Friday, December 31, 2010

The best posts of 2010.

I have been writing quite consistently in this blog for some time now. The beginning of  2010 witnessed a lot of neglect to this blog from my part. But the latter part of 2010 saw some really great responses to my posts. Also mentionable are the wonderful emails that I got mainly for the Satsang -Bhajans book that I had compiled. So a quick flashback, here are some of the posts which according to the responses were amazing and you can definitely look forward to enjoying these posts if you have already not read it.

Looking forward to your encouragement and support from YOU to keep writing in the NEW YEAR 2011 ( probably in my own domain :)

1. Google Earth - Changes in the Art of Living Ashram landscape. :Some really cool insights into the way our Ashram has evolved in the past 10 years or so.
2. Divine Souls I : Swami Suryapada : An Article on Swamiji.
3. Michael Fischman : First meeting with H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar : This post was really appreciated by a lot of people. It contains one old Photo of Guruji when he was very young and travelling with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
4. Funny things out here : Some really belly-wrenching funny things that I've written.
5. Holi with Guruji : Some very colourful moments.
6. Different moods of Vishalakshi Mantap.: Some cool photos of Art of Living Ashram.
7. Stumbling into Infinity - A review : A wonderful book by Michael Fischman.
8. Satsang - Art of Living Bhajans Book pdf ( Free download ) : Took some good  deal of work to get it done. But the response given by all who came across it was thrilling.

Also an all time favorite post in this blog is The Art of Living Blogs. A collection of most of the blog and website related to the Art of Living.

Have a happy and a prosperous new year to you and your dear ones.
Jai Gurudev.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Your Guru knows what you need.

I was inspired to write this post by a video which I saw in youtube.

Many a times we feel that the Guru does not know about our specific problems and issues. Many times we feel disconnected. Many times we clamour for a more "PERSONAL" attention from the Master. It becomes difficult to understand whether we are really lagging behind in our spiritual growth or just the ego is begging to stick on.
It is common to see people who have newly discovered this bliss unearthed by the techniques taught by the Master to feel angered, or left out or hurt . The single complain is " He is not giving me personal time."
If you are in a spiritual path then hasn't this happened to you?

Guru is just a reflection of your infinite self

Gurudev says "The Guru is not just a personality. Guru is the presence."

We can understand it this way... Realizing that the difference between individual bodies is just a temporary and realtive notion ( Maya ). The reality is that we are all one and there is no two. Advaita on non-dualism taught since the dawn of this creation cycle by Rishis and sages like Adi Shankaracharya, his four disciples, Brahmananda Saraswati and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,  all points to the fact which modern physics has just been able to start realising that everything is connected and everything is energy.

So Guru is a complete manifestation of that Shakti, the energy. All the practices we are doing is for the realisation that we are already connected to the Guru Tatva and the difference between the Guru and the disciple only exists in the mind of the unrealized disciple. Looking towards the Guru more as a presence eases our mind and gives us an opportunity in realizing the fact that the Guru is all around us at all times. Protecting and caring for  the disciple. How many events have been created for you to realize this?

Guruji was celebrating his 2010 birthday in Germany. Out of thousands of people present there, Guruji was able to make out that there was one old lady in the crowd who had pain and was suffering. He first gives a sign for the volunteers to help the lady. When no one understands the sign given by him, he himself gets up and helps her to be comfortable. You can see the flood of gratitude in the face of the old lady.

The Guru knows what you need and when. You just have to have faith!

Jai Gurudev.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Your New Year's Resolution : Simplify.

Well its an end to another year and time for flashback. Having a look at things that you did throughout the year and looking ahead towards a new year with fresh determination, plans and possibilities is not only a fruitful undertaking for your career and professional life but in spiritual life too, Swadhyay or self-introspection is given high prominence.
So time to look back at our own lives. Which of our habits pulled our confidence and energy down. Which of them was life enhancing and life supportive. How much did we do for others and how much knowledge we've gained in our professional sphere? Take time out to do some serious thinking (not too long though - 5 to 15 mins will suffice). If possible write down the thought process as bullet points. I have done this and believe me, it makes things so much more clearer in our heads.

Talking about new year, one thing which most of us do is make resolutions. And lets not fool ourselves by telling that at the back of our minds we don't know with varying probabilities that most of them will remain just that - A resolution. Do you want to repeat that this new year too?

          Garfield's Resolution ? 

I wrote this post to tell only one thing. "The courage and confidence gained by forming one habit which we want to form propels us immensely in the direction of the others." So what I'm saying is that, right now out of all the Resolutions that you have in the back of your head, select ONE that you want to really achieve and do the following steps:

1. Write it Down.
2. Quantify it  : Things like: How many hours a day ? For how many days you won't do it? etc. You should     have a clear time frame for your resolution.
3. Tell others about your ONE RESOLUTION. : When you tell it to others, the mind becomes certain of your intentions and the universe says "Tathastu (so be it)"
4.  HABITFORGE : If you use the Internet daily then there are some great tools for free that can help you. Go to and sign up. This website is a free tool that makes you form a habit by doing it continuously for 21 days. At the end of each day, it will send an email asking whether you did that thing today or not? If you do it continuously for 21 days, you are successful. If you miss someday then the clock is reset and you start from Day 1.

So this new year simplify your life by not having too many plans and sleeping over it, but have one definite quantifiable plan and work earnestly to achieve it. The joy of taking one step towards becoming the person which you want to be and the life which you want to have is immense and fulfilling. Its worth all the trouble of taking the above steps. So SIMPLIFY and SIMPLY FLY towards your goal :)

Wishing all the readers of my Blog the Best of Life in the coming YEAR!
Happy New Year. Let me know about your ONE RESOLUTION in the comments! Cheers.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Favorite Art of Living Course : Poll Results

Readers will recall that I had run a poll on the above topic. Well the results are out. Only one thing is certain. The Advanced course is a big winner. 53% said that the Part II course is their favorite. A total of 30 people voted. Thanks to all who participated in the poll. There's a new poll on the side bar. Do vote on it. 
Jai Gurudev.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

His Holiness The Dalai Lama visits Sikkim. (Dec 2010)

It was a cloudy evening some 6 - 7 years back from now. The entire hill town of Gangtok, Sikkim  had gone into a silent prayer. The decibel level had gone so low that you could literally hear the birds chirping and the ringing of the buddhist bells. People cutting across races, religion and social strata had come out of their houses and with folded hands were waiting for His Holiness The Dalai Lama's convoy to pass by the National Highway NH31. Never before had I witnessed such a dramatic change in the environment of an entire town just by the coming of one person. You could feel the peace and gratitude in the air and most people had tears in the eyes reminiscing the days of the times when they were living in their own country under the benevolent rule of The Dalai Lama of Tibet.

The Dalai Lama is the symbol of peace and tolerance all over the world and has shown that integrating spirituality in daily life can make a much more prosperous and violence free world. Persecution by the Chinese of his people for over 60 years has not made him loose his patience and speak harsh words for them. He still says that Love will win over hatred. Peace will win over violence. Forgiveness will win over greed.

His Holiness visited Sikkim again. In the video, He speaks at the International Conference on Science, Spirituality and Education held at Namgyal Institute of Tibetology in Gangtok, Sikkim, India, on December 20th, 2010.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mark Zuckerberg - Creator of Facebook - TIME person of the year 2010.

You must have used FACEBOOK or have heard of it from crazy fans of it. I think FACEBOOK is the one and only company in the past decade which has come so close in challenging the absolute rule of Google over the internet. The information shared today in FACEBOOK by real users is so close to all the data is poured in website and other objects that make the internet.
FACEBOOK is a fantastic way of connecting with your friends and sharing with them things which you like e.g. photos, videos, ideas, etc etc. We also have a Great Art of Living community in Facebook and its a joy to share and view things posted by our Jai Gurudev Warriors of the Internet.

So it was only natural that FACEBOOOK creator Mark Zuckerberg is named the TIME person of the Year by TIME magazine for the year 2010. Here is an Interview done by TIME Magazine.
(To pause and view the video, just click on the video itself.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Walking the Path - A Book on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

It has been Amazing Reading this book . In the lines of Stumbling into Infinity, It contains so much knowledge. Rather than a Biography, it is like a collection of knowledge given by Guruji. The Author also shares some experiences with the Master and the knowledge coming out of those events. Written by Frederique Lebelley, the French journalist & author, it is definitely one of the better reads.

An Excerpt :
The voice of the Master leads the community in meditation, eyes closed, through the mythical frontier of time. Counting the last minutes...  It is going to be New Year..

"New possibilities are opening up to this new age... Welcome these new possibilities... Four and a half minutes to go ... Four minutes...Just two minutes... One minute only! Thirty seconds.. Chant Om!"
 The tremendous vibration of the thousand voices seems to bless the entire earth, and greets the next three hundred and sixty-five coming "today".
"Tonight and tomorrow, remind yourself of all the people to whom you must be grateful for something. Think of what has been given to you by them."
And Gurudev adds "Before going to sleep, cover yourself with a blanket of grace. Wake up tomorow with a smile..."

Amateur fireworks are organized outside, in the snow. Everybody gathers to watch them. But Gurudev goes up to the first floor to see it... I followed him with a few others. Elbow against elbow at the windowsill, we overhang the group of disciples, with their heads raised now towards him, now towards the plumes of sparks banging in the black night.

So near the forest, the powder is thundering with a power amplified by the resonance chamber of the trees, so much so that it releases a mini avalanche between the trunks. Everything seems to me very beautiful. Utter happiness! Gurudev is resting his shoulder against mine, as he often does with the clarity of his innocence. I look at him; his face is serious, displeased. he worries, "Oh, We are going to wake the birds up!" To make his intentions known to the firework operators, he goes away towards his apartment, and says again, "We are disturbing the birds!" Nobody other than him had thuoght about that. Even in an atmosphere of celebration, when everyone seems caught up in the fun, the Master keeps an attention and a sensitivity to everything around him. 

Go and Read this book today! It is available in the Bangalore Ashram Divine shop. You can also buy the book from Flipkart in the link below:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The depth of Being.

How a poem comes, no one knows
From the depth of the fathomless self
Along which direction the wind blows?
The secret is deep down inside.

How a flower blossoms and rain happen
Are these easily answered?
The stars give way to the sun
How they know the day has come!

The bees and the birds know for sure
Where to find  food and rest.
Under the orange sky azure
They fly straight to their nest.

The mother knows all along
How to love and care.
The raindrops in the leaves so pure
Who has kept it there?

The rainbow forms a perfect bow
How the colours don't change?
We're born and die and born again
Isn't it a lil' strange?

From where a poem comes?
From the depth of the infinite being.
So with love and joy I sing
I am that beautiful thing.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Of Slippers and Habits

Well, it happened again. Without exaggeration, it was the 4th time that I lost my slippers in the Ashram. Teeming with joyful bubbling souls, nobody must have noticed the 'chappal' being just carried away by one of the bubbles. And still less nobody must have cared. Belongingness extended to the appendages of the hind limbs is what I don't like, specially when it is extended to mine.

I had gone to the ashram yesterday and had a wonderful satsang in presence of Gurudev. He answered some witty questions and some direct ones.
Somebody asked "What is the reason we get married"
He answered "You should know why you want to get married" ( laughter)

Another person asked "Does rebirth exist?"
Gurudev said "It does. There are many evidences."

Still another one said "I want to hear the slogan "Jai Hind, Jai Maharashtra" from your mouth"
He said "Look, I have left the slogans and shouting to you, I just give blessings!"

I stayed back in the Ashram and early morning had a cold water bath at 5 am and went to Sumeru mantap to do kriya and then came to attend Rudra Puja. Just when we reached VM, Guruji's car came and we followed just behind HIM, floating in the cloudy ashram morning amidst the Vedic Chants.
After a Blissful Puja, had a hearty breakfast at the Ashram Kitchen and then headed Home.

But the story I wanted to tell or rather an observation is this:
How much we are habituated to things. Responding to a particular situation in the same manner every single time.
Well I've lost my slippers 3 times before (thanks to people extending belongingness) and every time with the same belongingness, I have picked someone else. So when I lost it today, the first instict today was to pick up another. I just kept observing. It was an Aho moment. I thought 'Do I have a choice or not!"
Vrittis in the mind solidified by repeated actions creates bondage. Look in your life... how many bondages and crutches you have.. Are you still reapeating it?? Just observe.

Finally I sat in the Car and came back home barefeet. However insignificant, I felt a little free.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Google Translator - English to Hindi! or is it?

Well, Google has tried to develop several revolutionary product and services and it has succeded many a times, but does Google Translate finish as successful is debatable.. 
Being in Bangalore, the only translation I have ever needed is to or from Kannada, which now I more or less understand.. So I just thought of checking out Google Translate just for fun. Remember the last time I had fun with a google product was Quite Funny!

There is also a provision where you can listen to the translated audio.
I am going to take the case study : From English to Hindi!

Go to Google Translate and try out "India is my motherland". Its correct 100%. Also listen to the audio.

Now try " I want a samosa". The result is " में एक समोसा चाहते हैं ". Thats a typical way a westener would try to say the sentence in Hindi. Which makes me ponder did Google actually have a Hindi speaking person in its team when developing translation for Hindi.

In the video below, these two girls decided to test the Google Translator and order for Indian food and got it! So its not entirely useless though. Stuck in a life and death situation where you need to desperately communicate with the other..  Maybe this will save your life! Hopefully.

Go to Google Translate and try these from English to Hindi.

"I want a Book"
"It is getting hotter"    (Definitely listen to this translation by clicking the audio button)
"Google is a fool"

Amazingly google Gets the last one perfectly correct!!

Use your imagination and try out new sentences. If you come up with something really funny let me know in the comment section!