Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A question and an Answer

Q: Is it right to charge for a spiritual course?

A: If you have to learn cooking you need to pay, if you have to learn to drive you need to pay, if you need to learn how to handle your mind why should you not pay??

    If the intentions are genuine then I do not think charging for a genuinely useful course is objectionable. Money is required for conducting the course, running an organisation and also for the service projects. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar often says that charity being a part of any spiritual organisation cannot happen form an empty bowl. The teachers, volunteers and the organisers work hard to spread the knowledge and with that hard earned money the service projects get funded.

   In any case if people think that money charged is too much for the course, Art of Living would never reach the masses. According to me the parameters to ascertain the purity of the organisation is as follows..

1. The usefulness of the course as against the money charged for it.

2. The way the money is used.

3. The purity of the intention of the instructors when they teach the course.

As per my research Art of living seems to be doing exceptionally well in all these three aspects.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

A sign of Enlightenment.

I would rather use the word "sign" rather than saying "proof" because I do not think there can be any proof of  enlightenment. One of the signs of enlightenment is that He or She attracts diverse kind of people. Everybody who goes near such a person experiences joy, sorrow diminishes, sense of abundance increases, talents blossom and knowledge flourishes.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is on a tour in Maharashtra. There were two very grand events. One was Lay Tarang in Nagpur and the other was Abhnganaad in Kolhapur. In Nagpur there were around 1000 artist, 1000 dancers and 1000 musicians on stage and in abhanganaad in kolhapur there were 2000 varkaari singers and 1350 dhol players on one stage.  It was magnificent, huge, incredible. One can only wonder about such events hosted by the Art of living foundation not just once but so many times.

Brahmanaad in Delhi with 1100 sitar maestros, Antarnaad in Pune with 2,500 classical singers, Naadavaibhavam in chennai 5000 south indian classical singers,

Every event is grand and has been attended by at least a hundred thousand people in each place.The atmosphere is beautiful, meditations conducted by Sri Sri are very relaxing ( saw the live webcast). According to me its quite unexplainable. How does one man inspire people in so many different places to organise events of such a huge scale. So many people come forward to volunteer, so many musicians feel privileged to be a part of such events.

 There is something extraordinarily special about this one man. There is absolutely no doubt about this.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Meditation for Peace

This letter is sent by Manal from Egypt describing the current situation.Let us all join together and participate in AOL Egypt's new initiative which is meditating at 4p.m(GMT) to bring peace and protection all over the world.

On JAN 25th normal protests started requesting a political change, dramatically transformed into the sad events on the 28th where around 300 people (from both police and protesters) got killed and around 1500 injured. Not to mention all the burning and robbing events that started from that day onwards. This whole period was filled with terrifying attacks of street thugs and robberies operated by criminals who stole police cars and ambulances to cover their work, resulting the loss of people's trust in any one. I can't deny I was so terrified the first two days, just like any other Egyptian who hears continuous machine guns firing all night long, my only protection was in listening to Qoran or chanting Guru Om and Om namo narayana.

My friends and teacher's checking on me several times helped in cheering me up a bit (thanks teacher Sanjiv Sarin)

On the 30th after my Sudarshan Kriya and meditation I was inspired to take the initiative to ask AOL members to meditate for peace and protection at the same time at sunset, so I called some people and we did it. The positive outcome encouraged me on the 31st to take the initiative a step further and called almost all AOL Egypt family members, beside the AOL international family (thanks to the help of my wonderful teachers Sangeeta Jani, Mawahib, Kamal and Ajay Khimji in conveying my message internationally) I reached out to anyone I could be in contact with in all the cities of Egypt, to the extent that I even asked some of the spiritual, peaceful young protesters in Tahrir square through some common friends to join the meditation. At 4 pm GMT not less than 1200 people meditated and prayed at the same time for peace and protection of Egypt each from his\her place. I felt the energy was so powerful yet soothing.

Yesterday I was asked to go to the protesting youth who felt the positive energy on the 31st to guide them in a meditation upon the request of some of them, but unfortunately the situation deteriorated and it wasn't safe enough, however when I find the place is more secure I will surely go because our prayer made a difference, it made us feel safer. Yet the fear, pain, sorrow and anger are still powerfully filling the air in Egypt. So our concern now is that we need everybody to put their attention with positive energy for the peace and protection of Egypt and Egyptians.
So AOL Egypt's new initiative is: Everyday, at 4pm GMT send Egypt blessings for peace and protection, if u can meditate with us at the same time (4pm GMT), it would be great and I am sure that together we can make a difference.
Last thing I'd love to thank all the AOL family members in Egypt and abroad who kept on calling or sending emails to check on me in this situation.
I belong to you all

Thanks, JGD
Manal Karrara
AOL Egypt


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another doubt cleared

One of the things that I completely disagreed with the Aol people was about their stance against people who wrote quite a lot of rubbish against the organisation. Most of the people would say, " who cares". " it doesnt matter", " sooner or later they will also change, we will pray for them".

It really did not make any sense to me. I had more or less concluded that reacting in such a way is a misrepresentation of the knowledge that they teach others about acceptance. They say acceptance should be followed by action and apparently do not propagate passive acceptance but in this case I thought they were not walking the talk.

Thankfully I learnt that Art of Living has officially filed a law suit against the "anonymous" bloggers for writing all sorts of nonsense and indulging in defaming the organisation, it members and the founder.

This is acceptance and this is what we need in the world today. Bold and ruthless action against people who deserve it. The negative blog may not last long, (as they themselves feel) but it will also send across a strong message to other potential garbage infested minds that Art of living though is committed to spread love and peace would be ruthless when it comes to taking action against internet terrorism.


Sunday, December 26, 2010

Great vibes, Beautiful people

I took time out and attended a few events of the Art of Living foundation. One thing that nobody can miss is the overwhelming sense of joy that is present in the atmosphere. Its impossible to miss the smiling faces and the positive vibes.

As humans we are all endowed with intuition and its not so difficult to sense when something is seriously wrong. If you look at a corrupt politician you do not need a brain of a scientist to know that he is not a genuine human being.  Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says that ur presence speaks more than the words.

I have had and have also witnessed others having casual conversations with him and his care and concern for every individual seems obvious. Last year a construction worker in the ashram was caught stealing computers and all that Sri Sri did was to give her some money and clothes. He assured her that her needs will be taken care of so she does not need to steal.

Love, joy and enthusiasm permeates wherever He goes. Its obvious. The claims that the organizational imperfections stem form the founder of the organsiation are completely groundless and indicates a temporary distortion of perception.

Finally If a founder of such a huge volunteer based organisation is dishonest, selfish, lacks integrity and is abusive he would create a living hell for people who were associated with it.

But those smiles, that enthusiasm, endless stories of transformation, completely dispel all such doubts. In the next few posts I would Like to share some transformational stories of people who have met Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Trends of negative blogging

Pick up a newspaper, watch any news channel on TV, read any news article on the internet there are a few typical trends that are followed.

1. The title has to be sensational.  Even if the content of the article has very little connection to the title, the title has to shock the reader. It has to be something unbelievable, it has to create a "what"? since the only aim is to attract as many readers as possible.

2. Such articles are never short and sweet. They contain long , never ending paragraphs often not making any point whatsoever. The point is just to create a negative impression about a person or an event.

3. Scandalous stories are an integral part of such blogs. These stories have no evidence.

4. Utter exaggeration. Anything negative is utterly exaggerated and through such exaggerations conclusions are made.

5. Multiple replies by the same group of people to anybody who disagrees or contradicts that shows utter intolerance to others point of views and experiences. 

6. No purpose. Under the garb of objectivity such blogs fake a purpose that sounds quite noble and meaningful. In reality such a blog is just a result of a frustrated mind unable to handle itself.

Fortunately the impact of such ill intended actions is limited.  Ultimately truth prevails.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Doubts create Doubts

One day one of my aunts could not find her purse. She really panicked and did not know what to do. She said she remembered getting it back home that day but did not remember anything after that. After a long search it was more or less concluded that the purse has been stolen.

She was really worried because she had a very important diary in it. She called a psychic who described the physical appearance of the thief which matched a few people. As per the description there were 3 prime suspects. The next two days it was really funny to see the way we analyzed every action of those three people. Whatever they did or said we would try to look beyond and keep doubting. "Oh look she is now saying this because she wants us to think this way and then look when I said that her expression changed and she left the room" It went on and on and on for three days. My aunt could not sleep well in the night.

The misery ended as soon as one of her friends called to tell that they had found her purse in their house. She had forgotten it and never got it home in the first place. Once we got the news it was interesting to see how we again started relating to the same people in a very different way.

When the mind is upset it creates doubts. Doubts create more doubts and more doubts and they just keep multiplying. Soon the doubts seem like absolute reality and we have no idea that we are far far away from the truth.

There are a handful who have become a victim of this and look through and scrutinize the Art of Living and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar without an iota of objectivity. In sanskrit there is a saying that says," sanshay atma vinashyati" ( consciousness filled with doubts leads to self destruction).

We need to first get our own mind in a pleasant state, free from doubts so that we can be constructive in our criticism and effectively contribute towards the betterment of society. Otherwise we are just adding to the already existing garbage.