Thursday, July 31, 2008

Aurangabad - Conquest of Devgiri

Check this exciting photo album which says it all, take your time to read the captions carefully!! Watch it as a slideshow to Enjooooyyy!
http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/ask.saleel/AurangabadYESDevgiriTrek
Cheers!
Saleel

Monday, July 28, 2008

Celebrating Mumbai Showers in Style




Football in the rains.


Water levels are going up not only in the lakes in Mumbai but also the gutters, nalas, drains, streets, grounds etc. It has been raining almost continuously from last 3 days. On Sunday (yesterday) our dynamic YES!+ teachers of GHATKOPARRRRRRR, Upasana and Manisha decided to get into action. They were quite high after attending long kriya conducted first time by brand new YES!+ teacher DHARA ( also from GHATKOPARRRRR.

2 hours of non-stop action, with bricks as goal posts, middle of a road as the football field, gutters as boundaries. Yes we did have injuries, fowls, red cards and the peak of excitement was when teams levelled scores in the last minute of the second half. So, yes, you guessed it right - Penalty shoot out. Upasanas team won 3-0!!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hibernated in Satva

Hellooo.. everyone! So with that previous post (about Guruji in New York), I am back on the blog after a long hibernation. One month in the ashram in Bangalore was a 'knowledge-thirst' quenching and a 'satvik-soaking' experience.

Though I was all set to be on the YES!+ Advance course from 18 June, I decided to pull out and be with Bawa and Dinesh in the organising of the upcoming first ever YES!+ TTC. Basically it was an excuse to spend time with them, having retained the freedom to talk (avoided the silence of advance course ;-) ). Though I didn't do much, just being with them and observing them steer, engineer, alter, enhance, fine tune, improvise, guide and finally conduct the TTC was a great learning.

It was very gratifying to watch 111 young stalwarts emerge stronger and confident to take on the challenge of empowering the youth at large.

Late night feedback and planning discussions, sudden changes, running noses (mine even had clots due to excessive sneezing and blowing), sore throats, intense padmasadhanas, 'daanto-and-jhhaado' sessions, new range of sounds - with a tone of 'please have mercy' from Rashmins larynx (when tickled on the first three ribs), Bawas mouth watering recipes, Bawas magic tricks and Western Classical Music appreciation workshop, Bawas Mathemagic, Dinesh's wake up calls and leg massages, late night football with Dinesh and early morning stories with Vishwas bhaiya (which started late night) were amongst the other highlights.

With so much action, energy and satva packed in me I had a strong feeling, rather intuition, that the Aurangabad YES!+ course is going to rock! And what a BLAST it was!!! Highlights of that in the next post....you better get ready for some action...so fasten your belts and hold your breath............well.....doesn't matter, just let go and watch your breath, thats fine enough :-).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Guruji in New York, 2002

An anonymous article of 2002, Gurujis visit to New York, US

To see for myself what it was all about, to find out why this frail, young man with the deep, dark eyes was so popular, I decided to go to one of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s talks in New York.

The huge synagogue on Manhattan’s west side was already filled to the rafters when I arrived. An enthusiastic group of young people sang bhajans and the audience swayed and sang along as though they were at a rock concert. There were people of every nationality, color and age group, dressed in a variety of clothes from blue jeans to silk saris and kurtas.

Many had already done the Art of Living course, a program of breathing, meditation and yoga that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has put together to “relieve stress, improve communication, develop leadership skills, increase vitality, expand awareness and increase enjoyment of life.”
Very soon, the guruji bounded up the steps to the stage, dressed in gleaming white silk, his long, dark hair forming a halo around his face. The resemblance to images of Jesus Christ was evident to more than a few in the audience.

“What should we talk about today?” he asked his audience. The suggestions were many and varied: “Peace,” “guilt,” “miracles,” “trust,” “who am I?” One woman, almost in tears, asked “Why is there so much evil? Why Sept. 11? Why? Why?” Another said, “Tell us a joke.” Guruji took them all in his stride.

In life, began Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, strength comes along with challenges. If we focus on the strength instead of the problems, we will become stronger. All the problems of the world are due to narrow-mindedness — a lack of a broad world vision and stress or lack of personal peace. A truly stress-free person will never harm anybody.

Even a small pocket of ignorance can endanger the world, the guru told his rapt audience. For instance, the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan was a prelude to the destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar exhorted his audience to accept wisdom from every part of the world. The only true religion is love, he said.

The guru is given to long pauses. One of his books is called ‘Celebrating Silence.’ In the midst of his peroration, he stops for long intervals, gazes soulfully at the audience as though to draw strength from them and then goes on with his theory for a stress-free world. A stress-free mind and a disease-free body are the birthright of every human being. “People should learn how to handle their emotions,” he said. A lot of domestic violence is because people have not been taught, either at home or in school, to handle negative emotions or rid themselves of unwanted stress. Breath is the link between our emotions, our thoughts and our bodies. But, we must learn to control our breath.

Guruji went on to speak about rebirth, karma, and what he called “coffee karma” and “Hagen Daaz karma.” “Come back to your innocence,” he advised his audience. “We need to nourish the child within us.”

The event had been billed as ‘An Evening of Wisdom, Music and Deep Meditation,’ and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar answered questions from the audience with wit and humor, before leading them into a spell of meditation. There was a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his lips.

“What is the art of living?” someone asked. To appreciate life and to accept people as they are. His answers were short and to the point.

“When will you get married and start a family?” another asked, perhaps not aware that gurus are normally celibate. “The whole world is my family,” he replied, without missing a beat. “I don’t need to get married to raise a family.”

And to a questioner just about to get married, his advice was: “Don’t question the love of your spouse — do not demand proof of love from someone who loves you.”

This guru does not fit into the stereotypical mould. There was lots of laughter and lots of audience participation, but he did manage to get some serious points across.

In a subsequent interview at the luxury apartment of a devotee, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar amplified his philosophy. The essence of his message was simple, he said. “Keep smiling — even in tough times,” he told Desi Talk.

And times have certainly been tough after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Within days, volunteers from the guru’s Art of Living Foundation were in New York offering their healing powers and their stress-management techniques to fire-fighters, policemen and traumatized citizens.
Over 1,000 people have done the course in New York since 9/11, learning the deep relaxation techniques that bring relief from stress and anxiety.