The journey from head to heart is just a few inches, but it is quite a journey!
I was giving my entrance exams for IIT. I had studied enough, knew most things I needed to know, but the morning of the exam, I had a terrible headache.
Dad had learnt some touch healing, spiritual thingie and so far I had steered clear of it, but that morning I thought why not?! And asked him to help relax me.
He did. And my headache and tiredness vanished and I had a great exam, got into IIT for post graduate studies in maths… But more importantly, for a 20 year old who thought he knew everything – a certain faith in the Unknown and Unknowable was ignited.
I underwent a few courses and self development seminars, but always felt there was something missing, something not all there… Until a good friend of mine bulldozed me into an Art of Living course.
Shamal: Hey, what you doing over the weekend?
Me: Nothing much really…
Shamal: There is this course on breathing…
Me: C’mon Shamal, breathing is boring!
Shamal: Look, I don’t have time to talk to you, I have to call hundreds of other people. Just see to it that you are there or else…
Me: ok, ok, will come… How much does it cost?
Shamal: Tere ko kya farak padta hai, tera baap bharega!
And that was my introduction to the rest of my Life. I didn’t even know the name of the course I had enrolled for!
The Art of Living course was amazing. To experience a state of consciousness, a reality unlike any that I could even begin to dream about was a blessing and a gift. All concepts about what I thought life was all about were shattered. A serenity came that I never knew I had. Art of Living had given wings to my heart!
Very soon after my Basic course, I went to the Bangalore Ashram for my advance course. Only when I reached ashram did I get to know that the advance course was a silence program. I was the last one to leave the meditation hall that night the silence started and I think the last one to start speaking again when Silence opened.
I was soaked in the Bliss of me. What a wondrous thing to be able to do!
I was in love. And there was no going back. The Art of Living series of courses introduced me to me. That sparkling enchanting quiet space which all of us have within us. Gurudev’s gift to the world.
I will not say that after the Art of Living courses and even becoming a teacher, problems went away and everything was always great. That I never got angry or never felt bad. Sometimes life did suck. Problems did come, but along with them came the quiet confidence that I could handle them. I was simply amazed at how my inward journey so positively affected my outward expression and ability to deal with the challenges that life threw at me.
So begun my journey from head to heart… There were many other adventures on the way and I am sure many more to come. Maybe I will write a book about it all someday
Meanwhile, if you have not yet embarked on this voyage inside of you, you have no idea what you are missing out on… Nothing on this planet outside you can even begin to compare with what you have inside of you. Please do yourself a favour and learn to meditate. And if you already know how to meditate – See that you practice every day. It is a glorious thing to blossom, to love, to smile and to be able to spread that to others.
Gurudev was so very patient with me. Totally accepting of who I was and gently moving me to who I could be. It’s one thing to force a rose open, its quite another to give it the time it requires to blossom – That is what Art of Living and Gurudev have done for me and countless others on the planet.
3 word review?
Go watch it!
Another 3 words?
It’s absolutely Brilliant!
In 3 sentences?
A writer has a chance meeting with Pi’s Mamaji who tells him to go meet Pi. Tells him that Pi has a story that will make him believe in God. Pi tells his story to the writer…
How Pi got the name Pi and about his childhood. Their family run a zoo. You will meet the tiger. Super charming, endearingly funny with one or two very scary (for me, the kids sitting around didn’t even flinch) moments thrown in. As the grown up Pi says, I am a Hindu Catholic, we get to feel guilty in front of 33 million Gods!
Set in Pondicherry in India, will make you want to go visit right now.
Father of Pi decides to move to Canada. Pi doesn’t want to go.
Father: We will sail forth like Columbus.
Pi: But Columbus was looking for India!
Storm and Shipwreck. And life on a boat with the tiger. Or rather how to have a life on a boat with a tiger… And a very strange island.
The most beautiful and stunning visuals I have seen in a movie for a very long time.
Scary and funny and sweet and innocent and wondrous… (add adjectives here after you see it), all at the very same time!
Land. And Rescue.
And one line said towards the very end by the grown up Pi. The line that will make you believe in God.
What a movie!!!
May not be suitable for kids below 13. There are some extremely scary, heart wrenching scenes, but i think everyone else will just throughly enjoy this absolute gem of a movie!
Fabulous acting by the entire cast, but especially by Suraj Sharma as the teenage Pi stranded in the Pacific on a life boat with a Tiger who would love to have him as a tasty snack… How both survived the sea and each other, is what the main part of the movie is all about.
There are many, many spiritual overtones and I will not discuss them here because they will be spoilers and i don’t want to spoil even a second of the movie for you… But, do watch out for them!
The song right in the beginning is a hauntingly beautiful tamil song called Pi’s Lullaby, sung by Bombay Jayshree. Made me want to learan Tamil, just to understand it. Gowri was sitting on my right and translated it for me in hushed tones. The music through out the movie is so perfect. Utterly spot on!
I will not be surprised if it bags all possible Oscars.
But don’t wait for the Oscar guys to make up your mind. Please go see it now! It’s one of the most perfect movies I have seen in a very, very long time. You leave the theater quite refreshed and rejuvenated… Belief in God is a powerful thing
bawa n dinesh
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)
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.