Art of Living Experiences.

Bangalore, 4.9.2013. 22:39

I do not even know myself how it happened. I did not give it much thought or planning. I just knew I wanted to do it since the last years’ Vedic Wisdom program of Art of Living when I saw my friends’ photos giving blessing in villages. I just knew at once that I wanted to do it.

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Upon my arrival at the Art of Living Ashram, I got hold of information that a Swami who was doing volunteer work in villages needed help. I immediately applied, but somehow he went travelling and I did not see him again. Now, three and a half months later an opportunity revealed itself. An open invitation to go to Bangalore Slums appeared.

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A few of us sat in a small van, drove an hour and a half and arrived to a scenery of cramped houses and lots of people. The local volunteers received us with flower garlands and warm welcoming smiles. Soon enough we started walking and blessing people. I learned a few expressions in the local language, like ashirvaad (blessing) and akhe band (eyes closed). I spoke little and understood none but everything was conveyed through the blessings and smiles.

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Now, the same evening of the mentioned day, I was browsing through the photos wondering how is it possible! we came to a world where no one knew us, to people’s streets, houses and shops, extending our hands and offering blessings, touching people’s heads with unknown hands. Seemingly awkward for both parties, us – blessing hundreds; them – accepting foreigners to bless them. A sort of dream I have not known could became a reality.

 I soon felt they were a part of me, I felt them to be my friends, my family, my neighbours.  After having the experience themselves, mothers started bringing out children, boys pushing their shy friends to come forward.

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I knew (without really knowing) what to do, where to go, no words were necessary to understand who wanted to be blessed, who was a little afraid, who enjoyed, who wanted to share their experience. A man in front of a corner refreshments shop asked me in English, “what are these blessings you’re giving?” I replied that it’s an experience to be felt, so he whole-heartedy received one, acknowledged it was very pleasant  and then pushed many of his friends to come forward.

 

 If I ever had thought of this myself, I would have thought it impossible to feel such a connection with strangers, to be touching people’s heads and be exchanging the deepest sense of intimacy with so many, without even a single crumb of ego, or a sense of obstruction, without a sense of shyness.

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What is a blessing in Art of Living? It is a way Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar made possible for us to channelize love, healing. There is a simple procedure to become a blesser and receive the ability to transfer blessings. It is something that does not come from me neither is it done by me, it is a divine energy that goes through me and is there for others. Honestly, I prefer giving blessings to receiving them.

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Sri Sri says that the closer you come to the Divine, the more attractive it becomes, sweeter, more beautiful, and there is no end to it. Every time something amazing like this happens, it seems impossible that there can be more. But there is.

I am fooled each and every time I think that ‘this experience’ was the best. Words are so minuscule in the attempt to express what force, what love stands behind ‘all this’ what we think the world/life is. And it is all just by Gurudev’s grace. Only by Him new dimensions of gratitude keep arising, new dimensions of beauty, of fulfillment.

 

By Gordana Tihomirović

Art of Living Projects.

As I said in my earlier post, a woman’ s life is a music of many leaves. Unless orchestrated and fine tuned perfectly, her life can emanate discordant notes instead of soulful music.. In a talk about ‘role of a mother’, Sri Sri explains the concept of Ardhanarishwara.

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“Our ancient wisdom has given equal importance to both men and women. The real Shakti, power is in women. Men only utilizes and be a witness to that Shakti.” He goes on to say “women need not confine themselves to just care for home and hearth. They need to recognize the ‘ divine power’ inside them and take up leadership roles in the society. They need to meditate, be in knowledge and also study ‘ Puranas’ our ancient stories of wisdom and valour. The same needs to be inculcated in children too. If children grow up without listening to moral stories, they will suffer from anger and aggression as adults”

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Source: www.glasbergen.com

Before Art of Living came into my life, I taught in schools. During ‘Parent- Teacher’ meetings , I recommended telling bedtime stories to children instead of sending them to bed after watching television. I myself regularly put my daughter to bed after telling a moral story till she was 13 years old! These stories were handed down to me by my grandmother, an epitome of unconditional love, patience and tolerance.

Married at the age of 10, she came to know that my grandfather, 15 years her senior, was already in a relationship. At 11 years of age, one fine day she just packed her bag and boarded the bus to his town unheeding the pleas of her mother not to go where she was not welcome. Saving her marriage was uppermost in a 11 year old girl’ s mind and she went on to conquer the heart of my grandfather and bore 5 children for him. She would share her sad story with us but we could feel the love and care that was nurtured over the years with patience.

The sight of a 11 year old travelling to an unwelcome home still haunts me. But the total acceptance of the situation and action by her still leaves me baffled! How many girls today take such a step and fight their way to make a home?

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Harmony according to me is nothing but coming to terms with yourself, being at peace with yourself. The same energy gets reflected outside. This is possible with meditation and other spiritual practices complemented by introspection, swadhyaya. Learn the secret of harmony at the IInternational Women’s Conference 2014!!!

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Art of Living Projects.

A woman’s life is a music of many leaves. I have always loved being a woman. The word woman also contains man. Have you ever thought of it? Even I had not, till this moment. Wo  Man. Yes, we have the traits of both genders, perfectly balanced and utilized as the situation demands. Sthree shakti  has no measure to gauge. As Sri Sri says, all the important portfolios in God ‘s kingdom are given to women. Finance to goddess Lakshmi, education to Saraswathi and defence to Durga. Despite their powerful positions, the three goddesses exude gentleness, poise and beauty.

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A dialogue between Lord Shiva and Parvati after she takes Durga avatar and kills the demon Mahishasura comes to my mind. Mahishasura, a bane to the mankind is ordered to be slain by Devi Parvati  by none other than her husband, lord shiva. Parvati becomes pale at this assignment. Shiva asks why the otherwise cheerful Devi is dull and quiet. She shares her dilemma with her lord. “on one hand you order me to slay Mahishasura and on the other hand, the demon’ s wife, my staunch devotee , is praying to me to save her husband’s life. How do I decide what is the right thing to do?”

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Lord Shiva replied, “When there is a conflict between a situation and your emotions, you should always do what is ordained by dharma. The demon is a bane to the world. For the welfare of the world, you have to disregard your devotee’s prayers. That is your dharma” .Hearing this, Parvati relaxed completely. The next day she donned a fierce Durga avatar and takeing a lion as her vehicle, slayed demon Mahishasura with total conviction.

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After fulfilling her lord’ s bidding, Parvati entered her husband’ s premises with soft steps and an innocent smile! She catches Shiva staring at her with amusement and wonder. “what makes you stare at me like this my Lord? ” she asks  playfully. Shiva says “I can’t believe it Parvati. Just a while ago, you were fierce and dreadful and now you are feminine incarnated with no traces of fierceness. I am amazed!” .

Such is the power of a woman. In one of His talks, Sri Sri says, ” a woman should rebel against injustice. She should not take any nonsense lying down.At the same time , she should retain her delicate feminine qualities.”

Every woman has the inherent sense of the perfect balance between strength and fragility in their nature. That is what makes her beautiful inside out. That is what makes her a true woman of substance. That is what makes her evolve to perfection. Bring harmony into being.

Harmony is when you are in touch with your inner beauty. Rediscover your naturalness at the International Women’s Conference 2014!!!

 

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