Mar 24

Europe 2011 – B

We will be spending a week in Berlin attending the World Culture Festival at the Olympic Stadium which celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Art of Living, doing a YES!+ Advance Course and soaking up the physical presence of Guruji.

Berlin

Dinesh and I felt that instead of returning back to India right after that, maybe we could go around Europe for a while. Not simply a tour of Europe, rather we hit upon a formula: Yoga and Meditation most mornings, adventures and sightseeing during the day, satsangs and Knowledge (or overnight trains) most evenings.

We decided not to go monument and museum hopping like most people do. Go “See” things. So the whole thing feels like one blur and you return tired from your vacation, needing another vacation to recover from the one you just had. Yet we definitely wanted to douse ourselves in the culture and magic of Europe. So here is what we are going to do…

July 1 – 7: The World Culture Festival and the YES!+ Advance Course

July 8: We take a train from Berlin to Venice. We will travel mainly by TGVs, the Super Fast trains which reach speeds of more than 500 kms/hr! Early morning 4:00 am we leave Berlin and traverse the whole of Germany, a little bit of Switzerland and into Italy to Venice via Milan. We reach Venice late evening.

Trains a Grande Vitesse (TGV) - Very Fast Trains

July 9: Though Venice itself is the main attraction, a walking tour of the main attractions of Venice has been organized the next day. The evening is free to enjoy how you wish to.

Enchanting Venice

July 10: We go from Venice to Switzerland by bus to the lovely Lucerne and Interlaken areas. On the way we stop by Milan and do a quick tour of the fashion capital of the world. We will reach Switzerland by evening.

Jungfrau in Summer

July 11 – 13: A trip to the “Top of Europe” Jungfrau where all year round, even in peak summer there is ice and snow is slated for the next day.  The next 2 days in Switzerland are more or less free. We could go for some nice walks or people would be free to do anything they wish (and can afford). We are also organizing a short cruise on the lakes.

Interlaken

July 14: Switzerland to Paris by train.

July 15: Visit the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre one of the biggest museums in the world, Notre Dame and Sacre Coeur, two of the most beautiful and serene churches i have seen.

Paris

July 16: A full day trip to Fontainebleau, which will include a visit to the magnificent Napoleon’s Palace of Fontainebleau, as well as possibly a satsang in the very beautiful and serene forest of Fontainebleau.

The Fontainebleau Palace

July 17: Paris to Bad Antogast, our home in Germany – The German Ashram which is right in the middle of the picturesque Black Forest.

Our German Ashram at Bad Antogast

July 18 – 21: We take walks in the forest, cook nice meals for everyone, do some Seva, meditate, have fantastic satsangs in the evenings.

We also take a half day trip to the nearby town of Baden Baden. So beautiful, you can’t say it once. You have to say it twice :) … But we are not going there to gawk at the beauty only. There is one of the most amazing hydrotherapy spas I have ever been to The Caracalla Spa in Baden Baden and we will spend 4 relaxing, invigorating, refreshing hours there.

The Carcalla Spa in Baden Baden

July 22: Bad Antogast to Maastricht in Holland for a classical music concert. You didn’t think i would leave that out did you?! Andre Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra in an open air concert at the Vrijthof Square of Maastricht. Even if you have never listened to classical music, you will throughly enjoy this show. Andre is a brilliant violinist, a fantastic conductor and a born showman.

A classical music night like none other! Andre Rieu performs in Maastricht

July 23: Maastricht to Amsterdam to fly back home to India

The cost of the entire trip:

Rs 1,45,000

This includes:

India – Europe – India (ex Delhi and Bombay only)

Entry to the WCF at the Berlin Olympic Stadium.

YES!+ Advance course in Berlin.

All travel in Europe.

All accommodation in Europe in very basic hotels or motels (Does not include accommodation in Berlin). To upgrade your accommodation to 2 or 3 star hotels all over Europe except for Berlin will cost approximately Rs 19,000 more.

4 hours at the Carcalla Spa.

Stay and food at the German Ashram.

Vegetarian Buffet Breakfasts.

This price doesn’t include:

Stay in Berlin. We can book you into a dorm, which will cost you approx Rs 15,000 or into a tent which will cost you approx Rs 6000 for the entire week. If you are choosing to stay in a tent, remember to bring your own sleeping bag. The shower and loo facilities are very, very basic. If you wish to stay in a hotel, please use the WCF website to book yourself in. Sunit at Bangalore ashram can help you with this. His email is india@worldculturefestival.org

Travel in Berlin, a weekly ticket which will allow you to go wherever you wish in Berlin costs approx Rs 2100.

Entry to the various monuments, museums and other attractions that we will be going to. Entry to these vary between 10 euros to 40 euros (Rs 700 – 2500) per person. If there are discounts for groups, be sure that we will get them. Most places, you get a fairly good reduction in the prices if you are 25 years or younger. Jungfrau is approx 100 euros.

Lunch and Dinner, basically any food other than breakfast is NOT included in this rate. Dinesh and i are busy talking to people in Europe to see if we can get good cheap food. I would suggest that everyone carry heaps of food from India. Stuff like thepla, khakhra, handvo etc which doesn’t spoil easily. Food in Europe can be quite expensive and will cost a minimum of 7 euros (Rs 500) a meal. A meal in a nice restaurant can be 15-25 euros (Rs 1000 – 1500).

Visa fees which hover around Rs 6000.

Entry to the Andre Rieu Concert. We have only 24 tickets, 12 of which are already taken as i write this. Each ticket costs approx Rs 6000. You can book your own ticket from his website if you wish. His concerts get sold out very fast, so please book your tickets right away if you are coming. Ensure that you are booking tickets for the concert in Maastricht on the 22nd of July.

Please note that whatever money you pay is non refundable. Even in the unfortunate event of your visa getting rejected, the money you have paid is non refundable.

The above prices are for the first 70 people who register only. Expect at least a 20% increase in most prices after that. Please allow +/- 7% variation on the price as we may possibly get better deals.

Initial payments of about Rs 25,000 will be due in 2-3 days, by monday latest. Details for this and for registering for the trip, further instructions and everything else you may wish to know, please drop a mail to berlin@wayeonline.org

This is the first time that Dinesh and i are organizing something like this. We cannot promise that this will be the most perfect trip, but we can definitely promise that you will be really glad you came :)

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa (n dinesh)

ps For people who want even more of Europe, watch out for Europe 2011 – C in a few days…

pps For people who want to earn some money for this trip pop a mail to Rashmin (rashmin.pulekar@gmail.com) or Virat (virat.chirania@gmail.com). They may be able to help.

UPDATE:

We have found a 4 star Hotel, which is giving us twin sharing rooms at 70 euros a night, which works out to almost the same price as a dorm. Most people have upgraded themselves to the Hotel Estrel in Berlin.

Mar 24

Quickie QnA

Q. Below is 76th page of Guruji’s book Celebrating Silence.

With whom do you really feel comfortable and at ease?

You feel comfortable with someone who does not question your love, someone who takes for granted that you love them. If someone doubts your love and you constantly have to prove it, this becomes a heavy burden on you.When someone doubts you love, they start questioning you and demanding explanations for all your actions. Explaining everything you do is a burden. Your nature is to shed burdens, so when your love is questioned, you do not feel comfortable.

When you question the reason behind an action, you are asking for justice for yourself and you create  a distance.Your whole intention is to come close, but asking for justice creates  a distance.When someone asks for explanation they are speaking from doership and are imposing that doership on you. This brings discomfort.

If someone is just there with you, a part of you, they do not question you. They are like your arm. There is a thorough understanding and questions do not arise. Neither demand an explanation or give an explanation.

You are a witness to all your actions. You are as much a stranger to your own actions as you are to someone else’s actions. You are the eternal witness.

Based on this i have a doubt. Does this mean that when anyone asks us why we did something we need not give any explanation or answer?

A. There are many levels of Being. If someone and you exist on the level that Guruji is talking about, they are not even going to ask you a question. But if your boss/girl friend/wife/student etc are asking you some question or for an explanation, then please give it… Like right now i am answering you :)

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Mar 18

Europe 2011 – A

Art of Living turns 30 this year. We have been on planet Earth for 30 wonderful years.

We are having a huge celebration: The World Culture Festival at the Berlin Olympic Stadium on the 2nd and 3rd of July 2011. A stadium originally built by Hitler for the infamous Berlin Olympics in the last century, will be used to spread the message of One World Family – Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. A message of Peace, Love, Happiness and Harmony in Diversity.

The Berlin Olympic Stadium

This will be followed by a YES!+ Advance course from the 4th to the 7th of July.

After more than a month of discussion and haggling with various Travel Agents, we have some very nice prices for people who wish to come!

Departure from India is either from Bombay or Delhi on June 30th.

The price is *drum roll* Rs 51,000!!

The price includes airfare from India (ex Bombay and Delhi) to Berlin and back. The price includes the entry to the World Culture Festival on 2nd and 3rd as well as the price for the YES!+ Advance Course. It includes meals on the Advance course.

We have got this fare after ridiculous amounts of quibbling with all parties concerned and it is utterly non refundable.

It doesn’t include your accommodation in Berlin. If you wish to rough it out and stay in a tent, it will cost you about Rs 6000 from July 1st to 8th. You will need to bring your own sleeping bags.

If you wish to stay in a dorm type accommodation, 2-3 people in one room, then it will cost you about Rs 15,000 from July 1st to 8th.

We can assist you in getting any of these types of accommodation. There are only 40 beds available now in Berlin for the dorm accommodation. Plenty of tent accommodation is there.

If you wish to have better accommodation in a hotel, then click to book directly from the the WCF website, where various hotels in Berlin are giving discounted fares esp. to the people coming for WCF 2011.

The price of Rs 51,000 is available only to the first 70 people who book, after which it will increase by approximately Rs 5000 for the next 70 people. Also all prices are expected to go up by around 20% from April 1st.

You will need to pay the money before the 26th of March. You need to have a passport valid at least till December 2011.

Budget about Rs 2500 for traveling to and fro the advance course venues to wherever you are staying, and about Rs 5000 for food on the first 3 days.

Visa cost will be approximately Rs 6000.

For more details as well as to register yourself for this trip, please drop a mail to berlin@wayeonline.org

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

ps We are planning a trip around Europe after the 7th of July as well. Will post details here as soon as they are final… Look out for Posts B and C in this series :)

Mar 8

Self

For 7 years, every week Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) used to send out a page of Knowledge to be read out and discussed at the satsangs happening all over the world. He used to call it the Knowledge fax … This was before email became popular enough for everyone to use :)

Every week we waited eagerly for what Guruji would say through these Knowledge Sheets, many times we would be with Him while He dictated them out and we compiled them. The atmosphere would always be full of wisdom coupled with big doses of mirth. And the Knowledge sheets themselves are always profound, sometimes quite funny…

Dinesh and i decided to do a commentary on them, reliving those precious moments spent with Guruji, reading them out for you and peppering them with stories and examples of how this Knowledge from Him has come alive for us in our lives.

Re reading them now, after so many years of Sadhana, Seva and Satsang has made us realise just how beautiful and precious these words from Him are … We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves making these videos, we know you will love watching them too.

Knowledge sheet no. 49

Watch on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Mar 3

Lipstick on the Mirrors

In a certain private  girls school in Brisbane was recently faced with  a unique problem.

A number of 12-year-old girls were  beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick  they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of  little lip prints.

Every night the maintenance man would remove them and the next day the girls would put them back.

Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man.

She explained that all these  lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who  had to clean the mirrors every night (you can just imagine  the yawns from the little princesses).

To demonstrate how  difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the  maintenance man to show the girls just how much effort was  required.

He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it  in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it! :)

No more lipstick ever happened on any of the mirrors.

This is the difference between teaching and educating! :)

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Feb 28

Illusion

For 7 years, every week Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) used to send out a page of Knowledge to be read out and discussed at the satsangs happening all over the world. He used to call it the Knowledge fax … This was before email became popular enough for everyone to use :)

Every week we waited eagerly for what Guruji would say through these Knowledge Sheets, many times we would be with Him while He dictated them out and we compiled them. The atmosphere would always be full of wisdom coupled with big doses of mirth. And the Knowledge sheets themselves are always profound, sometimes quite funny…

Dinesh and i decided to do a commentary on them, reliving those precious moments spent with Guruji, reading them out for you and peppering them with stories and examples of how this Knowledge from Him has come alive for us in our lives.

Re reading them now, after so many years of Sadhana, Seva and Satsang has made us realise just how beautiful and precious these words from Him are … We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves making these videos, we know you will love watching them too.

Knowledge sheet no. 48

Watch on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Feb 21

Sanyas and Your Associations

For 7 years, every week Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) used to send out a page of Knowledge to be read out and discussed at the satsangs happening all over the world. He used to call it the Knowledge fax … This was before email became popular enough for everyone to use :)

Every week we waited eagerly for what Guruji would say through these Knowledge Sheets, many times we would be with Him while He dictated them out and we compiled them. The atmosphere would always be full of wisdom coupled with big doses of mirth. And the Knowledge sheets themselves are always profound, sometimes quite funny…

Dinesh and i decided to do a commentary on them, reliving those precious moments spent with Guruji, reading them out for you and peppering them with stories and examples of how this Knowledge from Him has come alive for us in our lives.

Re reading them now, after so many years of Sadhana, Seva and Satsang has made us realise just how beautiful and precious these words from Him are … We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves making these videos, we know you will love watching them too.

Knowledge sheet no. 47

Watch on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Feb 17

Stavanger and Guacamole

I found this little gem while going thru some old stuff on my computer. Dinesh had been on a flying visit to Norway with Guruji. One little adventure from that trip :)

Guruji, me (dinesh) and a few others reached Stavanger (Norway) in the early morning to a spirited welcome by the volunteers and teachers. We then drove through lovely countryside to a beautiful room with the most amazing view at the Radisson hotel. Guruji gave everyone Indian sweets and Savories and then we went for a walk by the lake and on the streets of Stavanger.

As we were strolling by the lake, couple of pristinely elegant white swans saw Guruji and they got pulled towards Him on the shore. Guruji got some bread and fed them as a mother bird feeds her little baby in the nest. Fred and I were gymnasticking to get good shots of this wonderful sight.

Guruji and the Swans

As we were walking along, there were some extremely cute pictures of various animals on the sidewalk. Guruji liked one very much, not surprisingly, that of the elephants. He asked Fred to go back and get a picture of the picture :)

In the conversation, Guruji was told that the volunteers were staying at Hogne’s place, He said, “lets go there!”. Now what would you not give to get a surprise like that – answering your door bell and see none other than Guruji at your doorstep?!

So we enter Hogne’s home and Guruji announces that he was hungry. So He took a few Avocados and involved me in making Gaucomole. Here is what we did!

3 ripe avocados

freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Grace :)

Cut the avocados into half. Discard the big seed inside.

Cleanly scoop up the green stuff (oxidation may turn it brownish, it is still ok to eat).

Mash into a paste the green stuff of 2 avocados and chop into very small pieces the green stuff of the third one.

Add lemon juice and a dash of olive oil.

Season with salt and pepper to taste (cayenne pepper can pack quite a punch) and mix it throughly with a few Om Namah Shivayas.

Serve cold with warm fuzzy love. Dip bread sticks or raw carrot into it. Spread it on some salty biscuit like krackjack. Spread on your finger and lick :)

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Feb 14

Karma

For 7 years, every week Guruji (Sri Sri Ravi Shankar) used to send out a page of Knowledge to be read out and discussed at the satsangs happening all over the world. He used to call it the Knowledge fax … This was before email became popular enough for everyone to use :)

Every week we waited eagerly for what Guruji would say through these Knowledge Sheets, many times we would be with Him while He dictated them out and we compiled them. The atmosphere would always be full of wisdom coupled with big doses of mirth. And the Knowledge sheets themselves are always profound, sometimes quite funny…

Dinesh and i decided to do a commentary on them, reliving those precious moments spent with Guruji, reading them out for you and peppering them with stories and examples of how this Knowledge from Him has come alive for us in our lives.

Re reading them now, after so many years of Sadhana, Seva and Satsang has made us realise just how beautiful and precious these words from Him are … We are thoroughly enjoying ourselves making these videos, we know you will love watching them too.

Knowledge sheet no. 46

Watch on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Feb 10

The All Bengali Crime Detectives

If you are a bengali or a bongophile or from Calcutta, have ever lived there or just like that city very much, do yourself a favor and pick up this little gem of a book. Even if you are not, get it… You will find yourself wanting to go to Calcutta.

Our very own Suparna, who wrote all those hermit poems and the musical Anand and Benaifer got herself published!

Join the ABCD as they solve the Mystery of the missing Diamond

Four retired bengali gentlemen, living a quiet life in one of Calcutta’s forgotten neighborhoods, each bored, all loosing their self respect, get invited to a party to which they actually go. Events transpire there and a case needs to be solved. They form a secret club a la Enid Blyton. But this one is for seniors only!

Can they manage to track down the thief, while facing life’s myriad challenges – like desperately searching for a suitable boy for one’s exceedingly independent daughter, dealing with insomnia and bad dreams, fending off the neighborhood brats who come asking for money for Durga Pujo… It’s difficult to be old.

Suparna weaves the younger generation in as well. They are organizing the neighborhood Durga Pujo… THE festival of Calcutta… and they hope to bag the award for the best Pujo this year. They have been steadily loosing it to a neighbourhood yuppier club. There is a very one sided romance brewing, a live lion to be procured, and most important of all, money to be raised for the Pujo from a neighborhood of retired old men who can mostly only talk about the rising price of fish. It’s a challenge to be young!

There is a bit of quirky history in the mix. How did Durga Pujo start? Why is that famous Bong sweet ledikeni called ledikeni? …

And then there are the wives and mothers…

It’s an idyllic romp of a book. Not something that you can whiz through in one sitting. It’s a book which is like a 7 course meal to be eaten slowly, enjoyed and savored.

While the case reaches a very satisfying conclusion, there are quite a few loose ends in the lives of the other characters and Suparna has promised that “if this book does well” she will write more and make it into a series. Everyone please go buy it so we can all know more about the quaint quiet lives of this extremely endearing bunch of bongs!

You can buy it from most big book stores (if they are not carrying it, ask for it!).

You can also get it from flipkart.com or www.booksorbit.com

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

ps definitely read the introduction! :)

Page 7 of 63« First...56789...203040...Last »


Mumbai Connection












    Schedule



    Blogroll
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
    Archives
    • 2015 (1)
    • 2014 (24)
    • 2013 (7)
    • 2012 (10)
    • 2011 (37)
    • 2010 (107)
    • 2009 (163)
    • 2008 (278)