Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, The World Culture Festival, World Culture Festival.

If you thought that only people had desires and wishes to fulfil. Get ready for a reality check. Preparations and rehearsals to one of the biggest cultural events of the world is quietly unfolding at the grounds opposite Mayur Vihar Metro station in New Delhi, India.

The very best of artists, directors and managers of sound, light, wind, water and earth are putting their best foot forward to stage the World Culture Festival 2016 presented by The Art of Living in New Delhi from March 11th-13th  

This festival marks the organization`s 35 years of service to humanity inspired by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Themed to cherish and promote the values of unity and diversity, this event is set to redefine the idea of a festival.

On the ground. Right there now.The Sound system experts and engineers are busy mixing their talent to meet the challenge of delivering the best of music, chants and songs that will flow out from the several thousand maestros, musicians and singers scheduled to perform so that you get to hear that rhyme and rhythm. Perfectly.

Perhaps the huge speakers and mikes are jostling with each other in their storage boxes now, waiting to break free and be an instrument of peace for you, to safely and brilliantly deliver the scores of musical notes, pitch, aria, voices and rhythm. Because this music is surely going to touch your heart ! Music from various cultures and traditions of the world.

In it`s vibrant continuing service initiative of river rejuvenation, Art of Living volunteers in Delhi who first spearheaded the `Clean Yamuna` river campaign are working hard and diligently to keep the river clean and alive with several awareness initiatives and environment-friendly solutions. The Yamuna flows through the city of Delhi.

This is one whopping event that has got a mammoth team working on the ground now, coordinating with the compassionate earth to embrace a 7 acre long stage, the largest ever stage, almost the size of six football fields, that will see over 25,000 artists perform for the Festival. Loads of iron, wood, sand and stone must be competing hard among themselves to be a part of this stage that will go into the Guinness World Records. There is competition in the brick and mortar world too.

stage2

To light up the world`s largest stage and put all the 25,000 plus artists in the limelight, is perhaps a light – technician’s nightmare, delight or first time in the world opportunity. Whichever way one sees it, huge plans are afoot to set up light towers that the world has never seen before.

The eye of every camera, sophisticated or otherwise is perhaps waiting to catch this spectacular event in all its hues, colours and tones. Frame by frame. Moment  – to – moment. The best directors of film and photography are working out their details now to capture the event in its full glory. Even my smartphone camera wishes to do that.

And 3.5 million pairs of grateful eyes are going to catch the awesome World Culture Festival. LIVE. An eye to cherish and support a noble initiative of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for world peace and unity.

Be amazed. Lights. Camera and Action have their justifiable goals and wishes too.

About Art of Living, Art of Living Experiences, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Sudarshan Kriya, The World Culture Festival, World Culture Festival.

It was almost 18 years ago that I chanced upon a poster with the mesmeric face of a spiritual master on it. Despite my self-censure about following a ‘Guru’, I was drawn to it and the very next day found myself, almost magically, enrolled in the basic course (now called the Happiness Program), which was to change my life forever. Initially, I had a lot of reservations about ‘following the herd’, about being looked upon as someone in need or trouble, about being perceived as un-intellectual. Friends and relatives often asked me, “How could you?” Self-doubt cropped up often, but my experience was so enriching that I knew I was on the right path. This is my journey:

  • The Sudarshan Kriya enlivened every cell of my body, waking me up from a stupor of several years.
  • It opened pathways in my heart and soul, making way for a fountain of love.
  • I started feeling a great connect with everyone around me, a heart-warming sense of belonging.
  • I didn’t have to make an effort to smile; nor did I feel alienated when with strangers.
  • I started paying close attention to my body and breath.
  • I became more aware of my words, actions, thoughts and feelings
awareness
  • While my worries didn’t vanish overnight, there was a feeling of being looked after, cared for, slivers of hope that told me all would be well.
  • There was a sense of homecoming, of having found that elusive something we all yearn for.
  • The electric energy that coursed through my body often took me by surprise. Even at the end of the day, I was raring to go.
images

 

  • Doors opened far more easily and I could manage the most difficult tasks by putting in my 100%.
  • My outlook began to change from, “Why me?” to “Why not me?” when challenges cropped up.
  • While earlier I would wallow in self-pity and focus on the problem, the Art of Living guided me to look for solutions.
  • Often, I used to be hurt by people’s remarks and jibes. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar taught me to take such volleys in my stride.
  • Instead of deriding people for their strange or hurtful behaviour, I began to ask “Why?” That made me empathetic.
  • I felt compassion rising within me at the most unexpected moments.
  • I rediscovered the joy in random acts of kindness.
happiness
  • It became easier to take the initiative when faced with a situation, where leading a group was imperative.
  • I experienced a feeling of expansion, of knots being untied within me.
  • I found myself drawn to nature, to birds and trees, to the blue expanse above me, to the sun, the moon and the stars.
  • Gratitude welled up in me for the life I had, for the breath I had taken for granted.
  • I began to count my blessings.
  • Even at work, I felt an enhanced sense of creativity, could hone my skills with ease and move in the right direction with a sense of responsibility.
  • I began to delegate work and to understand the power of teamwork.
  • My habit of ruminating upon the past was replaced by living in the present moment.
  • Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s guidance enabled me to focus completely on the task in hand, with amazing results.
  • I marvelled in the fact that I could remember names and facts better and that my memory was sharper than ever.
  • Instead of trying to change people and situations, I began changing my outlook and attitude towards them.
  • I harnessed my breath to calm myself down when faced with stressful situations. “So Hum, So what?” Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s words rang in my ears.
  • I became more careful in using resources, and in preserving them.
  • The Art of Living taught me to go within, to places I hadn’t visited before. I established a connection with my Self.
  • It acquainted me with the power of silence and the refurbishing capacity of a few minutes of meditation.
  • Deep within, I felt a sense of calm, a stillness that strengthened my core.
  • I stopped feeling scattered or going on spiritual shopping expeditions. My restlessness was mitigated and a solid sense of security cocooned me.
  • The journey has been most joyful. The Art of Living as given me Physical fitness, Mental Peace and Emotional Tranquillity. What more does one want from life?

Jai Gurudev!

Archana Pai Kulkarni

 

About Art of Living, Art of Living News, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, World Culture Festival.

What does Art of Living’s World Culture Festival seek to celebrate? Among many things, it seeks to celebrate 35 years of healing through love and knowledge. Here is a poignant story of healing from a deep and personal loss.

60-year old, Jawahar Lal Gupta runs a small paint business in Muradabad, Uttar Pradesh. Some time back, an incident occurred that shook his life.

”About a year and half back my son passed away,” Gupta said. ”He was 40 years old. I and my wife went into a state of massive depression.”

Gupta’s son also used to run the family business. “His passing was a huge setback for us. We were so depressed that I did not feel like going to the shop. I felt like doing nothing, I had his children to take care of too. But I could not feel a thing.” Gupta said. The void created by the incident was hard to fill.

But then, he found help. An Art of Living teacher from Muradabad sent her volunteers to get him enrolled for an Art of Living program. After much persuasion, he agreed to attend the program.

“I benefited greatly. By the end of the course, I came to a situation, when the mind was ready to accept the loss. I said, what has happened has happened. I was able to collect myself and realized that now I needed to take care of my grand children. Slowly a lot of transformation happened within me and the negativity that had grasped my existence, slowly started waning away.”

Gupta remembers his friends and family asking him, why he looked so happy and at peace. “My depression is over.”

IMG_0528

Gupta, like the 370 million people who have benefited from the program, saw a clear shift in his quality of life. “I gave up drinking tea and liquor after my very first experience of Sudarshan Kriya,” Gupta said, “During the first Sudarshan Kriya that I went through, I felt all my strength came to my forehead. Suddenly I experienced so much strength, like I had never before.”

Now Gupta says, he cannot wait to be one of the 3.5 million people gathering from world over at New Delhi between 11th and 13th March for the World Cultural Festival which will commemorate 35 years of the Art of Living.  “The most important point is, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has raised this feeling of Vasudhaiva Kutumbkum in so many countries, which is the need of the day. Look at all the violence in the world. This is the only way to end all this violence in the world. Such an effort has never been made before,” Gupta said.

download

Very often in our chat, the conversation veers towards his loss and the spiritual journey that started after his son’s passing’.  “I think there is more control on the mind. The mind, which would earlier get entangled in small issues and irredeemable situations, is more centered now.  The mind, which used to be perpetually sad, is not so anymore. We do remember him (his son). It is hard to forget, but that sadness attached to it has diminished.”

Jai Gurudev

Ruchira Roy