Art of Living Experiences, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

The year 2016 arrived with hundreds of people from over 46 countries doing the silence course in the beautiful Art of Living retreat centre in Black Forest, Germany. On the morning of Jan 1st;  Sri Sri Ravi Shankar whom we fondly call Gurudev; left the ashram to conduct a Happiness Program in Berlin. Some of us were fortunate to get to travel with him on the flight from Stuttgart to Berlin. It was a typical day at the Stuttgart airport – holiday travellers hustling and bustling around their friends and family either starting or completing a journey.

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Against this backdrop, scenes of followers and devotees eager to meet him, get a selfie or a picture with him; dominated the departure lounge.  As Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ‘s co-travellers scrambled to have their exclusive moment with him, other travellers at the Stuttgart airport paused to take in this amusing sight :-)

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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar walked briskly and purposefully, acknowledging photo requests from his followers and yet at the same time, proceeding to complete all the airport /security formalities required for boarding. Leading the group of devotees travelling with him, He placed his bag on the security scan belt. As he walked through the metal detector, something remarkable happened. The metal detectors went berserk and started beeping continuously. The very professional airport security personnel requested Gurudev to allow them to scan him – which Gurudev agreed to enthusiastically.
The security personnel ran the metal detector all over Gurudev, from head to toe and the beeps were unmistakable. The detectors beeped at every point of contact they made with Gurudev. The security personnel were a bit confused as the beeps also occurred at contact points that were uncovered by clothes. They didn’t know what to scrutinize further, yet they couldn’t wave him off to board the flight either. Could their detectors have failed? Maybe the New Year changed something in the inherent ability of the devices? They looked a bit alarmed and visibly confused.
At this brief moment Gurudev closed his eyes and took a deep breath. It was a deep moment. As he opened his eyes Gurudev instructed the same security staff member to scan him again. This time there was no beep. Not a whisper. Not a whimper.
Just to be sure, the security personnel ran the metal detector once more.  The device that beeped at every point of contact with Gurudev just a few seconds ago didn’t beep any more!
It was probably that Gurudev ’s energy was so high that it was making the metal detectors beep. It was amazing see him regulate it at will, to put the security team at ease!

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What followed was smooth take off and landing, like every journey undertaken to spread the Art of Living. Lucky were those who got a glimpse of this divine power on the first day of the New Year. Lucky are also those who read it later and shared the goose-bumps.

 

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Jai Gurudev

Swami Jyothirmayah

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

SEVA was part of my life even before the Art of Living happened to me. The  vital difference is, there was an expectation and a desire for recognition. Whatever honorary post I served in, although I saw the nobility of purpose, there was an element of selfish desire to be somebody!

When I heard Sri Sri Ravishankar saying ‘ SEVA is its own reward. It is an expression of joy’ , a shift happened in my perspective and I was ready to lose my identity as a drop to become an ocean by merging into the huge volunteer force, all guided by One!

Back in Abu Dhabi, in early 2000 , when Art of Living was fairly new, I would engage in SEVA during landmark days such as Guru Purnima, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s birthday, Shivratri and so on along with the team. Raising donation for ‘Gift a Smile’ was an on going project. I remember initiating joining hands with a local group for a walkathon on Corniche beach in support of cancer patients which got good reports in local press as well as a certificate of participation to the Art of Living.

When I moved back to India for good, my mind was already cultured. I had tasted the sweet nectar of SEVA for the sake of SEVA.

Soon an opportunity to get involved in Prison SMART project presented itself. Conducting  courses for lady inmates of Bangalore Central Jail and engaging them in rehabilitation programme by vocational training was a truly satisfying experience. The transformation was tangible. Their written testimonials are safe with me to go back and relive those fulfilling days. The Jail almost turned into an ashram. Lot of work needs to be done in that area. Sri Sri Ravishankar ji’s words ‘ inside every culprit, there is a victim crying for help. Help him’ keeps ringing in ears.

Integrating human values in the main stream of education has been one of my passions.  How I wish I could revamp the whole of our so called education system that only prepares individuals to earn a livelihood but not to live life that only gives degrees but not the quality of altruism, the true purpose of education. With Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji’s vision for education perfectly in sync with altruism, I strove to bring human values in our students of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar PU college. The positive response and enthusiasm the teenagers showed is a promise that we can and will integrate human values in the main stream of education.

The expansion of Art of Living activities in Karnataka is the current project I am associated with. I am madly in love with my home state Karnataka and the vernacular, Kannada. More so now, because, my Master belongs to Karnataka and speaks Kannada! How lucky can I get?! Travelling in Karnataka, building a tryst of love and belonging with our people, inspiring and gearing them up to ‘ Wake up and Shake up’ has been a very fulfilling experience. With all the districts in Karnataka participating in the historic event WCF2016 , I am sure the flag of Art of Living Karnataka will fly high. The diversity of Karnataka is mind boggling. The same language Kannada spoken in different dialects, cuisine varying from region to region, variety and style of costumes worn, musical instruments played, local festivals, wedding procedure….the whole panorama is spell binding! I am proud Karnataka fiber is woven bright and strong in the fabric of the forthcoming phenomenon called the World Culture Festival in Delhi, March 2016. Speaks volumes about the energy, enthusiasm and devotion of our volunteer force in Karnataka which is growing from strength to strength day by day! Tears of gratitude keeps flowing to touch the lotus feet of my Master.

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How has SEVA changed my life?

I can only say it is a shift from ‘ what about me?’ to ‘ what about others?’

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar has said ” You do my work. I will do yours” .

It is an effortless effort, immense joy and privilege to do His work.

In return, a big relief to surrender the burden of running my life to my Master.

It is a deal. I bet, there isn’t a better deal anywhere, in any place or field in this whole world!

Jai Gurudev!

In Service

Leela Ramesh

About Art of Living, Art of Living Experiences, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Sudarshan Kriya, World Culture Festival, Yoga and Meditation.

Bangalore: In 2013, when Alman Timofeev won the World Karate Championship again, he achieved a feat very few sportsmen in the world had. He became a World Champion at the age of 35.

 

So what gave the Russian sportsman the edge over competitors half his age, given that the sport of Karate demands high speed and agility?

 

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Timofeev says it was ‘Sudarshan Kriya‘ and meditation which helped him clinch the World title in a no-holds-barred chat with us at the International Art of Living Center in Bangalore.

 

“It was a huge challenge for me,” Timofeev says. “Breaking through that first stage of preparations for the fight, with the help of Sudarshan Kriya and meditation, was the spiritual turning point of my life.”

 

“I can say for sure, without the practices, it would not have happened,” he says.

The two-time World Karate champion says, “Now I am confident that whatever happens, everything will be ok and is taken care of”.

 

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Timofeev’s journey as a professional martial artist has been one full of dizzying highs and scary lows. In 1997, he won the World Karate Champion title at the age of 19, one of the youngest Russians to win it, Timofeev says.

 

But in 2000, he was suddenly dropped from the championships.”After that, I stopped competing professionally and got fully involved in training youngsters,” he says. But after 13 years, he would fight back and his decision came from a spiritual encounter.

 

In 2013, his mother asked him to attend the Art of Living Happiness workshop, hoping that he might find peace and stability to help him strengthen his professional game.

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“The practices had a very profound effect on me. Actually, it was only during the course, that I decided to fight for the championship again. Before that, I was not even sure about going to the championship,” says Timofeev, who is in Bangalore to train the judges of the Asian Karate Championships.

 

Calling his second win a “miracle”, Timofeev says, it was far more difficult for him to prepare for a professional title again, versus someone who had been fighting professionally, especially because he was not getting any younger.

 

“It is difficult to describe, how I became a champion for the second time, but that for me was a miracle. I was training a lot- three times a week, I would run 10 km, swim 2 km10 and skii a lot. I would spend time in the gym too, while practicing Karate daily at least 3 hours a day without fail.” In addition, “I would do my home practices of Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya and meditation which supported me tremendously,” he says.

 

Timofeev believes, it is very important for sportsmen and athletes to adopt spiritual practices like Sudarshan Kriya and meditation into their daily routine.

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“It gives you peace of mind and calmness inside. If you have fear (of losing) for example, there is a rush of adrenaline and sportsmen burn out quickly. The fire rises quickly and it dies quickly.

 

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“Kriya and meditation are very powerful tools for being very relaxed and for calming oneself and performing well for a sustainable period of time,” he adds. His message to all those who want to take up rigorous sports like martial arts professionally, which requires immense mental strength and centeredness, is-“Just meditate”.

 

“You definitely have to try and meditate. You need your own experience. Then you will observe the difference before and after you have learned the practices. This is something that words cannot fully describe,” Timofeev says.

 

Even though Timofeev’s association with the Art of Living and its founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is not very old, he believes he shares a deep connection with him on a spiritual level.  “Since I was 15, I have been training others and I realized an important thing- it is impossible to become a champion if you just want to become a champion. But if you come to the training and enjoy it, then this is the way to be a champion.

 

“And when I heard that from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as well, it resonated so deeply with me. From that moment, I feel that connection with him. I understand his teaching of not being attached to the goal from my point of view,” he says.

 

Timofeev will be back in India in March to be a part of the 3.5 million-strong gathering at the World Cultural Festival as part of the Russian contingent, of the 155 countries participating in the historic event.

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“Yes, I am coming. I think, such a huge event will bring about a change in the world for sure. We all wish peace in the world and that is what this event stands for and of course I will come to be a part of it.”

 

3.5 million people like Timofeev, who believe in the power of meditation and peace in transforming the world, will meet in New Delhi between 11 and 13 March for the world’s largest peace meditation and cultural extravaganza.

Jai Gurudev

Ruchira Roy