks just dunk them in boiling water for 10-15 minutes or so. Remember to add a bit of salt…
In a fairly large vessel, empty a whole packet (1 liter) of dahi, 200 ml of the coconut milk and add the ground spices, 2 tablespoons or so of ground dhania-jeera powder and some salt to taste. Mix well. Add the squeezed dry and cooked soya nuggets to the dahi marinade.
Cut into medium chunks 5 medium potatoes and 3 medium carrots, poke the chunks of potatoes and carrots with a fork a few times and add to the dahi marinade. Let it stand for 30 minutes or so, the longer the better.
Boil a handful of green peas (more if you like green peas), don’t let them turn dull, keep them nice and green until just cooked.
Meanwhile, desiccate a full coconut, and then put some ghee (the ghee used can be as little as 1 tablespoon full, you can add more depending on how rich you want to make the dish) in a hot tawa (girdle), and on a low fire roast the coconut in the ghee, until it starts to give off that yummy smell and browns a bit. Keep stirring, you don’t want to burn it.
Now in a pressure cooker, add the veggies with the dahi marinade and the roasted coconut. You may add some ghee to this if it makes you feel good.
Pressure Cook for 3-5 whistles and then simmer for about 10 minutes
Wait till the cooker has cooled, and open it… add the boiled green peas, garnish with finely chopped coriander or parsley and serve piping hot with brown or multigrain bread or hot rotis. The breads soak up the gravy really well. Please eat with your hands, don’t use spoons and forks and stuff while tucking into this delicacy :)
If you have the time and the patience and the inclination and have to cook this for hoards of people, instead of pressure cooking put everything in a bit pot and cook over a slow fire for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally (see to it that it doesnt stick and get burnt at the bottom, though personally i used to love that burned bit) or until done :)
I have observed that it tastes even better the next day, so cooking this in the afternoon and reheating it and serving it for dinner really brings out all the tastes… Remember to add the garnish just before serving. Wilted Coriander looks terrible!

Apr 21

A Milkshake

You will need:

3 nice ripe bananas
1 ripe apple
A Handful of walnuts
1 tablespoon of Vanilla essence (This may vary depending on the type you use, it needs to have a hint of vanilla… thats all)
A Little bit of Cinnamon Powder
Milk which has been chilled (Put it in the fridge for atleast 2-3 hours), use about 1 liter of milk, adjust for the kind of thickness you want in the shake

Wash and cut the apple into small pieces, peel and cut bananas into small chunks.
Put into a mixie. Add the walnuts, Vanilla Essence (If you are still having sugar, you can substitute this with a scoop of Vanilla ice cream, use Natural’s or any one which has the nice french Vanilla flavour, if you live in Delhi, get the ice cream from Big Chill), chilled milk… and whirrrrrr away… to a nice smooth liquid.
Pour into a nice tall glass and just sprinkle a dash of cinnmon powder on the surface.
Serve chilled, drink immediately!

Jai Gurudeva!

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

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