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How genuine is Sri Sri


I was born in a family that follows Jainism. Hence the first time I heard of The Art of Living and saw the picture of a saint, I wondered, “How genuine is Sri Sri?” After a few more proddings from my doctor who was strongly recommending the Art of Living Program to me, I enrolled for it. Very soon I would find out the answer to my question: how genuine was Sri Sri.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar founder of The Art of Living

The first time I met Sri Sri was in Mumbai at a very small media gathering at a devotee’s place. Being a journalist I was trained to be sceptical, to question the genuine-ness of everything. I had interviewed a few prominent religious leaders earlier and so I was prepared for a series of instructions from his devotees prior to the meeting. Usually I was told to sit far away from the leader so that I do not pollute their aura and shout out questions, or I was frisked. I don’t know how valid such procedures were but it had got me to wonder how genuine it all was.

But none of that happened here.  We were simply ushered into a room where we sat in a small circle along with Sri Sri. The simplicity, the ease and the genuine manner in which it was conducted and in which he answered struck a chord in me. Yes! Here was a genuine saint. Natural. No frills, no drills.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar the founder of the Art of Living

This has been an enduring impression in my future interactions with him – a genuine saint. I saw the media associate big-time industrialists and businessmen with him. But he remained unfazed by all that they had to offer, politely declining anything offered in excess. What could he want from anyone? His mission was to bring peace and happiness in people’s lives. And he was going about it in a practical way; a way in which he and his organisation, The Art of Living, were self-sufficient; a way in which he did not have to compromise on the genuine-ness of his purpose.

Once I happened to be on the same flight as him. He had just finished meeting  thousands in Bangalore and boarded a flight to Mumbai. When we got off, I saw at least 500 devotees at the airport who sought to reach out to him and in the process pulled his hair, his scarf, scratched his hands. The police struggled, hollered, pushed but it continued. Such was the frenzy but when I looked at Sri Sri, he had a smile, a genuine one, blessing all with his flower.  When someone asked, “How do you handle this each day, everywhere?” He simply said, “See the love behind the act. The intention is important.” Only someone with genuine intention would look beyond the act.

He works twenty-two hours, seven days a week. The other two hours he sleeps on the floor. Here is a saint who doesn’t preach. He lives it, naturally. People ask him his mantra for success. I say it’s his genuineness which touches the hearts of the millions who follow him. Millions around the world can’t be fooled!

NK

The author is a journalist 

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Size Matters….


Preface:

Those who belong to this unique club, personalize it yourself – Think of you as “I” wherever used in this blog. This Biographical account is a Matter of FAT…Ooopss Matter of FACT. Take offense at your own risk – remember you will be ticking off a 100 kg+ mass.

Body (No Pun intended)

I am a guy (all my friends vouch for it) whose weight in Kgs almost matches (or exceeds) number of friends I have on Facebook (over 5K).

The website of Art of Living founded by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar ji popularly known as the Guru of Joy says, it is spread over 152 countries. I also have have matching number to claim some fame – I have 152 kgs of force acting on me towards the centre of the earth.

I cannot but help be reminded of that skeleton hanging from the hook in the Biology lab, when I see some skinny friends who call themselves fit – Baaahhhh.

People as skinny as a skeleton do not look healthy

As I grew up they also reminded me of those skimpy clothes that move around on FTV. I always thought it was just those 2-3 pieces of rags moving on stage till some one said there are humans inside it. I love when these people give me those very adorable admiring looks 😉 **Blush…blush**

I had this “Fats-Challenged” Size Zero poor soul who tried to poke fun about that lovely little paunch. Reader, tell me if a paunch smaller than that Hill where Sumeru Mantap is situated is a Paunch especially an on a lovely chiselled physical structure?

Is a pot belly really not healthy?

I challenged her if she has as much muscles in her entire body? (a friendly Doctor – Swami Hardik of my club asks me to refer it as Muscle, I have to agree that it is medically appropriate too). And she wears clothes that are as costly (if not more) though she just was wearing 1/10th of what I was wearing.

And here is an open challenge. I can hug anyone single handedly. Those Size-zeroes need to assemble ten of them in a Sam-Gachatvam circle to get around me. So who is more enviroment friendly? What a single person like me can do, needs 10 to do. HUGs… and I tell you, when we Hug, it indeed is a real HUG they get!!!

A hug is good for health and happiness also...

Some advantage (those skinny ones call it is unfair and envy me for this) – I never suffer from what some Not-Obese starlets refer to as “food-martyrdom” I mean I dont belong to those folks who say (or atleast think) Oh! No I should not have eaten that extra topping of cheeze on my Pizza, or Which devil had taken over me that I ate that slab of chocolate.

As my Guruji …err Gurudev (after an earlier blog by Aparazzi, I have to say Gurudev, BTW! she very nearly belongs to my club and empathises with my feelings here) HH Sri Sri Ravishankar ji of Art of Living Foundation says – Serve to your capacity and a bit more. I follow it to the “T”. I serve … to the brink of the capacity of my plate and more… Very Obedient follower, Am I not?

Too much food is not good for your health

Why I am popular with the kids. Kids never have to worry about getting bruised by the bones when they sit on your lap, like they do when they sit on laps of say Sumathi or Ashwin. What they experience is a royally cushioned unbeatable comfort on my lap – and as a bonus a reclining cushion (others call it a paunch)

Suresh is happy with himself

Another  reason why I love every gram of my bulk because my Obesity acts as a “Friend Filter” – Do I need to be friend with someone who cannot ACCEPT ME AS I AM?”

I am mortally scared of Tattooing (rather getting Tattooed) On a trip abroad, while everyone in the team was being forced by the gracious host (yes, Size Zero guy) to get a body Tattoo done at his cost, I was excused – because I had a large body surface to Tattoo (read – the host to dig his pocket into an abyss)

And now, instead of fighting my bulge (did it for so many years successfully – fighting it I mean) I decided to indulge. Only way to fight bulge is to indulge 😉

Another great part – I get tailored dresses not those run-of-the-mill stuff that you guyz/gals pick up as Readymade from local shop.Trying to find clothes to fit me is like a treasure hunt for my wife 😉

Evolution from Laptop to Belly-Top – Now how many of you have this luxuy?

Spiritual knowledge also makes one creative..

I could go on and on about why being Obese or fat is a virtue, but Editors don’t allow the luxury with Words that I take with my weight. So signing off…. with my LAST (BUT ONE) WORD! (I always keep a reserve of Capacity + More)

I can eat what I want, when I want and how muchever I want (the very reason I got here in the first place)

And Final Final Advantage of being FAAATTTTT!!!! Beat this…

Long Love Obesity!!

PS: Copyrights of the Pictures/Video with Respective Owners – If in violation please let us know and we would promptly take it off. (However, read the preface – you will do it at risk of offending a 100kg+ bulk)

 
19 Comments

Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Others, Yoga and Meditation

 

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Higgs boson God Particle : End of Quest?


Science and Spirituality take different routes to understanding the Truth. In its quest to understand the Universe Science has sought to go all the way back to when matter was created at the moment of creation of the universe, namely the Big Bang.

Spirituality on the other hand is concerned with the basic question, “Who am I?” and “Where did I come from?,” going back all the way to the time of creation of universe and from then on.

The enquiry into the moment of Creation is what creates the convergence point of Science and Spirituality.  The news of finding the imprint of the God particle has been so thrilling that it has created a new buzz around particle physics.

The God particle – What and Why
The naming of the God particle is a quirk of fate. The story goes that the Nobel laureate physicist Leon Lederman while, writing about this elusive particle, was so exasperated that he wrote it down as ‘Goddamn particle’. The editor toned down the exasperation and changed it to ‘God particle’. And that is how it came to be called in common parlance. Formally, the scientists call it the Higgs Boson particle. It was Prof Peter Higgs who had first proposed that such a particle should be existing to create mass in Creation.  The Boson comes from the name of the Indian Scientist Satyendra Nath Bose, in recognition of his contribution.

God particle discovered

In the finding of the imprint of this particle now, it is this earlier postulate of Prof Higgs that is being scientifically alluded to. It is interesting to note that this sequence of scientific postulate being placed in a scientific paper and the actual discovery happening much later, has been one of the features of advancement of science.

Postulated first, discovered later 

For Instance, before the planet Neptune was physically observed in the skies, it was mathematically calculated in a scientific paper, that such a planet should exist because of the gravitation tug of planet Uranus. Similarly, the Russian scientist George Gamow had postulated the existence of Cosmic Micro Wave Background Radiation (CMBR) which was later recorded by the two scientists Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson.

Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson

Is it really the God Particle?

In the case of the God Particle, this particle has been elusive for, it self-destructs itself after one trillionth of a second after coming into existence. In this brief existence, it helps the other particles create the mass that this universe is made of. Which is why, an understanding of this particle is considered a major scientific breakthrough in understanding the universe.

If it were really a God particle as touted in common parlance, why should it self destruct itself within a flash of a moment of its creation? A God particle should exist from before the Creation, to after dissolution of the Universe and not be in existence for just a fleeting moment. Calling it a God particle would not be apt. Anyway, let us see, what the Higgs Boson Particle exists for?

Higgs Boson – the elusive trigger 

The Universe came into existence from the Cosmic Egg after the Big Bang, the Cosmic Egg’s dimension being just a point. How could such an infinitely small speck create this infinitely huge universe with all its mass? It needs a trigger. The search for this trigger is the search for this elusive Higgs Boson Particle. Since life of this particle is only one trillionth of a second, it is not possible to capture the particle. What is possible through the advance scientific practices at CERN and other scientific establishments is to get a glimpse of an imprint of this Higgs Boson Particle. Getting a glimpse of this imprint is a major breakthrough in itself.

Large Hadron Collider at CERN to detect the God Particle

How Higgs Boson adds mass to things

This Higgs Boson adds mass only when three quark particles get together. Just two are not found to form a stable proton with mass. These three quarks that group together are said to possess different colours. The term colour has been used by the physicists to denote that they possess distinct traits, qualities, characteristics.

Three Quarks coming together

Three Quarks forming Stable Protons with Mass in Higgs Field

Immediately after its function of adding the mass, Higgs Boson ceases to exist. This is the nature of Nature! This concept of the need for the basic three to create matter, has been discussed in Indian knowledge system which describes the Universe as being created from TrigunathmikaPrakrithi. Prakrithi is the nature of the Creation of this Universe and Triguna are the three characteristics which help in this Creation process. The process itself is called Trivrtitkaranam, “the act of the three when they come together.”

The Yoga, or coming together, of the three gunas

Satva, Rajas and Tamas,  the three characteristics

Not Really Parallel But Synergized Systems

Like this there are many interesting parallels between the Indian knowledge system and the modern research of Creation of the Universe carried out at CERN.

In the Indian knowledge system, the Cosmic Egg is known as Hiranyagarbha, meaning “a golden hued womb” and the Big Bang is expressed as Brahmanda Visphotak, Universal explosion. The Cosmic Soup has been described as one in which the sub atomic particles such as quarks and gluons are floating freely without the influence of any force upon them until the presence of a God particle, Higgs Boson creates an energy field in which they interact and gain mass.

In the Indian traditional Narayana is depicted as resting calmly in the Primordial Waters similar to the state of inertness and equilibrium as found in the cosmic soup before the presence of God particle. Narayana is symbolically depicted with a consort, Lakshmi, who arises from the same primordial waters. Lakshmi denotes the source of all matter and material wealth and is the bi product of the churning of these primordial waters. We see here a striking similarity in the way the early stage of universe transmutes from an inert state to a material form, the difference being in the styles of expression.

The concept of Cosmic Microwave Background (CMBR) is akin to the OM which pervades through the Universe. There are numerous parallels between modern science and ancient traditional Indian knowledge system.

Om and Cosmic Microwave Function

OM and the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation

In fact, the Indian knowledge systems offer deeper insights into aspects of Creation going to stages even before the Big Bang and into the process of creation of matter.  All this has been discussed in detail in our book and film, Creation – Srishti Vigyana.

Book by Bharat Gyan on Creation

by Art of Living and Bharat Gyan

One of the senior physicists of CERN Geneva, Dr. Archana Sharma, the only Indian, permanent scientist member in CERN, found the parallels interesting enough to come to Bangalore, India and make a significant contribution to the documentary film made by Art of Living and Bharath Gyan.

Modern science and ancient wisdom reaching the same goal

Synergy of science and ancient knowledge systems

The finding of God Particle at CERN has triggered a spate of discussions on the convergence of science and spirituality in recent times.

In India, what is interesting to note is that each time there is a breakthrough in science, people see parallels in traditional Indian thought which goes back well over 7000 years of knowledge compilation. Some recognize the convergence of the two at every stage. It is pertinent to ask, “Why is it that every time a new discovery in the frontiers of science is made, there is already a pre-existing parallel opinion in the Indian thought that is uncovered?

If such a match is being found on every such occasion, which has been the case so far, then why can not the people working in the frontiers of science draw inspiration from this vast ancient Indian body of knowledge to cross the bridge from gross to subtle and merge both aspects that parallely exist in this universe?”.

As we take this crucial step forward, it will be a proud, synergized march of human civilization and science, hand in hand.

D.K. Hari and D. K. Hema Hari are authors, research collators and founders of Bharath Gyan.They may be contacted on bharathgyan@gmail.com and followed on twitter on @bharathgyan 

Editor’s Note: Click here for A beautiful Talk on God Particle by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

 
9 Comments

Posted by on July 22, 2012 in Art of Living Wisdom, Others

 

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The Art of Living : Keeping the Faith


Sharing a part of my lifestory… written a couple of years ago on my personal blog…. 🙂

I was 12 or 13 years old when I was gifted a book called ‘ The Art of Living’ on Vipassana Meditation by William Hart. I had already done the Transcendental Meditation course and as children my age would do, never practiced it again, though I still remember the mantra I was given!! 🙂

I must say, that all through this journey called life, spiritual books have found their way into my life.. 🙂 All this talk these days, about attracting things into life, going by that philosophy, maybe I must have wanted them in some previous birth 🙂 I have a story for each one entering my life in very interesting and sometimes, not so happy, circumstances. Always making me realize the presence of the divine around, taking care of me! 🙂

Coming back to the book ‘The Art of Living’! It’s a beautiful book on Vipassana Meditation with an outline of the basics of Buddhism, short stories and an ‘Intellectual Commentary on Experiential Wisdom.’ I loved reading that book, especially the short stories, every now and then. Must have read it 30-40 times but I never understood parts of the ‘Intellectual Commentary,’ and I wished I could find someone who would explain the meaning of quite a few things the book mentions. In vain!! I found no one near me who could understand it, or for that matter, was willing to read ‘SUCH BOOKS’ at my age :))) Definitely none of my friends, classmates or even elders.

Though I enjoyed the book immensely, I could not relate to all the experiences narrated in the book. However, I did not associate that with any form of disbelief on the writer, or Vipassana or Buddhism, nor did I ever doubt any of the experiences. I always felt there was truth behind those words. I knew that somewhere something in my own experience was lacking that prevented me from understanding the book completely. I always thought I would go to a Vipassana centre someday to experience it myself…

However, instead of Vipassana, something else happened!!! “The BEST thing that could have ever happened”!! The Art of Living Part 1 Course.. then YES!+ Navratri Advance Course at Ashram with Gurudev H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji ..then Sahaj.. DSN…

After I began practicing meditation regularly, that ‘Intellectual Commentary’ has become an ‘Experiential Reality.’ (An everyday affair) Transformed my life, attitude, thinking and continues to do so.. And now when I read that book, or other books on spiritual experiences, I comprehend a lot more of what they imply.

The Limitation of Words
Words sometimes (or maybe most of the times) fail to reflect experiences. (Try explaining the pain in your head, to someone who has never experienced any pain. Can you find words to express it…..We all want easy answers, but nothing can ever satisfy our highest quest, if it is genuine, except our own experiences. To add, Meditation is not a one day affair, although I have seen and continue to see hundreds of first time phenomena and miracles all around me.

The Cure for Restlessness
Most people say they are unable to close their eyes and relax even for a few moments. The absence of a person or thing that we love or want can definitely make us restless and feel lonely, but imagine, if that’s the restlessness in and around us, where we cannot sit with ourselves for some time, why would people want to be with restless people like us?
We are all energy transmitters, so it’s very important to see what kind of energy we are emitting.. 🙂

Not to say, that there are no restless moments, but mindfulness, the very awareness that we are restless, works to bring us out of it. The very moment we become aware of it, we begin to break the cycle and understand that ‘being alone’ and ‘being lonely’ are two completely different perspectives. In simple words, just a conversion!! The ability to experience the difference, may come after a period of practicing mindfulness or meditation, or can happen in a fraction of a second. 🙂

All is ‘Energy’
The quantum physicist and the saint say the same thing – All is ‘Energy.’ The former talks from a scientific and experimental perspective and the latter from an experiential perspective! Feeling the vibrations, electricity and energy in and around him! While there is no change in the temperament of the quantum physicist when he makes this proclamation, a true saint’s mere presence reflects the bliss, radiance and resplendence that comes from experiencing reality as it is!

Remembering Celine Dion’s song –
‘….When you wanted the most, there’s no easy way out,
When you’re ready to go, and your heart’s left in doubt,
Don’t give up on your faith,
Love (I call it the highest possible manifestation of energy) comes to those who believe it,
And ‘That’s the way it is’!! 🙂

 

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pArt of Living !


Someone, in a random conversation about life, recently wrote to me on twitter asking how my activities and sadhana at Art Of Living were going on. I quipped “that’s pArt Of Living. Like BREATHING”.

This write-up is a ‘leap’ from now to then. The many in-betweens, you ask? That’s for later.

Pre-February 2005

Art Of LivingSri Sri Ravishankar – these two names rang a bell. Along with these I used to get flashing images of Richard Gere and Rhea Pillai. Why, you ask?

Because I read about them in association with Sri Sri Ravishankar and Art Of Living. And what a fancy name, I must say! Art. Beautiful. No?

Sometime in February – March

Bipin said he is planning to join Art Of Living. During the 5 days of the course period I saw a good many differences in him and for the good.

Sometime in March – April

I happened to meet Manjax (actually Manjita, I call her so simply because she calls me ‘Appax’), and then I met Geetha. Two different people from two entirely different circle of friends, and they were voicing out the same words, well almost, words of praise and excitement about Art Of Living. Manjax, though not a part of Art Of Living was vouching for it. Both of them, edging me to join Art Of Living, something Bipin was doing for quite sometime by now. So I finally decided to give it a ‘try’. ‘Just for the heck of it’. (mark my attitude). I wasn’t losing much of my money by paying a thousand bucks, money which was assured to be used for social projects.

My first Sudarshan Kriya, the experience and the after effects:

First they made us do ‘Disha Naman’. That is bowing down to the Gods who control the four directions – North, South, East, and West.

Maheshgiri-ji guiding Disha Pranam

And here I was saying to myself, “did they say God? D-uh…!” (mark my attitude). Bipin had said that it’s not any religious course… GOD. THE CONCEPT OF GOD. It had never seemed to take any firm root in my mind. It was beyond comprehension. (Little did I know then that I needed to open my heart as well. You have to understand how confused I was about religion and spirituality.) My concept of God was limited to The Sun God. Well okay, so, I bowed. So what! Every pore full of love for my loved ones. They are all God. No? Clever! Beat that! (mark my attitude). Then we did ‘Pranayama’, something we had learnt the previous day already. Then after, we did The Sudarshan Kriya‘SOHAM’. And oh my ‘God’!, ain’t I glad I did it… till date, that is, and till undated, I am sure. Guruji’s ethereal voice filling my mind. My heart. My soul.

We all never realized we sat through an hour and a half, for the whole process. We were asked to describe our experience doing our first Kriya. Then when it was my turn to talk, I was like, “experience? What experience? I don’t have a single thought in my mind, and the fact is that this is the only thought in my mind!” My answer was “I don’t know. I can’t think.” I was absolutely dazed. Transfixed. Mesmerised. Stupefied. Bedazzled. And, lastly, worried, wondering if ‘these people’ put a spell on me. Trying hard to get my senses back. I was spell-bound. Little did I know, then, that all the elderly course participants were striving for that. Little did I know, then, that the everyone was striving for that, craving for that. And it was so easy for me, …and I was worried about that! Silly me! (mark my attitude)

I do not know what power rode me back to my house. Little did I know, then, that I had found a home. I felt safe.

Post that day:

I never analysed the transformation in me, I don’t know why. Maybe because I never realized it until it dawned on me one fine day. And now, again, I still don’t have any words to explain the beauty of what dawned on me. In the ‘SUN’ I firmly believed, I was sun-bathing.

Reformation:

What? You may ask.

For one, ‘I used to be an ATHEIST’. My words need no reading in between lines for the ones even remotely connected with me. The other transformations, you ask? Later.

Now, I no more have flashing images of R Gere or R Pillai. The place is taken over by R Shankar. Sri Sri Ravishankar, and whenever I am hovered by his flashing image, you will find a thunderous smile flashing across my face.

My Gurudev! Ah! ….and as they say in Art Of LivingJOY GURUDEV!

P.S.: My journey between ‘My Guruji’ & ‘My Gurudev’, that too, later!

 

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Art of Living courses around the World


Click on the links listed below to know about the upcoming Art of Living Courses around the World

Art of Living International Centre  Canada

Art of Living Canada

Art of Living Los Angeles

Art of Living San Francisco Bay Area 

Art of Living Atlanta

Art of Living San Jose

Art of Living  Philippines

Art of Living UK

Art of Living Ireland

Art of Living South Africa

Art of Living Australia

Art of Living New Zealand

 

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Upcoming courses announced in India


Click on the links listed below to know about the upcoming Art of Living Courses in India

Art of Living International Centre Bangalore 

Art of Living Bangalore

Art of Living Pune

Art of Living Coimbatore

Art of Living Chennai

Art of Living Mumbai

Art of Living Ahmedabad 

Art of Living Trichy

Art of Living North Kolkata

Art of Living Jodhpur

 
 

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