About Art of Living, Art of Living Experiences, Sudarshan Kriya, Yoga and Meditation.

She was the first woman chairman* of the State Bank of India. That statement, in itself, spells out her might and her success story in India but Arundhati Bhattacharya went on to claim her share of space in the world. In 2016, she was listed as the 25th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. Foreign Policy Magazine ranked Arundhati amongst the FP Top 100 Global Thinkers. Fortune named her as the 4th most powerful woman in Asia Specific.

 

 

Sporting her quintessential cheek-to-cheek smile, Arundhati lit up the International Women’s Conference organised by the Art of Living Foundation on February 23. She was also invited to be a part of the Global Leadership Forum organized by The Art of Living.
Arundhati effortlessly carries her success in her eyes. She has a way of going through subject profound with utmost ease while she leaves her audience with some food for thought. Recalling the times when she had introduced a two-year sabbatical leave policy for the bank’s female employees to use either for maternity or elder care; Arundhati mentioned that her colleagues were concerned that such a move might perpetuate the stereotype. She does believe that equality needs to come from society.

“Both men and women need to participate equally in child rearing and running a household for a change to come about,” she says. But until such a time comes, women need to be supported with policies so they can remain an active member of the workforce. A natural at conversations that matter, she switched from one topic to another with ease while smiling at people queued up to greet her.

Having done the foundation’s Happiness Program, she says that she finds Sudarshan Kriya quite effective. Acknowledging the health benefits of Kriya, she adds that she tries to meditate as often as she can.

Born in a small-town of Bhilai, Arundhati went on to become an example of strength for women to look up to. Her professional journey that started in Calcutta in 1977 with large manual ledgers all around to getting featured as 25th most powerful woman in 2016 is a must-tell Women’s day tale.

 

 

Shubham Shukla

 

 

Art of Living Experiences, Art of Living Wisdom, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Yoga and Meditation.

In one of his famous dohas, Sant Kabir Das ji says,

पोथी पढ़ पढ़ जग मुआ,पंडीत भया न कोय;

ढाई आखर प्रेम का, पढ़े सो पंडीत होय I

(Pothi Padh Padh Jag Mua, Pandit Bhayo Na Koye;

Dhai Aakhar Prem Ka,  Jo Padhe so Pandit Hoye)

 

 

Meaning: In this mortal world, caught up books, words, thoughts and concepts; nobody became Wise, nobody got Enlightenment. However, one who understood the two and half letter word called Love (प्रेम), he attained all the Wisdom, he transcended the Time.

In this small Doha, Sant Kabir Das ji has revealed the greatest secret of wisdom.

He says the secret of Wisdom is Love!

To understand the real meaning of what Kabir Das ji is saying, we have to understand the real meaning of Love & Wisdom.

Many times the word ‘Love’ has been misused. Particularly in western culture, the word ‘Love’ has been used synonymously for ‘Lust’ and ‘Sex’.  However, there is a vast difference in meaning of these words.

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji says, “In love even an object gains life. Stones speak to you, trees speak to you, the Sun, the Moon and the whole creation becomes alive, divine…..  In lust even a living being becomes a mere object. You want to use even people like objects.”

In lust one wants to possess whereas in love one dissolves.

Lust has a very limited meaning. It is usually used for bodily attraction between two individuals. However, Love has a very vast meaning. You can Love – yourself, people around you, animals, food, your work, books, knowledge, music, nature and almost everything in this creation.

Gurudev says, Love is that magic which binds everything together.

 

 

Love is connecting totally with something or someone. Love is merging. Love is dissolving (the mind) and becoming ONE with.

In the moments of complete Love, the mind is silent and at the same time it is totally open and receptive. Everyone experiences these fleeting moments of Love frequently in life (in all situations) but we are not aware of these precious moments because our mind (with its innumerable thoughts) immediately takes over those moments.

Understanding is subtler than words and thoughts. Understanding can happen only when you are totally connected with something. Total connection can happen only when the mind is silent and receptive. A silent mind is one which has dropped all its concepts, judgements, thoughts and desires.

If I am reading a book but I have no interest or no Love for what I am reading, if I am not at all connected with what I am reading and my mind is on its own trip; then it will be almost impossible for me to understand a single word. I can understand only and only when my mind is silent, receptive and becomes one with what I am reading.

I can understand what you are saying, or for that matter, I can understand anything around me only when I am connected with that thing. That fleeting momentary connection is Love.

Feeling that connection and becoming ONE with the words/things/situations/person makes me understand those words/things/situations/person.

Young children have much more grasping power than grown-up adults because children have no strong concepts in their mind and they are connected with (in Love with) everything around them.

In the moments of Love, the seer, process of seeing and the scene become one. That is when understanding happens, knowledge dawns.

In my opinion, it is not the physical structure of the brain which decides the intelligence of a person. Just like all people with healthy eyes have same capacity of seeing, all people with healthy ears have same capacity of hearing; all people with healthy brains have same capacity of perception or understanding.

Intelligence of a person in a particular subject depends solely upon his interest or Love for that subject. A person who loves Physics will be brilliant in Physics, a person who loves Arts will be brilliant in Arts and a person who loves History can become a great Historian.

Two identical twins with exactly identical brain structure can have different IQ levels based on their level of interest or Love (or lack of it) for different subjects. So physical structure of brain has a limited role in deciding the IQ of an individual.

It is because of Love that the weaver birds know how to build a beautiful nest, monkeys know how to take care of their young ones, birds can teach their young ones how to fly, humans know how to communicate with each other, and so many amazing things happen in the nature.

Love is the basis of all understanding, knowledge and wisdom in this world.

According to the ‘Advaita’ philosophy, everything is but the manifestation of the ‘ONE’ consciousness. My experience of ‘sweetness’ of sugar is same as your experience, my experience of ‘blueness’ of sky is same as your experience, my ‘sorrow’ is same as your ‘sorrow’, all this is, because of the inherent underlying unity behind everything.

Quantum Physics also agrees with this theory of connectedness. Quantum Physics says that it is impossible to completely isolate the observer from the observed. That means at some subtle level everything is connected with each other.

Love is experiencing this Oneness of Existence, not as a mere concept but as a reality.

An Enlightened Master is one, who is always in this state of total unconditional Love with the entire existence. He is ONE with the entire creation. Just like I know all the fingers of my hand, he knows everything in this Universe. For him all the past, present and future is in the purview of known. He has truly transcended the barriers of Time and Space.

Human birth is said to be very precious. Every Human being is blessed with the capacity to Love unconditionally. Every Human being is blessed with this seed of all-knowingness. However this seed is covered with a thick veil of ignorance which needs to be lifted.

Ignorance (or Maya) is getting caught up in one’s own web of ego-sense, concepts, judgements, thoughts, cravings and aversions.

Spiritual practices like Yogasanas, Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, Meditations etc. help us to thin down this veil of ignorance (Maya).  With these practices, one comes closer to the truth of existence. One starts experiencing one’s true nature, which is Love. A sense of belongingness (with everything) starts blossoming. All negativity slowly drops off and positivity shines forth.

Knowledge requires duality. Knowledge requires a Subject (knower) and an Object (knowable). For the one who has attained Oneness with the entire creation, there is no duality, there is no Knower and there is nothing to be known. A Guru (Enlightened Master) has no need of knowledge for himself. He has no desires left because there is nothing to be gained and nothing to be lost. In-spite of all this, only because of the infinite compassion and love in the heart of the Guru, he steps down to the level of the Disciple and uplifts him. Only because of this Love, the Guru’s words can bring about that silence of understanding in the mind of the Disciple. The veil of ignorance can get completely lifted only with the grace of a Guru.

Knowledge gets distorted with time. Time and again Knowledge needs to be re-interpreted and rejuvenated, otherwise what remains is only words and dead concepts. The Enlightened Master or a Guru, through his infinite compassion and Love, helps to rejuvenate and protect the Knowledge in this world. It is Love which protects the Knowledge and keeps it alive.

 

 

Many times people ask Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji about the meaning of the ‘Art of Living’ logo. Gurudev says it is up to you to give it a meaning. One meaning for this logo can be – The pair of Swans signifies pure unconditional Love. The ‘Art of Living’ symbol signifies that, the all illuminating Sun of Wisdom rises from the very centre of pure Love and is preserved and protected by Love!

Be in Love with everything and everybody and be Wise! Jai Guru Dev!

 

 

Sanjay Sabnis

About Art of Living, Art of Living Projects.

Solar electrification for 113 schools in Uttar Pradesh

 

Rekindling Hope

 

According to the Annual Status of Education Report 2016, analysis based on data from government schools in 70 districts of Uttar Pradesh, the below were the results:

Despite the obvious connection between electricity and educational achievement, however, as one expert laments, in the educational community, “we focus largely on pedagogy and little on access to energy”. Such an absence of focus is detrimental because, as another study put it, “education is also widely recognized as one of the most essential components for poverty reduction”. True, just having great school infrastructure is not sufficient to improve learning outcomes, but it is certainly a necessary condition.

Art of Living Foundation is a responsible and social enterprise working diligently towards rural development since many years. Under the aegis of the Art of Living Foundation, Sri Sri Rural Development Program Trust (SSRDP) implemented the HCL foundation initiative to solar electrify 113 schools in Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh where the grid had not yet reached. This project that started on August 28, 2017 was successfully completed on October 14, 2017 in a short span of just 47 days wherein HCL foundation arranged for the funding and SSRDP implemented the complex project.

 

The implementation journey

 

  • HCL foundation has adopted 113 government schools in 3 blocks of Hardoi district i.e. Kachhauna, Bahender, Kothawa in Uttar Pradesh to achieve their objective of walking towards electrification and eventual digitalization of the schools
  • 30 engineers trained under the SSRDP skill development program were hired as interns to implement the project
  • A warehouse for storage of procured material was provided by HCL in Sandila town which was approximately 80 kms from Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh
  • The majority of the critical components for the project such as solar panels, inverters batteries and structures were sourced from various parts of India and made available to the implementation team. The rest of the installation material was sourced from the Lucknow market.
  • A total of six Bolero Jeeps were hired for transportation of material from the warehouse to the schools
  • SSRDP implementation team would work closely with the HCL foundation coordinators present in each block to strategise the way forward so as to effectively install solar electricity across the 113 schools. These coordinators would act as mediators between HCL foundation and SSRDP providing necessary support whenever required.
  • The project was implemented in two phases :

 

Phase 1:

 

  • Initial 15 days were utilies for setting the ground for solar installation
  • Foru generators were hired to do the basic drilling and initial wiring related project
  • The entire civil work including fixing the structure for the solar panels on the roof top and the structure for the solar batteries

 

 

Phase 2:

  • This phase involved Affixing the solar panels on the roof-top
  • This was followed by developing a wiring system to enable electricity to flow from the solar panels to solar batteries

Challenges:

 

None of the schools were connected to grid and as a result of  which implementation has to be started form scratch including hiring generators to do the basic drilling and wiring

The implementation team of the 6 vehicles had to travel daily on an average 175 kms of ‘kachha’ rural village roads back and forth from the warehouse in Sandila tow and between indicidual schools

Roads leading to Shcools did not had ‘pakka’ roads andtime taken to reach from one schoolto another was on average 2 to 2.5 hours

The vehicles would even get stuckin the muddy waterlogged village roads frequently and at times tractors/bullock carts were engaged to pull out the vehicles from the muddy roads

 

Benefits:

 

Solar electrification of 113 schools in rural areas of Hardoi district, Uttar Pradesh

Impacted more than 5,600 students across all the solar electrified schools

Enabled a platform to engage interns and gettingthem hands-on training during execution of live projects

 

 

Seema Kalro

About Art of Living, Art of Living Projects.

Around 85 kms away from the heart of Kolkata city, Kakdwip a small town in South 24 Parganas of West Bengal has become witness to the unravelling of a brand new tale. Art of Living volunteers and teachers, in collaboration with International Association for Human Values (IAHV), Sri Sri Rural Development Project (SSRDP) and Kent have undertaken an ambitious project of improving the lives of the villagers by providing skills training.

 

How the difference is being made in Kakdwip

 

Under the project a three tier approach has been adopted to improve the standard of living and health the health of the people at large, in Kakdwip town. Mushroom farming is going to be taught to the villagers of the town. Under this skill development initiative, 50 farmers are going to be trained. Another facet of the project involves distributing filters to around 1000 families. The filters are going to be supplied by Kent. Water in Kakdwip has high iron content and some areas which are close to the see have salty water. Supplying filters to the family is going to help hem have access to water that is filtered and fit for consumption.The project is being headed by Pallav Haldar, an Art of Living teacher from West Bengal and Ramesh Raman from IAHV is working with Pallav in this noble initiative.

Another leg of the project involves teaching specially designed courses to the villagers. Two programs – Rural Happiness and Art Excel programs are going to be taught to them. In Rural Happiness Program, the participants are taught Sudarshan Kriya, a rhythmic breathing technique that helps in dealing with stress, anxiety and addiction. The plan is to organise several Rural Happiness courses, over the next few months and reach out to 1300 villagers. Art Excel is also being organised for young kids in which they are taught easy to practice meditation and breathing techniques. These processes help them to improve their focus and creativity. A similar target of conducting Art Excel for 1300 participants have been put in place. The reason why this program is going to be conducted for children is that, the Art of Living has seen a sharp decline in addiction rates in villages where the Art Excel programs have been taught. This will help to address the problem addiction which is a major cause for domestic violence and low standard of living.

 

How the challenges have been braved with a smiling face

 

Subhra ji, a resident of Alipore is the one who is supervising over the project. Distributing filters to the families does not pose much of a problem but organising courses and making infrastructure for mushroom farming is somewhat a real challenge. The sheds and other things required for mushroom cultivation is not available locally in Kakdwip. This poses a big challenge as the team needs to source these materials from Kolkata city and transportation turns out to be a real hassle. In the first leg of mushroom cultivation itself, the production got spoiled due to unavoidable circumstances.

 

 

Another challenge is to mobilise people for the courses and find a hall or place to conduct the courses. Since the course involve a lot of yoga and pranayams, given the large number of participants, it is a difficult task to find a suitable venue. But this has not deterred the team from continuing with their efforts and they are trying to find out the solutions to these problems.

 

100% organic – One of the many reasons to gleam.

 

A complete organic farming technique has been adopted. The spawns and straws required for mushroom cultivation are readily available and other ingredients like manure, water and supplements being used in framing are all organic. Sabhra ji explained why mushroom farming was taken up – “We wanted to take up a project which would show results within a short span of time. Given the high demand of mushroom in the local market and the limited resources required for mushroom cultivation, we thought it was best to take this up.” A typical shed requires an area of 150 sq ms. The best part is that they have already found a buyer who is ready to pay a decent price and purchase in bulk from them.

 

 

Progress so far

 

Water filters, being supplied by Kent has already been distributed to around 180 families. 15 Sheds for mushroom farming have already been constructed and the remaining 10 would also be constructed within a couple of months.

 

 

The long term plan for the project is to establish a self sustainable model in which the farmers can themselves grow the mushroom and sell the produce directly in the market. This will ensure higher margins for the farmers, due to the absence of any middlemen and hence increase the income of the village. The Art of Living team wants the farmers to set up their own cooperative within the next six months and start catering to the market demand themselves. They would always be there to guide and support the farmers.

 

Regards,

Milind Choudhary

About Art of Living, Art of Living Experiences, Others, Yoga and Meditation.

The First Sanyam is unforgettable. Everyday Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar served us with food -specially prepared to cool down the system after a lot of Yoga and Meditation. Each and every dish was planned by Him and prepared according to His instructions.

I can still vividly taste the carrot and Vermicelli Kheer that we had. It was creamy, subtle and delicious. I have reconstructed it here from memory.

 

We prepared, and enjoyed this Kheer for Bhogi Festival, the equivalent of Lohri.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 3/4 cup roasted vermicelli
  • 1 small Delhi carrot
  • 1/2 Lt.A2 milk
  • 3/4 cup powdered jaggery
  • A pinch of saffron soaked in a tbsp of warm milk
  • 1 tsp powdered cardomom powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder

Method

 

  1. In a heavy bottom saucepan , add about a cup of water and when it starts boiling, add the roasted vermicelli and let it cook till done. It usually gets done within 5 minutes, and the vermicelli absorbs all the water.
  2. Boil the milk and keep boiling it in low heat for 10 mins more.
  3. Pressure cook the carrot for 2 whistles. Blend it to a fine paste.
  4. Add the milk to vermicelli and cook for 5 minutes. Add the carrot paste and cook for a minute more. Lower the heat, add the powdered Jaggery and let cook for a few minutes.
  5. Turn off the fire, add the spices: Saffron, Cardamom and Nutmeg powder.

Garnish with Sliced almonds and roasted cashew halves.

This quantity will serve a family of 4.

 

 

About Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Bhanumathi Narasimhan is the younger sister of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Innocently at first, and with joyful awareness later, she has followed her brother, her Master in every step. Walking the path, she has witnessed the unfolding of the mystical life of the Master at each turn and would like to share these insightful and precious moments with every one of us.

 

 

Inspired by his vision for a stress-free world, she leads the women welfare and child-care initiatives of the Art of Living. From a small free school with 30 children of construction workers, the gift-a-smile project now supports 435 schools with over 58,904 underprivileged children. 

 

 

Bhanumathi is also a meditation teacher. Her workshops have brought an experience of deep inner peace to thousands worldwide. Trained in her younger days as a Carnatic singer, people across the world wake up to her melodious voice in which she has rendered sacred chants and soulful bhajans through several albums.

She has previously authored two books, Tejasvini and Lalitha that expound the spiritual significance and mystical meaning behind popular Hindu scriptures and practices.

As the chairperson of the International Women’s Conference (IWC), her vision is to make a global connection of responsible women to catalyse positive transformation in society. Over 5000 women from 80 nationalities have participated in these conferences so far with eminent speakers from diverse spheres.

 

 

When asked about how she balances so many roles to perfection, she says, “My mother continues to be a great source of inspiration to me. She taught me by her example how to take responsibility for one’s own life. My grandmother taught me to see the smoother and happier side of life. My aunt taught me the value of independence. My husband taught me the value of freedom, my children and grandchildren, the value of innocence, my father, friendliness and my brother, love and compassion towards the whole of humanity. My guru has taught me to combine all these values appropriately and move on joyfully in the journey called life. When you have the right guidance, your life is an ocean of contentment.”

She holds a Master’s Degree in Sanskrit Literature from Bangalore University. She is married with two sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. She lives in Bangalore, India and travels all over the world to spread the message of meditation and service.

 

The Making of “Gurudev: On the Plateau of the Peak”

 

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a person who has touched millions of lives – what was he like as a child? Did he know that this was his path? How did he reveal it? What challenges did they face? What was the family like? Bhanumathi Narsimhan, Gurudev’s sister, speaks about her new book, Gurudev: On the Plateau of the Peak, a first of its kind biography of Gurudev that chronicles the spiritual master’s early life. The book, already a bestseller on Amazon released on the 11th of January’18.

 

Q1) How did you contemplate on writing an intimate account on Gurudev’s life? How did the idea take shape?

The decision to write the book was not taken in a moment. The idea has been building for a long time. So many people would ask me, “How was he as a child? What games would he play? What was he like in school, how were his college days, when did we find out about his chosen path?” So many questions! Each time I would be able to answer a few but it inspired me to pen down these precious memories so that I could share them with everybody.

 

Q2) The world knows Sri Sri as a humanitarian leader, and spiritual master. But, what is it like to be the sister of an enlightened master? How is he both as a brother and Guru?

I feel deeply grateful whenever I think about it—to be the sister of my Guru! And there has never been a conflict. I have always followed him, innocently at first, as a younger sister following her elder brother, and later, as my Master. You feel completely secure and taken care of when you have a Master in your life. Even when he was travelling, teaching and giving talks, he made it a point to be present for all the important occasions in my life. He was there for the baby showers, he was there when my children were born. He was always there.

 

Q3) What is a reader likely to find in the book? And how is it different from other books written about him?

Most of the other books are based on Gurudev’s wisdom. I suppose this is the first biography that shares moments from his younger days. I have shared several personal experiences for the first time. So I am sure it will be different!

 

Q4) Have you revealed any secrets about him in the book?

He is an open book! There’s nothing mysterious or secretive – only mystical and sacred!!

 

Q5) What can we look forward to in the book? How will it impact the young seeker’s mind?

This book is for everyone who enjoys reading.  It’ll be a joyride. It’s for those who know him, those who don’t, and those who are curious. There are no conditions. Anyone can take the journey with me.

 

Q6) As a writer, how thrilling it has been for you to capture the mystical essence of Gurudev’s life through your pen?  Could you provide us a glimpse into your journey of writing the book?

It has been a magical journey. It is always a joy to recollect our childhood and younger days, the days of travels, teaching, the coming together of the world as a family – I went through them innocently, but when I look back, the wisdom beyond the events is now clear to me.

I was writing bit by bit, whenever I found the time. I’ve written in hotels, in the Bangalore ashram, the German ashram, wherever I could find a quiet corner. Spending some time by the sea in California worked wonders. Words would flow out effortlessly as I gazed at the waves from the window. Each time I’d get new insights and the journey kept continuing.

But I had to complete it sometime!

 

About Art of Living, Art of Living Courses, Art of Living Experiences, Yoga and Meditation.

Our Team from Art of Living Blogs, recently had an opportunity to interact with the Chinese contingent who had come to Bangalore Ashram for their Yoga Teachers training program from Sri Sri School of Yoga.

Yoga has become quite the rage in China, with yoga studios opening up in every nook and cranny. “It has generated quite a buzz in our media, and has become a part of mainstream urban lives from the last 10 years. But Yoga is popularly understood merely to be a form of exercise to make your body flexible, and this is the perception I’m going to change,” says Ping He, a fashion designer with her own brand of clothes in China, who has just graduated from the Advanced Yoga Teachers Training Programme at Sri Sri School of Yoga. She chants Patanjali Yog Sutras with ease and can quote from several ancient Indian scriptures including the Bhagavad-Gita and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika.

 

 

 

Ping He is just one of the 27 participants from China in the first batch of 121, with students from 25 countries around the world, who are going to go back home and share the wealth of yogic knowledge with their people. The teacher training programme introduced its participants to the Vedas and Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, apart from human anatomy and physiology, postures, pranayam (breathing exercises), meditation and teaching skills. They will also receive certification as qualified Yoga instructors from the Quality Council of India.

 

 

 

Kenneth, speaking about the reason he started yoga, said, “Everyone keeps talking about living in the present moment. I wanted to know what it was all about! I want to know what life is all about. I want to understand why we live so differently. That’s why I started on the path of Yoga, looking for answers. I have many scattered experiences, but I was looking for something to tie it all together. This course did it for me. The quality of the teachers was the most significant part of the program for me. Even if some of them had come to speak to us for five minutes, what they said changed my life!”

 

 

 

Tong has been associated with the Art of Living for two years now, and says there’s a dramatic difference in her temperament. “I run my own firm, and it is a very stressful job. I have three naughty teenagers at home too! I tried many self-help books to get them to change their behaviour but nothing worked. It was when I started doing Yoga, and they saw the drastic difference in my temperament that they also wanted to start practising Yoga. They’ve come with me to the ashram and participated in several programs. They’re so different now. In fact, looking at the change in them, other parents in China want to bring their kids here! This is why I decided to become a teacher. I will be able to transform many lives,” she says.

 

“This course has made me realise that Yoga is not about difficult postures. It’s about ease, effortlessness and awareness. Asanas combined with pranayam, meditation and knowledge from the Gita and other Indian scriptures have given me a holistic understanding and experience of Yoga,” says Shuping Tong who has been running a Landscape Design firm for the last 20 years, and wants to spread the knowledge of Yoga to all her clients!

 

 

Ming Liao who was already a Yoga teacher, and saw that his students were charged up with energy and had better sleep patterns within just a few sessions of Yoga, says he came to the course to experience the vastness of the knowledge in the Indian Yogic Tradition. “I have studied several commentaries on Yoga by myself, but learning from teachers who really know this, has given me a proper understanding.” He can lucidly talk about the different paths of Yoga, and wants to explore further.

Yingjian Wang however says, she has learnt to be content, and finds happiness in the little things of life.  “Despite the course being very demanding, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the process. I received lots of love from my teachers and peers. Time flew so quickly! I don’t want to leave,” she exclaims, echoing the sentiments of everyone present there.

 

-Samhita Gomatham

 

Art of Living Experiences, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Clad in a humble black cotton pant and a Nehru coat, Mr. Pullela Gopichand walked down the Art of Living Ashram corridors with the aura of a philosopher dipping his toes into the world of spirituality. With a saint Kabir- like aura, he walked in and gently took a chair. He lifted the burden of glamour that probably sportsmen have to wear.

The statements of “I was meant for this or this is my purpose of life”, that leave many youngsters eternally waiting for that moment of finding their reason to being on this planet, were tossed aside the moment he decided to address the gathering. “I didn’t get admission in Cricket academies. Badminton happened by chance and I never thought that I will win a national tournament (forget international),” he began with a knowing smile. Gently slipping in the theory of Karma, Pullela said, “Dreams are finite and the potential is infinite.” Pursual of  dreams could have limited this Badmintion champion from becoming the face of Badminton in India but pursuit of his potential brought success not only as a player but also as a guru to champions like PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal. His statements brought in smiles of relief and a burst of motivation at the same time. “Be the best you can be and in the process if you win medals-fantastic,” he said putting the debate of effort versus result, destiny and dos and don’ts to rest.

 

 

Sportsmen play to win. That is their challenge and motivation. However, that can also bring the burden of constant emotional turmoil in the bargain. Pressure to constantly be in the form, perform and excel can deter a person from leading a satisfying personal life. The philosopher in him knocked doors and questioned the very basis on which sports works across the world. He shared that the competitions were merely designed for countries to showcase their talent; ranks, numbers and winning came much later. P V Sindhu’s win, he says, confused him even more. It again brought attention to the fact that excelling is important as well. Urging for the gathering to ponder on these questions and look for answers, he concluded, “Be the best you can be today. Story is here and not on the other side.” Captain’s energy spoke of the honesty that he lives with.

 

 

 

In a world that speaks the language of merit and medals, how does he keep it so simple? He says that his association with Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar ji has been an important influence in his life. With gratitude and quintessential Pullela Gopichand smile, he said that he is grateful to finding his faith in Gurudeva very early in life. Dedicating his success to Sri Sri, he said that he has been coming to the ashram for over 20 years now. A quick moment of recap and one can feel Gurudeva Sri Sri’s presence in captain’s life for he had been reinforcing Art of Living foundation’s mantra of, “Live in the present moment and be the best you can be.”

When the audience urged him for at least two gold medals, he laughed and said, “Why two? It can be more, “hinting on his belief that dreams are finite but the potential is infinite. The audience couldn’t stop cheering for Pullela Gopichand. He had his fans who adore him seated in the audience. Unlike celebrities who soak in the attention, wave and say ‘I love you’ in a celebrity –like demeanour, Pullela’s stance was of gratitude. He signed off leaving the gathering in awe of his success, his thought process and the person he is.

 

-Shubham Shukla

 

Uncategorized.

This is the story of how a stinking, neglected water body was changed into a beautiful lake due the initial efforts of a single man who inspired and helped others to help themselves and were able to rejuvenate the Hulimavu Lake.

Mr. Saurabh S Nair, a resident of Bannerghatta Road passed the Hulimavu lake often over the past 7 years and never paid any attention to it! He says, “On 15th April  I attended a Rudra Puja performed by Swami Saranu at the Maruthi Dental College and took a sankalpa to protect nature. I strongly believe that this was my inspiration. On 16th April 2016, I was again passing by the lake and was taken in by a strong urge to do something for the lake and felt that.

The lake needed my help. Having seen Binay ji’s video, The Art of Living Faculty, ,his words kept reverberating in my mind. That social lethargy that we urban dwellers possess had to be shirked off. I had some knowledge about cleaning a lake. I immediately bought the required equipment – a long bamboo stick, a rope, a set of iron panjas (similar to a claw to help draw out the garbage) and a pair of long hand gloves. And I started on my mission.”

 

 

 

Cleaning a 120 acre lake is a mammoth task and many groups of well-meaning citizens had been debating about how to go about it but it never led to any action. Saurabh decided to take the plunge. The lake was almost completely green, covered with water hyacinth. This plant grows very fast. The foliage covers the surface of the water and prevents sunlight from entering the water which results in the death of every living organism in the water body. Once while pulling out garbage from the lake,they even found a dead turtle smothered by plastic. Saurabh says, “On the west side of the lake, I could not see any water, which is very dangerous.”

 

 

Did he not have a single doubt – would this project ever succeed or would it fail? Saurabh, an Art of Living faculty, says, “I don’t know how but there was not a single negative thought in my mind. Passersby would tell me that at this rate,it would take me five years to clean the lake.I knew I could do it, even if it took 10 years, I was prepared to invest the time and effort in making sure the lake was rejuvenated. It was a single minded focus. I think it was Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s grace that did not allow any negative thoughts to arise!”

 

 

He started a Facebook page and shared his first video on cleaning the lake. Saurabh reached out the Art of Living’s River Rejuvenation director Sri Lingaraju for guidance and support.

After the first few weeks, suddenly there was water visible on the western part of the lake – the first breakthrough! Saurabh was elated. More fishermen were sighted and fishes could be seen prancing about in the waters, pelicans became regular visitors. Soon more people joined his efforts in reviving the lake and it was common to see dozens of volunteers at the Hulimavu lake on weekends cleaning the other side of the lake.

Politicians, government authorities, residents of the area also joined the movement. Reporters covered the project in the Times of India as well. The lake has not yet shaped up to his expectations, but Saurabh is a happy man, for he sees life in the lake as well as in the people who are now coming forward to take care of it.

Mr Saurabh S Nair, inspired by Sri Sri Ravishankar, showed the way to many people about how a single man’s effort and inspiration can make a difference. The proof is that the Hulimavu lake is now a beautiful vibrant water body,maybe not picture perfect but definitely more alive and breathing than it was ever before.

Saurabh Nair was also felicitated on the dias as the chief guest of the Independence day celebration at the Nandi retreat apartments Gottigere.

 

– Bina Mahuvakar

Art of Living Recipes.

Kunukku is a crunchy snack that we used to enjoy as children. It is comfort food for the cold, rainy wintery days. Athough it is fried, it does not soak up oil, like most fritters. Give it a try, and enjoy this savoury delight!
Name
South Indian Kunukku ( Bhajia in Hindi, Fritters in English)
Ingredients:
Channa dal          : 1/2 cup
Toor  dal              : 1/2 cup
Rice                     : 1/4 cup
Urid dal               : 1/4 cup
Red chilly             : 2- 3 nos
Curry leaves         : 1 sprig, tear the leaves into pieces, by hand
Turmeric powder  : 1/4 tsp
Salt.                      : To taste
Grated coconut     : 2 table spoons
Oil to fry
Method:
1. Wash and soak the dals,rice, and chillies in water for an hour.
2. Drain the water, and grind the soaked ingredients coarsely into a thick batter.
3. Add salt, turmeric powder, grated coconut, and curry leaves.
4. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, reduce the flame to medium high.
5. Drop coin sized portions of the batter into the oil with a tea spoon.
6. When the kunukku turns golden brown, remove from fire onto a kitchen towel.
7. Serve as a snack by itself or with tomato ketchup.
Vasudha Ashok