Art of Living Experiences, Art of Living Wisdom.

 On the auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima, a devotee express his gratitude for the tatva that lights up his life for real #ThankYouSriSri

It was no ordinary day. Being coaxed by my friends and a doctor as a possible cure for my migraine which was almost becoming chronic, I was attending the Art of Living Basic Course (as it was called then) in Bangalore with of lot of reluctance. The first two days were no big deal. Nothing extraordinary! It didn’t look like I was heading towards anything like a cure for my headache. I was feeling vindicated about my conviction that there is no way a white-robed, long-haired guru can cure my migraine which the modern science has failed to do so.

 #ThankYouSriSri

The world changed the next day. It was the day of the Sudarshan Kriya! The day when my Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar lovingly whispered something very deep into my consciousness! The sound was so amazingly soothing that the meaning of what was heard didn’t really matter. I became just unconditionally happy! It was later that I got to know what “So Ham” actually means. Who cares? #ThankYouSriSri

Then on, life became beautiful. I felt light, I began to smile effortlessly. I became one with my own life. I became free! My anger dropped, negative feelings gave way to more refined and positive patterns! Oh, I almost forgot to mention about my migraine. No wonder! It’s has been 14 years since my last migraine attack and my first Sudarshan Kriya! #ThankYouSriSri

#ThankYouSriSri-1

Was it a magic? Or did something logical really happen? Being a journalist who was trained and programmed to be a skeptic about anything under the sun, I was not going to dismiss it easily as an out-of-the-world occurrence! Was it something like hypnotism? There could be a thousand and one ways to explain that phenomenon. But one I actually think that made all the difference was that I connected with my Guru that moment. He whispered infinity into my ears!

In a few paces of breath, I was taken to a new world of serenity, bliss and liveliness! Until then, I was totally ignorant about and oblivious to the very existence of a world like that!

What wizardry did the guru do? He didn’t do any manipulation! He just lifted the veils and planted a new level of awareness in me! And that’s the role a true Guru plays! Unlike, the teachers who give shiksha (knowledge), a Guru gives diksha (heightened awareness). He kindles the life force. He awakens the pinnacle of intellect.

He actually started teaching me about life. Sri Sri made me realize how different layers of my existence interplay, what controls my mind, what nourishes my soul, etc. As I acquired a little understanding about life, it became simpler to handle. That’s logical, for anything you have knowledge about becomes easy to handle. For those who have knowledge of cooking, even making an elaborate and lavish meal is a child’s play. But to the one who has no knowledge, even making a cup of tea becomes a challenging task.

sri sri

That explains why we need a Guru, a mentor, in life. Whatever we have learnt in life is because we have had a teacher to teach us. I know writing because I had teachers who taught me journalism. Many of us know driving because we learnt it from that instructor from the local driving school. The equation is that simple. We have always needed a guru to gain knowledge. But paradoxically we feel we don’t need a guru to learn about life. How can it be possible?

Why, then, is this reluctance to accept a Guru for life? Is it because we don’t know whom to learn from about life? Or is it hard to trust someone with our lives? But Indian culture has always revered the concept of a spiritual guru. Even in the Sufi tradition, the system of peer-mursheed is sacrosanct! Having a Master was not just considered a matter of pride, but a mandatory progression!

This beautiful offering from the Guru Strotam by Adi Shankaracharya sums it up all. “Na guror adhikam tatwam, na guror adhikam tapa, Na guror adhikam jnanam.” There is no principle is greater than Guru. No penance is greater than Guru. And no wisdom is greater than Guru! I am at the centre of that ultimate principle! And that’s what I am really feeling grateful about this Guru Purnima!

#ThankYouSriSri

Art of Living Experiences.

Guru Purnima – The day of the devotee to express gratitude, love and respect to the Guru and also to review our life and measure the spiritual growth from one Guru Purnima to another.

How to express the inexpressible?! That is the question. However, I go with the ‘spontaneous flow of powerful feelings’ and offer my gratitude to Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji on this auspicious day of Guru Purnima.

From a very young age, I have been aware of an unseen loving hand holding me and carrying me in my most difficult times. I have been witness to things just working out in an unimaginably miraculous way during impossible times! I realized early in life that if one has ‘Daivabala’ (Gods Grace) no harm can come to us if we have purity of heart.

I lost my younger brother, who was my pillar of support, in 1998. I found it hard to reconcile. Life was unfair. I started composing sad poems questioning God and drifted into depression. Romantic and patriotic poems which were hitherto my forte took a back seat.


Soon, Gurudev came into my life. One of my friends told me about our Art of Living basic course as it was then called. On the same day, my husband was also told about the course in his office. We thought it was no coincidence. We attended the program together. During ‘Eye Gazing’ process, tears flowed from my eyes. There was no difference between one person and another. My brother was in each and every pair of eyes I gazed into. I had bought a one way ticket to the Art of Living!

The tears would flow every morning after the Sudarshan Kriya. I would ask my brother silently, “Why did you leave this beautiful world?” and then console him saying “Don’t worry about anything. All will be taken care of. You just relax”. One night he appeared in my dream looking so peaceful and healthy, wearing pure white Kurta pyjama, which I have never seen him wearing in real life, and said, “If you keep grieving for me constantly, how can I relax?” I realized I was disturbing him and decided not to bring him to my realm of existence. I knew he was happy.

Rest is history. My husband and I have made seva our priority in life.

 

Guru Purnima special

I cannot say I have always had good time after the Art of Living. But, because of tough times I have been able to appreciate joy in totality.

I have not become any richer, materialistically speaking, nor have I become famous or powerful in a worldly sense. But I have also realized the peace and freedom one can enjoy when one is not famous or powerful.

 

I am aware of the indestructible power one gets when one takes responsibility.
I am able to differentiate between my ‘wants’ and ‘needs’. I feel secure in the knowledge that I will be given what is needed at the right time.

I don’t feel the need to prove anything to anybody. I educate and drop and move on.

Because I am moving from ‘ What about me’ to ‘ What about others’ I am fearless. Yes, Gurudev has made me fearless.

I have learnt to value love above everything else seeing Him shower unconditional love.
I feel I am loved uniquely by my Master, more than my parents have ever loved me!
Thank you Gurudev, for making my life an eternal celebration.

On this Guru Purnima, I offer my every breath to work for Your vision, and wait patiently and in love for the day to meet myself!

I promise.

 

.Jai Guru Dev!

Art of Living Wisdom, Uncategorized.

I feel I am very fortunate to have been born with the music karma. I can remember my teenage afternoons listening to the Vividh Bharti on the transistor glued to my ear as everyone else in the family took the afternoon siesta. If I liked a new song, a fast motion activity of grabbing pen & paper to jot down the lyrics was sure to follow.

Decades later, when I returned after meeting my spiriutal Master Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji for the first time in my first Advanced Meditation Program with Him in 1994; I discovered something very profound within me.

Tere jalwe ab mujhe har soo nazar aane lage,
kash ye bhi ho, ke mujh men tu nazar aane lage…

As this ghazal played on my tape, I was amazed to find that as I am singing along, I am dedicating the words to the divine. The days that followed, saw me listening to Chitra Roy ji’s bhajans with goose bumps & uncontrollable tears of gratitude & a surge of emotions I couldn’t name. At the end of it, I would be completely still, hollow & empty. On a lighter note, if at all I attain salvation; it is going to be through ‘naad’! Later, I read in the book, Narad Bhakti Sutra by Guru Dev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar that when devotion dawns in you, even a film song becomes an expression of love to the Divine.

Since then, I have been dedicating countless songs to the Divine just like so many of us. The song that I have chosen to write about stunned me when I heard it first! To me, this piece of art is heart wrenching, full of love, longing & gratitude. That is the way my heart listened to it. This phenomenal song has happened to the lyricist, the composers, the singer & TO ME!!!

It’s – Abhi mujh men kahin baki thodi-si hai zindagi from the movie Agnipath by Sonu Nigam.

This song emerges from the heart when the devotee finally gets to have a sight of the Divine after going through an elongated longing till the ultimate point of end.

Abhi Mujh Mein Kahin, Baaki Thodi Si Hai Zindagi
Jagi Dhadkan Nayi, Jaana Zinda Hoon Main Toh Abhi

The time stops. Nothing exists except the vast present moment. It says,

Kuch Aisi Lagan Iss Lamhe Mein Hai
Yeh Lamha Kahaan Tha Mera…

That ‘lamha’ as in that ‘moment’ is so full, so perfectly perfect with all the chaos around! And we simply don’t know what to do when He appears. There is ecstasy, there are tears of love, a desire to reach out to Him, hug Him, talk to Him!!! That boundless joy is expressed so well in these lines –

<strongAb Hai Saamne, Isse Chhoo Loon Zara
Marr Jaaun Ya Jee Loon Zara
Khushiyaan Choom Loon
Ya Ro Loon Zara
Marr JaaunYa Jee Loon Zara

 Guru Purnima - gratitude

The divine becomes synonymous with the present moment, which is vast, full of love & compassion. Healing from age old wounds, that is what happens in presence of the Master!  A glance gives so much solace to the heart & soul as if the self, burning in scorching heat gets a cool shelter from a shady tree. That is what the first stanza of this immensely mellifluous song is all about.

Dhoop Mein Jalte Hue Tann Ko, Chhaya Pedh Ki Mil Gayi
Roothe Bacche Ki Hansi Jaise, Phuslaane Se Phir Khil Gayi
Kuch Aisa Hi Ab Dil Ko Mehsoos Ho Raha Hai
Barson Ke Puraane Zakhmon Pe Marham Laga Sa Hai
Kuch Aisa Rehem, Iss Lamhe Mein Hai…

The second verse of the song perfectly depicts our state of mind before the Art of Living Happiness Program. Those who have graduated with the Program know that it is all about handling our minds with help of the breath in a technique called Sudarshan Kriya. We often give the example of the kite & the thread to explain the mechanism of mind & breath respectively. Our skill to handle the thread makes the kite go up in the air. Without being aware about the direction in which the life was going before meeting the Master; one is stuck with the daily events of life. After meeting HIM, all the other bondages – ‘bandhan’ fall off. The vision becomes larger & instead of being entangled in the events of life, focus is shifted to the concern for the mankind, the universe!

Dor se tooti patang jaisi, thi ye zindagani meri
Aaj ho kal ho mera naa ho
Har din thi kahani meri
Ek bandhan naya peechhe se abb mujhko bulaaye
Aanewaley kalki kyun fikar mujhko satajaaye
Ek aisi chubhan iss lamhe me hai…

The sweet pain of longing is worth yearning for. It gives you the most precious gift – Infinite Joy of Gratitude.