Art of Living Wisdom, Yoga and Meditation.

A sincere seeker rues the paucity of wise men who can purvey wisdom in a glut of of storytellers and preachers.

By M Rajaque Rahman

There is a crisis of wisdom in the world today. Information is available in abundance. Knowledge is almost everywhere, but wisdom is very rarely seen. Sacred scriptures, be it the Bhagawad Gita or the Quran or the Bible, have always been available in exactly the same form they were revealed.

Art of Living wisdom

But where are the signs of divine guidance? There is no paucity of wisdom, but there is an acute scarcity of wise men who can purvey it. We have a glut of storytellers and preachers but not even a stream of knowers of wisdom. Translators are a plenty because translation calls only for a command over language. Interpretation is hard to deliver for it calls for a mastery over the heart. The problem is that the world of today takes these translators for interpreters who know the heart of the matter.

The matter is further compounded by the irony that most of the scriptures are written in languages which have become almost alien. There are a very few pundits who know Sanskrit in its divine avatar. There are very few who know Arabic with all its intricacies and the grammar.


To the true pundit, Aum isn’t a mere word; it is the sacred sound to address the Divine in its totality. To the true Aalim, Alif isn’t just the first alphabet of Arabic language, but the divine symbol that proclaims oneness of God. To the true priest, the Holy Spirit is not in the wine that is offered at the altar. To them, these signs, sounds and the spirit give the power to totally align with that one Truth. Not just themselves, but also those who put their faith on them.

The sad reality is that their tribe is almost extinct from every corner of the world. That explains why organized religions have become so maligned today. Take the case of Islam. The religion whose literal meaning is peace is today loosely identified with terrorism and violence, prompting many to wonder whether Islam is a failed religion. To me, it’s a clear case of its self-proclaimed protagonists failing the religion. They have interpreted every Quranic word revealed to invoke love and devotion for God into scary signs of impending severe punishments. Some go to the extent of making Allah appear like a manipulator whose only way is the carrot and stick. Their gross outlook has ensured that the Muslim population is denied of practices that could take them to the subtle world.

The problem is compounded in the Subcontinent for whom Arabic is an alien language. To truly understand the Quran and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet), they need scholars who can interpret the essence. But they often end up getting convincing translators.

friday prayer

Recently, I was at a Friday prayer somewhere in Assam. A young, suave and charming mullah who fitted the bill of a modern-day Islamic evangelist was delivering his commentary quoting the Quranic verses “When heaven is rent asunder” and “When earth is shaken with a mighty shaking.” His aim was to scare the gathering to pious actions before the tremor struck and it’s too late. It was plain and literal translation of the verses. He made no mention of the inward interpretation of the verses which sees this rent and tremor as the pleasures and pains that one’s soul goes through every moment. The harm in this kind of myopic interpretations is that they deny the majority in the Muslim world from understanding and attending to the mechanics of the soul and healing them to help it connect with its Creator.

Sadly, this crisis of wisdom is not confined to one particular religion or other. All the mainstream religions of today are afflicted by this. Hinduism, whose essence is in one consciousness permeating everything, is today seen as a religion of idolaters. More than stereotyping by the people of other faiths, it’s the shallow understanding of the religion by Hindus themselves which is responsible for this branding.

hindu worship

Hardly any pundit explains the formless essence behind the forms they worship. Even fewer understand that the multiple forms are just a variable manifestation of one Brahman. The ultimate Divine proclamation “Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma” has become just another topic for spiritual discourses. There is a definite dilution of the spiritual essence of Hinduism. To very few, does Ram mean the “light within me”. Not many understand that meditation and mental puja is the highest form of devotion. The public don’t know the rich significance behind a yagna. I have been told that it’s quite common these days that ignorant pundits chant funeral mantras at wedding and vice versa.

sri sri ravi shankar-rumi

Ironically, those who swear by the essence are almost immediately elevated to the ranks of spiritual leaders. No one calls a Sri Sri Ravi Shankar a Hindu scholar without an ulterior motive of making him look like communal!! And for that matter, nobody calls a Rumi a Muslim mullah.

The biggest collateral damage of this vacuum in wisdom is to the religions and their propounders. It makes them look small and mean. For example, the myopic interpretation of the Biblical statement ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’ that equates Jesus with the physical body that was symbolically crucified on the cross makes the messiah look like a partial mortal who discriminated among people.

The vision to see the all-compassing presence of Jesus beyond the physical body is missing. Because of this myopic understanding, we often hear Fathers proclaiming that God will heal only if one embraces Christianity. I am sure that Jesus, the Son of God, never had such a limited vision of his father.

jesus blessing

During my travels in tribal-dominated areas where a large number of people from indigenous faiths are converting to Christianity, I often come across priests who talk about how Jesus will withhold his blessings from those who commingle or eat together with people of other faiths. It’s blasphemous to cast Jesus, who is an epitome of love, in such demeaning character. Unfortunately, the church of today lacks the men of wisdom who can denounce this and uphold the magnanimity of Jesus and Christianity. It appears nobody is listening to Lord Jesus’ last word — “Me and my father are One.” wisdom-spiritual guide

The time has come to make wisdom prevail. What the world needs today is men of depth who can unveil the Spirit without the limited medium of religion. Surely, the paths to God are many. However, it’s so only till the junction of religions. Beyond that, it’s one seamless track wide enough to take the whole of the humanity to the ultimate station. But who will guide us in crossing that junction? I have found my guide. Have you?

For a detailed curriculum vitae of a reliable guide who surely knows the way, watch this space!!  

Art of Living Wisdom.

In the beginning of twentieth century, Neils Bohr conceived the first quantum mechanical model of the atom-which could explain why there are distinct colors in star lights for example. Another giant who found out the nature of electrons and the principle that no two electrons can be in the same quantum state-was Wolfgang Pauli. His principle made it possible for Bohr to explain the placement of the chemical elements in periodic table!

Neils Bohr and Wolfgang Pauli

 Thirty years later, Pauli along with Heisenberg were in the lounge with Bohr, wanting his opinion on their theory about subnuclear particles.

Bohr told them-“Your theory is crazy. The question is- is it crazy enough to be true?!”

A few hundred years before Bohr, Galileo extended our eyes to enable us to see the moons of Jupiter. Graham Bell extended our powers of speech and hearing to be able to hear and speak out to unseen distances. Wright brothers extended our limbs into the wings of flight. Today we have devices that can fit hundreds of microchips in the space of a fingernail, beyond the reach of even the finest human artisan.

We spend so many years learning just the basics about these upgrades of our external senses. But neither at home nor at school are we taught the technology, the science, the art that can extend our internal senses – how to keep the mind free, intellect keen-free from boredom and memory free from negativity.

 sri sri ravi shankar young-art of living blog

A child prodigy in the then recently free India, was all set to fill this vital gap, said the visionaries who met him.  His friends considered him a little crazy, owing to his disinterest in football and his phenomenal powers of meditative absorption and focus. As he grew up, he travelled the world, revered as a learned scholar even in his teens.

The child prodigy had a theory. His theory was that “Violence ends where love begins. And love is not an emotion, it is the very core of our existence.”

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar young art of living blog

And then one fine day, in somewhat similar circumstance as the Buddha, he ended ten days of silent meditation and started teaching techniques that were so powerful that in the years to come it would turn disinterest into dynamism, hopelessness into undying gush of enthusiasm, victims of trauma into leaders of service, even die-hard terrorists into passionate proponents of alcohol and tobacco de-addiction and non-violence, over and over again!

 The revolution has started, three decades now!  Right around the time when he started teaching, the President of India had honored the boy who was then in his twenties, with Yoga Shiromani-the highest honor awarded to the finest of the Yogis of India. The prodigy has since been nominated for Nobel peace prize three times, since his programs have even been credited with stopping wars and have inspired millions to take responsibility for the world at all levels from tiny to mighty…


That prodigy is Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his contribution- technology that upgrades the internal senses is called Sudarshan Kriya. Two hundred years ago, we could not imagine we would be able to see and hear each other across the globe and reach there within a matter of few hours. Perhaps, two hundred years later the world owing to wide dissemination of this internal technology will be such that people will be masters of their mind, with a body free from disease, a life free from stress, living in a society free from violence. Imagine how the people who used the first telephones, first light bulbs might have felt-they were a part of a new world view and perhaps they could not have imagined today’s world! At first only a few people had telephones, then a few more -the rise was slow-until ten years ago-when the tipping point came.

 UPLOADING  1 / 1 – Sri-Sri-Ravi… society.jpg ATTACHMENT DETAILS  Sri-Sri-Ravi-Shankar-launches-non violence movement for better society

We are a part of this slope toward the tipping point! It is already happening! If you think like I used to-that it is just plain crazy to dream of creating a society free from stress, violence, corruption, animosity, war… you deserve giving a fair shot to the wisdom and techniques of Sri Sri.

And one day you may remember the great words of  Niels Bohr, “…it is not only crazy, but crazy enough to come true”!!!

Art of Living Stories.

Expression can be flawed, not Love

During my childhood, I used to never like my father for many reasons. He was a perfectionist and would find faults in everything I did. He used to scold me a lot and I was always afraid of him.

father-scolding-son- Art of Living

We did not really get to spend much time with our father. By the time we used to wake up in the morning he would have gone to work and mostly we would be asleep before he would return home.

After my 5th std, my parents decided to settle in my native village and so we shifted everything from Chennai to my house in the village.  It so happened that I could not get admission in the village school due to some issues with the certificate.  So I had to return back with my father to Chennai and live with him for a few weeks.  I was not so comfortable.

father-and-son Art of Living Blog


In the first few days, father tried to balance his work and taking caring of me which seemed very difficult.  So he decided to drop me in my uncle’s house.  I had a good time there for two weeks – movies, ice creams, playing with cousins etc. On a Sunday father came to see me and told my uncle that he will take me home for that evening and drop me back next evening.  The moment we left their house my father held me closely and gave a tight hug.

This was the first time he had done something like this..  Something happened to me.  He was moody in the bus and the moment we entered the house he broke down with tears and was crying like a child.  He kept asking me , “what will you have. Horlicks?  Milk? Shall I buy something for you?…”  He was caring in all ways possible with tears in his eyes. I also cried for a long time.  Oh Dad!   Where was this Dad of mine all these days ?  I gave him a big hug and did not want to leave him anymore in this life time.

Recently, I came to know how he had to carry me on a rainy day to the doctor in late night with tears in his eyes. He used to restrict himself to only drinking water whenever he was thirsty to save every penny for his kids.

I have only seen his expressions and flaws in them.  In the process, I missed the heart that:
Did not save anything for himself but gave everything to his family
That worked this whole life for his family
That silently sacrificed everything for the comfort of his children
That silently cried in front of God and saved a brave face to show to his family
That never awaits any appreciation or favors or credits even now

Oh God never ever I should miss to see those hearts
that loved me and love me ….

father and son - Art of Living blog

My Dad
A Silent Performer,
A Perfectionist,
A Sincere and Dedicated Warrior
A Committed human being,
A Brave and Big Hearted Man,
A  Disciplined Role Model (No Bad Habits)…..

Words are not enough to express my gratitude to him.