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

A glance at the news papers reveals the corruption and the violence around us. We see an impoverishment of collective thinking towards building a healthy, happy and secure environment. Where does all this stem from and why?

The basic root cause zeroes down to a sense of lack. The sense of lack arises from non-availability of desired object or the insatiable desire to possess objects or experience pleasure. Let’s take a close look at the cause of lack – non availability of desired objects. When there is a mis-match in the skills that one possesses and the skills required to attain the desired object, one resorts to convenient shortcuts to fill the gap.

The other culprit is insatiable desires. It is a malady that has especially plagued humanity in modern times. With self effort it can be recognized as a mental pattern that can be corrected. Most desires arise from comparing what one has with what others have. The “other” person becomes the elusive benchmark, when we desire to possess something that he has and we don’t have. I am not advocating an austere life style here. However, we need to understand this never ending horizon of desires.

If one does not recognize this pattern, there is no freedom from being mired in the mirage of never ending desires. One can spend an entire life reeling in this never ending cycle of short-lived happiness and misery. Or, one can choose to opt out of it. The beauty is that the moment one becomes aware and recognizes this pattern of desires, we start becoming free from it.

For a definite change in the mental pattern, one needs to have the courage to step out of deeply ingrained comfort zones and ask these questions, “What is happiness? What does it mean to me? Is it possible for me to attain a state of permanent happiness?

Well, we have some good news here! Even for the most materialistic person on Earth, the answer is Yes! Increased awareness of the workings of our mind will arrest the thoughts that give birth to insatiable desires. Awareness increases our level of contentment and happiness. A glimpse of this self-generated happiness removes the lack in our lives and replaces it with an inner peace and genuine smile.

How do we attain this level of awareness? There is a famous saying by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, a revered saint and enlightened Master “When you follow knowledge fun follows you”. This is the knowledge about the Art of Living.If one learns the Art of Living and starts living through life, instead of blindly chasing desires, the path becomes easy, fun-filled and fruitful.

From the time I have done the six-day workshop on the Art of Living there has been no looking back. I lead a normal life of gifts, surprises, challenges etc. However, there is one expression of mine which has come to stay forever and that is a smile☺

If you want to know more about these programs you may contact the Art of Living centre in your city. How? Nothing comes easy my dear friend. If you want a lasting smile, put in an effort to find out. (Hint – information is available here, right under your nose!) Happy scouting ☺

Art of Living Experiences, Art of Living Projects, Art of Living Stories.

The mass exodus of thousands of north-eastern people from various parts of India, coming on the heels of Assam riots and consequent displacement of hundreds of thousands of families, is a huge blot on the country.

It is time to rally around our North Eastern brethren and open up our hearts and homes to assure them that they have a million homes in India. They are not alone and don’t have to flee.

This was the message taken by Art of Livingteachers Sanjay Babu, Neelam Kochchar, Deepa Dave and their team of volunteers to the thousands of panic- stricken North Eastern people at Bangalore Raliway station ready to leave in the next train to the North East.

Sanjay Babu explained, “There were many distributing food and water at the railway station to the insecure north eastern crowd. But none could assure security to them. We were sent by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji to assure them that they are safe and there was no need to panic and flee from Bangalore.”

The Art of Living teachers reached out to thousands of fearful north eastern workers and students of Bangalore and persuaded them to stay back instead of fleeing. Those who were fearful of going back to their residences in Bangalore were offered a home in the Art of Living Ashram. Around 200 north eastern people are now safely living in the Ashram premises till they feel safe to go back to their homes. In fact, thanks to the feeling of security given to them by Gurudev, many of them are already feeling confident of returning to their jobs in Bangalore.

Over 33,0000 people are reported to have left Bangalore because of direct and indirect threats to leave the city before August 20. Many also left because they were being called back by family members in Assam so that they could, “protect their house together or die together!”

Sri Sri and a few of the N E people at Ashram

Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has encouraged the north eastern students in Bangalore to continue their studies. If they need help, Sri Sri University would come forward to enable their education. The workers have been assured that Art of Living would help them find jobs. Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, has been engaging the people of North East since many years through personal interactions and many service initiatives. 121 children from Nagaland, Meghalaya and Assam are staying & getting education at Art of Living Ashram since six years.

Only a genuine peace maker like Sri Sri can remove the mistrust and fear that has engulfed Assam in recent times.

During his recent visit to Assam (watch video) in the aftermath of ethnic clashes, Sri Sri was heard with eager anticipation by the people from the both sides of the divide.He effortlessly got the Bodos and Muslims to see reason and talk in conciliatory tones thus sowing the seed for reconciliation. But the question remains whether the rulers of the day will be interested in watering the seed?

Art of Living Review, Art of Living Wisdom, Movies to Watch.

Has it ever happened to you that you woke up from a dream, think you are awake, and then suddenly you wake up again and find yourself still lying in your bed? The problem is that you didn’t know that you were (still) dreaming, until you woke from that dream. However strange your dream may be, you do not realize how strange it actually is, until you wake up. So how can you be sure? Is this reality, or one more dream?

Inception is a fascinating movie that not only captivates you till the end, but also leaves you with many questions about the nature of the Reality. Cobb and his team use a technology that allows multiple people to share one dream, to ‘invade’ people’s minds and ‘steal’ information for clients. He is wanted by the United States government for murder on his wife Mal, and that is how he ended up in this not-so-legal business. When the powerful industrialist Saito approaches Cobb with the offer to use his influence to make Cobb’s criminal record disappear, so that he can finally go back to the U.S. and see his two small children again, Cobb cannot refuse. This is his one chance at being reunited with his children – but at what cost?

Saito asks Cobb whether he is able to perform ‘inception’ on another very powerful industrialist. Inception means ‘planting an idea in someone’s mind’. Saito asks him: “If you can steal an idea from someone’s mind, why can’t you plant one there instead?” One of Cobb’s teammates tells Saito that this is not possible, but then Cobb interferes: “I know it is possible… because I have done it before. You just have to go deep enough.”

Cobb and his team come up with a detailed plan for which they have to enter a dream within a dream within a dream, to place the most basic form of the idea into the subjects mind: the subject needs to form the idea so that he will believe it is his own. The whole planning gives a fascinating insight into how our mind works.

The movie Inception is based on spiritual knowledge from Yoga Vasistha

Source: 4.bp.blogspot.com

For this project Cobb also needs a very good ‘architect’, and he recruits the young Ariadne. Her job is to ‘design’ the dream world. However, Cobb warns her: “Never recreate places from your memory, always image new places. Because building a dream from your memory is the easiest way to lose your grasp on what’s real and what is a dream.” It is then that Cobb shows her a small spinning top. “All of us carry a totem with us. It is a small object, that you carry on you all the time and that no one else knows about – only you should know all about it.” He explains that by checking it, one knows for sure that he is not dreaming. Cobb uses the top – if it keeps spinning, without falling over, he knows he is still dreaming.

Cobb also tells Ariadne how he knows inception is possible: “My wife Mal and I were exploring the concept of a dream within a dream. I kept pushing things, I wanted to go deeper, go further. I just didn’t understand the concept that hours could turn into years down there, that we could get trapped down there, so deep, that we lost sight of what was real. To wake up from that, after years, decades, to have become old souls thrown back into youth like that, I knew something was wrong with her. Eventually she told me the truth. She was possessed by an idea, this one very simple idea, that changed everything: That our world wasn’t real. That she needed to wake up and come back to reality. That in order to get back home, we had to kill ourselves. She thought our children were projections. That our real children were waiting for us out there somewhere. She was certain. She killed herself. So I ran, left the country.”

In the end, when the job is completed, Cobb wakes up again on the airplane. His team members are sitting in different seats nearby – their job is done. They just look at him, one smiles. There are, however, no conversations, no interactions. When Cobb goes through customs, he is asked no questions, just allowed – the industrialist has kept his word. It makes you wonder, however, if the whole movie was not a dream he had while on the flight back to the United States, and his ‘team members’ are just different people on the flight that happened to smile or look at him…

Spinning Top in Inception - What is Reality?

Source: blastr.com

When Cobb comes home, he almost can’t believe he’s finally home again. Cobb spins his top, to check if he’s really back to reality, but then he sees his children in the garden, he finally sees their faces again, and runs out to meet them. In the mean time, however, the top has still not stopped spinning… so we are left to wonder: is he still dreaming? And if so, was his wife Mal coming into his dreams maybe not his own projection, but his actual wife who, after ‘killing herself’ finally woke up to the real reality, and who keeps coming back into his dream, trying to get him to wake up…?

Those who have read the thrilling ancient Indian scripture ‘Yoga Vasistha’, can recognize instantly how the movie Inception has been inspired by the book.  In Yoga Vasistha, young prince Rama is disillusioned with life and Sage Vasishta gave him advice and knowledge. The book has many stories, told by sage Vasishta to Rama, that deal with the Ultimate Reality vis-a-vis the illusionary nature of the Universe.

One such story is about a lady called Leela who takes several births and dies several times and is then born as a queen. One day she goes off to sleep and dreams of dying and being reborn as a holy man who dies at an old age. Vasistha then explains to Rama that all this was happening in a dream inside a dream inside a dream in the mind of the ‘original’ dreamer, who was a poor lady in a hut and who had been asleep for only a few minutes! Rama was completely bewildered and asked Vasistha how the lady could dream of epochs in a few minutes. Vasistha said that in a moment of a dream an epoch can be dreamed of.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living says: “When you see everything as a dream, then you abide in your true nature. As you keep wondering whether all this is a dream, you will wake up to the real.”

Enjoy watching the movie (again)! And post any other interesting elements or dialogues of this movie that you find, as comments to this post! There are many more 😉

Shiv Sutras.

  1. Knowledge is like soap, if you will keep it as it is after applying it. It will indeed create more dirt. It needs to be washed away.
  2. Krishna says in Gita that there is no supreme thing other than knowledge which will purify you.
  3. Illusion of “I have too much of knowledge within me” is itself a dirt.
  4. The characteristic of light is to spread up similarly the characteristic of  joyfulness in us is to spread up.
  5. A child when plays spreads joyfulness around him. It just attracts to anyone around him.
  6. Next sutra is  :The one who takes all his attention towards the energy plexus in the body becomes free from worldly worries.
  7. What is that bothers us? It is the feverishness in us that bothers us. The want of something more bothers us.
  8. It is surprising that we live with our body throughout our life but we never take attention to our own body.
  9. This body is wonderful. It is like Mega city. Crores of bacteria lives in our body. Some are friendly while some are unfriendly. Intestine alone has nearly 50,000 bacteria in it. There are 72,000 veins or highways running in our body. It’s all beautiful to observe it.
  10. The soul is also called Purush. The one who lives in Town. There is no gender discrimination over here.
  11. There are many energy plexus in our body out of those 7 are main.
    #Muladhar Chakra (Bottom of Spine) – At this Chakra either Consciousness dawns or Inertia dawns.
    #Swadisthan Chakra (Genital region) – At this Chakra energy is either in the form of Sex or Creativity.
    #Nabhi Chakra (Navel region) – At this Chakra energy is expressed in four forms Jealousy – Generosity. Contentment and Greed.
    #Hriday Chakra (Beside Heart) – At this Chakra energy is expressed in three forms Animosity – Love and Fear.
    #Vishuddhi Chakra (Throat Chakra) – At this Chakra energy is expressed in two forms Gratefulness and Sadness.
    #Agya Chakra (Between Two Eyes) – At this Chakra energy is expressed in two forms Awareness and Anger.
    #Sahasrara Chakra (Top of Head) – At this Chakra energy is expressed only in the form of Happiness and Celebration.
  12. When you observe this journey from bottom to top then you come back to source from outer world where there is only happiness and celebration.
  13. All these sutras though they are small but are very important. If you even pick up any one sutra and understand it. It’s enough to move ahead.
  14. That Innocence will dawn in you thereafter. Thus Lord Shiva is called Bholenath. The Lord of Innocence.

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Art of Living Recipes, Art of Living Wisdom, Others.

Art of Living Bloggers wish India a very Happy Independence Day. On our 66th Indpendence Day, let us pay our tribute to the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives to win freedom for One billion Indians. Today let us renew our commitment to our motherland to reclaim its lost glory from the jaws of corruption and apathy.

Gurudev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living has said, “India can be proud of seven things and showcase them to the World – Food, Tourism, Clothing, Music & Dance, Yoga & Spirituality, Ayurveda and IT.” (Watch Video) Nowhere else in the World is such richness found. These are the things that we need to put our attention to boost our economy and the image of our country.

 The beautiful tricolor of India being hoisted this morning at Art of Living International Centre. 

Let the spirit of the tricolour paint our lives with courage and sacrifice (saffron), truth and purity (white), peace and prosperity (green) and righteousness (Dharma).

Here are two recipes make your dining table tri-coloured!

Tri-Colour Idly
Idly mix/batter – 4 cups
Carrot – 3 cups
Spinach(Palak/Cheera) – 3 cups
Salt – As required


1) For preparing tri colour idly, cook carrots and grind it to a paste without water. Pour it in a bowl and keep it aside.

2) Steam the spinach and blend it with very little water. Keep it aside.

3) Take a spoon full of the idly batter and pour it in the carrot mixture with salt. Mix well and keep it aside.

4) Take another spoon full of the idly batter and pour it in the spinach mixture with salt. Mix well and keep it aside.

5) Spoon a little idly batter into the idly mould. Put a little spinach mixture in the centre of the idly batter.

6) Take another spoon of the carrot mixture and put it in the centre of the spinach mixture.(Do not put too much of the spinach and carrot mixture. The tri colours should be seen) 

7) Steam it till cooked.

8) Tri colour idly`s are ready. Serve with chutney.

Tri color pudding

For Green Color
Avocado, ripe-1
Pistachios, shelled-1/4 cup
Milk- 1 1/2 cups
Condensed milk- 4tbsp or according to your needs
Agar-Agar strands- 6gm

Preparation:
Place agar-agar strands in 3tbsp water and heat it by constantly stirring to dissolve in water. Strain it to remove any tiny strands present in it.
Blend avocado and pistachios into a fine paste by adding little water to it.
In a saucepan, heat milk and condensed milk.
When it comes to a boil add the dissolved agar-agar and combine well.
Remove from the flame and when it is slightly cooled, add the avocado-pistachios puree and combine well.

Pour this mixture into a cake pan, dessert bowl or ramekin, after it cools down refrigerate to set.

For White Color
Apple-2
Almonds-1/4 cup
Milk-1 1/2 cups
Vanilla extract- 1tsp
Condensed milk-4 tbsp or according to your needs
Agar-agar strands-6gm

Preparation:
Place agar-agar strands in 3tbsp water and heat it by constantly stirring to dissolve in water. Strain it to remove any tiny strands present in it.
Blend apple and almonds together into a fine paste by adding little water.
In a saucepan, heat the milk along with condensed milk and vanilla extract.
When the milk comes to a boil, add the melted agar-agar to it and combine well.
Remove from the flame and when it’s slightly cooled, add apple-almond puree to it and combine well.
Slowly pour this mixture on top of the green pudding that has already been set in the refrigerator.

Let it cool and place in the refrigerator for further setting.

For Orange Color
Cantaloupe juice or Carrot juice -1 1/2 cups
Milk- 1/2 cup
Condensed milk- 4tbsp
Agar-agar strands- 6gm

Preparation:
Place agar-agar strands in 3tbsp water and heat it by constantly stirring to dissolve in water. Strain it to remove any tiny strands present in it.
Blend fresh cantaloupe and strain it to get the juice out of it and keep aside.
Heat milk along with condensed milk.
When the milk comes to a boil, add dissolved agar-agar and mix well.
Remove from the flame, let cool slightly and add the cantaloupe juice to this.

Pour this mixture on top of the white pudding that has already been set in the refrigerator.
Again, keep this in the refrigerator for further setting.
After the pudding has set well, cut into different shapes and serve.
Happy Independence Day 🙂

Find here more Art of Living Vegetarian Delights

Art of Living Stories, Art of Living Wisdom, Others.

Sharing this truly wonderful story sent to me by an Art of Living volunteer on e-mail:

On 13th April 1971 Shri Sadhan Chandra Mistry, aged 35 years a vegetable vendor in the obscure village of Hanspukur, District South 24-Parganas, West Bengal, died of a very common and minor ailment, only because he could not get access to any medical attention whatsoever.

He left behind his illiterate wife Subhasini (23 years then) with two sons and two daughters four to eight years in age. Naturally, the family plunged into utter poverty and Subhasini was forced out of her home within one month of her husband’s death, to sell vegetables in that hamlet market. That day, while she sat under the scorching sun selling vegetables and worrying about her children, she took a vow that one day she will build a hospital in that very village so that no poor villager would die for want of medical attention.

Her fellow vendors and every person who heard of her vow laughed and made fun of her. How can she build a hospital, they jeered, when she cannot even mend her own thatched hut? She had to feed a family of five and marry two daughters. The village elders concluded her vow was all humbug and pure day dreaming out of having lost her mind.

However, day in and out, Subhasini continued selling vegetables silently and looked after her children never allowing the fire in her frail body to douse even for a moment. After persevering for twenty full years, ultimately she could start a clinic at her home for poor people. She managed to coax a doctor into coming to her village every week. And week after week, while tens of poor patients got medical attention from this lone clinic in the region, Subhasini became the most popular household name in her village. Now her fellow vendors and all others started respecting her. That was enough of a support for her.

In the meantime, her children grew up. The two daughters were married off. The eldest son chose to be a labourer in the farm. Her other son, the youngest of the lot, Ajoy Mistry was chosen by Subhasini to carry on her mission. He successfully completed his secondary education and passed the All India Medical Entrance Test. Aided by the German Scholarship, he joined Calcutta Medical College where he completed his medical course. He worked hard as he studied, ran around from friends to well wishers to any person/organization he had access and managed to raise Rs.50,000 for his mothers mission.

In 1993, Ajoy Mistry authored the trust deed of Humanity Trust with his mother Subhasini Mistry as the co-founder trustee. On 5th February 1995, the foundation stone for the Hospital was laid and on 9th March 1996, the Humanity Hospital was inaugurated and opened to public. The Hospital is a testimony of the will and spirit of a woman who defied social norms and a long series of obstacles to establish the first hospital in her backward village. Within one year, the trust could raise ten times the initial money to complete the first structure of the hospital. Soon, more donations followed and today, Subhasini Mistry can say with pride that she has fulfilled her pledge made to her husband two and half decades earlier.

Humanity Hospital is certified and registered as a Hospital under the West Bengal Clinical Establishment Act. of 1950, managed by Humanity Trust formed on 4th March 1993. In the year 2000, Subhasini Mistry and Ajoy Mistry were honoured and named as the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary International, in appreciation of their service to humanity and poor people in particular. Today, despite the financial crunch to meet recurring expenses, the Hospital provides best services to poor and underprivileged sections of the society.

Subhasini Mistry still sells vegetables in Kolkata market to sustain her family.

Art of Living Wisdom, Yoga and Meditation.

When I decided to do the Art of Living course more than  ten years back, I wasn’t looking for any spectacular transformation/miracle to happen overnight. And it didn’t.

But what did happen was the continuous practice or Sadhana and the gradual transformation – in all aspects of life – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.

Having attended numerous “Personality Development & Public Speaking” workshops, I was obviously cynical about how different this Art of living course would be – after all they also promised same things – confidence, self-motivation, stress management, pep talks(knowledge), etc.

I remember, as a gawky rebellious teenager enrolling for theArt of Livingcourse – my parents were very very hopeful – they thought finally I was going to sober down.. Did I ? Well, that’s for another post 😉

But when I came back from the course that evening, I vividly remember that I was floating somewhere. My parents had this doubtful look on their face – “err…”  😉

Most of you would recall your 1st experience of The Sudarshan Kriya – that powerful breathing technique which works on your 7 levels of existence.. It was addictive, mind-blowing (literally!), epitome of peace experienced. I was not sure which ‘Aandhi’ had hit me but I was smiling ear to ear J I knew my life had changed.

And what remained with me was this “experience” – of The Sudarshan Kriya. What brought me back again and again to the various higher level courses was also just just that – “the experience”.

I realized this was it!

Reminds of Buddha’s four easy steps to enlightenment:

Kayanupassana, Vednanupassana, Chittanupassana and Dhammanupassana.

Observe the body, the sensations, the flow of mind and nature of truth.

Buddha’s disciples were intellectual prosperous people. (no, am not making any comparisons here 😉

That’s why he never spoke about topics like – ‘God’, ‘where does the Atman go after death’, ‘beginning of the universe’ & such subjects. He kept it simple and at the experiential level.

The above four steps towards ‘Nirvana’ come as one’s own experience – through Sadhana.

He is stressing on the personal experience. When we move beyond the intellectual understanding of things , into the “experiential” understanding, a whole new world opens up.

All the “Personality Development Workshops” had told me to overcome lethargy, be confident and not to get angry. But nobody had ever told me, HOW?

Having crossed 84 lakh births and finally taken a human form, I firmly believe it would be a waste if you cannot experience the Sudarshan Kriya in your lifetime J

In glory of my Gurudev, HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, who is the grace behind the experience.

Guru of Joy!!!

The author – Deepika also blogs at http://dimpsdawns.blogspot.com She would like to know all your experiences – of the 1st Sudarshan Kriya J Don’t forget to leave the comment.