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Archive for September, 2008

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Guruji truly has the knack of letting out a critical news in the most by-the-way dismissive manner. Sitting with him that evening, the topic capriciously turned to his Norway trip and he just announced non-chalantly that I should accompany him to Norway 2 days later. Now, this is not the time or place (actually never and nowhere is) where you tell him that you don’t have the Schengen Visa or it takes quite a few days to get one… No! You simply make things happen. AND so I fly to Mumbai, gracefully take a Schengen visa that afternoon, fly back in the evening, finish urgent pending India work, ready to leave the next day…

Cut to the Bangalore Airport, 1 am. Kaushani and I check in… Rohit from the travel desk befriends most of the security guards (he really has a too good skill) and their chiefs and not only gives them Art of Living intro talks but also tell them Guru stories till he arrives. And so when Guruji comes, he had a spontaneous and huge and devoted police escort right up to the air plane, needless to say along with Rohit… It was so nice to see Guruji telling the police people most of who were from Bihar, all the relief work we are doing there and that brightened them up even more. If Guruji would have started Jai Jai Radha Raman Hari Bol, they were in a state, I am sure they would have all sang and danced merrily… Before we boarded, we passed a shop with Jack fruit chips and to my surprise Guruji sent me back to buy a few…

As I get in the plane, I see Air hostess Moser there. I met her in the ashram a few days back and we had a nice chat and a thought wafted through my mind, “I am not going to fly Luftansa anytime soon”. Well here I was in a luftansa flight and I asked Moser whether she engineered so that she could fly with Guruji. She smiled her biggest smile and said, “Previously as much as I could plan despite my limitations, I would still miss him by a day, earlier or later ending up with me being eventually sad. So I gave that up recently. This time, I just let go and surrendered and here I am.” Wow! Our command is his wish…

When we got into the plane, I asked Guruji, “aapka seat upar hai kya”, he smiled, “mae upar hi raheta hu…”, then smiled, “kabhi kabhi neeche aata hu”. He was offered dinner but he just had a sweet lassi…I returned to my seat. I also followed suit with 3 lassis… and swiftly slid off  into dreamland …

Next morning I got freshened up, did my Kriya and half hour before descent, when I went to the seat next to him, he had had his breakfast and was intently watching some hindi song. I showed him the youth booklet and he pointed out a few mistake in the most delightfully skillful manner. As we landed in Frankfurt, we stepped down the stairs and were picked up by Ewald and Lilian. When all of us were tucked in the car, Guruji opened the Jackfruit chips package, had one and gave the rest to Lilian. She could not believe it, since, 2 weeks back, when she was flying through Bangalore airport she wanted to taste it, but somehow she didn’t! I couldn’t stop grinning at the mastery he possesses, of elegantly showing off in the most subtle manner that he is the very core of our being, coolly watching all the play.

On the drive from Frankfurt towards Bad Antogast, I was made to read emails and at some point the replies grew silent, so I stopped. I too dozed off. Then we reached Baden Baden and into the spa. When we came out, Guruji exclaimed, “well, all tiredness is gone” and added impishly, “but i am sleepy now”. On the way to the ashram, we passed some lovely farms and Guruji was telling me with wonder in his voice, that here they have a chart put up outside the farms with rates about the produce growing in the farm. And people can just pick up the fruits like apples, pears, cherries, raspberries, weigh them and put the appropriate money in the box. He laughed, “In India not only they will take fruits, money box but the chart also…”

When there was a lul in the conversation, I quietly dozed off. Somewhere on the way, he said, “Wake up… see how beautiful it is”. I thought that was a short term and a long term message for life as well.
He was a lot on the phone taking report of Bihar relief regularly. It was amazing to see the consistency of his follow up in any work.

When we reached ashram, and I freshened up, ate some good Urmila cooked food, I went to him, but he immediately sent me packing off inspite of my protests, “Go lie down for some time. You were sleeping in the car…”

That evening around 5ish we had a surprise in store which was revealed as we drove down to Oppenau where Hans Martin was waiting with his helicopter. The ride was truly breath taking. We flew over the black forest (it really looks black without the icing), and some exotic idyllic towns and scattered settlements. Gurudev very excitedly made a few calls, “hum helicopter se bol rahe hai…” We landed at a small inn type place (belonging to friend of Hans’) and had an assortment of cakes. Guruji smiled, “we traveled all the way by helicopter to have cake”. Aberheart placed his camera on a juice can to take a timed photo and remarked, “now I know one more use of a juice can”, to which Guruji added, you used it to take a juicy photo…. As we were walking out, as is the case anywhere around the world, even there we noticed people just coming up and wanting to take photos with him, even those who saw him for the first time and didn’t knew anything about who he was.


On the way home, when we would keep the window of the Chopper open, there was a strong smell of kerosene which for the first time I felt sickening. Usually as a solution to anything, we say, ‘just breathe with awareness, just breathe it out’. So I wondered, ‘if breathing itself is problematic, then what to do’. I started chanting ‘Om Namah Shivaya’ and I immediately started feeling better. The solution came along with the problem.

About the Bihar flood problem, I asked him in between munching on the cakes, whether Water element was angry or happy?! He goes, “I know only that it is abundant”. He was coaching our teacher working in Bihar, “tell them – after every calamity lot of good has come out. After tsunami, huts turned to solid houses – we built them. Hum hai, Guruji hai, koi chinta nahi bolo. Unko hausla do (give them hope)… bless them…”
To someone on the line complaining about something, I heard him say firmly, “strong bano (become strong), chant om namah shivaya”. In the car there was some bhajan being played and I was softly whisling along with it. And he asked who is whisting. I said I. Guruji cutely remarked, “I could never do that”. I pointed out that he never says I cannot do that, he uses the past tense… Present is open to all possibilities…

Christoph was keen that Guruji speak to Kamlesh and connected the line and gave to Guruji when it was ringing. When Kamlesh picked up, Guruji says in a slightly different tone, “Glaser here”… Kamlesh recognized it was Guruji and Guruji justified in a tone like a child caught in the act, “In muscle testing, any name I use, it shows I am telling the truth. Its about going from nobody to everybody…” While driving up to the ashram, the signal was weaker, so he directed to take a detour and then after sometime, he got out of the car and started walking back and we were driving behind him… It was quite a beautiful but odd scene.

Urmila was very happy when I gave her the Prakriti Masalas. She said the packing was so good, I don’t feel like opening it. And then Seema innocently told Guruji that I am not complaining but sometimes I get very angry on you. (My God!) Guruji immediately said, “then I will get 10 times more angry… I only reflect you”.

We went straight for Satsang at the ashram. Beautiful singing was happening. Guruji asked for the light to be shut, so there was Guruji and the Guru Parampara photo and a candle – a candle lit satsang, how much more romantic can you get. It made me weak in my knees and almost breathless:-)

His first words were, “Meditate, meditate, meditate. Else we get lost in doing this and that. And the whole purpose of life is lost”. Then we indulged in some lovely and deep meditation. What a silence it created; so solid and thick – one could have easily cut it with a knife.

There after, for quite sometime he was speaking German and making everyone laugh… He said Nowadays every month you are pulling me to the German ashram. Then he gave prasad for everyone… Jai Jai Radha Raman Hari Bol…Jai Jai Radha Raman Hari Bol…

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Born in Nasik, MaheshGiriji as a young boy of 16 ran away from home and accompanied a Himalayan Swami and thus began his Spiritual Journey. At 25 he became the Peethadheesh (The Head) of Guru Dattatrya Peeth at Girnar in Gujarath.  Millions of devotees come to this holy place every year.

In 2002 Swamiji met out dear Guruji Poojya Sri Sri Ravishankar and instantly felt enchanted and realised his long search has finally ended. Guruji told him that Swamiji was here in this planet for a very special Cause.

Swamiji is now a Art of Living teacher and has taught many many Maha Courses with over 1000’s of participants in each ! .

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Guruji, Jagad Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, on Thursday, visited different relief camps in the flood-affected areas of Purnia and Madhepura in Bihar to bring solace to the survivors and take stock of the relief operations undertaken by the Art of Living.

Guruji walked in knee-deep water for 3 km from Jankinagar in the Purnia district to Murliganj in the Madhepura district to interact with the victims. Guruji arrived in Purnia in the morning, counselled the victims taking shelter in the Jankinagar Phulwari camp, where the Art of Living is taking care of nearly 5,000 people.

Later addressing a large gathering of 10,000 people from nearly 50 surrounding villages,  Sri Sri advised them to maintain a positive outlook towards life despite the devastation. “Make best use of your stay in the camps under difficult circumstances. As it’s going to take some more time for the waters to recede and the rehabilitation process to materialise, utilise the time here to learn new skills,” he said.

He announced that the Art of Living would provide vocational training to women in the camps. It has already started training in tailoring skills at the Jankinagar camp. Sri Sri also said the Art of Living would start a campaign to teach reading and writing to illiterate people staying in the camps.

He extracted a commitment from the people not to practice female foeticide and to stop harassment of women. He announced that the youth of the area would be trained under the Art of Living’s Youth Leadership Training Programme so that they can shoulder the responsibility of rehabilitation in the area. Urging the people not to lose heart, Sri Sri cited the example of Nagapattinam, which was completely devastated by the tsunami in 2004, and now has been completely rebuilt. “See this devastation as the foundation of a new rebuilding,” he said.

Many of the victims shared that they were feeling relieved after attending the trauma relief sessions offered by the Art of Living. Sri Sri also lauded the good work done by the Art of Living volunteers, particularly the doctors, who have come from different parts of India and abroad. Earlier in the morning, the District Magistrate of Purnia, C Sridhar received Sri Sri on his arrival.

Within hours of the flood that has affected an estimated 3.5 million people, the Art of Living has been carrying out a multi-pronged relief operation in the flood-affected areas of Bihar on a war footing. In addition to providing emergency supplies and trauma care to the survivors taking shelters in various camps, the Art of Living is reaching out to more inaccessible areas as many villages are still submerged under water.

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