Art of Living Stories.

It was the spring of 2006 in Chicago. I was in the office going about my usual work but was not at ease with myself. I knew something was wrong with my head. By afternoon the headache got worse and made me feel drowsy. I took a walk down to my apartment opposite to the office and went to the gym to lighten up. After about 5 min of cycling, I noticed my left eye getting blurred. My left ear hardly hArt of Living blog - brain haemorrhageeard anything. I collapsed and before I could realize I was being rushed to the emergency. The doctors said that it is a brain hemorrhage.

More diagnosis led the doctors to believe that the only way out was surgery. Three months in a foreign country, alone in the hospital led me to depression. My mother in India went into depression too. With no proper food for days she went around temples praying to God to get her son back safe and sound.

guru- Art of Living blog bangalore-airport-

After my surgeries I booked my tickets to Bangalore from Chicago. I landed in Bangalore with a huge sigh of relief. My brother and mother were in tears as they  saw me walking from the baggage claim of the airport. I was in tears too seeing my mother, her arms hugging me so tight saying she would never allow me to go away from her. We went home and my mother said she saw this man in white robes and beard landing in the same flight and walking past just few minutes ahead of me.

Art of Living Blog - guru - sri sri ravi shankar

She recollected it was Sri Sri Ravi Shankar whom she had seen many times in television. We didn’t know about Art of living then. She also said that Sri Sri looked at her for a while as he came out of the airport. I just ignored her and said it is not a big deal and people like Sri Sri keep travelling.

I did my first Part 1 a few months later. My headaches just disappeared after my first Sudarshan Kriya and miraculously I came out of depression. After many months, I recalled Gurudev  landing in the same flight. Gurudev had listened to my mother who was praying for months. He being on the same plane was no co-incidence.

guru of joy -art of living

I later recalled his gazing message to her “Look, I have brought your son safe and sound”. Tears started rolling down my cheeks in gratitude. They say once in a time your Guru will find you. I jumped out of joy that he had chosen me, given me a new life and given me this path of love and grace.

In Gratitude…


Art of Living Experiences, Art of Living Stories.

Monday, Jul 29, 2013, 10:41 IST | Agency: IANS

Shashank Paliwal, an electrical engineer from Dehradun, was frantically hunting for a job when the June disaster happened. He rushed to the hills after seeing the distraught crying on TVs.

As nature unleashed death and misery in Uttarakhand, scores of youths from across India rushed to the hill state. Some were linked to Art of Living. Their stories are inspiring, heartening. Risking their lives, they crossed mountains, dodged landslides and faced near-death situations to offer respite to the needy. What drove them? Who motivated them? Here are some insightful stories:

Art of Living in Uttarakhand

Shashank Paliwal, an electrical engineer from Dehradun, was frantically hunting for a job when the June disaster happened. He rushed to the hills after seeing the distraught crying on TVs. He reached Guptkashi with a team of volunteers and visited badly hit areas like Toshi and Badasu. There were over 90 casualties in Badasu village while entire families were wiped away in other areas. People were in shock. After hours of counselling, “we managed to break the ice and provide them ration, tents and other essentials”. Paliwal now wants to postpone his career plans. “Jobs will come and go but not always can you get an opportunity to do noble service.”

Art of Living in Uttarakhand-1

“For me, it was a spontaneous decision,” says Gujan Wadhwa, manager with TCS Faridabad. “I learnt that volunteers were required for odd jobs. I knew I had to be there and stepped out of my home, without the slightest hesitation.” Wadhwa travelled all alone to Shrinagar (not to be confused with Srinagar in the Kashmir Valley) and dug debris from roads. “Initially I did worry a little when I travelled through bad roads, in an unknown place that was surrounded by strangers. But slowly everything fell in place… I did not inform my home or office about the problems I faced. When you care for others, nature takes care of you.”

Most of the young volunteers are reluctant to return home. They want to stay for longer periods and help rehabilitate the ruined state. “We intend to stay for three years in these areas,” say Sanjay Walia, Vijay Soni and Parmananda Bahuguna in unison. “We cannot leave our job half-done.”

How do these youths go without food, water or bathing for days together? “Well, pizzas and pastas are passé now,” remarks Maninder Singh. “Forget eating or bathing, we want to work in the right spirit. It makes me cry when I see people plucking leaves from the jungle and munching them to satiate their hunger.”

Maninder Singh, a young engineering student from Punjab, trekked across the most dangerous jungles of Devalgaon village on mountain terrain. “We have been through places where tigers were lurking in the bushes. There were poisonous plants… We managed to bring relief to more than eight families and we are feeling content from within,” add Vasu and Harshit.

Sushant Singh from Chhattisgarh has been living in the most difficult conditions in Badasu. “But it doesn’t matter when I see people smiling after attending our camps and doing our stress-elimination programmes.”

Volunteers Ali, Rahul and Vasu walked 40 km from Rudraprayag to Guptkashi through rain and debris and almost lost their lives! Jitender, Amit, Naresh and others took the arduous climb to Kalimath mountains with backpacks of 35 kg relief material. Says Namita Nainani, a young Art of Living teacher from Delhi: “Come what may, we shall walk the extra mile and work towards reviving Uttarakhand.

Source: DNA

Related Links

Uttarakhand – Ministering to the distressed

Himalayan Tsunami was waiting to happen -1

Uttarakhand Crisis: A salute to humanness

Uttarakhand Calling

Art of Living Stories.

I was repeating my Waves of Happiness (also known as Art of Living Part 1 course) in Chicago during the winter of 2007. The teacher gave each course participant Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s picture with a message. I got a nice picture which said – “The only thing you must remember is how fortunate you are. When you forget this you become sad”. I was very happy to get that message with his beautiful picture.

art of living - refrigerated food

After my surgery for brain haemorrhage in Chicago, I started staying as a paying guest with a couple. The lady of the house used to cook food for me but very often she gave me stale food refrigerated for weeks. I was never used to having overnight food. This made me weak and frustrated. One fine day, when I could not stand it any longer, I just decided to move out of her house right that moment. It was after 8 in the night and I had to look for a room mate. I searched in the internet and got 2-3 contact numbers from the craigslist.

Art of Living -sri sri - luggage

I packed my luggage and dumped into the car. It was snowing like madman, high speed winds making it very difficult to drive. I drove for a while and decided to go and stay in Hotel for the next few days until I found a good roommate. Before reaching the Hotel, I decided to call the numbers. The first two numbers didn’t go through and the third number this guy answered my call and said he has a room available, he is a vegetarian and I could come and take a look.

Art of living - drive in snow

So, with an adventurous drive through the snow, my car finally reached his apartment. He led me to the room inside which was pitch dark and he apologetically switched on the lights. On the wall opposite to where I stood, I saw a familiar picture – It was Sri Sri’s picture which said “The only thing you must remember is how fortunate you are, when you forget this you become sad” – which was exactly the same picture I had got in the course a week ago.

Art of Living Sri Sri message

It so turned out that my room mate was an art of living devotee from my hometown Bangalore and the most amazing cook as a roomie. I thoroughly enjoyed the food he made for the rest of the time I stayed in Chicago.

Gurudev not only provided me with a shelter in that dark,windy, snowy night but also an excellent friend.I never imagined I would find a room so soon. What I got was beyond explanation. I was in tears when I saw the same picture of Guruev that night.

Gurudev is my shelter.

In Gratitude….
P S 

A birthday gift like never before 

The winter in Chicago got really harsh. Dark windy nights with snow storm made it very difficult to commute. It was my new Job so I decided to buy a car. For more than a month, I did research on the internet, went to automotive shops, consulted friends, but couldn’t find the car I was looking for.

art of living blog new car

One afternoon out of frustration I walked down to a car dealer and immediately purchased a car. After I came home, I looked at the price of the car on the internet blue book. Not surprisingly, the dealer had sold the car for 2000$ more than its actual price.

I was very disappointed at the thought of having been cheated and having paid way too much than its actual worth. This haunted me for days. About a week after, I got a mail from my previous employer that employees who had worked overtime in California will be paid the due. I received the payment and surprisingly the amount turned out to be exactly what I had spent for the car.

I got the car for no cost. This was during the month of Diwali festival – around my day of birth. I had never before received anything like this on my birthday:)

God is pouring on you every moment- The divine loves you so dearly.

In Gratitude…