Sunday, October 26, 2008

Updated Snapshots of Heaven

NEWS UPDATE: As i have no internet connection or phone avail at the university, hers a quick upate. we started with a course for 10 students in the was a lot of fub considering that i was working alone there and they have not had any aol presence in the campus before...
today is the kriya day and i hope for a great course ahead..

Also i saw clouds floating through mountains and drove through a cloud for the first tinme yesterday ! this place is gorgeous...
Finally pics from gorgeous Arunachal Pradesh. Enjoy! All these pics are taken from a mobile phone from our AOL center here, so you can imagine how it must be , specially after a beautiful long kriya or sadhana session! Nature walk simply means going to the terrace here :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Rocking Rajiv Gandhi University

Hi, some delays in bloggin activities as i am presently put up in the Rajiv Gandhi university where i dont have an internet connection. So here are the latest happenings.

The Rajiv Gandhi university campus can be mistaken for a hill station resort. It is situated atop a small peak of the low lying Rono hillocks. I am here working towards hopefully the biggest youth course yet in Itanagar. The view all around the campus is gorgeous, As far as the eye can see there are green hillocks in every direction. The university has been very warm and gracious by offering me a stay in the special suite of their guest house, which has all amenities, including a TV, AC, sofas, double bed, dressing tables, study table and a view in 3 different directions. I landed here on Wednesday and met with the vice chancellor, Mr Belliappa, who has worked for 15 years with the Mysore university and then with Aatung, my friend and guide in the university. I have been traveling everyday to the town of Nahar Lagun, 15 kms away, to conduct knowledge sessions for my students from the last week’s course and it has been a blast so far. We conducted our first rounds of intro talks in the subansri and the lohit boys hostels yesterday and the response has been amazing. Most students wanted to enroll for the course. We have around 40 confirmations already. On Monday, I would approach the women’s hostel for intro talks and also start getting the forms filled and the money collected. The venue would be finalized on Monday for the course which shall be from Tuesday 28 oct, my birthday, to Sunday 2 November from 4-6.30 pm. Looking forward to a huge turnout. Will put up pics as soon as I get my camera. In the meantime, wishing you all happy blogging.

One thing i really enjoyed was conducting my first yes+ intro talk in hindi. Could not really translate ability to focus and relax and ability to handle doubts completely, as this may have killed off the effect somewhat. But you are welcome to offer suggestions for hindi points.

Another thing I immensely enjoy about the university, I get to jog down and up the 2.5 km hill atop which the university is situated every morning, and man, this is an experience to be had J

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jogging Meri Jaan

Guruji, man mein khayaal bahut aate hain? Kam karne ke liye kya karein? (Guruji i think a lot. What may i do to resolve this?
A. Khayaal ate hain? Aisa karo roz 5 km daud lagao. Sab theek ho jayega (Jog 5k a day. All thoughts would vanish!)

My dil went baag baag. Ma kasam if i could have whistled, i would have made it a hoot to remember that day....Ah jogging, jogging is my favorite favorite exersise. I had started it back in 9th std (to lose weight), and had stopped in between, but this habit really took off in the 2nd year of engineering when i was striving to find a balance between brutal academics, hostel life and personal aspirations at IIT Delhi. While many of my friends took to smoking and alcohol for the same, i was looking for something better. Plus i realy really wanted to be in the IIT basketball team and my fitness levels were in violent opposition to this aspiration. 

As the saying goes, if you sleep with a problem, you wake up with the solution in your hands (double meaning intended, courtesy Sarin Suares from IIT). I have so many fond memories of the 5, sometimes 7 rounds, that i would take at the SDA ground next to the IIT campus. Jogging hard, followed by stretching and push ups, would be a liberating experience. Saare din ki tension would be expelled from my dimaag and i would feel so fresh and rested. I found jogging so effective that i started it in the evenings during exam days also, and it actually helped relieve anxiety and tension in those days. Of course, it could have never been so effective had i not learnt the Sudarshan Kriya, because the Kriya really established the rhythm in the breath.

Bangalore was not so friendly towards my jogging, as the high pollen count would make me sneeze frequently. But jogging 3ks downhill and uphill in the pristine mountain air in itanagar, with green hills bounding the road, is sheer bliss. Jogging completes the awesome experience that is gained from Surya Namaskars and Sudarshan Kriya.

Go ahead, try it out!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Sun Rises in the land of the Rising Sun

The first youth course here in itanagar was a blast, with His presence flowing. Cries of ‘Gurudev rocks’ and ‘Jai Gurudev’ simply would not stop on the last day of the course. 15 chosen ones from  the Mass Communication department of  the Rajiv Gandhi university took up this 6 day transformation and what 6 days these were. The first day was conducted by Bhavesh ji and I started teaching on the second day, having landed in itanagar just 4 hours earlier. The first Long Kriya conducted that day was a bolt for the participants. Their energies settled somewhat on the next day with the second kriya. By day 4, we were all more at ease, and the games and Surya namaskars were more fun by now. Things really took off on Saturday when we conducted a long session at our itanagar center. The center has a beautiful hall and we had tons of processes and discussions topped by the wonderful vegetarian lunch. We discussed a bit about Guruji and the symbolisms of Krishna on the day. Sunday was the grand finale where we were joined by YES participants from the previous course and we had a superb joint kriya and games session.

 Guruji’s Australian video brought tears of gratitude and we had a beautiful meditation. The experiences shared by all of us amply established that our lives had been deeply touched and Guruji had taken his first stride, one of many more to come before his visit in december, in the hearts of the youth of itangar and nahar lagun.

Here are some of the experiences shared about the program:

“Yes plus course is something which is different – enjoyable, knoweldgable, fun, etc. After doing this course one realizes the importance of living in the moment. My heart noticed a change inside. The teachers always had a radiant smile on their faces and shared their wisdom and experiences which will forever remain in my heart. I joined 

this course because I wanted to know more about Sri Sri Ravi Shankar after having read his book “Wisdom for the New Millenium”. Each and every day here was beautiful as we came to know more about each other than before. I want to be a part of Art of Living forever. I want to meet my Guru, I want to touch, I need his love and blessing. I want to follow the path he talks and shows the world. Love moves the world.”

 Heres another - “Earlier we never knew about the course but after attending the 6 day program we gain lots of knowledge and ideas. Specially the thing I liked was we were learning by playing, enjoying which is very interesting and memorable.”

And another -  “Since the day I started this course there were many changes in me. I’ve learnt so many things about life, about love, joy and happiness. I’ve learnt that love can move everything.

 This course has calmed me down so much, I feel like a newborn person. I feel complete. Love is the greatest thing in the world. It unites everything.

 Everything and everyone looks so good to me. It calms me down when I smile and when I see other people smiling even if they are not smiling at me. The world would be so much better if everyone started smiling and shared their smile with everyone and living their life fully. It would be a great place to live in. A simple smile can melt everything and smile is equal to great life!”

An adventure begins

Day 1 : You will never walk alone 

As they say, the defining moments in life are not one-off things, but are the climax of a journey that started earlier. Monday, October 14 2008 was one such defining moment for me – the day I set out for Itanagar to work for my Guru. Even waking up at 4.30 am seemed pleasant that day. I finished my packing and left at 7.10 from home. I called up as many of my relatives as I could on the way.

 Loaded with a ton of things, I was mentally thanking Ritu for having spoken to her friend who had waived off 40 kgs of my luggage. On the way, the momentousness of the journey I had begun caught up. I was off on the greatest adventure of my life till date, to work for my Guru! I called up atul chacha and dadi in the US for their blessings, omi bua, then ma and papa. They showered such abundant blessings. Then Guruji sent a reminder in His style. While I was speaking to mum and dad I looked out of my window and saw a pulsar standing next to the car. On its fuel tank, was a sticker which read “You will never walk alone.” I was so blissed.

 There was a bit of an adventure at the airport and the luggage was not waived off but that hardly seemed to matter as I boarded the aircraft. The spice jet flight flew via kolkata and I was in guwahati 1.45 pm. Gurujis grace was evident once again as Vinay, whom I had met during navaratri in the ashram was also on the flight and he dropped me in his car to the guwahati art of living center. I parked my luggage in a small and cosy teachers room built inside the center, had a light lunch and a short nap and had a nice evening walk by the brahmaputra in the evening. I left the center at 7, picked up some amazing cheese loaf and milk loaf from JBs, and reaced the bus depot. The driver, dilip amazed me with his questions on spirituality, enlightenment and Indian legends. We had a long and interesting drive and chat and he was looking forward to doing the next art of living course available. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the bus I was o take to itanagar was a fairly spacious Volvo. Boarding the bus I had my ‘dinner’ on the way and sipped into a happy long sleep , awaiting the next day. 

Day 2: Welcome to Itanagar 

Morning 6.20 am, as I opened my eyes, I was surrounded by beauty I had dreamt of. Lush green rolling hills on the roadside, clear skies. Beauty, so much of it. Then we reached a grand gate which read, “Welcome to Itanagar”. The rest of the adventure follows in the next post.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Some Navaratri Buzz

Plenty has been spoken (and written) on the wonders of Navaratri. Here is one of the best articles, in Guruji's words, on Bau's blog. 

Navaratri is a time of rejuvenation. In the Bangalore ashram, we experience the transformation and the divinity. We hear of th
e power of silence but how can one express the blooming of infinity which unfurls here behind closed eyes! Waves of silence wash over your emotions and your mind, dissolving all rajas and tamas leaving you in bright, joyful sattva.

The divine showers love in mysterious ways. On the day of the Chandi homa, I was sitting rapt in meditation in one corner of the yagna shala. The silence and the energy were so beautiful that i decided that i would not move nor open my eyes. No sooner than i had thought this, a fly came and sat on the corner of my left eye. As i had committed to keeping my mowna, i did not move. The fly mistook my stoicness for silent assent and it decided to utilise the opportunity to make its presence felt more prominently - so it started walking on my eyelashes, fluttering both its wings to beat on my eyelids. In this moment of heightened awareness, i remembered Guruji's words, "In satyuga, apsaras would descend from heavens to disturb the meditation of rishis. The role is taken up by mosquitos and fleas in the
 kalyuga." Assuming that my present tormentor was an apsara in some past incarnation greatly simplified things. 

Mysteriously, the fly read my thoughts and it slowed its pace, s-l-o-w-l-y reaching and settling down in the corner of my left eye. By now my eyes were watering, not entirely out of bliss. I felt more determined to keep my eyes shut and my meditation steady. The fly 
was completely enjoying this unopposed freedom and it decided to tour around my eyebrows. So off it started, walking slowly and beating its wings, tracing the line of my left eyebrow. Even the apsara fantasy was not very helpful this time. Strangely, I was also feeling very calm 
somewhere, as i watched the intense discomfort rise and rise. By then, the fly was bored and it hopped off onto my right eye and started it routine again. This drama had already lasted 5 minutes and i allowed my baser nature to prevail as i took a huge swipe at the fly, who flew off.

I was feeling a bit low to have given in and was thinking maybe i could have been more patient and allowed the fly to go away on its own. Instantly, the buzzing returned and something familiar landed atop my left ear. The fly had started another flapping serenade along the contours of my left ear. This time i was less agreeable to share myself, and i shood the fly away almost instantly. 

Once it was gone, i was at ease. However, a faint voice whispered "I am tough. I could have probably put up with it." And instantly, it was back, tickling me on the side of my neck. This time, there were no murmurs of protests within me and i felt a beautiful acceptance dawning within me for myself as i planned how to murder the pest. The mind-reader fly flew off and did not return this time.
I remembered my first visit to the ashram when someone had told me that "The air in the ashram is full of love. You can just 'feel' it." He did not specify how.

Despite all this happening my heart was completely at rest, nourished by the mantras and the pooja. That day i experienced how it is possible to be peaceful and loving even in the midst of intense discomfort. And i felt gratitude towards Guruji, who despite being so pure and perfect, is always present to take care and to lighten your burdens no matter how rough your behavior, situations or speech may be. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

'Slip' of Tongue

This is one funny story i had to share. Balwant, Amit, Ballu's sister - Jagmeet, I and a certain Mr X were returning from the ashram today after a fantastic navaratri satsang. The atmosphere at the ashram is absolutely electric - you just need to close your eyes for a few seconds and you can feel the energy coursing through you! Some people do get affected in funny ways by the energy - so here goes...

In the car, we were having a freewheeling gossip session in progress, and the topic eventually
 veered to Balwant's desire to buy his Japanese friend a birthday gift.

Balwant - "Yaar i need to get something for her. I wanted to buy her a sari. But, Guruji has instructed Japanese nationals to not wear indian clothes. So i will have to look for something else. Ratna, kuch bata?"

I - "Er, maybe you can look for a kurta.."

Ballu - "No yaar no indian dress"

I - "Nahi nahi, i meant a small kurta - the kind they can wear with jeans"

Ballu - "Haan thats a good idea. I can look for a skirt in Fab India"

Jagmeet - "Or something in khadi.."

Ballu - "Haan thats a good idea. Hmmm"

Suddenly, Mr X, who had been silent all along, spoke significantly - "Andar ke kapde de sakte hain kya? (Can we gift her inner wear)"

I was in splits, Jagmeet had (hopefully) not heard the comment, ballu was in shocked silence praying that jaggi had not heard it, and Amit said "Yaar X you have a weird sense of humor"

Mr X, confusing Ballu's silence as a sign that Ballu had not heard anything, spoke more forcefully (in a voice that carried to the next car as well) "ANDAR KE KAPDE DE SAKTE HAIN KYA?" Jaggi definitely heard it this time because she was half blushing half choking with laughter. I was laughing my head out. Ballu and Amit started admonishing him.

Sensing the opportunity, i started - "Ballu, you know you have been speaking so sweetly about this female. You are going to be in Japan for a long time, and you may consider settling there"

Amit, cottoning on, added "Haan and if you marry a japanese you can get a Japanese pasport real quick and you can settle there without hassles."

I - "So, as you already know this chick well, and it makes sense for you to look for a commitment in Japan, it could be a good idea for you to buy this person andar ke kapde...."

Mr X was nodding in wholehearted agreement, amazed at the profoundness of his suggestion.

Ballu bellowed, in his most sardarlike voice "OYE...RATNAAAA"

Amit and I, half cackling, added "Cmon ballu, it would be a stylish way of proposing. You might end up married and with a Japanese passport. You can do all the seva you want"

Ballu "OYEEEE!"

However the best was yet to come. Mr X, had another brainwave and he loudly blurted - "Achchha jisse shadi kar rahe ho woh ladka hai ya ladki?"

By now everyone in the was rolling in doldrums of laughter. This is one conversation none of us would be forgetting in a hurry....:)