Art of Living News, Art of Living Stories.

After the inauguration of the Vishalakshi Mantap in 2003 and Art of Living Silver Jubilee Celebrations in 2006, the Maha Shivratri 2013 is slated to be a momentous thrust towards the booming of a new spiritual renaissance for the well being of the world.

Apart from Rudra Puja, Live Sudarshan Kriya and Maha Rudra Yagya, in presence of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar the 2013 Maha Shivratri Celebrations at Art of Living International Ashram, will be marked by two extraordinary and historic events.

It will be the time, when thousands of Art of Living teachers will be given the experience of the powerful “Shakti Kriya” directly by Sri Sri. For many of us who have wondered as to how it felt to learn Sudarshan Kriya directly from Gurudev in the early days of the Art of Living, this is the chance to experience the big leap with the Master.

 However, amid the animated din of preparations for the Grand Shivratri Celebrations with Sri Sri and Shakti Kriya, one can almost miss the quiet revolution in the making – The grand Guru Paduka Vanam and the inauguration of Phase I completion.

The Master’s Touch: The Making of the Guru Paduka Vanam


The Guru Paduka Vanam is a wonder of modern times, recreating the acropolis of ancient Greece. It is a rock-cut open amphitheatre with a seating capacity for 200,000 people, in the shape of “padukas”. The Phase I of the project will be ready to host a historic celebration on the auspicious day of Maha Shivratri.

A Labour of Love : The Making of the Guru Paduka Vanam

The Phase 1 of Guru Paduka Vanam will mark its historic completion by honouring the Divine congregation of 252 Gram Devatas on the evening of March 10th, 2013.

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Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar explains that though the ancient Indian tradition believes in One transcendental Divinity, the Divinity is worshipped in the subtle world through various forms of Devis and Devas. Through the Ishta Devata, the Devata of one’s liking, one establishes a personal connection with the Divine, the family connects through the Kul Devta, the village has the Gram Devta, the town / city has Nagara Devta and above them come the Kshetrapal over seen by Lok devata. And then we have  Vishwanath the lord of the Universe. This is similar to the order of governance in the physical world where we have the Gram Panchayat at village level, Jila Parishad at district level, Legislative Assemblies at state level and Parliament at the National level.

Traditionally, every village in India has its own Gram Devata worshipped by all the villagers irrespective of religion and caste. The Gram Devata is the complete care taker of a village, guarding the community from all kinds of dangers and calamities. The Gram Devata is worshipped when the villagers face a trouble or epidemic and also when the village has a good harvest. It is customary to present the first invitation to Gram Devata and seek blessings on occasions of weddings, thread ceremony or birth of a new baby.

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With the spread of cities and disappearance of villages, the tradition of worshipping and honouring Gram Devata is waning. The coming together of 252 Gram Devatas at Guru Paduka Vanam on Shivratri will be a first ever congregation of its kind in South India.

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Every Gram Devata will be bedecked royally and carried in palanquins in grand processions from their respective villages. 252 processions comprising 5000 people will reach Guru Paduka Vanam where all the Gram Devatas will be honoured in the presence of Sri Sri. It is for the first time that Gram Devatas, who generally bless devotees in their respective villages, are coming to Ashram to bless everyone else.

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Most of the Gram Devatas, being manifestations of Shakti, are also called Shakti Devatas. The 18 main Devatas of Bangalore City will be seated in the front of the Divine Assembly. Needless to say, this “Meeting of Gods” on the auspicious day of Shivratri Celebrations, is a grand blessing of unfathomable spiritual energy and significance.

Those who are unable to make it to Art of Living Bangalore Ashram on Maha Shivratri can tune into Shraddha Channel to watch the live Telecast from 8pm to 11pm on 10th March.

This is just the beginning. The Art of Living teachers, volunteers and Apex members of Karnataka have decided to adopt these 252 villages and work for their upliftment. The team also plans to host a congregation of 1008 Devatas on May 13th in presence of Sri Sri and create a spiritual reawakening in rural Karnataka


Guru Paduka Vanam has just begun to take shape and it has already started creating history. Wonder what it will bring in the wake of full completion! Any guesses?

Readers who liked this, also read  Decoding Art of Living Navratri

Art of Living Recipes.

The cheerful season of Vasant comes as a relief after the cold winds of Shishir leave the body stiff. Cool mornings and warm afternoons of Vasant open up our limbs ecstatically. But, the fluctuating weather between the end of winter and onset of summer can also affect our bodies. With the change of weather our food and routine should also be in tune to meet the changing conditions.

The type of food eaten in winter produces kapha. This stored kapha begins to melt and dilute in the sunshine of the changed weather causing health problems, obstructing the tubes. When we look at the Holi, the chief festival of Vasant, we realize there is a beautiful purpose to it. During Holi, bonfires are lit and coconuts, tender mango and neem flower stalks are thrown into the bonfire. The smoke emitted from the burning of these plants burns up our kapha on one hand, and on the other, the aromatic steam which spreads in the atmosphere, prevents the new diseases borne out of the rising pitta.

It is customary during the Holi festival to throw colours and coloured water at one another. Earlier, the only the colour used was that of boiled Kesuda (flowers of Palasha tree) along with dried Abil and Gulal powders. Kesuda and Mogra flowers are coolants that protect against heat and sunshine. This custom is meant to check our body constituents from being over heated in summer. Babies are also bathed with Kesuda water – it makes their skins delicate, soft and cool, preventing boils and eruptions.

The diet during Holi festival days is. roasted gram, jawari pops (Sorghum ) dried fruits like dates, cereals are taken.This diet has the ability to dry up kapha,

Another special day marked by celebration during this season is Amalaki Ekadashi. Amalaki means Amla. On this day the Amla fruit and plant is worshipped – extolling its values and benefits. Amla is a rich source of Vitamin C. Ancient people have prescribed taking of only amla juice on the eleventh day of Phagan.

Amla shields the blood against the direct effect of the heat of summer. Amlas are found in abundance in the beginning of Vasant and ripen only after winter, Thus, Amla is an important medicine of Vasant. Our ancestors have far -sightedly given it an important place in the celebration of festivals in this season for the protection of public health.

RECIPES FOR THE SEASON

Ratalu Chat (Kand)
Ingredients
Purpal Yam (Ratalu) or sweet potatoes 1 1/2 cup
Roasted Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Rock Salt 1/2 tsp
Black salt 1 tsp
Dry mango powder or lemon juice 1 tsp
Black pepper powder 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1/2 tsp

Art of Livig Blog ratalu chat

Method:
Peel Yam and chop it into small pieces sprinkle some salt and steam it for 10 – 15 minutes
Mix all the spices. In apan heat Cow’s ghee add mixed spices and saute it for half a minute and add steamed Yam cook for 1 minute and turn off the gas. Serve it.
Note: Instead of Dry mango powder if you use lemon juice add it after turning off the gas.

Veggie Muthia (Dumplings)

Ingredients
Jowar Flour – 1/2 cup
Grated Bottle gourd or pumpkin – 1/2 cup
Green chillies – 3/4 cup
Ginger – 1/2 tsp
Rock Salt – 1 tsp or as per taste
Fresh coriander
Castor oil

Seasoning
Sesame seed Oil
Mustard Seeds
Sesame seeds

Art of Livig Blog dudhia-chat

Method:
In a plate take Jowar flour and mix castor oil.
Add bottle gourd, green chilies, ginger, Fresh coriander to the flour, add water to make a soft dough.
Make big balls and steam the muthia for 15- 20 minutes,cut it into small pieces.
In a pan heat oil add mustard seeds after it crackles add sesame seeds and turn off the gas
Sprinkle the seasoning on muthia and garnish it with fresh coriander

Moong Chilla

Ingredients
Yellow Moong dal – 80 gms
Black eye Kidaney beans or Chana dal – 20 gms
Fresh coriander – 1 tbsp
Tomatoes – 1 whole
Green chilies – 1 whole
Ginger – 1/2 tsp
Rock salt – 1 tsp or as per taste

Method:
Sock moong dal and black eye kideney beans for 4-5 hours.
Grind both the socked dal into fine batter like dosa batter.
Finely chopped Fresh coriander,tomatoes,green chilies and grate ginger.
Mix all the ingredients and make chilla(Dosa).
Serve with chutney.

More Lip smacking Vegetarian Recipes….

Art of Living Wisdom, Gurus, Saints & Sages.

Recently in a satsang at the Art Of Living International Ashram in Bangalore, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji said, “Power is poison for the one who uses it for personal gain.” Spiritual guidance is so important for all, but more so for people who are entrusted with power. When one expands his/her awareness and sees life from a broader perspective,  dispassion naturally arises and power can be used constructively to serve society.

Sri Sri in satsang

The Spiritual Guru takes on the great responsibility of guiding the disciple on the path of spiritual progress. The disciple sincerely follows the instructions of the Guru, with the faith that it is for his ultimate spiritual benefit. This beautiful story of the great Maratha King Shivaji Maharaj and his Spiritual Guru Ramdas Swami captures the essence of  Guru-Disciple relationship.

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One day Shivaji saw Samartha Guru Ramdas begging on the streets with a begging bowl. Shivaji was surprised and could not understand why his beloved Guru should beg when he himself had placed all his resources at the disposal of his Guru. Shivaji then called for his companion Balaji, wrote a small chit and asked him to give it to Guru Ramdas. Balaji took the chit to Guru Ramdas and placed it at his feet. The chit conveyed that Shivaji had made a gift of his whole kingdom to Guru Ramdas and he humbly solicited his Gurudev’s blessing.

Art of Living Blog -Shivaji-samarth-ramdas

The Guru smiled and told Balaji that it was alright.Next morning Guru Ramdas called on Shivaji and asked him what he proposed to do with himself as he had disposed of his kingdom. Shivaji prostrated himself before his Guru and said that he would be very happy and consider himself blessed if he should spend his life in his Gurudev’s service. Then Guru Ramdas said, “Take this begging bowl and let us go on our rounds.” So Ramdas and Shivaji went round Satara begging. The people reverently bowed before the pair and gave them alms.

Art of Living Blog -Shivaji-samarth-ramdas-1

When the pair returned, Shivaji smiled and asked his Guru, what he was going to do with him after reducing him to a beggar. Guru Ramdas smiled and told Shivaji to rule the kingdom in his Guru’s name, and to think that the kingdom did not belong to him, but treat it as a trust to be ruled justly and well before God. Shivaji promptly placed the sandals of his Guru on the throne, and since then, acted as regent of the kingdom and successfully ruled the kingdom with dispassion, under the orders and guidance of his Guru.

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Seva or selfless service is a great opportunity for one’s spiritual growth. The Art of Living has launched “Volunteer For a Better India”. It is a great forum for all of us from different walks of life who care for society, to get together in seva and give back to society under the guidance of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji.