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

Dec 30

Questions about Sex

Before my stint in AOL, I read a lot of Osho books and was highly inspired by his teachings which made me accept spirituality. So last year I had an opportunity to experience an Osho dhara camp in Lonavla for 3 days. I went, experienced and came back home, continued with my regular sadhana, seva, satsang with AOL.

Now, there is some conflict in my mind and I know you can help me!

Q. Somehow, I get the feeling that AOL doesn’t have a strong stand when it comes to problems like sex, craving and lust. I have heard that many enlightened people have not overcome their lust.  My knowledge is limited, can you please tell me how I can know more about this and what Guruji says about transcending the sexual barriers and emerging in love. I have read the normal knowledge sheets, books etc. but is there anything more or any specific meditations designed to transform the sexual energy?

A. First off, sex is not a problem.

Transforming sexual energy is quite straight forward, do many, many creative things, take cold water baths and do a lot of physical activity and exercise … this will minimize, not eliminate…

At points in your life, you will want sex, this is normal.

By making a big deal out of it, we encourage it … by trying to suppress it, we encourage it … by giving in to it, we still encourage it.

We simply accept it as part of life and in time, through our Seva, Sadhana and Satsang those desires leave us, just as when you are very young, your whole world revolved around some favourite toy and you couldn’t stay with out it, then as you grew older, that toy lost it’s charm… As the body and mind become mature through our Sadhana,Seva and Satsang, the charm of sex dwindles and drops off all by itself, very naturally and without much effort.

Q. Guruji is a divine soul but he has not attained through Sudarshan Kriya, can we use these techniques and attain Guruji’s state of mind (that blissful state!)?… Is there any higher sadhana?

A. Yes, we can. The Sudarshan Kriya gives us a taste of that state of consciousness, as we practice over the years we naturally ease ourselves into it. That state becomes us, we become that.

Just as Lord Krishna didn’t need the Knowledge of the Bhagvad Geeta to be Enlightened, but through that Knowledge, Arjuna (and many others after him) attained the Highest, similarly Guruji’s Gift to us is the Sudarshan Kriya.

Higher Sadhana is on the Adv courses :)

Higher still (if it exists) may be revealed to you when you are ready.

Faith is knowing that He knows what He is doing.

Q. Osho experimented with tantra and couple meditations which involve turning sex into ecstasy, AOL says we can marry but doesn’t  talk about making that love an ecstatic experience. I am ignorant and  am looking forward to your advice. I understand that our path is different and I really love Guruji and His Knowledge but please clear my queries which I have placed before you.

A. Tantra, couple meditations, etc are for people who are utterly obsessed with sex, think about it thousands of times a day … for them to get a taste of the meditative state these things are there. For them to get inspired to meditate these have been put in by the Rishis. They are a kind of an absolute emergency solution when nothing else works… so far in Art of Living, i have never ever heard of any one requiring that treatment… Sudarshan Kriya is enough :)

Love is an ecstatic experience. The Divine Love, that Guruji talks about in the Narada Bhakti Sutras is utterly ecstatic, and supremely sublime at the same time. As you move on the path, glimpses of it will come to you and over time, it will become, as Guruji says, Your very Existence!

Our path is very different from Osho’s as you have noted … and at least according to me, far more colourful … Explore fully (will take you at least an entire life time) and see for yourself!

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

Bonus ps:

Q. When lust is overtaking me, what should i do?

Dinesh replies: Very slowly and deliberately take off your clothes, one by one, peel off whatever it is you are wearing … slowly, slowly … And then…

Take a cold water bath! :)

Jigish replies: Sexy bhav ko Sakshi bhav me badal dalo!

Dec 23

A Navjot, an Anniversary and 2 Birthdays

December 6th and 7th were very special days this year…

Prama Bhabhi and Ranji Bhai celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the ashram. When someone asked Prama bhabhi what the secret of their beautiful, long marriage was, she very seriously replied, oh we fight everyday! :)

A Happy Anniversary to Prama Bhabhi and Ranji Bhai!!

Guruji met the happy couple and gave them His blessings.

The next day was the Navjot of my twin nephews, Aarman and Ahun. In ancient Persian, Nav means new and Jot means one who offers prayers. An initiation into the Zorastrian faith.

Aarman and Ahun - A Rite of Initiation into the Zorastrian Faith

It is an age old ceremony, done with great sacredness and solemnity amidst celebration and laughter. Our Bangalore ashram was the perfect place to have this beautiful ceremony, where celebration and spirituality effortlessly merge.

Guruji very graciously offered us the yagyashala, where the navaratri poojas happen, a place already charged with sublime mantras from so many navaratris for the navjot, and He came and sat thru almost the entire ceremony, to our eternal gratitude and delight.

The older priests of the community hand hold the younglings into the faith while family and friends shower the children with blessings for a great, valourous, happy, peaceful, enlightened life ahead… as well as gifts!

All our very parsi relatives who had come quite reluctantly to the ashram, most of them for the very first time were utterly bowled over by the beauty of the ceremony. Many of them commented that this was one of the best navjots they had had the privilege to attend.

The evening food was fabulous… There is a brilliant parsi must-have dish called patra ni macchi, where they smother a pomfret (fish) in a spicy and slightly sweet coconut chutney and wrap that in a banana leaf and then steam it for an hour or so. The only problem is that it is non veg … we had patra nu paneer. A humongous piece of fresh paneer is lightly fried and treated the same way. It was toooooo good, i think better than the fish! :)… It was accompanied by a very nice dhansakh, lagan nu aachar (a sweet and spicy carrot pickle, you can eat almost only at parsi functions) and a waldorf salad, among other things.

Dad n Mom - December 7th 2010

We got an Xbox 360 for them … it is an awesome console gaming machine and in it’s newest avataar with the hands free controllers, basically your body becomes the controller for the game, it translates to a fair amount of exercise while gaming… and  since there are no controllers, there is nothing to break! :) … So if anyone is thinking of bringing belated navjot gifts for them, please get them more xbox 360 games :)

December 7th was also dad’s birthday and in the evening during satsang, Guruji called him to the stage and after feeding him a small piece of cake Himself, got mom to stuff a huge piece of birthday cake into dad’s mouth :)

Birthday Dad, Proud Granpa - Super Young! :)

Dad shares his birthday with Vasudha who had come to ashram to celebrate her birthday with Guruji … She had a grand time with Him and it was great having her here for the Navjot.

Happy Birthday Vasudha!

A super Happy Birthday to you Vasudha!

A very happy anniversary to Prama Bhabhi and Ranji Bhai, a joyous, peaceful time ahead for them both.

A Happy, Happy Birthday to my darling dad… like he once told Guruji, keep me busy Guruji or i will grow old! May you be ever young, hyper busy and super happy!!

And all our best wishes to Aarman and Ahun … May they take the best from all of us and make it even better…

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa (n dinesh)

ps Thanks a ton to everyone who worked behind the scenes to make these days really special for all of us!

Dec 20

Faith and Love

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. 40

Watch on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Dec 16

Happy Birthday Urvi!

Suparna wrote this poem for her daughter Urvi’s birthday … It was sooooo good, i wanted to publish it here too, not just put a link to her lovely post :)

I think all our parents did this shopping…

Enjoy :)

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

‘Twas nine long years ago
That we went shopping for a daughter
Daddy and I searched far and wide
Behind the hills and yonder

Above the screen of fluffy clouds
Beyond horizon’s border
Is a little shop that calls itself
Babies Made to Order

We leafed through the catalogue
Unsure of what we wanted
An artist? A scientist? A professor?
Long and hard we debated

‘Madame et Monsieur, may I ‘elp you?’
Asked a charming little fairy
‘We ‘ave babies of every kind ‘ere
From cute to naughty and scary

‘Ow about za little boy
Whiz hair all brown and curly
You could zing togezer ‘appy ballads
While he played ze ukelele

Or ‘ow about za scientist
Whiz an inquisitive, questioning mind?
A philosopher, poet or painter?
Ze reflective, sensitive kind?

An acrobat? A ventriloquist?
Or zomeone whiz an artistique bent
A doctor, engineer, cartographer?
May be a future prezident?’

The choices were many and all too tempting
And it would take but a simple spell
But our list was long, so we custom made
Our little mademoiselle


A little streak of mischief
A dash of girly charm
Spoonfuls of courage to face her fears
With dignity and calm

A herb for all the strength she might need
The go-get-what-you-want-now potion
(In hindsight though, we should have used this one
In absolute moderation)


A kind heart, a warm smile
Eyes that were filled with wonder
(The fine print in this label had read
May have a temper like lightning and thunder)

For nine long months we waited
While the fairies did their thing
Then on a starry night in November
The stork delivered an earthling


One look at this little bundle
And we knew we had done it right
There was no doubt, this was very definitely
Love at first sight

Happy birthday, little angel
May your life be filled with laughter
May you find all that you seek
Thank you for being our daughter!

Dec 13

Desire and Joy

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. 39

Watch on youtube

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa n dinesh

Dec 9

God, Bananas and other Things

Q. Why do we Indians worship so many Gods?!
A. We don’t. We only worship God in many, many forms. Just as white light when passed through a prism or a dispersive medium, breaks up into it’s 7 constituent colours, and each individual colour is really the same light, similarly many, many different forms of God are worshipped.

Each individual expresses His adoration and Devotion to a form he or she loves best… It may seem to be different, but it is the same. Indians are monotheistic, meaning they worship only One God albeit in so many different forms.

Q. ummm … Why do they do that?!

A. ummm… Why do you make so many things out of a banana? Banana milkshake, banana smoothie, banana chips, banana sweets, banana parfait, banana ice cream, banana  wada (you get that in Kerela, among many other unpronounceable stuff made out of bananas).. Why don’t you simply eat a banana as it is?

Because you CAN! and it is just so much more fun and it is not against any law!

You are welcome to worship God how you wish… in whatever form you wish!

Q. What is the difference between the Jeeva (individual soul) and the Brahman (God)?

A. The Jeeva is one who thinks that it will end when the body ceases to be. Who is enthralled by the illusion the world is, utterly lost in the Maya (illusion) of the world. The same Jeeva when it realizes that it is infact the same as the all pervading Divinity becomes (or realizes that it is) Brahman. Going from Ko Ham (meaning Who am I?) to So Ham (meaning I am That!) to Shivo Ham (I am The Ultimate) is the journey to the Self.

Like the air inside a balloon is no different from the air outside a balloon, the Jeeva is in reality no different from the Brahman… Like a wave is no different from the Ocean.

What can you tell a wave searching for the Ocean?

Be still! Then you will realize that you are the Ocean!!

Be still…

Jai Gurudeva!

love

bawa

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