About Art of Living, Art of Living Wisdom, Others.

My experiments for staying fit (both mentally & physically) led me to The Art of Living workshop and later it was

Rishi Vidhyadharji who introduced me to Ayurveda. My thirst to know more about Ayurveda, made me take up reading about this ancient science.

Let me just share some known & unknown basic facts about Ayurveda.

The most simplified definition of Ayurveda = Ayu (Life) + Veda (Knowledge): It is Knowledge System which makes life free from the obstacles. It teaches how to maintain and protect health, how to cure diseases and promote longevity.

In Bhagavad Gita, it is mentioned

“Yuktahara-viharasya yukta-cestasya karmasu, Yukta-svapnavabodhasya yogo bhavati duhkha-ha.

The right amount of food, the right amount of activity, and the right amount of service (service is necessary) is essential. When you follow this, then all the sorrow runs away. 

The right balance is the key, isn’t it?

TriGunas – Our Life consist of 3 Gunas: A subtle inner quality that exists behind all material forms in nature. Sattva, Rajas & Tamas: balance of these three Gunas is what makes our life easier & happier. There are five elements, also called as Pancha-Mahabhutas, namely Ether (Space), Air, Fire, Water and Earth. The various elements with their attributes are as mentioned below:

Ether Element

Air Element

Fire Element

Water Element

Earth Element

TriDoshas – Dosha means that which gets vitiated. Since they get vitiated and disturb the physiological functions of the body thereby initiating the process of disease. They are branded as Tri Dosha. There are 3 doshas namely Vata, Pitta & Kapha. Each dosha is born out of impairment of combinations of Elements.

Ayurveda is based on two fundamental theories, the Pancha-Mahabhutas and Tridosha theory. When the Pancha-Mahabhutas or five elements (space, air, fire, water and earth) is balanced, the body is healthy and when they are imbalanced, there is disease. These elements manifest into life forces and make each one of us unique, physically and mentally. The elements combine into three Doshas (life forces) – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The combination of the three Doshas influences our mental, emotional and physical tendencies.

The primary focus of Ayurveda is to seek balance & restore health thereby avoiding illness proactively.

Interestingly each dosha has timing:

Prakriti – “Pra” refers to be Beginning and “Kriti” means Creation or to do. So Prakriti means ‘The Original form of being’.

A brief guide to understanding different  prakriti :

 

Vata Prakriti:

  • Feel hungry at any time, day or night
  • Love excitement and constant change
  • Sleep at different times every night, skip meals and keep irregular habits in general
  • Digest food one day and poorly the next
  • Display bursts of emotions that are short lived and poorly the next
  • Walk and speak quickly or in a fast manner
  • Spontaneous

 

Pitta Prakriti :

  • Feel frantically hungry if food is even half an hour late
  • Live by your watch and regret having your time wasted.
  • Generally wake up at night feeling hot and thirsty
  • Take command of situation or feel that you should
  • Learn from experience that others find you too demanding, sarcastic or critical at times
  • Have a determined step while walking
  • Sharp, intelligent and creative in nature
  • Lots of moles, freckles or pimples

 

Kapha Prakriti :

  • Think for a long time before taking a decision
  • Wake up slowly, lie in a bed for a long time
  • Contended
  • Respect other people’s feeling with which you feel genuine and empathy
  • Seek emotional comfort from eating
  • Even though overweight a gliding walk and graceful movements
  • Often good looking
  • Calm and quite nature

 

Vikriti : The mind-body complex functions normally when the doshas are balanced. When they go out of balance it leads to some malfunction in system. Imbalance in doshas is known as “Vikriti”.

To stay healthy it is very much necessary that a practice of regular yoga asanas (exercise) meditation, relaxation, is adopted along-with healthy eating habits.  A regular visit to Nadi Parikshak is very important too. Nadi Pariksha or Pulse Diagnosis is the ancient ayurvedic technique of diagnosis through the pulse. It can accurately diagnose physical, mental and emotional imbalances as well as diseases.

I highly recommend everyone to contact Nadi Parikshaks / Ayurvedic Doctors before coming to any conclusion from the facts that have been stated above, as they may vary from person to person.

 

Disclaimer: All the things mentioned in above article are personal experiences of the author & in no way associated to any organisation. These details may not be true to every individual. We do not claim any of the points mentioned above, about the organisation, person, information or the book. Readers are advised to contact local Nadi Parikshak before following anything mentioned in above article.

Our readers may also buy Ayurveda Simplified Book at Sattva Store.

http://www.sattvastore.com/ayurveda-simplified-print-10000000000048.html

 

Jai Gurudev

Vishnu Dhanuka

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

A chance encounter with Dr. Janaki Sinha, an octogenarian, in The Art of Living International Centre, Bangalore, reinforced the faith in me that age is only a number if you have the passion and commitment to serve.  Altruism requires giving back to society all the good, and more.  Dr. Sinha struck me as a perfect example of altruism. A retired professor from S.B.L.N.T.M College (Vinoba Bhave University, previously known as Ranchi University), Jharkhand, Dr. Sinha exudes warmth and friendliness with a steely resolve to complete her mission of uplifting the people of  Deogarh, the 5th largest city in Jharkhand.

 

Deogarh district has a large tribal population known for its folk art, music, drama, dance, culture, temples, and medicinal herbs. Various species of medicinal plants are present in  Dumka, Hazaribag and Gumla districts of Jharkhand. Deogarh is the main city of Deogarh district in the Santhal Parganas division of the state of Jharkhand. It is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre with the Baidyanath Temple being one of the 12 Shiva Jyothirlingas and also one of the 51 Shakthi Peethas in India. Also known as Baidyanath Dham, Deogarh has a remarkable history. It goes back to the times of Lord Rama in Treta Yuga. In the 8th Century A. D. the last Gupta emperor, Aditya Sena Gupta, ruled this region. The Baidyanath Dham temple is famous since then.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, the founder of one of the world’s largest NGOs, the Art of Living Foundation, travels extensively  in India and abroad for the up-liftment of the society with the single most motto ‘to see a smile on every face’. People around the world and in India eagerly await his visit to their homeland. Gurudev  will be visiting Baba Baidyadham Teerth in Deogarh on 1st March 2017 for the darshan of the Jyothirlinga.

 

 

Dr. Sinha who is going ahead of Gurudev to Deoghar to prepare some youth to become leaders and to seek blessings of Gurudev says, “It’s my sankalpa (resolve) that Gurudev meets the tribals of the area who are waiting for Him since a long time”.

There is a history of 30+ years of hard work of Dr. Sinha for the betterment of the tribal community and yet much is left to be done. Stoic in her countenance, wisdom that comes with age, Dr. Sinha has been patiently waiting for the time Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji blesses Deoghar with His presence and guides the people there. Her frail body belies the strong person that she is.

Her eyes sparkle as she recounts the story of her journey.

Let us hear in her own words –

“The Centre for Women’s Studies was registered in 1985/86 in Bihar. The idea was given by Smt. Phulrenu Guna, then MP from West Bengal 1984-89, in one of the conferences of Women’s Association at Kanpur. She made us understand that when society has given us so much love, affection, and everything, we have to also contribute something good to the society. Dr Vina Mazumdar, the founding Director of the Centre for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS), an autonomous organisation established in 1980, was my teacher in the university. Thus we started the work along with Smt. Sulekha Dua. I was the Director and Sulekha was the Deputy Director. I was assigned by the Chairman to work in the tribal fields santhal parganas. We were concerned about the up-liftment of the Santhal tribal society on the whole. Our area of work was from Deogarh extending to a few villages in remote areas. The people of these villages belong to Paharia tribe who live in the mountains and their main source of livelihood being forest produce. “Now, their race is fast diminishing”, says Dr. Sinha with wistful eyes that look far away.

“Why is it diminishing?” I ask her with curiosity.

“There are about 30 tribal groups in Jharkhand. Paharia forms 1% of the tribal population. Paharias live in more interior pockets which are generally inaccessible and with declining sources of sustenance they become more vulnerable to hunger, starvation,  malnutrition and ill-health. Some of them are even on the verge of extinction”, says Sinha with pain in her voice.

“As a result of unrest, naxalism and alcoholism is also on the rise which needs to be curbed.”

Dr. Sinha wants to address 3 main issues – to preserve the race; to preserve the culture; and to preserve the cultivation of medicinal herbs.

It is interesting to note that the area was once known for traditional folk art, music, dance, drama. Dr. Sinha added that the tribals were experts in making stone pottery, bronze sculpture, carpets from rags and exquisite paintings on the walls. “Every home was painted by the family and it was a feast to the eyes.”

Because of difficulty in finances and marketing, this rich heritage is in the danger of becoming obsolete. The present youth needs education and awareness to value, revive and sustain their culture. They have to learn to take pride in what their ancestors handed down to them. Dr. Sinha hopes to accomplish this through the help of the volunteers of the Art of Living. She is a great believer in YLTP program that brings out the leadership abilities in the youth who will in turn take responsibility for their community.

“We worked in Paharia villages of Dumka district. They were famous as centre of culture because they were experts in the field of traditional music, dance and drama. Since forestry and agriculture was the main occupation, people including children were very innovative with the available resources. Once I happened to see a bunch of children picking and carrying home huge bundles of grass. I asked them what they intended to do with it. They said they would use them to make musical instruments! The culture of music was so predominant” says Dr. Sinha with amusement and amazement.

I found it intriguing that the children in the area practised the art of making musical instruments such as violin using grass!!! How I wish to see one such instrument!

The third issue is the use of medicinal herbs for the welfare of community at large. Dr. Sinha  relents the fact that the medicinal herbs grown in the area is utilised for personal use, to treat illness in the family. A large variety of herbs that grow abundantly which can be formulated into herbal medicines does not happen. The tribals use medicinal plants by traditional knowledge. Traditional medicinal practitioners known as vaidays or kaviraj are the primary health care providers in rural Jharkhand. The knowledge of medicinal plants has mainly been gathered by the people in the form of tradition and experiences and inherited over the centuries to the future generation. It is extremely important to save this traditional knowledge of biological heritage and explore new resources.

“I was fortunate to get encouragement for tribal welfare by The Art of Living Founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji. A Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP) was conducted for the tribal youth. The youths who underwent the program are very happy and have developed deep love and faith (shraddha) for Guruji. They are willing to take responsibility for the up-liftment of their community. One of the Yuvacharyas of the Art of Living is now a Mukhiya (Leader) of village Panchayat. She is working diligently for the welfare of the community. However, I am pained to say that because of lack of support from volunteers and follow-up, progress is blocked. I am now hoping and praying that with Guruji’s visit to Deogarh on March 1, work will resume in full swing. It is my dream to see a flourishing Deogarh reveling in its rich culture and tradition”.

Concluding Dr. Sinha shared that the Government has sanctioned 50 -60 acres of land to Mahila Samiti for plantation. “A Dhyan Mandir for the Santhals can be built in the land” says she with a ray of hope and faith.

We join hands with her mission and hope to hear success stories from the inhabitants of Deoghar.

For when Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji steps in, Can there be anything else?!

Leela Ramesh

Art of Living Stories, Gurus, Saints & Sages.

With his presence in form of a statue at the end of every street and sometimes in middle of a traffic island, Hanuman is the most popular God across the length and breadth of India. Hanuman’s popularity is wide in countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bali, Fiji and the Caribbean. He is known with the name Sang Kera Pemuja Dewa Rama in South East Asia and there is an 85 ft Hanuman statue in Trinidad and Tobago.

 

The first impression which comes to our mind when we think of Hanuman; is courage, which comes out of sheer dedication and commitment to the goal of his Master, Lord Ram. The dedication and commitment takes birth from the immense Bhakti he has for Lord Ram. Often Hanuman as a God symbolises – Shakti (strength and power), Yukti (trick and logic) and Bhakti (love and devotion). Hanuman has immense love for Lord Ram.

It was so immense that when Lord Ram would say something everybody would think twice before doing it but he wouldn’t even wait for a jiffy. He didn’t wait when he had to carry the ring of Ram to Sita in the Lanka crossing the vast Hindu Mahasamudra (Mahasagar). He didn’t wait to jump into the fire and smoke of the Paataal Loka (the world under the earth) to kill Mahiravana. He didn’t think a moment to jump across the Dandakaranya to fetch the Sanjeevini medicine to cure the wounded Laxmana.

 

 

To accomplish a task of this scale and magnitude, one needs unflinching commitment and strength. Undoubtedly, Hanuman was blessed by all the Gods with abundance of that. But the secret catalyst to Hanuman’s recipe was Bhakti! The Bhakti manifested dedication in him to work with a single mind towards  Lord Ram’s goal.

Every word of Lord Ram was a rule for Hanuman. Lord Ram’s smile – a blessing, his love – an ocean of contentment, his anger – war conch, his compassion – a rain of abundance! Hanuman would often say – “When I am the body, I am Lord Ram’s servant. When I am the Soul, there is no difference between me and him.” The love was so intense. For him duty meant Lord Ram’s work, happiness meant Lord Ram’s company and peace meant Lord Ram’s worship.

When Hanuman was a kid, one day he went to his mother Anjana Devi and asked her the purpose of his life. To which Anjana Devi smiled and replied – “One day you will meet a person. When you meet him, all your sorrows and thoughts will disappear. When you meet him, you will find yourself in middle of bliss and experience unconditional happiness. And you heart will say – Are you that magic beyond the realms of the dreams which I waited all this while to meet and longed for you eternally?” Serving him and living the message and spirit of service will be the purpose of your life”. He found Lord Ram, one day in midst of the dreaded Dandakaranya frantically searching for his abducted wife, Sita. That longing seamlessly transformed into love for his Master.

 

 

One of the Sanskrit verses from Hanuman Chalisa, an ancient 40 couplet song written by Saint Tulasi Das which translates to

“Wherever the glory of Raghunatha (Lord Rama) is being sung, Maruthi, the antidote to all the demons in this world shall be present there with folded hands and tears in his eyes.”

Hanuman proved that a devotee is supreme; devotion is Supreme and, a tad bigger than the Divine.

A less known story about Hanuman epitomises the power of his devotion.

Once upon a time, the kingdom of Kashi was ruled by a pious king. One day he goes to River Ganga to have a bath during the dawn. Due to the darkness, he accidentally stepped on Sage Vishwamitra who was also taking bath in Ganga. He is cursed by Sage Vishwamitra that he would die for insult caused to him in Kashi. Vishwamitra also curses  Hanuman that he would order his disciple Ram to kill him. On Vishwamitra’s instructions, Ram vows to kill the King of Kashi in 3 days. The King of Kashi respects and admires Ram and decides to surrender to Ram so that he can die in hands of the Divine. When he begins the journey towards Ayodhya, his journey is stopped by his Rajaguru Narada who refutes his claim that he committed a mistake. Narada convinces The King of Kashi to seek refuge from Anjana Devi, mother of Hanuman, who is the dearest to Ram. The King goes and seeks protection from Anjana Devi as Narada feels Hanuman is the only person who can save him from the crisis. The King of Kashi narrates the entire story to Anjana Devi, surrenders to her and prays for protection. Anjana Devi mollifies him and blesses him as  “Chiranjeeva! (which means may you be blessed with a long life” and calls out to her son. Hanuman arrives instantly. The King of Kashi narrates the entire story to him. Anjana Devi passes on the formidable responsibility of protecting the King to Hanuman. Hanuman assures protection saying that “Ramo Vigrahavan Dharamaha” which is “Ram is the towering edifice of Dharma” and Ram would never commit anything which is out of Dharma.

Hanuman goes to meet Ram. He is surprised as Ram is inured to his words as he has already made up his mind to attack Kashi and is briskly preparing for the war. Moreover, he resists to what Hanuman says as he treats it as an insult to his guru Vishwamitra. In the heat of the argument, a conflict breaks out between Ram and Hanuman. Hanuman feels that King of Kashi is innocent while Ram feels that he is guilty. Hanuman, bound by the promise given to his mother, thereby announces to confront Ram in the battle of war and protect the King. The war conch is blown and battle lines are drawn. Ram and his army arrive in Kishkinda and start raining arrows on King of Kashi. Hanuman starts singing Ram Naam (chants of the name of Ram) to which all the arrows start falling. The best of the Astras including the Bramhastra fail before the chants of Hanuman. The chants of Ram Naam by Hanuman are so powerful that they form a protective hemisphere around the Gandhamadhana Mountain in Kishkinda where Hanuman was sitting with the King of Kashi. The war intensifies as Ram tries a diverse range of Astras and Mantras to kill the King. Hanuman’s Bhakti also intensifies as he starts singing even more loudly and even start dancing and jumping in the intoxication of Ram Kirtan. Ram himself is surprised at this sheer failure and decides to kill himself to save himself from the defeat of war. Vishwamitra, then walks in and tells Ram and others present there that it was a drama hatched by him to send out a strong message that – A devotee and his/her devotion are greater than the Divine himself.

Everybody played their part well in the drama but the hero of the drama Hanuman innocently was soaked in the ocean of devotion and became an example for generation. Hanuman proved that a devotee is infallible.

 

 

 

More stories to follow …

In Service,

Surya Tej Borra