About Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Yoga and Meditation.

Yoga is an ancient Spiritual practice which has benefited mankind immensely. Many yogis have brought the attention of the world towards Yoga. From a long time now, many yoga institutions have been formed and millions of people have taken up the practice on various levels in nearly every country of the world. Appealing to everyone, Yoga has been very popular world over.

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The International Yoga Day is a recognition of this ancient spiritual practice. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji initiated and Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji voiced for implementation of International Yoga Day. Thus, the draft resolution establishing the International Day of Yoga was proposed by India and endorsed by a record 175 member states. The proposal was introduced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji in his address during the opening of the 69th session of the General Assembly and recognising its universal appeal, on 11th December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21st June as International Yoga Day.

 

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Last year, on this same day (i.e. 21st June) the iconic Times Square turned into Yoga Square when about 30,000 yoga enthusiasts joined in with Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji to perform the ancient spiritual practice and celebrate the first UN International Yoga Day.

 

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We all know yoga is the key to happy life, it brings an equilibrium between mind & body and has never been alien to us. It’s a way of our life. We have been doing it since we were a baby! The word Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj” which means “to unite or integrate”.

 

As I sat remembering the last years’ events of International Day of Yoga, the pictures of various countries & people participating in the Yoga day celebrations all over the world, I realised that this event not only brought more awareness about Yoga among people far and wide but also brought together many nationalities together to celebrate the way of life. People, irrespective of country, community, language, gender came together to celebrate The International Day of Yoga! In true sense Yoga united everyone.

 

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Thus this day started a new practice of celebrating Yoga! It has become an occasion where people get together celebrate & be grateful for this age old practice that has been benefiting generations after generations.

On 21st June 2016, second anniversary of the International Yoga Day, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji will inaugurate the International Day of Yoga at the European Parliament. He will be the Chief Guest and lead MEPs and staff through a guided meditation, when for the first time the Parliament’s Yehudi Menuhin Hall will turn into a big Yoga Space. Join us for Live webcast on www.artofliving.org/webcast from 03:45 pm IST onwards.

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As Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji says, the Sun Never sets on Yoga. How true! And now I can see the Sun rising and Yoga uniting everyone world over.

Art of Living Experiences, Art of Living Stories, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar whom we fondly call as Gurudev was returning to the German Ashram from Caracas, Venezuela. However, due to unavailability of a direct flight to Frankfurt, he landed in Paris before going to the Ashram.
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It was a surprise visit for all Parisians. It also happened to be Gurudev’s birthday according to the Hindu calendar. So a surprise Satsang with a cake was planned in the hotel where he was staying. At around 6 pm, about 150 people had gathered, who had about 1 hour notice to reach the venue. It was a beautiful, intimate Satsang and birthday party. One of the volunteers asked Gurudev, “How did this plan for Paris come up?”. It seemed like a very mundane question.
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Here’s what Gurudev said: “There are plans at many levels. There is a Room plan, what colour to paint the walls, where to keep the flower vase? Then there is a House plan, Street plan, City plan, Country plan and so on at various levels of detail. The biggest plan is that we are all here at the same time, one in Saudi Arabia, one in Germany, one in Bangalore….but we are all here now. When and where we meet is the next level of planning. Often what we think is planned is not the real plan and what we don’t plan for, is the plan!
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Few months back, I went on an unplanned trip to Himachal Pradesh in India. I had gone to inaugurate a power plant and was supposed to return to Delhi by helicopter. Somehow, the helicopter had a problem, some valve was not okay. After trying three times to start it, the pilot said he did not want to take a risk anymore. So we decided to proceed by car. On the way, we stopped at a residence where there were close to 500 people waiting to meet me. There was an 80 year old lady in that house who shared that she really wanted to come and see me but could not because her health did not permit it. She was so grateful and happy that I came to her house. We then went to another house for lunch. There was a 3 year old child in that house who had been saying since 3 months back that Gurudev is coming to our house in March. Nobody paid attention to her but I was there in that house on the 2nd of March! So, looks like perhaps this was the plan :)”
At this point a lady in the satsang in Paris shared,” Gurudev, Even I had a dream yesterday that I was sitting with you and sharing a meal!” Gurudev had just given her a piece of cake to eat 🙂
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Best part in this Guru story is : I was lucky one to be with Gurudev on this trip and He inaugurated my power plant and the 3 year old child is none other than my younger daughter.
Rajiv Batra

About Art of Living, Art of Living Experiences, Art of Living Wisdom, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

I am a reader. Not an ordinary one let me warn you. I absorb my books, till they are ready to give up on me.

I got into spirituality at a young age, but I never believed in reading books on the subject. To me spirituality was a personal experience. You cannot read through knowledge. You listen, understand, live, experience and then eventually if you agree with it, you imbibe it.

One of my spiritual teachers recommended this book to me, Celebrating Silence by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, shortly after I had come to realize my spiritual path and calling. But, I did not really want to read it, because I simply “knew” what it was about! Was’nt I already living each day in the same knowledge? It was only recommended to me to further illuminate that concept.

But, like I always say, My books find me, they choose me, “Celebrating Silence” just came to me, and I couldn’t ignore reading it any more. Once I started on this marvellous journey of celebrating the moments I spent with the book…there was no looking back. Each moment was euphoric!

Celebrating Silence is not only a compilation of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s knowledge, it is an answer to dilemmas of each living soul, whether spiritual or not. The book opened knots and strains in my mind, slowly, one after the other, and elated my soul to a journey of bliss. So many questions, unanswered, unattended to, were silenced. Like the name suggests, I was celebrating my journey with it, in totality, I complete silence.

It could be categorized as a modern “self-help book” for those who do not connect to spirituality. The insights Sri Sri Ravi Shankar shares about how we can naturally transform our lives if we are open to it and accept it, comes as a stark contradiction to traditional self help approaches that suggest we must do more to experience change in our lives.

For spiritual souls like me, it is a meditative experience. Many a times, as you read you would want to just close your eyes, and be with the knowledge. It disconnected me with the noise outside, and connected me to my inner silence, and the beauty of it. I looked forward to coming back to it. There were times when I felt, this knowledge is not really for me, but I just don’t want to let the words surpass me. I just went with the trust that, simply “planting the seeds” will enable them to sprout when the time is right for them to unfold. And believe you me, I was so right! The knowledge points come to me when I need them, or I go back to them seeking solutions whenever I want to.

Celebrating Silence, tends to support, encourage, and gives insight, to pursue real transformation with faith. If everybody in the world could fully live what Sri Sri Ravi Shankar teaches in just the first half of this book, our world would be a far more developed, compassionate, and transformed place.

I sincerely wish that everybody who has a passion for personal transformation, spiritual or non, reads this book. I also recognize that this is a book that I will read again and again over the years, and always get something new out of it to take me deeper and further into my silent soulful celebration!

Celebrating Silence

 

In service

Anamika Khosla