My Journey From Head to Heart
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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… :-)

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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