Many disciples of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji from Europe and Russia wanted an introduction to ancient Vedic wisdom and practices.To fulfill their desire, the first ever Vedic Wisdom Program was launched in 2012 shortly after Navaratri, at the Art of Living International Ashram, Bangalore.
The program started with the basics—the sacred thread or ‘Upanayana’ ceremony and initiation into the Gayatri Mantra, which is a prerequisite for anybody desiring Vedic knowledge. Participants learnt how to chant the Gayatri mantra, how to perform Sandyavandanam three times a day, and how to do homas or fire rituals.
This program saw participation by 114 men from 17 countries. It enabled the participants to spend four to six weeks at the Bangalore Ashram and learn from teachers such as Kashi ji, Swami Purnachaitanya, Swami Brahmatej, Dr. Hari of BharathGyan, BhanuDidi and of course Gurudev himself!
One of the advantages for the participants was that they had prior experience with spiritual practices since Art of Living Programs- Part 1 & Part 2 were a prerequisite. Stephane, a corporate trainer and Art of Living TTC trainer from France said, “When I did the Upanayana something changed. When I do the sandhyavandana now, repeating the Gayatri Mantra, it allows me to experience higher states of consciousness. My mind has become clearer and sharper, and the quest to find out who I really am has become stronger.”
Apart from sessions from Vedic scriptures, history and relevance of ancient knowledge to modern times, participants learnt how to chant Vedic mantras. They also experimented with ancient approaches to natural and organic farming and saw this in action in the Bangalore Ashram. They spent time in the Goshala, where cows are kept, and learnt about the role that indigenous cows play in the ancient approaches to organic and ‘zero-budget’ farming.. It gave them a practical insight into why the cow is considered sacred.
The knowledge that they gained helped some people to connect with their own roots. Hogne, an Art of Living teacher from Norway said, “This knowledge is very universal. I come from a Christian background, but even though in my country most people follow the practices and customs, it is not very religious. After doing this program, I feel I can understand my own tradition better. I can now see much more meaning in those practices.”
Hogne said that, after the course, he looks at things with so much more honour and respect and had special words of praise for the sandyavandanam. “It is like the first time I experienced Sudarshan Kriya. You connect with that vastness of knowledge, of stillness, of timelessness, and you feel so calm and peaceful, and so much love for people.” He said that he would recommend this course to everyone.
Apart from the above activities, the participants visited 150 villages for satsangs and touched over 1 lakh (0.1 million) people. The participants were moved by the ancient traditions that they saw in the villages and talked about the value of local culture and the importance of preserving it for future generations. Commenting on this, Marcin from Poland said, “When visiting villages, we had programs with children and villagers. We had an amazing time. We were dancing and singing together, and I have learned so much from these people—their simplicity, happiness, fulfilment and joy.” He said that being an instrument to give blessings to so many people made him feel so grateful. “It felt like we are also getting blessed. It was a very deep and amazing experience!”
The success of the first Vedic Wisdom Program has inspired us to plan and organise another Vedic Wisdom Program around the same time in 2013. We hope to serve the thousands of people who want to dig into this profound knowledge and rediscover the wisdom of ancient India.
Dates: 16 October – 12 November, 2013
Phone : +91 80 67262626 / 27 / 28