Friday, March 27, 2009


The third YES+ course in Abu Dhabi concluded today amidst much celebration and silence. Conducted at our center, the YES+ had an interesting mix of working professionals and students on the first day. At the end of the 6 days, there was just one big group of joyous, wiser and more peaceful human beings – empowered, as the course promises.


We had keen volunteers, who made all arrangements and were keenly present throughout the course. The participants changed from being a little hesitant on Day1, to blooming and free by the time the course ended. The satsangs were fun, the kriya deep, and the games and activities were totally charged up.

So many blessings, so much love and appreciation flowing on the last day, and so many new wonderful friends. Where else on the planet can you get even a shadow of this joy?


Blissed out remembering the last 6 days and reading the feedback. Love, JGD!

Friday, March 20, 2009

New happenings

Has been an interesting last week at Abu Dhabi, a mixture of seva and fun all coming together. Played some Grand Theft Auto 4 on the PS3. Rockstar games have cleverly redefined and rendered New York City as Liberty City in the game. This is the first time that I am playing a game of this franchise, and the open-world, sandbox game, comprising elements of driving, shooting and puzzles is good fun. Unfortunately, it is too long and i am afraid i would not be able to finish it due to other priorities. Besides, i am desperately trying to clean up my act by shifting from FPS games/solo adventures to more mature, complex strategy games (think Age of Empires). The thing about these games is that there is a high learning curve, so the thought of starting a new game can be quite intimidating. I have played AOE, and Warcraft 3 earlier. I remember how other activities would suddenly start seeming important when i would play these games :) I pushed myself into Warcraft purely because i loved the plot, so reminiscent of LOTR, one of my favorite reads. Once the tough learning curve was crossed though, i found the gameplay very engaging and rewarding. Strategy games have this positive effect in making you a better planner and allowing you to better organize, and execute, your activities. So i had bought Civilization Revolutions, one of the very few strategy games for the PS3, and have been diligently reading the internet guides to understand how to play! 

Have also been re-reading Ramesh Menon's brilliant rewritng of Ramayana, the highest selling English translation on I just loooovvveee grand fantasies (though Ramayana is not one).

Had an inspiring meeting with Aban aunty in Bangalore and have donated towards the VISTA project, Pitaji's initiative to empower rural women in north Karnataka. Met Bau and took his blessings for further seva. I enquired if I would see him in the US, to which he responded "This (the ashram) is the best place to vacation. Come back here only." 

Got a multiple entry Canada visa yesterday. We had a couple of great intro talks and two wonderful satsangs over the last week, with electronic dholaks and an elec guitar. We seem set for our third YES+ in Abu Dhabi from the 22nd.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

To my Bengali friends

Thanks to Bambi.

The Bengali Babumoshoi 

With all due regards and profound respects to all and sundry Bengali 

A  is for Awpheesh (as in Office). This is where the average  Kolkakattan 
goes and spends a day hard at work.  And if he works for the 'West Bengal 
 Gawrment'  he will arrive at 10, wipe his forehead till 11, have a  tea 
break at 12, throw around a few files at 12.30, break  for lunch at 1, smoke 
an unfiltered cigarette at 2,  break for tea at 3, sleep sitting down at 4 
 and go home  at 4:30. It's a hard life! 
B is for Bhision. For some reason  many Bengalis don't have  good bhision. 
In fact in Kolkata most people are wearing  spectacles all the time. 
C is for Chappell (as in Greg).  Currently, this is the Bengali word for the 
 Devil, for the worst form of  evil. In the night  mothers put their kids to 
sleep saying, 'Na ghumaley  Chappell eshey dhorey niye jabe.' (If you don't 
sleep, Chappel will come and take you away!!) 
D is for Debashish or any  other name starting with Deb. By an ancient law 
every fourth Bengali  Child has to  be named Debashish. So you have a 
Debashish everywhere  and trying to get creative they are also called  Deb, 
 Debu, Deba with variations like Debanik, Deboprotim,  Debojyoti, etc.. thrown 
in at times. 
E is for Eeesh. This is a  very common Bengali exclamation  made famous by 
Aishwarya Rai in the movie Devdas.  It is estimated that on an average a 
 Bengali, especially  Bengali women, use eeesh 10,089 times every year.  'Ei 
Morechhey' is a close second to Eeesh. 
F is for Feeesh.  These are creatures that swim in rivers  and seas and are 
a favourite food of the  Bengalis.  Despite the fact that a fish market has 
 such strong smells, with one  sniff a Bengali knows if a fish  is all right. If 
not he will say 'eeesh what feeesh  is theesh!' 
G is for Good name. Every Bengali boy will have a  good name like Debashish 
 or Deboprotim and a pet name like Motka,  Bhombol, Thobla, etc. While every 
Bengali girls will  have pet names like Tia, Tuktuki, Mishti, Khuku, etc. 
H  is for Harmonium. This the Bengali equivalent of a rock guitar. Take 
 four Bengalis and a Harmonium and you  have the successors to The Bheatles! 
I is for lleesh. This is  a feeesh with 10,000 bones which  would kill any 
ordinary person, but which the Bengalis  eat with releeesh! 
J is for Jhola. No self respecting Bengali  is complete without  his Jhola. 
It is a shapeless cloth bag where he  keeps all his belongings and he fits 
an amazing number  of things in. Even as you read this there are 2 million 
 jholas bobbling  around Kolkata- and they all look  exactly the same! Note 
that 'Jhol' as in Maachher Jhol  is a close second 
K is for Kee Kaando !. It used to be the  favourite Bengali  exclamation 
 till eeesh took over because of Aishwarya Rai (now Kee Kando's agent is 
trying to hire Bipasha  Basu). 
L is for Lungi - the dress for all occasions.  People in  Kolkata manage to 
play football and cricket wearing it  not to mention the daily trip in the 
 morning to the local bajaar. Now  there is talk of a lungi expedition to 
Mt. Everest . 
M is for Minibus. These are dangerous half  buses whose antics  would 
effortlessly frighten the living daylights  out of all James Bond stuntmen 
 as well as Formula  1 race car drivers. M  is also for Maunkey Cap and 

N is for Nangto. This is  the Bengali word for Naked. It  is the most 
interesting naked word in any language! 
O is for  Oil. The Bengalis believe that a touch of mustard oil will cure 
 anything  from cold (oil in the nose),  to earache (oil in the ear), to 
cough (oil on the  throat) to piles (oil you know where!) 
P is for Phootball.  This is always a phavourite phassion  of the Kolkattan. 
 Every Bengali is born an expert  in this game. The two biggest clubs there 
are Mohunbagan and East  Bengal and when they play the city comes  to a stop. 
Q is for Queen. This really has nothing to do  with the Bengalis or Kolkata, 
 but it's the only Q word one  can think  of. There's also Quilt but they 
never  use them in Kolkata. 
R is for Robi Thakur. Many many years ago Rabindranath got  the Nobel 
Prize. This has given the right to all Bengalis  no matter where they are to 
 frame their acceptance  speeches as if they were directly related to  the 
great poet and walk with their head held high. This  also gives Bengalis the 
birthright to look down at  Delhi and Mumbai and of course 'all 
 non-Bengawlees'  ! Note that 'Rawshogolla' comes a close second  ! 
S is for Shourav. Now that they finally produced a genuine  cricketer and a 
captain, Bengalis think that he  should be allowed to play until he is 70 
 years old. Of  course they will see to it that he stays in good form  by 
doing a little bit of 'joggo' and 'maanot'. 
T is for  Trams. Hundred years later there are still trams  in Kolkata. Of 
 course if you are in a hurry it's faster  to walk. 
U is for Aambrela.. When a Bengali baby is born he  is handed one. 
V is for Bhaayolence. Bengalis are the  most non-violent  violent people 
 around. When an accident happens  they will fold up their sleeves, shout and 
scream and curse and  abuse, "Chherey De Bolchhi" but the last time someone 
actually hit  someone was in 1947. 
W  is for Water. For three months of the year the city is  underwater and 
 every year for the last 200 years the  authorities are taken by surprise by 
X is for X'mas.  It's very big in Kolkata, with ParkStreet fully lit up and 
all Bengalis agreeing  that they  must eat cake that day. 
Y is for Yesshtaarday. Which is  always better than today  for a Bengali 
(see R for Robi Thakur). 
Z is for Jebra, Joo, Jipper and Jylophone.. 


Sunday, March 8, 2009

An amazing Advance Course!

Waves of silent joy and contentment washed over the 49 participants at the advance course concluded at the ashram today. By personal choice, i feel that the advance course is the most beautiful program we have, with techniques cleansing the farthest reaches of the mind and beyond. My 11th course was special, with Joshi ji wonderfully guiding us through the enchanting, energizing journey. In a short spell of 4 days, difficult emotional blocks were confronted and transcended, for us to experience higher and higher energy and purity. The pearls of creation in the program were all polished punah punah. Even the pics are so white without any flash employed :)

Prior to that was my cousin's wedding in Mumbai which was a traditional Bangalorean one (the groom is bangalorean). Will update pics soon. Am too awash with Advance course bliss at present :)