Some beautiful experiences sharing from some Devotees of what it means to be with the Master of the Universe – Jagad Guru Poojya Sri Sri Ravishankar ! JaiGurudev
From : Emma
When I first met Guruji, I saw him on stage at an advanced course I was attending. Though I couldn’t quite fathom who or what he was, I admired the wisdom of his words and his humor and was filled with gratitude for the practices and knowledge with which he had transformed my life…I saw him as a wise and wonderful man. Later that evening, he did “darshan,” i.e. going around to every person and handing them a little bag of nuts. When he came around to me to give me a little bag of nuts, he looked in my eyes, it must have been for half a second. I stood transfixed. I felt such a wave of love coming from him that I quite nearly fell over! In that split instant, which seemed like an hour due to its power, I realized why people say that “love conquers all” and that love is the most powerful thing in the world. In that moment, I realized that
these sayings were all true. And that a being so full of love is capable of transforming the whole world…because what everyone WANTS…is Love… I felt in that moment that this man could transform and bring out the best in anyone, even Saddham Hussein, through his very gaze of love… Thought we see Love in him, Guruji tells us that we are the source of Love. We keep looking for it outside of us, but Guruji points his finger back inside us. Our need to look outside of us is SO strong that he has come here to be with us, to manifest love, so that we would pay attention to his message – the message to turn back inside and seek for the divine where we had not yet looked for it: inside. Guruji is a manifestation of love, and in his essence, he is a manifestation of our true potential as human beings. He does not tell us that we can be like
him, he tells us that we are like him. He is here to show us who we really are. Do not make any excuses to miss the opportunity to meet Guruji and to encounter yourself. There is no excuse.
From : Melissa
It was my first advanced course and it included 8 days of silence and deep meditations in Guruji’s presence in Lake Tahoe for the Guru Purnima course in 1999. I was so new and innocent. I went very deep into the experience and the seva aspect. When choppping veggies, without words we were showing each other
that the red peppers we were slicing were “hollow & empty”. For fun we put one in a paper bag and wrote on it “look inside and tell us what you see” and put it on Guruji’s seat. He opened it up in front of the satsang, looked inside the pepper and said, “Huh? What is this? Oh, hollow & empty.” I couldn’t
believe how he knew! I had so much fun that course, it completely changed my life from then on. I didn’t touch ground for at least six months after that.
From : Rekha
In 1997 I met M eenakshi ( a art of living teacher in bay area california) and was taken in by her enormous energy and enthusiasm. She mentioned to me about AOL and invited me to see Guruji at the Swaminarayan Temple. I saw him and he did not even look at me…and I felt sooooooo disappointed. In the next few years I did the basic course with Mark Ball and the advance course with guruji. My only motive and interest in AOL was to improve my singing skills. I was very irregular in my practices and almost never went for the long kriya. A few years later I was very depressed and a nervous wreck when Meenakshi urged me to do the DSN. I went to Sangeetaji and asked her if I could do the DSN. She asked me if I could place my life in her
hands with no questions asked. I said YES and life after DSN has not been the same. It taught me how to value the time and abundance I have been blessed with and how to take responsibility for myself and the society. As days passed I started the journey of observing myself and realized how much I was
contributing to the disturbances around me whether in my relationships or to the environment. As I got more regular in my practices, I started to see the divine grace flow during the most trying of the times. I would be hooked on the Internet listening to and reading anything that said Shri Shri Ravishankar.
Every word that he uttered became a mantra. Every random cassette I listened to or a knowledge sheet that I read had a solution to what I was encountering. Silver Jubilee opened my eyes to some spectacular experiences. Astavakra with Uma was another great blessing that opened me up even further. The Art of
Living family with its abunda nce of selfless volunteers and teachers provided a much needed umbrella of love and service with a smile. I remember what Guruji said in one of the cassettes …The journey to heaven is very long and is made of 108 steps. The steps are made of soap and it is pouring….Each time you try to climb ..you slip!..Guru is your railing..Hang in There!!
My journey in the AOL (Art of Living) began around 10 to 11 years ago. I always believed (and still do) that the key to life was very simple, very obvious, right there and we all were looking at it but nor seeing it.
I had done Yoga, basic Reiki and though I liked parts of each, I could not find greater depth. My friend Manoj Nair (God bless him) had mentioned about the AOL part I course and I was interested. At that point in time the cost was Indian rupees 1,500 and I found the cost to be very high. I remember giving my teacher (Harish Ramchandran) grief over the price. As in all part I courses, the teacher tells the participants that we will not get anything from the course and we were free to leave (I am still after all these years not sure why teachers say this…..maybe to get rid of expectations). I was struggling with myself on weather I should leave or not but thankfully I decided to stay.
The only 2 things that I remember from the course (other than the calm and collected manner of Harish, and the fact that there were only 6 of us taking the course) were – during the long kriya, I had an intense desire to eat Indian Tandoori food, I could smell it and see it as if it was right there but of course I could not eat it during the kriya J. The other was feeling very angry (for no reason) on maybe the 3rd of 4th day of the course and Harish asking me to breathe out with a loud huuuu sound. After a few round of breathing all my anger was gone, it was very remarkable.
Anyway, I did the kriya regularly for maybe a few days and fell back into routing life…..came to the US for my Masters, got married, got a job, etc… for the next 9 to 10 years life went on. I would still occasionally go to the AOL website, read Guruji’s essays, quotes, etc. I used to enjoy reading his essays or knowledge points as it was so beautiful and so easy to understand. I even went for a satsang with Guruji in New Jersey in 2001 or 2002, and at that point Guruji would meet everyone personally (imagine a queue with people going on the stage to take blessings from Guruji). What I have so far not mentioned is that I am a Muslim (a Bhori Muslim to be exact. We are a small sect within the Shia community and are mainly traders and businessmen). I did not believe in bowing down to anyone except the one formless God. Hence, when I reached Guruji, I remember Thanking him for all the good he is doing while shaking his hands (J) and maybe mumbling please bless me so that, ‘day by day in every way I get better and better’…. I am not even sure Guruji heard me. Thus the years passed and as everyone at one time or another finds, life suddenly felt as if stuck in a rut, and I was no different. I have a lot to be Thankful for and I am; great parents, great wife, good job, good health, no major financial worries, in fact I even have great in-laws. In spite of all my blessings I was not my enthusiastic self, my energy level was very low and I was a bit depressed.
So in August 2008 I did my AOL part I again with 2 outstanding teachers Poonam Tandon and Amit Haryani. I felt as if a great load had lifted from my shoulders. I immediately did the next part II course that was happening in New Jersey (luckily it was in a couple of weeks). I enjoyed the course but the most amazing aspect was on the last day as I was driving home I felt as if my Grandmother who had passed away a two years back had come to personally teach me that course. The feeling of gratitude, grace and blessings was so intense that I had tears rolling down my cheeks as I was driving back home (I can now imagine the thoughts going through other motorists if they happened to glance my wayJ). The same day I e-mailed my teacher my experience and as I was typing I felt that grace and gratitude all over again and tears again started rolling down my cheeks. I now call the teacher Vasantti Narayan my Nani Ma (mother’s mother). In fact when I did my part 2 again at the ashram she was again my teacher (but that is a story for some other time). I started do seva in a very limited way at the NY and NJ AOL chapters. Based on that I was told that Guruji was going to be coming to Connecticut and my friends had managed to find out the time his flight landed so they wanted to go to receive him. It was the Fall season and I thought that it would be a great way to see the Fall colors (at that point my priority was Fall colors first and Guruji second).
We went in 2 cars and drove around Connecticut admiring natures color pallet with vibrant oranges, reds and yellows. If you have not seen fall then strive to see it, it truly showcases God’s grandeur on a gigantic scale. After the sightseeing we landed at the airport. It was a comparatively small airport and we parked near the arrival area. There were around 20 additional people waiting for Guruji along with the local Connecticut chapter. Guruji arrived and immediately everyone rushed to meet him. I stood back as I was not as active a volunteer as many present and was just glad to see him. Plus I thought Guruji does not even know me so why trouble him. We went out and were waiting for the ride that would take Guruji to his hotel (me still in the back) and after 5 minutes of waiting, someone said that our car was right across the road and he could come with us. Guruji said ok. I ran to get the car and before I knew what was happening Guruji was sitting next to me, I was in a daze; I would have never imagined I would get an opportunity like I did (especially since my purpose to come to Connecticut was to see Fall colors)……. I am sure many of my fellow AOL friends will understand just how unique and rare this opportunity was as Guruji’s fan following is in the millions.
I remember this funny incident when I was typing the address of the hotel in my GPS …… when I asked for the street, it was Asylum Street. Guruji at once said in his sweet manner..…. Ohhhh ……. Asylum Street and we all burst out laughing.
We had 5 people crammed in the back of my car all wanting to travel with Guruji. We exchanged pleasantries and we were off to the hotel. People at the back were asking him for advice, asking questions. We discussed the fall colors in Connecticut (BTW, fall and winter are Guruji’s favorite seasons). In spite of the GPS I got lost and of course Guruji helped with the navigation and we reached his hotel. I had asked him how my Nani Ma was and he sounded surprised so I briefly explained my experience and he told me to write about it and share it. After we dropped Guruji at the hotel, we went for a late lunch and then to a temple where Guruji was scheduled to visit. We were a bit late so we parked out car a bit far and as we reached the entrance, here comes Guruji and again I am right there to receive him. I am still not sure why Guruji was (and hopefully still is) favoring me so but I am very very grateful.
Hence, after months of procrastination I am writing this story. Hopefully it will inspire someone. I thing H. W. Longfellow said it best…..Lives of great (I am not sure about me being great) men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.
Of course there are many more things to write about, some other time perhaps, (hence I end with a semi-colon)
With lots of love,