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Category Archives: Art of Living Stories

Art of Living shares some of the inspirational stories.

Sri Sri and Mr Cobra


Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji loves going out for morning walks. Back in 2006, it was a regular feature. Everyday during the walk a snake used to cross his path; As if it was a daily ritual, the glimmering reptile  would wait for Sri Sri and slither away after seeing him walk by. He was a majestic cobra with a mark of 1o on his hood. His mud abode glorified the lawns of the garden outside Sri Sri’s kutir.

One fine day during his morning walk, Sri Sri found that the movement of Mr cobra was unusual. The cobra was seen on one side of the path, but it did not endeavour to cross the path like it would do everyday. Sri Sri mentioned to Dilip, who was with him that morning, that something was amiss and the cobra needed to be attended to.

By the time we came in to check, the long, glimmering and majestic creature was lying on the ground almost motion less, though it was still breathing. When we touched him to find whether he had any movement, he would just widen its hood laying flat on the ground signifying life. What a plight it was to see this, for in its full glory, it is almost impossible to find a live agile cobra allowing anyone to be near (snakes are solitary reptiles with their territory clearly marked).

The cobra exudes the beauty and grandeur of the king of snakes when it raises the hood to show off its handsome mark. And now it was struggling to raise the hood, breathing very slowly. Something had to be done immediately! Very often, the animal world depends upon humans for help. When animals come near humans, seeking  help, do nut shoo them off. Many organisations ready to help are just at a phone’s length away.  Snakes are very shy creatures. At the faintest sound they rush to hide in crevices in stone.

So our cobra surely needed medical help immediately. I got in touch with Dr Salem of Banerghatta Rescue Centre. He sent trained volunteers to pick our critical patient, who was carefully picked up and packed for a comfortable and safe journey to the Hospital. He was admitted in the intensive care unit and monitored for about one and half months. There, by series of injections in his tail, the cobra was cured of the poisoning and the lung infection.

Probably he had eaten an infected frog who had consumed some pesticide used by the farmers on the neighbouring farm.  The lung infection was due to the chemicals used in the detergent as the cobra used to stay in a water pipe. Humans have created a havoc by heavily using chemicals and pesticides. Sri Sri had once warned us that even if one species is wiped off from the planet, we are inviting a catastrophe. Let us refuse to use products in our daily life which may be harmful to the Earth.

A few weeks later Sri Sri asked how our fellow being of the gardens was doing. I went to see the cobra.  By now he was very strong, though still confined to a glass chamber. When injection was given in his tail he would promptly raise the hood in resistance to the prick and almost would (may be just on impulse) want to turn and attack. It was a delight to see his natural glory restored!

I wondered whether he ever understood that he survived due to the treatment he received due to Gurudev’s attention. Sri Sri wanted him back in his home on the farm, where he belonged to.

After two months, when he was strong and fit to be released, the authorities decided to release him deep in the forest where the conditions would be very natural. As for me, I believe that he would be much more happier to come back to his land where his master trod.

Posted by Meenal Moray, trained architect from J J School of Arts, who cares for the animal world. She lives and teaches yoga and meditation at the Art of Living International Ashram, Bangalore.

 

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Art of Living Navrati decoded


Did you count the divine audience? We have heard Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar talk about this! Many have even captured them in their picture frames. Some try to explain it as a scientific phenomenon. Some even call it a “blue-star” syndrome. Some more even take the liberty of ignorance to dismiss it as a superstition.

Yet the phenomenon of “angels” or divine energies being spotted during various spiritual activities blessed by Sri Sri continues to intrigue those who seek to know the real truth about this creation. It is impossible to dismiss this intriguing phenomenon of angels, after finding out what a Naadi Expert decoded just after this year’s Navratri celebrations at the Art of Living Ashram in Bangalore.

Naadi is an ancient science that decodes the past, present and future of an individual as foreseen by sages in ancient time and recorded in palm leaves. There are very few experts who have the knowledge to decode the inscriptions.

I wish modern science could testify this 7000 year old Akashic records and corroborate the revelation of all devas, devis and sages assembling at the Art of Living ashram in Bangalore for the Navratri celebrations!After the Chandi Homa, the Naadi Expert checked the palm leaves and decoded the following conversation between Kaushik Muni and one of his disciples.

Astonished by seeing that all sages, saptarishis, devas and devis including Bramha, Vishnu and Mahesh were present in Art of Living Ashram for all the nine days of Navratri, the disciple asked Kaushik Muni to throw light on it. Hear it from the horses’ mouth:

Disciple: All of you are sitting here for all the nine days. Are you not responsible for rest of the world? Don’t you have to go anywhere else to fulfill your responsibilities? There are places with famines and floods which need your attention, but you all are happily sitting here.

Kaushik Muni: We go everywhere, but here the yagnas have been done for all of humanity and without any selfish motive and without any deceit in the heart. The poojas here have been done for the benefit of whole world. That is why we come here.

Disciple: If someone does a small puja with same devotion, will you go there also?

Kaushik Muni: Even if it was a small yagna, we would have come here because it was done with selfless motive for benefit of whole world. So we would have come to bless so that it reaches the whole world.

Disciple: But you were not even invited here?

Kaushik Muni: But we were welcomed nicely and taken very good care of.  Also, here the pundits don’t do the yagnas as a profession, but with a pure heart. The fruits of yagna have reached even those who are not here physically but have remembered Gurudev, They have all been blessed. Many calamities have been averted; the hearts of people with violent and negative tendencies have been transformed.

Listening to this fascinating conversation etched on thaliyola (palm leaves) 7000 years ago with iron nails in Vatteluttu, the ancient Tamil script, it becomes official and absolute truth that not just millions of mortals across the globe, but even subtle beings called variously as angels, devas, devis and sages are also drawn to purity and authenticity of Sri Sri’s spirituality.

How often we have seen the unseen hands of divinity playing out in our lives. Surely, we don’t need to be told about it by a Nadi expert. Yet, it’s nice to know even the divine comes running where we go!

 
 

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All are Mother’s forms


Many years ago, I read this wonderful story in a Chinmaya Mission book.

Once, when Vinayaka was very young, he went out to play. Finding no one around, except a cat, he tried to play with her. But the cat seemed in no mood to play. Vinayaka tried to coax her by caressing her and offering her food, but she would only run away from him. After many futile attempts in getting her to play with him, Vinayaka lost patience. In a fit of rage, he hit her so hard that she fell a few yards away and  was bruised badly. Finally, Vinayaka thought that it was a waste of time and ran inside to his mother.

When he went inside his mother’s chamber, he was aghast at what he saw! Ma Parvati had bruises all over her body. Vinayaka was so sad at seeing his beloved mother in this condition that he started weeping. Ma Parvati drew him close and calmed him down. Vinayaka, crying desperately, asked: “Ma! What happened? Who did this to you?? Just tell me the name!!” Ma replied compassionately: “Darling, who can dare to hurt me? I can burn anyone to ashes by just one look. It was you who did this to me and hence, I didn’t oppose. I love you very much, my son!”

Vinayaka was baffled! How can this be? Still sobbing, he said: “What are you saying, Ma? How can I even think of hurting you? So much so that I did not even come near you all morning!” To this, Ma Parvati, with the shine back on her beautiful face, replied: “I know dear that you love me so much and wouldn’t think of hurting me. But in the morning, didn’t you hit the poor cat who didn’t want to play with you?

From now on, know that, everything and everyone that you see is my own manifestation. Whatever you say and do finally comes to me!!”

Vinayaka was stunned. Although young, he was very sharp. Ma Parvati didn’t have to say anything more. Vinayaka apologized to her. He had realized that ‘All are Mother’s forms’. 🙂

The non-dual Brahman expresses itself as ‘Purusha’ and ‘Prakruti’. Prakruti is the manifested creation and that is what we call ‘Divine Mother’. The entire creation is One being! Everything and everyone is a part of the Divine Mother.

Durga, Kali, Saraswati, Lakshmi are all different aspects of the Divine Mother. She loves variety and intends that we enjoy the diversity rather than be fanatics! The knowledge of the divine mother puts to rest the inferior tendencies of the mind like greed and jealousy. We stop abusing food, wealth, power, natural resources, even our own bodies, because everything is a form of the Divine Mother.

Navratri, for me, is the time to adore and pamper the Divine Mother. And in turn, get pampered! 🙂 It is the time to relax and enjoy the beauty around and inside us.

As our beloved Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is in silence at our Art of Living Banglore Ashram, let us take time off to remember this gift of knowledge and abundance that we have received by His grace.

Jai Guru Deva!

PS: This time of the year, it is Fall season here in Utah and the Divine Mother is busy flaunting her sense of fashion. 🙂

Fall colors in the mountains of Utah, USA.

 

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Story Of The Starfish


A story for everyone, that I remembered suddenly which I had read during my childhood (which is still ON) 😉

A teacher of repute was walking on the beach soon after a storm. The storm had washed up thousands of starfish on the shore, and they were beginning to dry up.

Source: The Telegraph

Soon all of them would be dead. The Teacher was picking up starfish and throwing them into the sea.

The fisherman caught up with the teacher and said, “Surely, you cannot hope to throw all these starfish back into the sea? They will die in their thousands here. I’ve seen it happen before.  Your effort will make no difference.”

Source: shootingstaaarr.co.cc

“It will to this one,” said the Teacher, throwing back another starfish into the sea.

Does it ring any bell? Do you know someone who indeed made a difference to over 30 million people, holding their hands (figuratively) and guiding each one of them towards happiness and made a big difference to this entire world. For each individual thus saved is World itself.

Can we now resolve to make a difference to at least one person around us, however small or silly it may appear? Like they say, every drop of water in the ocean is what made it an ocean.

If One Person can make a difference to over 30 million people, imagine if each of these 30 million made a difference to a minimum of 1 person, then Paradise on Earth or should I say, Earth is a Paradise – would become a reality and a fitting tribute to beloved Gurudev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who gave much more than what He received from this world.

 

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Sunday Morning Thoughts of a Mango Man !!


Aaj Sunday hai
sote rehne ka ye ek aur Bahana hai

Aate daal ho Rahe mehenge
Tang ho rahe choli lehenge
Roj badh rahe Tel ka Tum bhav na pucho
Ab to gaadi ko hi bikwana hai
Neta Giri to ek dikhawa hai
Chai paani ke bhrast kharche ko chhupana hai
Ajj Sunday hai …

Kisan Ki apni pareshani
Ho rahi videsi company Ki manmani
Karje me dooba, Beej gawaya
ab is banjar Jamin ko bikwana hai.
Sharab to yar ek bahana hai
Namardangi, gam, lachari ko chhupana hai.
Aj Sunday hai, sone do
Akhir Yahi to sote rehne ka bahana hai

Atyachar bhrashtachar durachar ke samachar chal rahe din raat
Aam admi Ki garibi ke piche kiska hai hath
Wo kehte hai banayenge sapno ka Bharat
Kya wo yehi Sapna dekhne ke liye so rahe hai sansad me?

Desh ka paisa Bahane ka ye bahana hai
Apne baap ka Kya Lena Dena hai

Bas muje sone do ….aaj Sunday hai

Kisne uthayi unke khilaf awaz
Koun hai wo sher .. Kya hai unka raaz
Kuchal do Daba do Khatam kar do unko
Hum hai gandhiji ke rishtewale
Wo koun gandhigiri karnewale
Sabak sikhao unko,
Kaise jaage ? Jaagne ka Nahi koi kaaran na koi bahana hai
To chalo sote raho kyu Ki
Ajj Sunday

Roj ye aam admi der tak nahi sota
Ye baat yad rakhe bhrastachari
Ki Roj roj Sunday nahi hota
Jis din ye jagega,
tu bachke kaha bhagega!
Banega wo lokpal
Khinchega in rakshaso Ki khal
Khoon pine wale amir, neta aur babu yad rahe
Jis din ye aam admi jag Gaya
Pine ke liye pani bhi na milega
Fir na wo tujse darega
Isi umid par ye sapno Ki duniya Kayam hai
Ki aam falo ka raja hai
Aam desh ka raja banega.
Aur saza dega in behrupiye a Rajao ko
Dilayega Nyay aam janta ko.
Akhir aam hi aam ke kaam ayega.

Na netaji na udyogpati na jamindar na afsar Ke liye
Sant sipahi banega wo desh Ki Raksha ke liye
Bahut ho Gaya Rona dhona
Sone ka bhi bhav badh Gaya hai
Ab mehenga padega Sona
Jaago jaago mere aam
Chidiya hai sone Ki
Desh mera Bharat
Koi na ise kar paye badnaam
Iske liye ekjut hokar kare kaam
Na chahe daulat na koi inaam
Jaago mere aam ..  Hey raam

 

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Transformation ….


She was surrounded by criticisms … By people who only shrugged her …

By people who never respected her .. By people who never saw her worth …

By people who never loved her…

By people who made her miserable …

Yes she started believing she was Mad .. Ugly … Worthless !

She saw the light of wisdom...

She learnt that there is hope …

She loved herself …

She hugged herself …

She patted her back ..

Love flowed

Friends noticed her worth …

They noticed her beauty within …

They noticed her SELF..

She filled with all in gratitude

She became all forgiving ...

She turned all compassionate ..

She understood all the love

She transformed into a beauty ..!

And then the world was hers

As much as she was of the world !!

 

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Skydive into the Present


I had read somewhere that ‘if you believe you can fly, you will’ and this is exactly what I experienced at Skydive Long Island, New York.  For a lark, I saw myself signing up, where the first thing you are told is that when you Sky Dive, there is a probability that you may die or get maimed for life.  Despite these not so comforting words, I had to put on a cheerful expression looking at the excited faces of my friends, .

Before I go any further, let  me share with you that I have a fear of heights, and terrible motion sickness. Why was I doing this? I like birds, airplanes and the sky and  these to my mind are the perfect reason to jump off an airplane.

So, we troop into a small plane with two rows of benches. We sit astride with no seat belts, facing the tail. I see a cameraman sitting on the floor. He closes the door which is really a flap like shutter and we take off.  As we noisily lurch skywards, I am inescapably committed to jump off the airplane or tag myself a coward. I choose the former, reminding myself that the worst case scenario is death and that I have attended enough Advanced Meditation Courses with the Art Of Living so the death-processshould not be unfamiliar; that I have died before in many previous lifetimes and can do it again.


I decide on mudra-pranayam to calm myself. Breathe in…blue sky…breathe out…blue water below… I feel a jab on my back, it is my instructor.

“Are you meditating”

“Yes”

“How do you meditate?”

I’m confused.

A part of me wants to give an Art of Living intro-talk and another wants to whack him because now I’m jittery again!! Thankfully, he wants to talk, telling me about his workplace: the sky.

Soon, it is time. We have climbed to 14000 feet and the door is open. I go over the instructions once again, pull on the eye glass and wiggle on the floor till my feet are dangling out of the plane. It feels similar to dangling one’s feet out of a truck; only, this one is in the sky!!

There is no turning back now. Breathe in ...and JUMP!!! And I am free-falling towards the Earth. I see the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, green and brown Earth with a river. Strangest of all is that the Earth appears convex, nothing like what we see out of an airplane window. Though we free-fall for about 10 thousand feet, there is no perception of speed or the height ! It is something I have never experienced before.

Free Fall is the most magical experience one can ever have.  It is a totally new experience for the body and mind. As the body starts taking inputs through the senses and before the mind can add labels and form concepts…you experience the PRESENT MOMENT, one hundred percent, un-adulterated, pure moment !!!  As you fall, in that moment there is…no fear, no judgement, no like or dislike, no thoughts…not even thoughts of life/death/ loved ones. It is awareness minus the labels!!

Once back on the terra firma, I realized this is how babies must be experiencing life. For us, it is extremely difficult to live without labelling everything. We label our experiences into likes and dislikes, we form concepts of right, wrong, good or bad which compel us to repeat or avoid experiences. Every single sensory input that we experience is immediately labelled and stored and we become a sum total of our concepts; but when we are babies, the world and its experiences are so new that all we ever have is the present moment…

It took me a leap of faith to understand the depth of present moment.  My sky Dive into present  moment set me free.

 

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