About Art of Living, Art of Living Experiences, Yoga and Meditation.

Someone, in a random conversation about life, recently wrote to me on twitter asking how my activities and sadhana at Art Of Living were going on. I quipped “that’s pArt Of Living. Like BREATHING”.

This write-up is a ‘leap’ from now to then. The many in-betweens, you ask? That’s for later.

Pre-February 2005

Art Of LivingSri Sri Ravishankar – these two names rang a bell. Along with these I used to get flashing images of Richard Gere and Rhea Pillai. Why, you ask?

Because I read about them in association with Sri Sri Ravishankar and Art Of Living. And what a fancy name, I must say! Art. Beautiful. No?

Sometime in February – March

Bipin said he is planning to join Art Of Living. During the 5 days of the course period I saw a good many differences in him and for the good.

Sometime in March – April

I happened to meet Manjax (actually Manjita, I call her so simply because she calls me ‘Appax’), and then I met Geetha. Two different people from two entirely different circle of friends, and they were voicing out the same words, well almost, words of praise and excitement about Art Of Living. Manjax, though not a part of Art Of Living was vouching for it. Both of them, edging me to join Art Of Living, something Bipin was doing for quite sometime by now. So I finally decided to give it a ‘try’. ‘Just for the heck of it’. (mark my attitude). I wasn’t losing much of my money by paying a thousand bucks, money which was assured to be used for social projects.

My first Sudarshan Kriya, the experience and the after effects:

First they made us do ‘Disha Naman’. That is bowing down to the Gods who control the four directions – North, South, East, and West.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_LQeeRnMx8]

Maheshgiri-ji guiding Disha Pranam

And here I was saying to myself, “did they say God? D-uh…!” (mark my attitude). Bipin had said that it’s not any religious course… GOD. THE CONCEPT OF GOD. It had never seemed to take any firm root in my mind. It was beyond comprehension. (Little did I know then that I needed to open my heart as well. You have to understand how confused I was about religion and spirituality.) My concept of God was limited to The Sun God. Well okay, so, I bowed. So what! Every pore full of love for my loved ones. They are all God. No? Clever! Beat that! (mark my attitude). Then we did ‘Pranayama’, something we had learnt the previous day already. Then after, we did The Sudarshan Kriya‘SOHAM’. And oh my ‘God’!, ain’t I glad I did it… till date, that is, and till undated, I am sure. Guruji’s ethereal voice filling my mind. My heart. My soul.

We all never realized we sat through an hour and a half, for the whole process. We were asked to describe our experience doing our first Kriya. Then when it was my turn to talk, I was like, “experience? What experience? I don’t have a single thought in my mind, and the fact is that this is the only thought in my mind!” My answer was “I don’t know. I can’t think.” I was absolutely dazed. Transfixed. Mesmerised. Stupefied. Bedazzled. And, lastly, worried, wondering if ‘these people’ put a spell on me. Trying hard to get my senses back. I was spell-bound. Little did I know, then, that all the elderly course participants were striving for that. Little did I know, then, that the everyone was striving for that, craving for that. And it was so easy for me, …and I was worried about that! Silly me! (mark my attitude)

I do not know what power rode me back to my house. Little did I know, then, that I had found a home. I felt safe.

Post that day:

I never analysed the transformation in me, I don’t know why. Maybe because I never realized it until it dawned on me one fine day. And now, again, I still don’t have any words to explain the beauty of what dawned on me. In the ‘SUN’ I firmly believed, I was sun-bathing.

Reformation:

What? You may ask.

For one, ‘I used to be an ATHEIST’. My words need no reading in between lines for the ones even remotely connected with me. The other transformations, you ask? Later.

Now, I no more have flashing images of R Gere or R Pillai. The place is taken over by R Shankar. Sri Sri Ravishankar, and whenever I am hovered by his flashing image, you will find a thunderous smile flashing across my face.

My Gurudev! Ah! ….and as they say in Art Of LivingJOY GURUDEV!

P.S.: My journey between ‘My Guruji’ & ‘My Gurudev’, that too, later!

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About Art of Living.

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Art of Living Stories, Art of Living Wisdom.

Art of Living Cockroach

At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady.
She started screaming out of fear. With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach.

Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.

The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but …it landed on another lady in the group.

Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.

The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.
In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.

The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt.
When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior?

If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?
He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.

It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.

I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me.

It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.

More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.

Lessons learnt from the story: 
I understood, I should not react in life. 
I should always respond. 
The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded.

Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of, just and right to save a situation from going out of hand, to avoid cracks in relationship, to avoid taking decisions in anger, anxiety, stress or hurry.

Recd as a fwd e-mail by Art of Living Blogger Rajkumar Bhatnagar

Art of Living Review, Others.

Not everything is revealed to everybody! That’s why we say, Raaz Ki Baat Ko Raaz Hi Rehne De! Of course, a few (like AoL Bloggers) are blessed to have special entitlements to some of the sacred secrets! Hence, this rare nugget of wisdom is being shared only with the readers of this blog.

Here we go. Sh sh sh….

Art of Living secret

Recently a long-time The Art of Living enthusiast shared a secret given to him by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji . This incident had taken place a few years back, when Gurudev had emerged out of a period of voluntary Agyatvas. According to rules, a person in Agyatvas should not be in touch with people known to him nor should he be identified by anybody. So during Gurudev’s Agyatvas, no one knew where He was and what He was doing.

The AoL enthusiast was among the select few who got an opportunity to meet Gurudev soon after He emerged out of Agyatvas. Gurudev looked quite fit and seemed to have lost a couple of kilos. Our dear enthusiast, who had an impressive build, was struggling for years to get rid of extra kilos with gymming, treatments, dieting and unexplainable creative ways. He asked Gurudev about the secret of losing weight easily.

Gurudev replied that during the period of Agyatvas, he cooked his own food and his staple diet mainly consisted of one dish – Ragi Dosas. He was also kind enough to share His recipe for making delicious and nutritious Ragi dosas. Here is the Recipe:

Ragi Dosa - The Art of Living also promotes Ragi
Mix Ragi flour, salt, coriander leaves, green chillies. Add sufficient water to form a batter of thin pouring consistency. Set aside for four hours. Add finely chopped cucumber to the batter. Mix well.

The batter is ready. Make yummy dosas. Relish them hot.

Try them out and let us know of your experience. And of course, remember to tell us how many kilos you manage to shed.

PS: Here are some interesting facts about Ragi:

Ragi (Finger Millet), is a grain cultivated since ancient times in dry regions of Asia and Africa. It is considered one of the most nutritious cereals and is widely used in Southern Indian and Ethiopian dishes. Ragi is a rich source of Calcium, Iron, Protein, Fiber and other minerals.The cereal has low fat content and contains mainly unsaturated fat. The names of Ragi in other languages are Taidalu ( Telangana ), Kelvaragu, Aariyam (Tamil), Panjapulle (Malayalam), Maduva (in some parts of north India) and Nachani (Marathi). It is called Ragi in Kannada and Telugu.

Ragi can be enjoyed in different ways like Ragi Roti, Ragi Dosa,Ragi Porridge, Ragi Upma, Ragi Idli and Ragi Biscuits.

Art of Living Experiences.

Since this is a site for Art of Living bloggers. .. I will write my first ever blog on why did I follow the THE PATH !

This blog is nothing but the story of my life!

Just like most of us, I was born and brought up in normal circumstances … I didn’t do anything spectacular during my childhood days … I was an average child and only was good in few things that I was passionate about! I strived to be perfect in things that I would do (if I ever did them).  I was far from what I am today!

Me and My Family after Art of Living

Me with My Family – Hubby and In-Laws

I got married into a rich family.. having got married at a relatively young age, I didn’t know a wee bit as to how to handle all the demands of household, the in laws and the husband! I never felt I am up to the challenge of this demanding marriage.  The pressure grew only larger and larger and started to weigh me down.  A time came when I was diagnosed with so called DEPRESSION by eminent psychologists!

But I always had that passion to live and therefore I refused to give up.  I tried to seek help from everywhere … At an early age of 25 years, I visited psychologists, did Reiki, attended Satsangs and even did an Art of Living course!

That was it …

The Art of Living course turned out to be a turning point.

 It was only after this course I realised so many things … I HAD THAT URGE TO CHANGE … NOT OTHERS BUT MYSELF!

As I progressed, I did many other courses by Art of Living and when I did a DSN course, my life changed forever!  It gave me the platform that no one could ever give me before.  I realised that I have exceptional organisational skills …. I got Sewa projects like looking after some media work and organising medical camps in Nithari village (during the times of Pandher).

During Yogathon 2012 of The Art of Living

That’s Me organising Yogathon 2012

I could organise everything on just a short notice; be it sessions in schools or medical camps. My achievements included getting a Maulvi to attend the satsangs aimed at creating a One World Family!  These achievements gave me the much needed purpose of life and ignited the passion in me to live for others.  The spirit of doing something for the society became my passion!

I never looked back.  I changed, I grew, I learned to live my life!

Today I smile through almost all the situations and I am not concerned about my worth anymore!  Art of Living has convinced me of my abilities and the role that I can play for the betterment of this society, It may not be much… yet, I am ready to be that change which we all wants to see in our society.

I learned the ART OF LIVING….

Others.

A woman writes to the IT Technical support Guy :
Dear Tech Support,

Last year I upgraded from Boyfriend 5.0 to Husband 1.0 and I noticed a distinct slowdown in the overall system performance, particularly in the flower and jewellery applications, which operated flawlessly under Boyfriend 5.0.

In addition, Husband 1.0 uninstalled many other valuable programs, such as Romance 9.5 and Personal Attention 6.5, and then installed undesirable programs such as NEWS 5.0,MONEY 3.0 and CRICKET 4.1 .

Conversation 8.0 no longer runs, and Housecleaning 2.6 simply crashes the system.
Please note that I have tried running Nagging 5..3 to fix these problems, but to no avail.
What can I do?

Signed,……………………

Very soon the following Reply came from the IT support team :

DEAR Madam,

First, keep in mind, Boyfriend 5.0 is an Entertainment Package,
while Husband 1.0 is an operating system.

Please enter command: ithoughtyoulovedme. html and try to download
Tears 6.2 and do not forget to install the Guilt 3.0 update.

If that application works as designed, Husband1.0 should then automatically
run the applications Jewellery 2.0 and Flowers 3.5..

However, remember, overuse of the above application can cause
Husband 1.0 to default to Silence 2.5 or Beer 6.1.

Please note that Beer 6.1 is a very bad program that will download the Snoring Loudly Beta.

Whatever you do, DO NOT under any circumstances install
Mother-In-Law 1.0 (it runs a virus in the background that will eventually seize control of all your system resources.)

In addition, please do not attempt to reinstall the Boyfriend 5.0 program. These are unsupported applications and will crash
Husband 1.0.

In summary, Husband 1.0 is a great program, but it does have limited memory and cannot learn new applications quickly.
You might consider buying additional software to improve memory and performance. We recommend: Cooking 3.0 and Hot Looks 7.7.

Good Luck Madam!

IT SUPPORT DESK

Submitted by Art of Living Blogger, Rajkumar Bhatnagar

Art of Living Projects, Art of Living Wisdom.

Science and Spirituality are not two separate entities. They are two sides of the same coin says Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar ji (Can be followed on www.twitter.com/srisrispeaks).

SSIOC – Simple Solutions for Inner and Outer Climate Change is a yeomen project that has been initiated by Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Trust dedicated to tackle climate change with a spiritual perspective.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Simple Solutions for Inner and Outer Climate Change summit

It is always observed that whenever we are upset, we never keep our surroundings clean. Whereas, when we have a guest who is very close to our hearts at home, we keep our home very clean and tidy. This might be like any usual routine of our life, but it signifies how inner transformation is essential to impact our environment.

Lets take another example, in forests, which is a habitat of the animals which have inner purity, we cant find a single corpse lying around. The nature keeps its surroundings clean and tidy because the habitants of the forest are pure from within.

Off late, we have been spending millions of rupees to tackle the climate change problem by conducting innumerous summits and conferences. But ultimately all of them fail. When we ponder the reasons out, we can arrive at a conclusion that, it is because of the hot headed and narrow minded politicians. Politicians ultimately focus on political borders rather than focussing on the issue as a whole.

As our Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar says, climate has no political borders. A storm that originates in the South india ultimately strikes Orissa which is politically unrelated to the place of origin totally. Similarly the ill effects of the environmental pollution would also affect the places which are not connected to the site of the activity.

Simple Solutions for Inner and Outer Climate Change Summit by The Art of Living

We need to raise the level of sattva in our life and radiate positive energy so that we can keep our surroundings clean. If you visit the tribal villages of Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh you will be surprised to find that they maintain their localitiy so clean. This could be because their inner self is very clean and uncomplicated.

Whereas people who wield power have corrupt minds and an impure self hence create a havoc in both the country as well as in welfare schemes that contribute to the environmental ordinances.Instead, if all the citizens of our country do bring about a purity in personal and community life through sadhana, seva & satsang, we can achieve a cleaner and greener nation.

 With Love and Regards
Aravind Soundararajan

Art of Living Wisdom.

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

 ध्यानमूलं गुरुर्मूर्तिः पूजामूलं गुरुर्पदम् ।

मन्त्रमूलं गुरुर्वाक्यं मोक्षमूलं गुरूर्कृपा ॥

Dhyana Moolam Guru Murti, Puja Moolam Gurur Padam,
Mantra Moolam Gurur Vakyam, Moksha Moolam Guru Kripa

The very form of Guru is the root of Meditation, Guru’s feet, the root of worship. Guru’s words forms the root of Mantras and Grace of Guru the root of Liberation, says Sage Vyasa

Today, July 3rd 2012 is Purnima, the full-moon day in the month of Ashada, the fourth month in the traditional Lunar Hindu Calendar observed as Guru Purnima. This day is dedicated to Maharishi Ved Vyasa, who has rendered invaluable service to Humankind by writing down four Vedas, Eighteen Puranas, the Mahabharata and Bhagavata.

Guru Veda Vyasa

Sage Veda Vyasa
Photo Courtesy: www.sringeri.net

The Supreme knowledge that was being passed on orally from the memory of the great Masters was for the first time compiled and written down by Maharishi Ved Vyasa. He had retired to a secluded place, inaccessible even to his closest disciples, and entered into deepest possible state of meditation. From that space of consciousness, he wrote down the great teachings of the Saints of yesteryugas. After recording the Supreme Knowledge on Bhoja Patra (Birch Tree bark and leaves), Maharishi Ved Vyas emerged out and appeared to his disciples on this auspicious day of Ashada Purnima. Hence, this day is dedicated and celebrated by Spiritual Seekers as Vyasa Purnima.

The greatest form of gratitude any Sadhak (spiritual seeker) can offer to a Master is by constantly studying and practising the teachings of such enlightened souls.

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

His Holiness Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar ji Founder of The Art of Living Foundation says,

Guru Purnima is the day when the disciple wakes up in his fullness and in the wakefulness he can’t be but grateful. This gratitude is not of dwaita (you and me), but of advaita. It is not a river moving from somewhere to somewhere, but is the ocean moving within itself. So, gratefulness on Guru-Purnima symbolizes that fullness.

For a seeker, Guru Purnima is a day of significance, is a day of New Year. It is the day to review one’s progress on the spiritual path and renew one’s determination and focus on the goal, and to resolve what one wants to do in the coming year. As the full moon rises and sets, tears of gratitude arise and repose into the vastness of one’s own self.”

You can read more on this on the official HH Sri Sri ‘s blog page here :

As Saint Kabir says:

Guru dhobi Shisha kapada,sabuna sirjana hara;

surati sila para dhoikai, nikasai joti apara.

Master is the washer man, disciple the garment, and Creator Himself is the soap; when the clothes are beaten on the stone of divine reflection, they shine out bright and clean.

Sri Guru Gita describes Guru as follows

गुकारस्त्वन्धकारश्च रुकारस्तेज उच्यते । 

अज्ञानग्रासकं ब्रह्म गुरुरेव न संशयः ॥

Guru is that which leads from darkness to light represents Guru. Gu – Darkness and Ru = Light. Guru thus is one who dispels darkness of ignorance with luminescence of Knowledge.

Gu refers to ‘guna teetha’, which means ‘beyond attribute’, i.e with any Gunas (qualities, characteristics, attributes, tendencies or traits). A classic example for understanding this was given by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar.

Electricity when supplied to a fan results in breeze, when supplied to a motor results in rotation, when supplied to a bulb results in light, when provided to a stove results in heat and when provided to air-conditioner results in chillness. Can we now call electricity as breeze, heat, chillness or light? No way.

If you call Electricity as heat, the Refrigerator may not concur and if you call it light, the Fan may not concur. While Electricity is in all these appliances, the reverse is not true – the appliances are not in Electricity. It is the same with Guru tatva (Principle). It is present in all the attributes and yet is beyond the attributes – “Guna teeta”

Today is the day, when we express our gratitude to all the Masters of the past, present and the future ones – who walked this planet. Not Master in HIS physical form but the Guru Principle that transcends the form.

||Jai Gurudev||

 

Art of Living Wisdom.

An auspicious day, the Guru Purnima to pen down something from and about someone, around whom  life now revolves 🙂

My Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Guruji (HH Pujya Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar ji, Founder of Art of Living) ….

Gratitude is too small a word for the transformation the presence of a Master brings to life.. Just sharing a few words from Him….

He says:

Guru Purnima is called the day of the Master but it is actually the day of the Devotee. Guru Purnima is New Year for spiritual seeker. There are three types of people who come to the Master, the student, the disciple and the devotee.

– A student goes to a teacher and learns something, gets some information and then he walks out of the School.

– The disciple follows the example of the Master. But a disciple is with the Master for the sake of learning wisdom, for the sake of improving his life, for the sake of attaining enlightenment. He is trying to bring a transformation in his life.

– And then there is devotee. He is simply rejoicing in love. A devotee is not there even for wisdom. He has fallen in deep love with the Master, with the Infinity, with the God. He doesn’t care as to whether he gets enlightened or not. He doesn’t care as to whether he acquires wisdom or not. Every moment, he is immersed in Divine Love; that is enough for him or her. A devotee is very rare to find.

Students are in abundance, disciples are a few, but the devotees are rare.

Devotion is very beautiful. A student comes to a Master, Teacher, and Guru with tears in his eyes. There are so many problems, and when he leaves, he is carrying the same tears, but the quality of the tears is different, it is of gratitude. It is so beautiful to cry in love.

One, who has cried even once in love, knows the taste of it, of surrender and  devotion. The entire Creation rejoices it. The entire creation is longing for only one thing, the transformed tears, from salty tears to sweet tears.”

Tears of Gratitude…. Bliss and Blessings to all on this beautiful day… 🙂

PS: Today 3rd July is Guru Purnima.

Watch live webcast of Guru Purnima Celebrations with HH Sri Sri Ravishankar ji from North Carolina (Boone Ashram) here :http://www.artofliving.org/satsang

4 July 2012: 1:00 am – 5:00 am IST