Connecting Through Love

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He has this knack of bringing people together. After all we are human – cut away name, family title, social title, educational qualification, religious & cultural background – and what have we? Love.

“Love is your very existence,” quips Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, everytime this topic is touched upon at interviews and satsangs. “It’s not just an emotion, it’s your very Being!” he emphasizes.

He has this way of connecting completely ‘unrelated’ people in simple yet effective ways. Internationals from the Vedic Wisdom Program visit the slum areas of the city and nearby villages to bless the locals.

“The purpose of the Padayatra,” explains Gurudev, “is that your hearts open and you see that how deeply you are connected with people you don’t even know! You don’t know their language, they don’t know your language, but you still feel that ‘Wow! You are so connected’.”

Gurudev is an expert at doing this sort of thing. From early Art of Living days he would post his teachers to far flung countries where the language, culture and people were absoutely alien. The teachers would go with great trepidation but would return from these trips with stories laced with Grace and Love. What really counts is really the presence of a person, and a loving presence will convey love far more than any words can.

Where would an ordinary bloke get to meet a hard core criminal? Gurudev sends his teachers (the brave and willing) to Prisons all over the world to rehabilitate convicts. Through the Prison SMART Program Gurudev has empowered individuals to teach the Happiness Program to prison inmates.

What unfolds is a two-way transformation. Touched by the humaneness of the inmates the tag ‘criminal’ simply drops from the minds of the teachers. And the inmates high on the happy energy of the Sudarshan Kriya feel a sudden awakening to a life with new possiblities. Many want to become teachers after their term is over.

Says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, “If you heal the victim, you will eliminate crime from the planet. Expand your vision, and see that inside every culprit is a victim crying for help.”

Gurudev is keenly tuned to the cry of help from all quarters. Art of Living volunteers are immediatey despatched to trauma hit zones – be they war torn countries or nations hit by natural calamities.

I live in the ashram and I see how people are getting connected all the time. The other day I was waiting to see off Gurudev at the Ganga chain along with so many others. I looked across to find my roommate – a youngster from a small village in Orissa bonding with a group of Bulgarians. What did they have in common? Kitchen seva to begin with and then they must have discovered that they had much more in common and so much else to share! It was deeply touching.

And now we have the World Culture Festival and as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar puts it – it is nothing but bringing celebration under one umbrella. A reminder that we all belong to each other as One World Family and we are here on this planet to be useful and celebrate humanity – our ‘humane’ qualities of love, sharing, compassion and serving. Here is the best venue to get connected and exchange love.

Art of Living is the core to bringing so many people together – people from diverse cultures, languages, religions – feeling a sense of oneness thanks to one being – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – the connecting cord for millions of people on this planet.

I find this thought simply astounding. And leave you with it.

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Love: The Engine of Transformation

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Invocation:

The power of Love

The power of Goodness

The power of Unity

The power of Synchronicity

The power of Collaboration

The power of Celebration

The power of Meditation

The power of a One World Family

Invitation:

Be at the Confluence of all these Powers

At the World Cullture Festival 2016,

March 11 – 13, Delhi, India

If you’re being pulled by the magnet of the World Culture Festival 2016 don’t be surprised. Here’s something beyond the laws of expectation or understanding.

Magnificent, stupendous, unparalleled.

On 11, 12 & 13 March more than 3.5 million people wil be meditating across the world for Global Peace. Over 8,500 musicians will perform and 40 different musical instruments will be played at the ‘Art of Living Grand Symphony’. On a 7 acre stage, the largest stage ever, 1,000 Bharat Natyam dancers from South India will synchronize their movements, 1,000 Rajasthani Ghoomar folk dancers will swirl into being, 1000 Chinese singers will sing in perfect pitch, 650 African drummers will build up a beat…Russia, Hungary, Brazil, Argentina, Switzerland and so many nations will bring in their troupes…yes, the emphasis is on scale….on whipping up something stupendous. History will be created. New records made. A new bandwidth invented. Old traditions presented as colossal performances.

3.5 million will find themselves on the grounds opposite Mayur Vihar Metro Station to witness this never-before celebration…the world resonating to the chants of 1,000 Veda Pundits from whose bellies and throats the sacred fire of ancient sanskrit shlokas will be stoked.

The gathering wil include world leaders, dignitaries, luminaries from every field, corporates, politicians, the army, the common man, people representing every level of society – entering a field beyond boundaries…where all that counts is love, joy & celebration. And the knowledge that we are One Family.

This elaborate family get together is the outcome of the vision of one individual – Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar whose life has been dedicated to empower each individual and thereby transform the world to a violence-free, stress-free society. This is also a celebration of Art of Living’s 35 years of service to humanity.

Here’s a modern day Yagya – fiery yet pacifying, leaving all beings to sink deep into an ocean of Bliss. When each individual is empowered the world is automatically transformed. With individual peace comes universal peace. That’s the mantra. The formula. The more you give the more you get. Each life receives value from sharing love & wisdom.

Questions will be raised. What can we do to better our environment? How can we address issues like poverty, corruption & terrorism? Brains will be jingled, rattled, and then after the storm, calm will prevail. The mind likes questions, arguments and debates. The intellect likes a settlement. Meditation acts as the mediator, setting the pace for peace. Like minded people will come to work proactively on the many ideas stirred up through debate. Everyone present will participate in the world’s largest ever group meditation.

The yagya will be festively dressed up in song and dance…each nation proudly displaying its traditional music and dance…which may lead to a cross pollination – a polyphonic collaboration of cultures in days to come. Certainly there will be greater inquisitiveness, greater acceptance, greater understanding for that which was earlier considered some form of romping by some distant nation. The shift will take place from “mine” / “theirs” to “ours”. A delight in collective traditions owned by all who inhabit this planet.

When the forces of goodness are collaborating…what will unfold is beyond belief.

We are about to witness an incredible transformation…on all levels – individual, social, political, cosmic.

All I can say is come and experience this scintillating event for yourself. After all, it is our celebration! Come and greet the sea of strangers that are your own! Exult in the wave of humanity, bask in the incredible skill & talent of humankind.

Peace to all, Love to all, Joy to all. Om Shant, Shanti, Shantih.

9 Nights of Bliss

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Over the next few days my ashram will turn into a Fortress of Bliss, however unlike a fortress in which everything remains contained, the energy generated by all the Navaratri pujas and homas will spill out into the Universe, so that if you could draw a picture of the invisible you would see this great orbit like machine that generates something akin to a silent atomic explosion. But with one fundamental difference!

Unlike an atomic explosion that creates widescale destruction, this explosion sets off layers of joy that unite all creatures, spreading a shield of loving protection around our planet.

Every chant, every mantra, every silent sankalpa releases something beautiful into the Universe. Special herbs with distinct potencies will be offered as oblation to the happy lapping tongues of the fire Gods. And these herbs will purify the air for miles arround, adding positive energy and cheer to those attending the pujas as well as those quite unaware of the grand scale of celebration in the ashram.

Celebration is a part of the Indian genetic code, and since time immemorial we Indians have perfected this art – welding science, art, astronomy, music, dance, astrology and gastronomy into our celebrations. Navaratris have now become an International celebration with people travelling great distances to be a part of the celebrations in Art of Living’s International headquarters in Bangalore, India.

What makes Navaratris so special in my ashram is that people from all over the world, from distinct religions and cultures, come together as one big family to exchange love and absorb peace, bliss and wisdom.

The level of sattva reaches its peak during the last 3 days, the joy that rebounds all over is unmistakable, even to one unaware of spiritual bliss. You can see it in the twinkling eyes and smiling faces of the people around you. There is an air of relaxation armed with alertness, joyful camaraderie holding hands with self awareness. This is celebration with mindfulness. Joy with stability. Stamped with the indelible mark of the sadhak, the sincere seeker.

Navaratri is a time when humans collude with the Gods and Angels, a meeting on the invisible realm with our higher selves, embracing the good, bad and ugly, celebrating the diversity of the Universe, embracing all things as part of the great universal Consciousness.

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Come, be a part of this grand meeting of spirits!

Narada Bhakti Sutras - Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

 

Lost

In the folds of your gown,

Soft, ethereal,

I no longer care to know

Why I exist.

 

I lose myself in your eyes,

Exchange my ‘I’ for your ‘Eye’,

Get caught in the delicate gesture

Of your Hands,

And the knowable outline

Of your Noble Head

 

And now

I leave

With those Perfect Feet

That retreat

With all my kisses.

 

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar 25

 

As the world celebrates International Peace Day, I celebrate the presence of my Master, who has led me on the path of love and joy.

Dedicated to my Guru – His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – Ambassador of Peace, and for me, the very embodiment of love and peace.

“To create peace around, you have to first find peace within.” – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar