Art of Living Wisdom.

How do we feel if we do not get proper sleep for a couple of days? We naturally feel drained out. Our energy and enthusiasm level goes down and we are unable to give 100% in our work throughout the day.

AOL blog- deep rest

On the other hand, when can we have really sound sleep? It is possible only when we have finished all our work. If the work scheduled for the day is half-done the remaining half keeps bothering us somewhere at the back of mind

AOL blog- balance your act

Deep rest is possible only when we give our 100% in action and complete our job.

Rest and activity are two aspects of life which appear completely opposite in nature but are in fact totally complementary to each other. They enhance each other’s value.

On a little subtler level ‘Rest’ (or ‘Nivritti’ ) means retiring within. Deep ‘Rest’ is possible only when activity of the mind slows down. True rest is cessation of all mental activity. Unconsciously or consciously we have always yearned for this type of rest in one form or another.

In sleep the mind and body slow down and we get recharged by the time we wake up in morning. Over the ages people have found out different ways to get this energizing rest through different means such as Prayer, Yoga, Pranayama, Satsang, Meditation, or by the Divine grace. Rest is the source of all energy required for physical as well as mental Activity (or ‘Pravritti’) in this world.

If we take a closer look at lives of all great personalities in the world, we find that they knew about this ‘secret source of energy within’ and used it consciously. For e.g. every day Mahatma Gandhi used to spend time in Satsang (Bhajans) and meditation. Mother Teresa had tremendous faith in God and hence Prayer was a great source of energy for her.

‘Nivritti’ is going back to our source within and getting re-energized.

AOL blog- pravritti

‘Pravritti’ is using this energy for our day-to-day activity.

AOL blog- pravrutti

‘Nivritti’ is like increasing our bank balance and ‘Pravritti’ is utilization of this bank balance. When you have sufficient bank balance you can smilingly spend it. Stress cannot bog you down. Work becomes a play. Multitasking becomes fun.

If one neglects ‘Rest’ and is more and more occupied with day-to-day ‘Activity’, then at one point of time he/she will become bankrupt and may not get success in any activity. This is a sure shot way to depression and mental illness.

On the other hand, if one totally neglects day-to-day ‘Activity’, then he/she can’t get real ‘Rest’. The person becomes dull and lethargic. Life remains shallow and meaningless. The mind can settle down and rest (‘Nivritti’) only when all worldly responsibilities and duties have been taken care of.

‘Nivritti’ gives wisdom to decide on the proper action and gives energy to execute the action. ‘Nivritti’ improves perception and enhances intuition.

‘Pravritti’ is required to fulfill the very purpose for which we have taken birth. ‘Pravritti’ is required to fulfill our true ‘Dharma’ in life.

AOL blog- the balancing act

Success is assured in life only when there is a balancing act  between ‘Nivritti’ and ‘Pravritti’ and to reach perfection in life, it is required to achieve perfection in both ‘Nivritti’ and ‘Pravritti’.

The ‘Art of Living’ courses are designed exactly to achieve this perfection in both aspects of life.

You can achieve perfection in ‘Nivritti’ only if you are able to master the Art of Meditation. The Art of living progreams like ‘Advanced Meditation Course’ and ‘Sahaj Samadhi Meditation’ are directed towards bringing this perfection in ‘Nivritti’. Meditation gives you inner perfection. Meditation can’t be learned from books, TV or computers. It can only be learned from a trained teacher who has developed a meditative mind. Just like fire catches fire, the mind learns meditation in presence of a meditative mind.

What stops us from achieving perfection in worldly activity (‘Pravritti’)?  We have set concepts about our own self and the world around us. We have fixed concepts about our own strengths and weaknesses. We build our own walls of limitations around us and these walls prevent us from giving our 100% while acting in the world. Art of living’s ‘Divya Samaj Nirman’ (DSN) course is designed to break all these mental barriers and enable one to explore ones unlimited potential.

At the deepest level, ‘Nivritti’ is Shiva and ‘Pravritti’ is Shakti. Shiva and Shakti are inseparable. Shakti is nothing but expression of Shiva. Shiva and Shakti can not exist without each other. Life is nothing but the primordial dance of Shiva & Shakti.

The wise one sees Nivritti’ in ‘Pravritti’ and ‘Pravritti’ in ‘Nivritti’. He sees ‘Action’ in ‘Inaction’ and ‘Inaction’ in ‘Action’. For Him there is no duality.

Art of Living Wisdom.

The Section 377 of Indian Penal Code has become the focus of debates around what constitutes permitted sexual act in human beings. The article, dating back to 1870, was introduced in India by the British colonial rulers to criminalises sexual activities “against the order of nature”, including homosexual acts.

The debate is whether this archaic Act should continue in present times.

Looking back into the Indian ethos we find that in Samskrt language, we find a word Napumsaka. Pumsa means male. Napumsaka means “not pumsa”, those who are not fully male either by body or in character, in other words transgenders.

We also come across another word Samalingakamin, meaning those who desire the same gender, in other words homosexuals.

The existence of these words in the language implies that such people people have lived in our culture, with their special tendencies and preferences. In acknowledging them the society also acknowledged their lifestyle.

While most languages have only 2 genders, Samskrt and other Indian languages have 3 genders in usage. Transgenders were accepted as a 3rd form of humans as Nature expresses itself in many forms.

The 3rd gender have been referred to in India by many names – Hijara in Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Arabic languages, Jogappa in Kannada, Aravani, Ali or Thirunangai in Tamil. Nangai means womanly and Thiru is an honorific title given to males. Thirunangai means male and female in one body. This word for the transgenders in Tamil Nadu implies that they are not looked down upon.

The scenario changed in 1870, when the Indian Penal code (IPC) was formulated by the British rulers. In article 377 of the IPC, non heterosexual sex between male and female humans has been classified as “unnatural” and punishable up to a period of 10 years in jail.

victorian morality.artoflivingsblog

The Victorian puritan view that was prevalent in medieval Europe was also imposed on India through section 377 even though it was not a reflection of existing Indian values and traditions.
But in the last 140 years, Europe and England have opened up to have a more liberal outlook whereas India has been stuck with an outdated law that is completely alien to its ethos and jurisprudence.

The issues concerning Article 377 can be viewed from different perspectives.

It is a bodily fact that a person is born as a transgender. It cannot be expressed as a bodily defect. Mutations are a process by which evolution evolves.

While the case of physical body variations gives rise to transgenders, hormonal and mental influences also tend to determine one’s preference towards homosexuality (gay or lesbian or bisexual).

In modern parlance the homosexuals, transgenders and transvestites have all been brought under the broad term LGBT – Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgenders, to distinguish them as a community different from the heterosexual community.

While the heterosexuals look at LGBT as a deviance, the LGBT community which over the last few decades have found a global voice, express in loud and clear terms, that it is not a deviance but another way of thinking where there is no harm done to other members of the society.

In the traditional Indian view also the personal preferences of LGBT were acknowledged. The sexual minority was seen as being harmless and was allowed to live in accordance with its unique preferences. People from the LGBT community were given their lawful share, pangu of village resources. They also figured among the rightful pangudhars, stakeholders in the village.

The LGBT formed cults of their own and intermingled within themselves without intruding on the lifestyle of the rest of the heterosexual society.

The Kama Sutra also mentions that homosexuality is something that is enjoyed by its practitioners. Narada Samhita, Manusmriti and a host of other texts acknowledge the existence of such people and their personal preferences. In a few temples we find sculptures of not just heterosexual couples but of homosexual couples as well.

Literature and art thus showcase existence and tolerance of homosexuality in ancient India.


This can be seen in many depictions of Indian mythology.Everything in Nature including divine forces was attributed a gender – masculine, feminine or neuter. There are stories of two masculine divinities Hari and Hara, coming together for a purpose – to bring forth Ayyappa, another divinity with their combined qualities, principles.

But here too, for procreation, Hari or Vishnu principle takes the female form of Mohini.. The divinity Ayyappa however is commonly referred to only as HariHara Putra, meaning son of Hari and Hara.

Bhishma Instructs Yudhisthira

There is another very interesting dialogue in the epic Mahabharata that took place in the month of January 3066 BCE between Bhishma and Yudhishtra. When Bhishma was on his deathbed, on a bed of arrows, Yudhishtra asks him as to, who enjoys more in the act of sex – man or woman. Bhishma then narrated the story of a king of a bygone era who had changed into a woman because he thought that it was the woman who enjoyed the sexual act more.

This incident throws light into the lives of people of yore who did consider changing their gender to enjoy more out of life.

What is even more interesting is that such a topic was discussed between two distinguished men, separated by two generations – Yudhishtra and his grand uncle Bhishma. Though it was solemn occasion with Bhishma lying on his deathbed, it was not out of the norm to discuss such matters.

This reveals to us the open and progressive social outlook prevalent in ancient India. Issues of sex, gender and LGBT were given their due place. We too, must discuss without any prejudice and come up with laws that are in tune with the times, with the nature of this land and Nature “herself.”

The other works of authors D.K.Hari and D.K.Hema Hari can be viewed at

Art of Living Wisdom.

She is known as Nirbhaya, the fearless one. It was exactly one year ago that the world was shocked at the brutal gang rape of Jyoti Singh, the 23 year old physiotherapy student who was thrown away from a moving bus to die. The brave-hearted girl gave a statement with horrific details, before she died in a hospital after 13 days of ordeal.


After a nine-month-long trial, fast track court on Friday handed down death penalty to all the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. The court while pronouncing the judgment said that “it cannot turn a blind eye on the rising cases of sexual assault against women” and that the incident shook the “collective conscience of the society”.

The sad part is that despite the unprecedented public outrage, just on the day of the sentencing last week, four people including two policemen were arrested on the suspicions of raping a woman outside Delhi!

The nation had hoped that a more empathetic police force and judicial system would lead to enhanced security for women!

Eve ensler at miranda house

Media reports, ” Feminist playwright, Eve Ensler feels that Nirbhaya’s case was a catalyst in bringing women from across the world together to campaign against violence. So much so that, for the first time, women in Mogadishu in Somalia rose up last year to participate in ‘One Billion Rising’ (OBR), a global women’s campaign after anger against Nirbhaya’s gangrape hit headlines”.

At an interaction between Miranda House students and Delhi Police on gender, Eve said a “lynch mob” mentality will not help. “There is a difference between revenge and justice. Justice is generosity. So now the campaign will focus on justice for women who have suffered but not by spreading hatred against men.”


On this day let us pay tribute to the spirit of Nirbhaya and pledge to restore balance and harmony in the moral, social and political fibre of our times. In the epic Mahabharata, the fiesty Draupadi stands tall as an epitome of fearlessness, justice, compassion and dharma.

Gurudev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar often says that it is the silence of good people that is wrecking havoc in India. When you see something unjust happening and still keep silent, you become party to the crime.

silence of good people

The need of the hour is to awaken Draupadis in us. Women’s and girl children’s honor is at stake with reports of gang rape, marital abuse, child abuse, ill treatment and emotional torture. Awareness and education coupled with self esteem and self confidence will make a woman a super power that she already is. Our ancient scriptures say’ Where women are honoured and worshipped, all gods become pleased; If women are insulted, it heralds a great disaster’. Even then, in many parts of India, women are looked upon as ‘commodities’ or ‘possessions’ for men to use. of living blog

In the Mahabharata, the game of dice between the Kauravas and Pandavas was a power game where crooked means were being adopted by the former. But Draupadi changed it all by posing a challenge about dharma that led to a war.

Its time we take a cue from Draupadi and question the dharma of the ruling establishment. It is we who need to ensure good governance to build a just, prosperous and peaceful India – an India where women are honoured, not used. Only then there can be harmony within and without.