Tuesday, November 30, 2010

When the intentions are strong . . . . .

This incident happened nearly a year ago. Back in 2009 we made a trip to India and in that we had planned to visit the Bangalore Ashram. The reason to visit the ashram was two fold, one was to see the place itself and the other was to buy stuff from the divine shop in the ashram. All was well and we picked a date to visit the ashram and since we were travelling from Mysore to Bangalore we added couple more items to our agenda.

We reached Bangalore as we had planned and thanks to my laid back attitude and inadequate planning, by the time we reached the Ashram there was a satsang about to start and because of which they had closed both the divine shop and the main meditation hall. We were told they will open it after the satsang, we were a bit disappointed but we got to see guruji and that took away half the disappointment. Since we had to return to Mysore the same day we couldn’t wait for the satsang to finish and then the divine shop to open. So, we came back empty handed from the Ashram.

After returning to Mysore, we checked out the local music stores to see if they had any of the CDs we wanted and all we got in return was bad (read angry) customer support. All avenues were closed and I was thinking we should make another trip to Bangalore before we get back to the US.

A day or so later some volunteers from Art of living Mysore came around distributing flyers about their upcoming courses and events. My in-laws took the flyer and kept it on the table. I saw the flyer and I remember making comments on its design and sandhya took it for safe keeping and we forgot all about it as we had a wedding to prepare for (sandhya’s sisters wedding).

One fine evening I had a brain flash and it occurred to me that if the Art of Living Mysore is a big enough chapter, then they probably have their own divine shop and I could get my CDs from there. So, I called the number on the flyer and the lady on the other side was really nice (true with any AOL volunteer whose phone number is listed on the flyer) and she told me that they do not have a divine shop yet but there is something better going on in Mysore. She directed me to Mysore Dasara exhibition where Art of Living foundation had a stall.

Next day evening we strolled to the exhibition grounds and visited the stall, we found all the things we wanted and much much more. I was ecstatic, it had saved my extra trip to Bangalore and since I was in the exhibition grounds I visited the Navakarnataka press stall also and got to pick up couple of books from there as well.

Later It occurred to me, when the intentions are strong, nature will show a way and all I had to do was to energize my brain cells and do a little effort.              

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Light as a Leaf

I've been with the Art of Living Foundation for a while. In that time, I've attended who knows how many satsangs, from the intimate 2 person ones to ones that have filled stadiums and air fields. I've seen many super ordinary as well as super fantastic singers and performers both dazzle and fizzle. Satsangs with the Guru, satsangs *with* the Guru, and satsangs. It has been quite a trip.

Recently, Swami Suryapada visited Austin for one evening of satsang. It was raining rivers and the atmosphere was intense. Regardless, our center was full of people, and not just the usual suspects. A variety of people were present, many who I'd never even seen before. The room was choke full and the mood was suspect.

Swamiji breezed in and sat down. In the matter of a few seconds, He blew our minds off. I've never seen someone take such glorious charge of a venue with music. Here was someone who could do what the Guru does.

There were no concepts, He shattered them all. He was totally down to earth, rendered complicated bhajans with flair and the group couldn't but participate 100%. There were no limitations, no eastern/western bridges to build, no people to convince or impress, no need for complicated knowledge, people just experienced the moment. It was pure bliss.

In my earlier days, I put a lot of effort into satsang and I saw some of them go nowhere despite my contribution. I concluded that the group intention wasn't there and that it was impossible for me to overcome that. Here was someone who did completely the opposite. It was irrelevant what the group intention was. His intention was so potent and laser focused that the group became Him. And He became the group. So lovely, no limitations, no concepts, no barriers, total freedom.

It was a powerful lesson for me to do my 100% and not worry, nature cannot but support such intention. In fact, such intention becomes nature's intention, there is no difference, no separation.

He was the epitome of being in the moment, so much so that everyone else ended up there too. That night was wild and the memories still give me shivers. I've been with the Art of Living Foundation for a while and I'm still surprised by the possibilities. What a life!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Holiday season is right around the corner. This holiday season, make it vegetarian.

New York Times is publishing an interactive series titled

New dishes will be added daily until Thanksgiving Day. Do take advantage of these. The pictures look very appetizing as you can tell from the screenshot below.

Bawa once wrote a blog post titled 102 Reasons To Go Veggie. I love the following two paragraphs he wrote at the end of his list.
If you’ve read this far, I hope that you are beginning to see that the Meat & Dairy industry is a major contributor to misery on this planet. It is destroying the health of people in rich countries, starving those in poor countries, it is torturing & killing billions of animals every year and in the meantime it is one of the major factors in the destruction of the environment – so what does the meat & dairy industry have to say in it’s defence?

Well their only real point is usually “Meat is tasty” – fair enough a lot of people enjoy the taste of meat – but there are plenty of delicious alternatives (just consider the huge range of vegetarian dishes in Indian cooking – one of the oldest & most sophisticated cuisines in the world) and if you really crave meat & dairy, nowadays there are plenty of healthy non animal alternatives – just look in the supermarket & health food shop. So I hope you will agree it’s pretty pathetic to consider all the evidence & then say “well I know you’re right about the environment & health & the animals – but I just love my meat”
Read more: 102 Reasons To Go Veggie on Bawa's blog.