Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Rashim Pulekar on Art of Living & Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Rashmin Pulekar is an Art of Livng Foundation faculty who travel across the world to bring about the tranformation among the youth with the help of YES+ courses of the Art of Living.
Here is what Rashmin Pulekar feels as a part of Art of Living foundation.

When you have a Guru Like Sri Sri Ravishankar life is always happening; full of exciting stories and thrilling experiences. Its like living in a fantasy world of almost complete uncertainty. Every new thing that starts happening in life almost always has to take you through a maddening roller coaster and then miraculously culminates into the most incredibly happy ending you ever imagined. Sometimes it just takes time to realise that the way it ended was the best for you. By now i am quite used to the happy endings and have really started enjoying the roller coasters.

Its amazing. Guruji speaks on something as profound as the Bhagvad Gita and after a few minutes in the same satsang dances on “Jiya Dhadak dhadak”!

The following two questions illustrate the real essence of Gurudev! Playfulness and depth. He can instigate roars of laughter with his amazing sense of humour and in the next few moments say something that makes your heart go wow! And you get it right “in” because that’s exactly what you needed at that point of time.

Just read this and you will know what I mean..

Q : Would you please encourage our husbands wash utensils and cut vegetables even at home just as they did here during the advance course? (Followed by loud cheering from all the women in the course).

Guruji : yes yes definitely. But then it would be nice if you too maintained silence at home just the way you did in the advance course. (Followed by loud cheering by all the men in the course)

Q : I miss you very much. Do you miss me?

Guruji : When I am in your mind its only me who exist. But when I am not in your mind “I” miss you very much. I long for you.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Tips for Women By Bhanu didi

Bhanunathi Narasimhan has played a key role in The Art of Living Foundation, since its inception. In 1997, Bhanu was one of the founding members of VISTA India (Value Integrated Services to All), an initiative that aims to provide economic and social self-sufficiency for disadvantaged women. The project was launched under the aegis of the Art of Living Foundation, and it has provided vocational training, entrepreneurship, and self-development workshops to more than 8,000 women in India. As part of their training, women are also introduced to programs that promote hygiene and women’s health in rural areas.Sri Sri Women’s Empowerment Program is another initiative on similar lines of VISTA and caters to underprivileged women in rural areas.
Following id the article by Bhanumathi Narasimhan fondly called Bhanu didi on Women.

1. H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says: “Women can glue the differences and bring people of diverse nature together.” According to me, this quality is inherent in her and makes it easier for her to create and maintain team spirit.
This strength of a woman needs to be recognized. The moral values she imparts to her children, the support that she provides to the family, all these really matter. They say women are emotional. However, this is the aspect which makes her gentle, soft and feminine. The delicate nature of a woman allows her to create an environment of peace and harmony wherever she goes.
The balance of delicate nature and a practical approach can happen only in a stress-free mind. In order to be stress-free, one adopts spirituality, which is the foundation for the complete blossoming of the individual potential.

2. Women love team spirit. They love to gossip – so instead of gossiping about people, gossip on nature. Ask each other, why are there such few leaves on the tree, why are the clouds so small, how is this flower so big? Don’t focus on individuals.

3. Women are normally more emotional while men have a greater ego. The woman is emotionally attached to her family, her brother, sisters, parents etc. The husband should never criticize the wife’s family. The wife, on the other hand, should always praise the husband, especially in front of others, even if what he does may not be so intelligent. When the wife takes care of the husband’s ego and the husband takes care of the wife’s emotions, then the relationship can be a more pleasant one.

4. Marriage is a commitment. It is a commitment for caring and sharing – sharing one’s life and caring for the other.  It is the union of two hearts towards one goal. When the husband and wife are focusing only on each other, then very soon there are arguments and disagreements. When our goals are high, when we are focused on something bigger, towards serving society, towards wisdom, then the husband and wife can move together, supporting each other, in this beautiful journey of life.

5.Whenever you feel pressurised, don’t talk about it too much. Keep quiet for ten minutes and be with yourself. In busy moment, keep maunam. If people at home know you are in silence, then the demands on you will lessen. Otherwise, in a fit of anger, you will speak anything. I would say, this is especially important for a mother/wife/sister - be silent and work. Talk less, smile more. Every night, before sleeping, go through the day for ten minutes. Think what were the good events? What did you learn today? Surrender everything to the divine. Say everything is because of you and go to sleep with a smile. Smile more – it is our nature.

6. Praise at least five people every day. Praising is a divine quality. Praising enhances us. It uplifts the consciousness of the one who is being praised and also of the one who is praising. When we see a beautiful painting and we praise it, whom does the praise go to? The painter, isn’t it? So when we praise each other, who does the praise go to? Of course, it goes to the divine who created us! Keeping this in mind, let us appreciate the divinity in all aspects of creation and we will find that our mind is also pleasant and uplifted.

7. Help at least two people every day – either by talking to them and doing something for them. Help people physically, mentally by listening to them or even monetarily. Helping people will uplift you. Choose people whom you don’t know so that you can reach out to more and more people and extend your family. When each woman can extend her sense of belongingness, include a few more members in her family, then we move closer to our ancient ideal of a one world family, “vasudhaiva kutumbakam.” 

8. We normally think that women empowerment is for the monetarily less fortunate. I would say, this is not the case. They are equally less fortunate who are impoverished emotionally, who are spiritually poor.
There are many educated and monetarily independent women facing emotional challenges, who cannot handle their life or stressful situations. Often, suicides are a result of these emotional imbalances. This is common especially among the educated and affluent society.
When we are emotionally weak, we catch on to negativity more easily. So, to nourish one’s soul, one needs to turn to Spirituality. Meditation alone can put you in a space that is unshakable and you can view life from a balanced angle.

9. When you talk about spirituality, we should remember one thing – that the spirit has no gender - male or female. When you raise above all this – caste, creed, religion and other small identities, only then can the true spirit blossom in you.
We work as one unit. Man is equally important as a woman. When we say women empowerment it doesn’t mean we exclude men. We are only highlighting women as that area needs attention. Today women can equal men by just being assertive, not aggressive. Women can make a difference – in politics, business, education, spirituality' and at home.
I would say: Don’t ask what others can do for you. Instead think what you can do for others. This is called the spiritual shift – believe me, it is simply beautiful, it is unalloyed joy itself!

10. Gurudev poojya Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji often says that a woman is a born leader.
A leader must have certain qualities.
A leader must have trust and also be trustworthy. Only then can she delegate successfully and also get the work done on time.
A leader must have foresight. The lady of the house plans everything from the daily needs of the house to saving money for the daughter’s wedding. (Budgeting and managing finances is in her blood.)
A leader must have equanimous - unbiased vision. As a mother, a woman places the needs of every member of the family before her own and she cares for all with equal love.
A leader must seek the truth in every situation. Her impact ranges from the family to the whole society. Her decisions must be a combination of intelligence and her intuition. A woman naturally relates to the heart level which is realm of intuition. A calm state of mind can contribute to the intuitive factor while it can be strengthened by spiritual practices like meditation and yoga.
A leader must also have faith in the universal intelligence that nourishes the whole creation. Faith is a very powerful quality and can connect to the heart of the people.
We can see that all these qualities are innate in us as women. However as a teacher of meditation, I can say for sure that these qualities blossom to their full potential when you meditate. Spirituality really makes the difference in your quality of consciousness, quality of enjoyment and quality of appreciation of life.

11. What is the true wealth/ornament for a woman? What is her true beauty? How can she beautify existence with them?
There are three aspects to beauty: Saundarya, Madhurya and Aishwarya.
Aishwarya is wealth and lordship. One may seem to have lordship through fear or power due to position but they are not pleasant. Lordship that comes out of love and respect has a different dimension to it. It is a true wealth in any relationship.
Madhurya is sweetness - sweetness in thought, word and action. It is our nature to be madhur, in a pleasant state of mind. When we are stress-free and centered that sweetness comes to us.
Saundarya is the beauty that comes from inner strength. This inner strength is brought out through spirituality and meditation.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Positive Thinking: Sacrifice Brings Strength

All the scriptures of the world glorify sacrifice. Sacrifice is giving up something that you value. You can only sacrifice that which you would like to keep for yourself, in other words, that which gives you pleasure and joy.

All the scriptures of the world glorify sacrifice. Sacrifice is giving up something that you value. You can only sacrifice that which you would like to keep for yourself, in other words, that which gives you pleasure and joy.

You cannot sacrifice something that you dislike or disown. Sacrifice is always related to a higher cause for a greater good. At the same time, when your love for the greater good is strong, nothing else assumes any value. Sacrifice here becomes irrelevant, because love alone is your strongest driving force. So when there is so much love there cannot be sacrifice. At the same time when there is no love, there is no sacrifice.  For example, if a mother has made plans to see a movie and she realises that her child is sick, she does not say that she has sacrificed the movie to nurse her child, because she simply did not want to go. Nothing else seems to charm the mother besides being with her child.

You do not sacrifice something for someone you are in love with. Sacrifice indicates that your pleasure has more value than the cause for which you are sacrificing. When the love is lukewarm, then sacrifice assumes meaning. Yet sacrifice purifies the human mind and reins in selfish tendencies. It can also bring pride, arrogance, self-pity and sometimes even depression.

For a wise man, nothing is more valuable than truth, values and the divine, and he will never sacrifice those. God is the greatest, and if he values the greatest then how can he sacrifice God? This is the paradox of sacrifice. Sacrifice brings strength in life. Life without sacrifice is stagnant. Sacrifice gives you the quantum leap. It takes you to a higher pedestal. The amount of sacrifice in your life brings out your magnanimity and helps you move out of misery. Zeal, enthusiasm, strength and joy are all connected to sacrifice. Sacrifice never goes unrewarded. There can be no love, no wisdom and no true joy without sacrifice. Sacrifice makes you sacred. Become sacred.

by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Friday, 3 May 2013

I Did Not Pay Bribe

When the India Against Corruption movement started with blessings from Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, and we all took an oath not to give bribe, little did I realize that very soon my noble resolve would be put to test.

The place was the property registration office, Mylapore, Chennai. The occasion was to formalize a gift deed of my flat to offer it to an NGO for their work. The registrar did not accept any of the certification we provided, though they were clear and valid. She would ask for some papers and the moment we arrived with them, she would change her mind and ask for something else.

After months of our documents pending with the registration office, I received a legal notice of our documents impounded for further action.

This is when our Anti Corruption team turned out to be a great help. Jahir Hussain, the in charge of Art of Living anti-corruption movement in Chennai, immediately swung into action. He along with another volunteer met with the IT Commissioner who happened to have done the Art of Living program.

The three of them together met with the Inspector General of the registrar office, who was the only one who could revert the legal notice. The meeting with the IT commissioner had a tremendous impact. The IG admitted the mistake on their part and reverted the legal notice, requesting his office to verify from the IT office themselves!

Such a ‘quick’ decision is unheard of in normal circumstances, when Government officials stick to their guns come what may.. But the sincerity and commitment of Art of Living volunteers prevailed.

The five Cs that Gurudev mentions – as antidotes to corruption were ably evident: the IT Commissioner had more sense of belongingness (read Connectedness) to Jahir Hussain than with the Inspector General!!!

The other C was Commitment: belongingness brought forth commitment to a higher cause – here against false implication and legal notice served unwarrantedly
Care and Courage were an integral part once commitment was made, and the common link in relating to the cosmos was Sudharshan Kriya.

No doubt, the time taken was lengthy. But finally we made it! Our power of attorney Subhas, was continuously on cell phone with the very registrar, pushing him to verify from the concerned office. After nearly two years of dilly dallying, the Gift Deed was procured without giving in to a corrupt system where the smallest of work cannot be done without paying a bribe.

My resolve not to give bribe has become stronger, thanks to the inspiration from the Art of Living. Just having anti-corruption laws will not root out corruption. Let us all resolve that we will not pay a bribe in any situation for any reason. Jai Gurudev!