About Art of Living, Art of Living Experiences, World Culture Festival.

The best half of the year 2016, is going to be in March when the world comes visiting India. People from around the world will be marching miles with loads of smiles and celebrations to look forward to, at the World Culture Festival (WCF) to be hosted by the Art of Living in New Delhi.

Inspired by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, Founder of The Art of Living, the WCF is sure to be a rich confluence of world cultures. Each country, culture and its people will be raising a toast to the others` song, music, dance, cultural nuances and style. All in one venue. And for three days in India`s national capital. All this to strengthen and celebrate our shared human values. A refreshingly new creative peace-building initiative if I may add. To make life a celebration.

A riot of color, fashion at its best, great legends of song and music, waves of musical instruments and thousands of dance steps are all going to joyfully lash the mind`s shores on that beach called WCF. Soak it all up, is all I can say. Because the scintillating performances are only going to leave you thirsty and hungry for more of it. Now I don`t wish to spoil your surprise buffet by telling you what`s going to be there on the menu for those three days.

The music, song, dance and yoga menu card is going to be as varied, vast, rich, colorful and celebrative as the food menu.

Italy`s Tiramisu will smile over Kerala`s sweet Payasam, while Sushi and vegetable biryani do the rice dance in your belly. The French Meringue will make you plead for that Irish coffee thereafter. India`s Idly and Dosa will rub shoulders with Italy`s Pizza. Russian salad will be quietly nestled beside that Chinese Schezwan noodle overflowing into the south China seas. And don`t see red if someone jumps the long food billing queue like a bull in a China shop! Because several thousand people are expected to dine there just like you and me.

And you may get much of that beautiful Sri Lankan island food on a silver spoon. While Pakistan and India make friendly claims over that tasty Kashmiri pulao and Navratan korma! I will not spill more beans now on that mile-long menu that you are going to possibly have there.

But for now do just one thing. Go tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere. That the World Culture Festival 2016 is happening from March 11th -13th. And you will be there. Because the world is coming home to visit India. Roll out the red carpet now.

Art of Living and the new New Delhi is simply waiting to host you.



Jai Gurudev !

Vidyut Udiaver

Art of Living Experiences.

When the time is ripe, your Guru walks into your life. He works miracles without your knowledge and your life is transformed. Long pending issues get resolved and desires get fulfilled. This has also been my personal experience. One such incident happened in my life which I attribute to the grace of my Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji.


My tryst with destiny happened in the year 2009, when I read about an organisation called The Art of Living which had its headquarters in Bangalore, India. The group was active in 152 countries around the world. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, the founder of Art of Living organisation, I read, was striving for the last 35 years for the well-being of mankind. His vision was for a stress-free and violence- free society and world at large. He travelled to remote corners of the world, even to conflict-ridden zones to offer peace and succour to the traumatised. I was impressed by what I read and resolved to do a course offered by them. Finally, I got a chance to take up Happiness Program in April 2012. I learnt the Sudarshan Kriya, yoga and meditation. This helped me to get relieved of the stress in my life and make me calm and composed.



In March 2013, during Shivaratri (festival celebrated every year to revere Lord Shiva), I took up a Sankalpa (intention) and the biggest miracle then happened to my mother.


My mother is from Pontianak, a town on the island of Borneo, Indonesia. She met my father in the 70s and they moved to Malaysia. My mother last saw her family nearly 40 years ago. She couldn’t go back to her homeland due to financial constraints and also transportation was not as advanced in those days. Her eldest brother visited her three times during the period but after we shifted to a new place we lost contact with him as well. However, she had a deep desire to connect with her family although she never expressed her wishes.


My mother helps in volunteering at a local Buddhist association. She has a small set of friends there with whom she shares a warm relationship. One day her fellow volunteer friends decided to organize a leisure trip to Pontianak, Indonesia. I had a strong intuition that her friends wanted to take her back to her hometown to connect with her family.


My mother was also very excited to see her childhood home. She prayed hard during the trip that she should be able to visit her relatives at the old house which is located on the old road. My mother asked the tour guide whether the bus would go via the old road to Pontianak town. However, the tour guide replied they would be using the new road which is so much more convenient. After a few moments, the tour guide announced that they had to use the old road because the new road was under maintenance!


My mother was thrilled with the news. Now she would be able to catch up with her siblings. When the entourage halted for rest on the outskirts of the town, my mother rushed to the nearby stalls and asked the shop owners anxiously about her relatives. She had forgotten her mother tongue due to the fact that she had been away from home for so long. Even the younger generation in Pontianak couldn’t speak that language as well.


However, using the few words that she remembered and a few gestures, my mother inquired from one shop owner. He shook his head from side to side indicating that he didn’t know and pointed to the next door. The young boy there directed her to the next shop. My mother was getting frustrated and disappointed. She was beginning to wonder if she would be able to meet her siblings at all.


The next shop was a mobile phone shop, and when my mother mentioned her relatives’ names again, the youngster went behind the shop for a moment and asked an elderly man to come out. This elderly man turned out to be my mother’s uncle! The man shed tears of joy and asked my mother why she had gone off and not returned for so long. They exchanged contact numbers and he also gave my mother’s siblings’ phone numbers.


After they bid good bye, my mother and her group continued on their journey to Pontianak town. By then the news of her arrival had spread and on the way many of her relatives called her up. When they reached the hotel, her two sisters and family were already waiting for her there. They hugged each other and were ecstatic to meet after so many years. Even my mother’s friends, who went with her on the trip, were so touched that they cried.
During the short visit, my mother’s sisters told her all the news about the other family members and about the incidents that happened in the past 40 years. They even showed her the locality in which their old house had been and which was now demolished.


After her return my mother didn’t say much about her personal feelings but I know she is extremely happy and we too are very happy for her.


Since,Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji walked into my life, miracles have happened in so many ways. Our lives have become richer. I have no words to express my gratitude to him.


We are all blessed with Guruji’s grace.

Jai Gurudev!
Siew Woan.

Art of Living Experiences, Art of Living Projects.

Few seconds before the earthquake hit, we had just closed our eyes for meditation in the Art of Living centre in Kathmandu. Having experienced it 2-3 times earlier, I immediately realised that it was back! We gathered everyone and ran outside in the open.  Some devotees took time to comprehend what they were feeling. They even thought it was probably a deep swaying experience of meditation that they we experiencing. As soon as we found sanity and realised what was happening, we sat down and started chanting for relief from the massive tremors. Never before had I experienced tremor after tremor. Every now and then that the land would shake we would look at each other gesturing – ‘Oh! It’s here again’. But somehow I didn’t realise it was such a big hit. After some time some of us decided to resume the session, but others said ‘No we are very scared and won’t be able to grasp anything ‘. So we cancelled the class. Some young boys decided to leave for the hospital and help the victims. And some of us walked back home, as there was no way we could take out our vehicles with tremors coming every few minutes, with roads and buildings damaged & crumbled.


My family was on the first floor at home when the earth shook. I could not get to them. Their phones were ringing but no one answered. Evacuating the building and making sure no one was left behind, must have been too stressful for them. No communication with them kept me little worried. They later told me that the staircase of the building was almost falling apart, when they were getting down. Petrified, my mom for some moments stood still in the middle of the staircase. My brother went and got her down. The chandelier was moving profusely. It felt as if the whole house is going to collapse. Everybody in house – my two sister in laws with their kids ( 7 yr and 4  months)  were traumatised and literally in tears.

That night we slept on the ground floor but most of the people slept outside in the open in public places for days to come. When in the middle of the night, anyone of us felt the earth shaking we would jump out of the bed, wake everyone and run out. It happened a number of times on the first night. We cooked food the next day and went out to help people who’d probably lost their everything in the tremors.  We heard that there would be another major quake at 12 pm. So 2 people who had come to help pulled back saying they needed to return home before that. That left 7 of us only. My mother, sister in law, my driver, myself and 3 others (a couple and their 13 years old child). We went ahead to distribute the food in a big ground in the city were many had taken shelter. AS soon as we reached their and sat in a corner with whatever food we had brought for distribution, many started coming forward for food. Some said that since there was no place in the hospital they were waiting there for their turn. On our way back home, another tremor hit the lad and we could see boundary walls shake & roads tear. It was a scary sight. We didn’t know what to expect next, or what was going to be the repercussion. Luckily we were safe and reached home.


Next day again we cooked food and went to a hospital to serve food to the needy. Many patients and their families were waiting outside the hospital, who had come from nearby districts. After serving them food we sat down in the hospital lawns and started our satsang with chanting & bhajans. Suddenly there was pin-drop silence and everybody’s attention was on us,  and they were amazed to see this phenomenon –  where only youth, around 20 of us were chanting joyfully. This gave them lot of peace and strength. And they looked at us with gratitude and appreciation. We felt deep satisfaction, as at such a challenging time in the country we could share what we have – materially and spiritually, due to inspiration from our Master – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji.


As the days went by we started getting used to the tremors. At night all the family members slept together on the ground floor but we weren’t any more popping up and rush out at the slightest shake until it was more than few seconds and we felt it was dangerous. But I loved the fact that all of us were together since we spent more time this way than we could earlier. With time our Relief activities were increasing and we were reaching out to far off districts, where there were no pitched roads too. We also started our trauma relief activities full-fledged. At one remote village I recall one youth came up to us and mentioned that after long he had taken God’s name and felt happy that we came all the way to his remote village and conducted the trauma relief sessions for them. So hope and faith in God was being reinstalled, where perhaps many had lost it.


At yet another place an old woman shared that her chest pain had reduced drastically after meditation, breathing techniques and chanting of mantras that we conducted for them, and she felt so happy that she and her friends came up and asked us with so much of love if we could stay there itself in the school grounds with them where they had taken refuge. This showed the profound effect the trauma relief activities were having on everyone.



One day a person called me up who had done the Art of Living course saying that he lost his 7 year old son during the earthquake and he would like some help from us for his community. Hearing the tragedy, at once I resolved to help his community, at-least. He took us to 3-4 affected areas where we distributed tents, food, water and conducted trauma relief sessions. He also showed us his 4 floored new building which he was getting constructed. It had tilted due to the earthquake and could fall any time. There was immense damage everywhere. We saw so many houses had just collapsed. He shared that instead of drowning in grief staying indoors, he preferred to come out and serve his community. I silently admired the strength he portrayed.

This situation in the country got everyone to think- ‘How can I contribute for my Country?’ Instead of ‘getting’ people started to think of ‘giving’.  Lots shared that they hadn’t interacted with their neighbours much, but the new challenges got them closer, and some others forgot their fights and reunited with their closed ones in this predicament.

Bitter experiences make one spiritually stronger. Through our Trauma Relief activities people have started grasping the essence of breath, meditation and the effect of mantras in having a positive impact on our minds, and understanding that the quality of our life, depends upon the state of our minds, irrespective of the situation we are in.

In service ,

Jai Gurudev

Ritika Lohia