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! :)

Feb 7

Words

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. 45

Watch on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Jan 31

Vivek

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. 44

Watch on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Jan 27

O My God! – III

Knowledge from Dinesh.

O! – The path of Wonder

MY – Feeling the Belongingness

O My GOD

Every experience, good or bad, leads us to the One. Even a close look at a flower, the exquisite colors, sensual softness, subtle fragrance and the hypnotizing shape can make you realize the existence of a Higher Power.

Sage Narada urges in his ‘Bhakti Sutras’ to direct all our passions to the Divine; be it anger, hate, fear, longing or love. The height of any pleasure takes us within – every intense sense pleasure makes us close our eyes, go inside Ourselves. When we munch on a delicious pizza, or kiss a beloved or stand in front of a deity in a place of worship, automatically our eyes close. An indication that the greatest of pleasures are right there, within Ourselves.

A Window unto Infiinty

Love and surrender are natural outcomes leading into the ultimate freedom when one feels a sense of intimacy and myness with God. Then you can truly say, let thy will be done, because thy will becomes my will! But God is so vast, so infinite. Here is where the Guru comes in. He acts as a window to that infinity. Through Him, you can grasp that Infinity and make it your very own. You realize that you are the Wave in that Ocean we call God. That you are no different from God.

When Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji, our Guruji was asked by a devotee, “What is the difference between you and me?”, He replied with a smile and a twinkle in His eyes, “The difference is that I don’t see a difference!”.

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Jan 24

Attachments

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. 43

Watch on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Jan 20

O My God! – II

Knowledge from Dinesh.

Read up about O! The path of Wonder.

MY God!

Its easy to feel the oneness with objects. We say, my car, my mobile, my book, my jewelry, my house, etc. When you can develop the skill of extending that sense of belongingness to the the people around you, the roads and the trees, mountains, rivers and the seas, there is no limit to the amount of ownership and thus responsibility you can take and to the level you can evolve. It is said that if you cannot drop your ego, then expand it to include the whole of Creation. When we can say all people are mine, it’s my planet, my world; then Heaven is very close.

MY world!

Responsibility is a natural function of Belongingness and real Power is its outcome. Spiderman’s uncle said, “With great power comes great responsibility’, but for normal humans it is the other way round, “ With great Responsibility comes great Power ”. When you take Responsibility, the Power is granted to you.

Wanting power without taking responsibility is called corruption.

To invoke the skill of being relaxed and “at home” in all circumstances, do Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation. Skill in action comes through yoga, ‘Yogah karmasu kaushalam’

At the very start of the Ashtavakra Gita, King Janaka’s enquiry into Self- Knowledge, freedom and dispassion he addresses Ashtavakra, one of the greatest of the Sages as ‘Mama Prabho’ – My Lord. When that feeling of “myness” arises within you, then communication and learning happen smoothly and effortlessly.

All problems in the world are truly a matter of wrong identification. Instead of my caste, my religion or my country, we need to start with I am first a Spark of the Divine, a Part of the Universal Spirit, then a human being, and all the other roles and labels I associate with that. When we can do this, we start to recognize others too are the same. Whispers of Infinity, exactly the same as Ourselves…

This will result in a Celebration and a wondrous Harmony in this amazing diversity we call Creation.

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Jan 17

Blame and Misery

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. 42

Watch on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Jan 13

O My God! – I

Knowledge from Dinesh!

As a materialist, spiritualist, atheist or a communist, you have been struck by this exclamation an ample number of times in life – Three words of Wonder, Belongingness and Divinity that can snap you into the present moment. Lets look at this expression of awe, one word at a time.

O My God

The O happens when one is wonder struck with the consequence that the mind goes blank and the heart goes full; it wells up with warm fuzzy feelings. These Aha! and Oho! moments make life worth living.

In life, usually question are associated with sadness: why me? What have I done to deserve this? Why is my boss/husband/wife/professor such a jerk? etc.

A wonder springs from a state of heightened consciousness.

A question may make you unnecessarily or wrongly intellectualize, philosophize and possibly drive you in a downward spiral and into inaction.

A wonder when sustained pushes you into self-enquiry and action, or may be beyond that, into actionless action or meditation.

The Path of Wonder

‘Vismayo Yoga Bhumika’ – even the scriptures say that the journey to discover the unexplored dimensions of your Self through yoga or meditation begins with Wonder. In a state of Wonder, everything is new and fresh. We stop taking anything or anyone for granted and our relationships and personal life are immensely enriched.

About “My” … next week.

Jai Gurudeva!

and this is from me:

Q. Does something called a gut feeling really exist?

A. Yup. It comes every time you are hungry!

love

bawa

Jan 12

Questions and Dealing with Desires

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. 41

Watch on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Jan 7

A very Happy New Year 2011!!

Many years ago, dinesh and i had started a unique tradition for welcoming the New Year and saying farewell to the old one…

We were at Harish’s house for New Year’s eve and decided to listen to the Shiva Manas Pooja in the last 4-5 minutes of the old year, spilling into the first 4-5 minutes of the New Year. There were just a few of us there that night. So we closed our eyes and meditated the old year out and the New Year in … all around us people were bursting crackers, making noise, cheering and shouting … We decided that at this very special time, we would meditate and go inwards and celebrate there in the Silence of Our Selves… It was an enchanting experience and we decided that this was the way we would celebrate our New Years from then on!

After a few years, we learned to perform the wondrous Guru Pooja and replaced the Shiva Manas Pooja with that.

Three years ago, during the first Winter break, we took this tradition that we had maintained for almost 15 years to all our students who had come to do the New year’s Advance Course to the Bangalore Ashram and included them in our quiet Celebration. They absolutely loved it.

This year too on New Year’s eve, we had a rocking satsang which culminated with the serene Guru Pooja as we said good bye to 2010 and welcomed 2011…

The Winter Break is over, and the last of our participants have returned home, with faces glowing, refreshed and rejuvenated to take on 2011… We had a great course.

Started with The Back to Gurukul activity from the twisted minds of Priya Mani, Srividya, Eby and Ashish (among others), followed by an Advance course conducted by dinesh- Most people kept a lovely deep silence and almost everyone did sincere Seva. All the people at the places they worked in around the ashram were happy with them and praised all the young ones who did the Seva and kept great Silence.

We had a scintillating Bhakti Concert. Over 4 hours long. Out in the open, in the amphitheater with the glorious Vishalakshi mantap as the back drop… Songs by the Bhakti team alternatively rocked and soothed the audience, and me, dinesh, avinash and rashmin had them in splits and wonder both together with our stories drawn from ancient to modern Indian History.

Bhakti at the Bangalore Ashram

The next day Guruji met with everyone. He had got with Him a cute little remote controlled helicopter which He flew over the head of all the people in Vishalakshi Mantap while He bantered with them, joking, laughing and giving out little gems of Knowledge.

This year, we took over the infamous canteen of the ashram (we had found a paralyzed snake there a few months ago, possibly must have tried to swallow some of the stuff they serve there) – I felt that what they serve there cannot be categorized under “food” … just under “remotely edible” :)

Rush Hour!

So we decided to do something about it. A group of 15-20 people under the “leadership” of Varun transformed the canteen into a Cafe. We called it La Khana.

They infused that place with such enthusiasm and good will that people kept coming to eat here, sometimes all the way up to midnight. Everything was done by this bunch of people, from cutting the veggies to cooking the food to washing up and even being waiters at the tables. Some of the recipes  and the idea were from me and dinesh, the effort was all theirs.

It was a hit. We served from Pasta (sometimes a bit burnt… err… smoked :) ) to Pav Bhaji, from Pinacolada to Pannakam … here is a sample Menu-

Fruigetable Salad – Rs 40

Carrots and green peas meet pineapples and apples, tossed with Bawa’s special dressing, served cold.

Spaghetti in a Cheese sauce – Rs 100

Spaghetti and fresh veggies sautéed in olive oil and doused in a creamy home made cheese sauce

Spaghetti Al Forno– Rs 150

Spaghetti and veggies, in a luscious tomato basil sauce, topped with cheese and baked to perfection.

Chutney Cheese Sandwich –Rs 60

Green Chutney, Cheddar cheese, Bread. Enough Said!

Corn, Mushroom, Mayo Sandwich – Rs 60

Creamed Corn and mushrooms stuffed generously in a sandwich and grilled to a delightful golden brown. Available non-grilled or without mushrooms.

Pav Bhaji – Rs 80

Potatoes, tomatoes, green peas, carrots cooked to a mush with lots of butter, flavoured with rich Indian spices, topped with cheese and served with bread roasted with butter.

Idlums – Rs 30

Delicate little fried idlis, crisp on the outside, meltingly soft on the inside, they are gone in a gulp.

Phulka Sabji – Rs 70

Extremely rare to find in our ashram: really, really good rotis, with paneer and green peas in a smooth tomato butter sauce.

Pinacolada – Rs 70

Pineapple, coconut milk and vanilla ice cream whirled together to create a glass of Heaven. You also get a cute umbrella!

Pannakam – Rs 20

A medley of lime, ginger, jaggery and mint, chilled. This is Lord Shiva’s official Drink, offered to Him during Pooja.

Ojas Hot – Rs 40

Ojasvita is our unbelievably delicious ayurvedic chocolate drink. Have it steaming hot to fight the winter cold.

Ojas and Vanilla Float – Rs 60

Nothing beats a chilled Ojasvita Shake with a dollop of Vanilla ice cream floating on it!

Strawberry Sensation – Rs 90

Gently cooked strawberries and other fruit sandwiched between a crispy biscuit base and a humungous layer of fluffy whipped cream, all chilled to perfection.

Not Sheera – Rs 70

When people look at this dessert, they say, “Is this Sheera?”

Then they take a tentative taste and a glazed look comes into their eyes as they devoutly exclaim, ”Oh My God! This is Not Sheera!!”

Hence the name.

Order more, you will not want to share it with anyone once you taste it.

On the last 2 days we had an all you can eat buffet. I cooked Dhansakh for it :)

It’s now again the dreary old canteen, without cheer or warmth… But now that we know it can be done, it will be done again, and hopefully this time it will be more permanent :)

This year is the 30th year of Art of Living. We are having a big celebration in Berlin in July. You can contact Virat (virat.chirania@gmail.com) for details if you would like to come.

A very, very Happy New Year to everyone!!!!

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

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