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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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