My Journey From Head to Heart
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Of Recipes, Books, Indian Rail & Music...

So, here’s the thing...I got my bike completely hassle free; dent free & on time as promised so all kudos to Indian Railways. Apparently they charge Rs.10 per hour as late charges for every hour they keep your stuff stashed. (They did extort Rs. 50 in the name of sundry expenses going to sundry people, but that’s ok as long as they delivered on the contract, which they did). It felt a lil weird for a day driving my bike back in the evening, as I have done it so many times 2000 km’s away in south India but suddenly the landscape has changed, the climate has changed & the people have changed around my bike & me. It’s nice to just drive around aimlessly & discover new things in ones old city. The roads are wider and and so much greenery.

Parents have left me alone at home to look after myself & I must say I take very good care of the house, which is to say it’s not robbed or burnt down or got pest infested, yet! I am in charge of cooking my own food. My potato dish is world famous in Chennai, however I had never prepared daal & chawal before because getting the right mix of water & pulses is frankly quite intimidating. So caught between the risk of high pitta precipitated by no food at home & laziness to go out and eat, I called mom and skillfully extracted the secret blend of daal & rice for 1 person and quantity of water for that.


And boy was it amazing! I almost felt sorry for being the only one to have the good providence of savoring the delicacy from the kitchens of paradise! I am the new master of delicious daal, chawal & of my favorite vegetable in the universe, the aloo!

There is a brand spanking new CCD near my home and the ambiance is great. It’s nice to lounge there sometimes with Spinach & Corn sandwich, café latte, my laptop and Wi-Fi. And oh yeah, it’s adjacent to girls dental college! :)

I completed the book Eat Pray Love which is now also a movie starring Julia Roberts. It’s true story of a woman who, to find peace, wisdom, happiness & herself devotes a year travelling to Italy (eat), to India (pray) & Indonesia (love or to find balance). The part in Italy wants you to break into impromptu Italian & gallivant in the lanes of Italy to devour those delicious juicy Pizzas hand tossed in wood burning ovens, although a lot of non-veg dishes are mentioned needlessly. The ashram life in India is so familiar & the meditation experiences so real. Overall the book reads well, esp. the parts in Italy & Indian ashram & as a travel book.

I am also revisiting The West Wing series. It’s based on a fictional white house with real life issues. It’s one of the most powerful things on TV you will ever watch. It almost runs like a fast paced movie. It’s quick, profoundly intelligent & wildly entertaining. Most of all it’s a fascinating sketch on friendship, character & leadership skills. Martin Sheen is phenomenally brilliant as the president of the United States & so are the others on the staff.


During one of my many journeys this year I was waiting on a railway platform & was bored out of my wits. Add to it my train was running late, air was hot & humid & the platform was not exactly the shining illustration of cleanliness by Indian railways. I was beginning to get irritated & that’s when I plugged in my Creative Zen (fitting name, right!) MP4 player & out of nowhere everything shifts. The air instantly seemed cool, the unruly passengers like extended family & I felt at home on that platform with tom & jerry running around. I think so is the case in our lives. Outside is just the scenery, what matters most is what’s inside. You change the music inside & the movie outside changes!

So long Chennai...

“Man's feelings are always purest and most glowing in the hour of meeting and of farewell.”

It was for a vacation in the Millennium year when I first arrived in Chennai- the land of thousands of coconut trees, heaps of rice and white dhoti clad ebony hued souls!

It’s been 5 years since my return and it’s time now to say until we meet again.. :)

I really think if one truly wants to take a vacation, disconnect from life as one knows it day in and day out, one should consider a territory where even the bill-boards & address outside shops also seems to have been written in some alien dialect lost to humanity a few hundred years ago. For me, it was like that, when I came here.

I had not come back here for a vacation. My bro-in-law, Sister & cutest lil niece are here, and I ambled here to work. My 1st job, for 3 wonderful years, was in a GPS telecommunications company at Tidel park.

Just by the virtue of staying in Chennai I have become a licensed haggler of expert category. My heart is filled with gratitude towards all the auto drivers without whom this achievement would not have been possible. I dedicate this honor to all of them who would almost always quote double fare reckoning me to be a bakra fresh from some far flung corner of the universe unaware of the ways things work in the auto-rickshaw realm!

First thing that struck me about Chennai was I could be lost in my dreamland, amidst chaos.

Even if someone abused me in Tamil I would often misconstrue it as sweet nothings and move on. And since I am not expected to know the language I wasn’t expected to retort thus the rules of engagement were not in play and my innate Machismo would remain untainted! :). However my attempts to eves drop in a public transport on animated discussions between various unsuspecting couple revealed nothing. A minor disadvantage one may argue, but then I get to save my mind from unnecessary gossip!

Masala dosa(i?) had always been my favorite. In our house (as in other North Indian homes) it would be a special day when mom made dosas (Sunday special etc) and I’d eat no less than 6-8 of them. And it won’t be plain masala dosa with podi as it is common here. It is rich Masala Dosa, made from batter prepared at home, with two kinds of chutneys and full on sambhar. It’s sufficient to say I had truck loads of my share of Dosas here! :).

Although I had quite a culture shock initially when I encountered people licking curd and/or rice of their fingers, palms, wrists, elbows even in posh restaurants…as if they were dining privately in their bathrooms! But I’ll surely miss unlimited meals (especially Andhra meals)! Hopefully the Madras Cafes over there have it on their menus.

I am a witness to some of Chennai’s significant events like unveiling of Kathipada flyover, beautification of the Tidal Park (my erstwhile office) road, swanky new malls, Rajni/Vijay crazy fans on the first day first show, Tsunami, new A/C buses, unearthly heat, humidity & hurricanes!

I can go on and on about Chennai: it’s beautiful Temples, thousands of Coconut trees, amazing ECR road drives, early morning fragrance of flowers, chandan, ash & Vada-coffee at the bus stop, the trademark drum beats music, fresh rangolis in front of every home in the morning & evening, men with vibhuti adorned forehead & women with colorful saris and gajras, sunset, sunrise, dips & meditations at the beach, ...these are just some of the truly beautiful things native only to South India.

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes.”

I learnt life’s big & important lessons here: Got my heart broken to the extent that I was convinced it was beyond repair..Had my first experience of Smirnoff Vodka & Wills Navy cut…wrestled with the overwhelming thoughts of suicide on one hand and a raging desire to be a terrorist on the other. I remember working nonstop for 15 hours for weeks and yet unsuccessful in any sleep or peace. The deafening noise in my head was so much that I literally could not hear what I was thinking. The absolute agony of being in love. I fought & walked out of my home one midnight, only to discover who my real friends were & understand the importance of a family.

And I remember my first long kriya, the nonstop tears of gratitude next morning listening to Radhe-2 mann boley by Vikram Bhaiya…Experienced so much love that cannot be contained in my heart and it literally would spill out in tears of gratitude. I discovered there is so much more to me & there is so much more to life! I felt peace, belongingness, contentment, longing which I had never felt before. I learnt how to care immensely and without any expectations, to smile & serve when one is sad is the best way to come out of it & the sense of what and whom to hold on to & what to let go. Above all I learnt the most about love, pain, emotions & grace.

The cup of consciousness and life is much deeper & stronger now.

The best thing is, last month while doing the 7 days Guru Purnima advance course in ashram I had the realization that I had literally nothing left to be sad about! I couldn’t imagine anybody I should hate & I couldn't think anyone as my enemy! And what an absolutely magical feeling that is and quite a leap from when I used to go for advance courses with my dil ke tukde :)

On the 1st day of my 1st Yes!+ I read this quote by Guruji on a huge banner hung in AGN - “When a bud breaks, it becomes a flower & when heart breaks, it becomes divine!”. It didn’t make any sense for a long time. I finally did understand what Guruji meant. J

Romba Nandri Chennai J. Until we meet again…

“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

“Distance never separates two hearts that really care, for our memories span the miles and in seconds we are there.”

Mangoes, Mumbai Locals & Extra Cheese!!!

Do read up part 1 of Amchi Mumbai chronicles.

So, with some sadistic quirk of fate I was left alone with Bau at Anjana Di’s home one lazy afternoon and unable to figure the right thing (or anything) to say I sank my head in my Laptop, when Bau asked about my Mumbai trip!. Like a little boy caught staring at a girl, I shared my learning's (minus the girls part of course, although now he knows that too!) about talks, Yes!+ etc and then we hit upon one of the passions which is very close to both our hearts (well closer to our stomach really) - FOOD! Well, for me eating and for him cooking and of course eating and experimenting! :)

As Bau says (and I agree) Mumbai is the food capital of the world. One has infinite options ranging from Rs. 5 to 500 Rs. Chat itself has so many choices – all with extra dollops of Butter or Cheese. The markets, spaces outside station are rendered so colorful owing to the presence of all the chat stalls. Double Roti, Vada Paav, Ice Bhel, flavored lassi, Ice Sev Poori, Jal Jeera, Gola, Paav Bhaji, Chaas – and these are just road side vendors. Things get all the more interesting when one enters an up market joint. For instance best sizzlers (Omg Yummylicious) in Pop Tates, best Punjabi food in Urban Tadka, Best of Rajasthani-Gujarati cuisine in Rajdhani and so on. Bhel poori is freely accessible at all local stations! And then there was Pastas’ by Di! And Gujarati food – Dhokla, Oondhiya, Patra, Kadhi, Thepla, Khandvi etc etc. There were more varieties of Dosas then I have seen in Chennai! Cheese dosa, pav bhaji dosa, Spinach Dosa, double roti dosa etc etc.

But to top it all – Mangoes!

mangoes_40011

There’s a special Mango called Payri. I kid you not we ate (drank!?) it’s soup, clear Mango soup in a bowl complete with a Soup spoon! And it was insanely rich, thick, creamy and sinfully delicious!

To everyone's shock & ridicule I was not a big fan of Mangoes (give me Grapes, Kiwi, Strawberries or even Bananas), mango for me was  just too messy a deal. But people are chillingly cuckoo about the stupid fruit! And some of it rubbed on me too by the time I left Mumbai. I am proud to say that I am a Mango convert now! :). Btw mangoes at that time were like 1000 Rs. per Kg. Now that is just the recipe for disaster – ungodly heat, crazy mango fanatics with out of reach mangoes!!!

By this time I was becoming increasingly notorious for desiring (even longing for) and hogging food!. It is actually nice once everyone accepts the fact that you are a total gone case, it becomes easy to be oneself. :)mumbai_trains_doorways_23

In Mumbai people age, have babies, consume (and digest)  food, finish semester exams, propose (to girls/clients/guys), get married & divorced, complete World of Warcraft, by heart Encyclopedia Britannica, all from a car/bike at traffic signals!

The lucky (and smart) ones take Mumbai locals! It’s literally the backbone of Mumbai, an amazing mode of commute, carries 7 million passengers everyday, arrives every few seconds and departs even before you can crack open a Peanut (groundnut!?) shell!

And one has a very high probability of falling in Love whilst on them! Imagine you are with the girl/boy of your dreams – in a Mumbai local. No place to stand, 3 unknown pair of hands find refuge in 1 hand rest, being pushed from all 10 directions – one is left with no other choice but to act all manly to protect the lady love from the pesky passengers. And amidst all this chaos, in ever so decreasing space between each other,  the time stops when their eyes meet, hands touch, strands of locks flutter about, the body odor gets entangled with each other, one overhears ‘tujhe dekha to yeh jaana sanammmm...’ blaring from neighbor dudes Radio  – and then happens the chemical reaction of Love! :). It’s kind of sweet really to see a girl in guy’s compartment, with another dude, getting all cozy up. Btw this is just one of the many examples of male tolerance. No woman would let even a toenail of a man in a women’s compartment! :)

One learns belongingness, dispassion and surrender while travelling in locals. Just have to stand near the gate and one will either be escorted outside or carried inside (almost always the opposite of where you wanna be) by equally dispassionate passengers . And doesn’t matter where you are going, it will take at least an hour to get there. And this time would be utilized by talking to people about the course! Specially amazed was I, when these girls with me went about talking to passengers on different seats, as if they were loitering in an orchard picking Apples.

I got lost twice in the maze of trains, but found my way soon enough to make it for the college talks running on the IST time. :). It’s really special to ride the local when the sun is setting on the parallel track! I remember feeling so happy and peaceful amidst all the chaos & sea of humanity at sundown and also so belonged and Indian! :). Only in India you can push or shove or glare or mumble at somebody and then confirm the details of next station or time or cricket score from the same person after 25 seconds. :)

So after travelling 100s of Kilometers, talking to 100’s of youths and eating awesome food everyday, we were closing on to the day when I was going to be the part of the biggest Yes!+ of my life and the course which raised the bar a lot more....!

Amchi Mumbai - 1!!!

Mumbai truly rocks! I arrived in Mumbai on Holi. No sooner than I landed here, much to my protest I was colored all over in hitherto unknown new hues, doing a rain dance to the tunes of a DJ for hours! Rain dance on Holi is esp.. a lot of fun. People waste much more water by just having a non-veg diet, so a rain dance in contrast, is harmless fun. :)

And boy, do girls know how to have fun! They just dance n dance and keep inventing steps along the way, until lured away with promise of a Thandai! Speaking of girls, Mumbai girls are oh my god! :) Even an ordinary girl looks so gorgeous. They can carry themselves with such careless beauty. :)

1-mumbai-metro

I came to Mumbai to work for and learn from the 1,00,008 Yes!+ mega course with none other than Bawa and Dinesh Bhaiya themselves. After scrubbing off all the color and having a sumptuous wholesome Gujarati meal (courtesy Anjana di’s mom) we went out for campaigning in the evening on the streets of Mulund, near Anjana di’s home, where I was staying. It was a very nice learning experience.

So far, I was comfortable only with organized HIT’s and college/hostel intro talks, talking to random people wasn’t my style. :) So, initially in random talks I would be the concluding voice in a group of two. Special fun were talks in Mumbai locals. :) Mumbai volunteers are also very committed and chilled out at the same time. As a committed volunteer they took personal ownership and responsibility of the course, took initiatives to arrange talks in there colleges and there was no need for follow up for tasks agreed upon.

The course was initially supposed to be for 1 lakh youth. The target was revised to 1008 people as there were exams or IV’s in most of the colleges. 1 lakh course will now happen in 2011, with a vision of having 10,00,008 youths doing the course by 2012 end. The reason behind such an ambitious vision was the spate of sudden youth suicides in Mumbai and Pune. We have the answer which is very effective, practical and fun at the same time – Yes!+.

Anyway, we went out on the streets talking to people and putting up really creative posters created specially for this course. I spoke to this girl working for Hindustan Times and smoking her lungs away. When asked if she has heard of Art of living, she responded ‘yeah not much but I know all this is sham’. I embarrassed her by concluding that even I smoked but now I have a better alternative for time pass/stress release which gives a better kick and does not leaves a bad taste in the mouth. :) Cute girl though, with a nose ring and perfect smile, 1 cigarette ruined it all for me though. :)

This was the time of annual cultural fest for most of the colleges. Some of us also indulged in them – Tanvi Di n Mayuri (after a lot of drama :)) did rappelling. College talks were very effective. For the 1st time 12 and more people would register on the spot!

Another good work of innovation was the cool n colorful visiting card size brochures/pamphlets with all the follow up details which were handed out after a talk. It worked very well, when we present the course and they have an option to research more after going home. I realized that Bessy beach talks never worked because we expected people to register on the spot.

I was also missing Tuffy (my dog) here. 2nd day in Mumbai we had a satsang in this very beautiful bungalow of Piyush bhai (Yes!+ teacher). He has a huge dog – Sonu. Huge but very calm, furry n cute dog. It was so much fun to play with him. :)

Two most important things in Mumbai – Travel and Food! and the course itself which redefined Yes!+ : )…

I am the most famous dialogue of Terminator-2!

Wow! There was a time when I used to post twice in a day and now it has almost been a year without a single post. Most of my posts were typed during work hours (with nothing better or interesting to do : ). I remember having this urge to sort out life and it’s complicated questions at times when I was getting paid to do something else, like my job :). Also, with Facebook one can just ‘Micro blog’ – capsulate events of the day, state of the mind etc all in 4-5 lines. However, blogging helps one to understand, convey, unravel, improve, opine, reach out, raise issues, debate – which FB doesn’t.

I started blogging to make sense and articulate all that was going in my head or all that was baffling or wonderful in life. I was under the impression that after I bought my own laptop I would write more. It’s the same logic we apply while buying TV or cable that we’ll watch only News or Discovery or Cricket but soon all we watch is anything but all of the above. Reminds me of an incidence happened long back. i used to be pretty good with quizzes and current affairs. My cousins logic was ‘everyone who has a cable TV can be smart as they get Discovery etc, I’ll also know all answers when cable comes to my home”. I had cable. However when they got cable all they’d watch is MTV! The point being one can have anything and everything at hand but what one chooses to do with it matters. As Bau says mere knowing that buying shares of Reliance Inc. will make you richer is not going to make anyone rich. One has to act on that knowledge, buy-hold-sell the shares to get rich.

So, there is much to write, lots to remember, ample to articulate as life has been quite a ride lately, a lot smoother than before although, all thanks to Yes!+ and all that encompasses it.  :) I think I’ll begin with the latest and track back with no particular chronological order. :) So I am in Aamchi Mumbai now…

Interconnected!

Shravan, Manan aur Nitibhyaasa

Shravan is learning, listening, imbibing, absorbing knowledge; Manan is remembering it again and again; nitibhyasa is practicing it until it becomes ones nature.

So for eg., when one wonders how is a person going back to their previous habits and patterns one of the above is missing. Shravan is knowing the knowledge, learning it from a master, listening to it (not just hearing) - this is what we do sitting in yes!+ or advance courses. This needs to be done 100%, like if you do not know the song how can you remember it and sing it again and again. That is also why the more you sit in such energy doing more courses the more ingrained the knowledge becomes.

Then comes manan. If one looses awareness and gets angry then one has forgotten the knowledge, in that moment. Instead of then getting angrier on getting angry, or becoming sad on becoming sad or becoming more mad at becoming mad, what is required is remembering the knowledge, again and again, punah punah.

When this is practiced 1) Everyday, 2) Without a gap, 3) For a long time and 4) with honor and respect that is called nitibhyaasa, until it becomes one’s DNA, the very nature.

Malcolm Gladwell’s says in his latest book - Outliers that as per the research done on what makes an extraordinary genius or success, there was one common factor which stood out - 10,000 hours. All highly and extraordinarily successful people have practiced and practiced there craft for at least min. of 10,000 hours to become the best. So, it’s just the matter of clocking hours. If you are learning Guitar and are not playing well, it is guaranteed that if you reach the magic figure of 10k you’ll learn how to play well. Same applies to intro talks, or getting that girl or a guy of your dreams - just a matter of clocking in that many hours!

Although our current government has completed way more than 10,000 hours to get there act together and do at least one sensible thing for the people who made the blunder of bringing them into power the last time. It is time to throw them out. Out of the many complete blunders just take 3 to consider throwing out this government - 1) The day of Mumbai bomb blasts, 1500 crores were given to terrorists, the logic being they have a family too and they need to be taken care of too. Same figure was given to Afghanistan, I guess stating ‘good good train the hooligans better there so that they can carry out even more dastardly acts on their next mission in India.’ Rs. 50,000 crores were gifted to Harvard and Cornell, as if our education system has perfected itself and we are exceeding the literacy standards of our continent. 50,000 crores are simply missing from the govt. a/c’s. No explanation given. Madarsas will be given CBSE status now, as if the knowledge given there is so complete in it - they are still taught earth is flat - such people will be certified now to get jobs in govt. I shudder to think what kind of policies such narrow minded thinkers will roll out. The vote bank politics need to stop.

The main agenda of Congress and Sharad Pawar in Mumbai is to bring the Genetically Modified foods to India! That is there main agenda, not education, not electricity or water, not security. And there so called experts say that it is good for India! Why? Because the text book says so. Because GM BT Brinjal kills an insect found in Organically produced Brinjals. Well, tell me what are the side effects before I consume this god send Brinjal? They don’t know. If the GM foods are so good why are they not welcome in Europe? In US at least the GM foods have a label categorizing them as such. In India there is no such law also. So, you will never know which chemical are you savoring. Why? Coz government gets loads of money, so people can go to hell. The technology which is unacceptable in US and UK is welcome in India by this government. It took us 50 years to learn how bad the plastic is for us. Imagine in a decade if we learn the same about food which we will be directly consuming.

That’s the reason, we the youth, needs to be aware of issues and events that effect us now and will more so in the future. And we need to make others aware too. Just knowing will not do now, teach, debate, spread the light.

For instance did you know why (a+b)2 = a2+b2+2ab? Here’s why… :-)


video

P.S :This post is from the last Yes!+ Utsav with Rashmin & Dinesh Bhaiya and Bawa in Bangalore.

The Best New Year Ever!!! - 2

Continued from Part 1 below.
If 1 not read, Scroll down to the next post to read part 1 first...

Next day campus cleaning Seva. I saw to it that the left side of the campus from VM steps toc Divine services was spanking clean. Until glides in Miss Indrani with that famous cat (Elephant?) walk and casually drops few Green bombs on the ground and ambles away coolly as if that‘s exactly the place to go about her daily let go business. I remembered Dinesh bhaiya’s story of cleaning cow dung in his own advance course. Summoning up the Lion and his Valor within me, with the nerves of Stainless Steel I march towards that mountain and stop dead in my tracks as it’s emanating fragrance hits my nose. I mentally say ‘Sorry Dinesh bhaiya, not this time.’ Irony was that my nose would block only the next day and it continues to be that way till today! Anyway that ‘thing’ was at the right side of the campus, so I convince myself that I did not follow my feelings over my commitments. And hurriedly, before any logic can prevail, had my hands busy so that heart becomes full and mind becomes empty.

I so fell in love with my pretty feet and my green floaters during the course. As they were pretty much the only thing I laid my eyes on during the course. Fortunately I had exhausted my Chappal Karma during my earlier visits to the ashram, so I had to return with my own footwear which I originally came with rather than resorting to flicking someone else‘s. A pretty odd feeling, I must admit.

By the end of silence I had pretty much memorized all the songs from Rab ne Bana di…, Ghajini & Chandni Chowk…, as they would invariably pop up at the best of times, without warning. Like when I am trying to find the tip of my nostril and suddenly I see Asin‘s nose instead of mine, which makes it even more difficult as she would always be dancing about. Had it been SRK’s nose, it would have been no problem. He has a lot of it! And for comic relief Russell Peters was readily available, effect of watching his videos enroute from Chennai to Bangalore. ‘Your mothers’ so fat…‘ and so he goes in Chinese accent. And with eyes closed, my smile widens, as I come back to the source.

From the 2nd day onwards I felt so Blessed! Like a weight lifted. As Guruji says that out of 100 only 10 begin the journey and only few reach, I felt like those lucky few among the 1000+ of us.

Most importantly this Yes++ filled me up to the brim with Gratitude…towards everything and everyone. I am grateful to all my teachers - esp. to Jaideep Chandra sir (my Accounts and Economics teacher in 11th standard) - sir if you happen to read this, if not for you I would have not been inspired to complete school and work to score cool marks in 12th, to my English teacher (Ma’am, if not for your beauty and my desire to impress you I would have been speaking English like Lallu, which sometimes I do anyway), to my Parents, to my Yes!+ teachers Rajesh ‘Mayla’ K. Bhaiya, Kavi Di, Anjana di, Upasana Di, Rashmin Bhaiya and of course Bau n Dinu Bhaiya, to my volunteer friends in Chennai (each one of you have showed me a way to do things and also a way not to do things, just by being who you are, although you may never know when and how J), to the driver of the Chennai-Bangalore Train and so far back and fwd.

I feel grateful for every ‘bad’ thing that ever happened to me and any body who ever broke my trust and heart and caused hurt to me. Looking back, If I connect the dots now, If not for those events or people, I probably would not have been here. I am also grateful to that Kitchen nut, the roommates (out of 1000+ people they were particularly put there by Mr. G for a purpose), to all the other participants for enhancing my experience through there silence, to the Uncle who took care of our Chappals, to the unseen…

And to that special someone without whom I probably would not have continued on this path and also without whom I would not have seen such darkness and misery and anger and hatred or experience such Bliss and Love and Longing and Knowledge. You know who you are and If you happen to read this, I miss you and I Bless you. Wish you can become as sweet as you were before and we closer than before. Wish that all the ego and arrogance and bitterness can be just melted away to make way for more sweeteness and care and warmth we have hsared before.

The best thing is, finally, oh-so-excruciatingly, this Yes++ slowly turned my Love into Longing, the desire of Getting Something into Intention of Giving, frustration of waiting into meditation. To Guruji for showing me the way again and again and not giving up on me and to not let my Love complete so that it gains more depth and thus adds more meaning to my life. Lots more to learn and miles to walk before I sleep…

In 2009 I pray that I continue being grateful and not lean towards the demonic tendency of blaming and Give without Expectations and Love without Expectations and become more Mature in Love and Understand with Centeredness and to Serve with Sattva and be Happy with Awareness and Celebrate by being Useful and Spread Light and Joy and Knowledge and Belonging.

And that’s what I want for the World too.

Only thing is this sense of Void that I am feeling, which turns into sadness and loneliness and prayerfulness…I pray with gratitude that I can learn something from it too and do lots of Seva and bring more and more youths to advance courses and such profound Knowledge...

Loka Samasta Sukhino Bhavantu!

The Best New Year Ever!!! - 1

Amazing, Awesome, Super-Duper, Jhakaas, Fantabulous, Mast, Fundoo, 2 Gooood, Mind Blowing, out of the Universe…out of adjectives to express this Yes!+ Winter Break‘08!!! The best Ever! YAAYY!!!

This was my 8th Advance course and I could not have imagined it to be any grander!!! Lots of nagging doubts cleared up and added lots of meaning to life.


The detailed life story of Dinesh bhaiya (which he finally shared after so many years, upon much coercion of course), Bau’s way of reading Questions more than his witty answers, Vikram Bhaiya’s Divine voice and rocking Satsangs (esp. the second song he sang on the 1st day “what does Love needs (asks?) - It‘s Everything…’had me in tears), the Guru Puja and Vikram Bhaiya serenading us with ‘Phoolon ke Rang se’ welcoming new year, the hair raising experiences by other participants‘, Padmasadhanas…What else is needed in life!

The extended Silence was very interesting! Observing so many Girls in silence together, at one place, for so many days is always lot of fun. By the end of each day they are just bursting with tall tales to tell to anyone in sight, doesn‘t matter if they know you or not, doesn‘t matter if you are a he or she or it. To gossip and well to just do what they love the most - YAP! And they so do, after the silence is over. Making one miss the silence so much! Oh, the opposite values are indeed complementary.


And those early morning cold water (and sometimes no water) baths.
My roommates in Khoday’s were so precious. One would wake up as soon as the Alarm in MY Cell goes off and before I can finish yawning and cat stretching, he would have already begun applying Soap and Shampoo and pretty much bolted the bathroom door for the next 50 minutes. Being in silence and in knowledge I can neither bang on the door nor curse him. I can only stomp on his white Kurta (which I didn’t, as good as I am). So I am reduced to practicing the locks on myself with extra awareness and avoiding a different kind of ‘letting go’ situation. Wandering into the corridors looking for an available bathroom of other unsuspecting guys in my wing (much to their astonishment), without looking in anyone‘s eyes. One can do anything in Silence! Thanks to the other roommate who would be blissfully snoring his way to glory to give me enough time in the bathroom. It was a wonder to me how he even made for the morning Sadhanas everyday, on time! Kitchen Seva was particularly interesting.

Watching the Roti maker Gadget is a Meditation in itself. I thought of recording the entire action, from start to finish and overlaying Guruji’s voice on top it and come up with a guided meditation - Blossoming with the Roti’s or the Round Roti Meditation or the ‘Pancha Chapathi Meditation‘. Anyway, somehow this time around I was able to resist the charms of the Roti maker and lumber on to other parts of the magical land of the Kitchen.

Wondering what seva will suit my talents there, I find three otherwise intelligent people holding on to 1 tiny Potato trying to figure out which end to be peeled by whom. I immediately decide I want to do some heavy, macho stuff - lifting and moving things - no delicate cutting and peeling business would satisfy me.
Suddenly a tub full of Mint leaves waiting to be washed., manifests itself. Ahem, always nice to have Minty fresh fingers while indulging in Naadi Shodhan Pranayama.

But before I can act on my intentions and move even a step closer to that bright orange Tub with Green Mints, in my white Kurta, feeling quite patriotic on the color scheme, 3 Seva warriors mysteriously appear out of thin air and almost dive in that tub with there full commitment for some hardcore world changing Leaf washing Seva.
Reduced to tend to a corner of the tub with few ends of Mint leaves on my command, I get down to the task. One over -enthusiastic nut drops a plastic crate on my Pinky Toe and suddenly the long-forgotten Pinky Toe becomes the most important part of the whole body - full with wonderful sensations that can put Meditation in Motion to shame. Although I am sure a dog would have heard my Supersonic scream, no voice came out from my Hollow and Empty Diaphragm. For a moment I had almost picked up that huge Sword like Ladle and whacked it on that nut’s head! Better sense prevailed, knowledge took over - Accept people as they are. Deep Breaths in & out!!!


Returning to the inevitable Present moment I begin concentrating on the leaves and their fragrance and as I start giving my 100%, the Over eager nut springs to life again - this time with a fully charged water pipe! Washes one tiny excuse of a lady finger with full pressure water pipe and just plonks the pipe on the floor and prances away, allowing the Pipe to dance to water’s tunes. And danced it did - on my face and clothes. ARRRRGGGHHH!!! Dinesh Bhaiya’s voice gently wafted from somewhere in my sub-conscious mind - ‘Let Goooooo‘. ‘Surrrender‘. ‘Observing the sensations is Meditation.’ OKAYYYY Bhaiya! And from then on I did pretty much opposite of what that extra charged nut demanded. Was lot of fun, not being controlled by a Remote Control ‘Robert‘ J!

to be Continued in Part 2...
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