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What a Guru Poornima – thanks to @twitter, a Direct Message went out to over 373K followers of @SriSri and I did get one too!!

DM from SriSri

DM from SriSri

And here is the transcript from Guruji’s talk at Boone, today, reproduced from Art of Living Website :

You just sang this song, ‘Ajo Ananthaya‘. Ajo means Never Born, Ananthanya is InfinityNitya Shudha is Forever Pure, and Sat-chid-ananda is Pure Bliss.

Guru principle is like the space, and you cannot avoid space. Whether you recognize that there is space or not, is another question. You cannot escape from air. Whether you recognize there is air or not is another question. And today is the time for you recognize that there is air; there is space.

You know, air is there everywhere but when you sit near the fan, you feel it. In the same way, in the world, in the universe, the Guru principle is there. When you recognize it, you feel so great, and you feel bliss.

Recognition of the existence of the Guru Principle, and the role it has played in life, is Guru Poornima.

In our body, the throat chakra is for gratefulness. Above the throat chakra is the Ajna (Agya)Chakra, that is the seat of Guru. So gratefulness is a way to reach to the Guru Tattva.

And then where does the Guru lead you to? Bliss (pointing to the top of the head), i.e, theSahasrara Chakra. So, Guru is sandwiched between gratefulness and bliss.

This Guru Principle is that which removes darkness, it is that which removes all suffering.

We chant, ‘Bhishaje bhava roginam‘, which means, it is like the medicine for those who are stuck in small little worldly things; the disease of small mindedness. It is called a disease because the mind wants to get out of the suffering. Guru Tattva brings that absolute comfort.

You know, there are some people who live without light; they don’t even know of electricity. Animals live without electricity, without light; they don’t need it. But human beings need light when it is dark. So human beings need the Guru Tattva, they need the knowledge. People living without knowledge are equivalent to animals.

One without wisdom lives an animalistic life, it is not a human life. So, it is fashionable to be civilized and to have a Guru in life. If there is no Guru in life, it means life is uncivilized; like one who does not know anything of technology.

It is a privilege, a good fortune to have access to knowledge. And this ancient tradition, from millenniums has preserved this beautiful knowledge, and today we feel very grateful! It is an occasion to remember and to celebrate life with knowledge, life in knowledge, and life for knowledge. It is wisdom that can eliminate misery in the world. If wisdom cannot bring happiness, nothing can bring happiness. So we have this privilege to spread happiness, wisdom, and knowledge.

Wisdom is not just information, it is a quality of consciousness; it is a quality of life. Wisdom does not come just by studying and attaining degrees, or by stuffing yourself with information. Something triggers inside and you become wise. Some Naadi (energy channel) inside, or some part of your consciousness flips over and you become wise. I think so!

Wisdom is not attained just by reading a lot. You cannot just read a lot and be very wise in everything. Wisdom is a quality of consciousness, a quality of life, and this gets transferred by good company. That is what happens.

The Presence of the Guru does not bring you any information, it shifts the quality of consciousness, and that brings the wisdom to your mind.

Now, should we go and sit in front of a Guru all the time to become wise? Not necessary.Wherever you are, simply feel the presence of the Guru Tattva.

Guru Tattva is in-between the eye brows. The Ajna Chakra, where the pituitary glands are situated, that is the seat of the Guru. In the science of Yoga, the Ajna Chakra or the space in-between the eyebrows is called the seat of the Guru. It is situated above the Vishuddhi Chakra(in throat region); the pure space. You enter the pure space, you enter into meditation, and you reach to the Guru. And it is the Guru who pulls you into meditation.

You are stuck in the heart region where there is love, hatred and fear. If you have to get out of hatred and fear, you have to get into the inner space. And who pulls you into the inner space? The Guru Tattva. So the Guru pulls you into the inner space.

When you come to the inner space, what happens to you? You become pure, i.e., Vishuddhiwhich means So Pure. The heart becomes pure, the mind becomes pure, and that connects you to bliss, which is the Sahasara Chakra.

This is the science of Yoga. It’s so amazing if you go into the depth of it. Every moment it reveals even more.

So do not think that just by words, by reading books, or by stuffing yourself with a lot of information you can become wise, no! Wisdom comes by that shift; that is why it is called Grace.

Grace (or Good luck) means what? That which you cannot explain. If you could explain how you got something then it is not luck.
When do you call something your luck? When you cannot explain the cause of it. Of course, same for bad luck also. If you have bad luck, you say you can’t explain it. So it’s the gratefulness which leads you to Guru Tattva and the bliss further on, and vice versa, because when you find that solace, then you feel more grateful.

So, what is wisdom? It is a quality of consciousness; like alertness.

What is alertness? (Sri Sri snaps his fingers) Your presence in now! You know when you suddenly become alert, your mind shifts (sort of, opens), and suddenly you are all alive. Words cannot describe what alertness is! In the same way, words cannot describe what wisdom is.

Everyone in their life, sometime or other, have experienced a little bit of wisdom. Whether one has maintained it or not is another question.

It is wisdom that holds the key to happiness. No wisdom, no happiness. So people seeking happiness will have to go come to the Guru. People seeking knowledge will have to come to Guru. People seeking a better quality of life have to come to the Guru; they have to acknowledge the Guru principle in their life.

One of the saints of the middle ages, a great yogi said, ‘Who drinks the nectar? One who has a Guru. One who doesn’t have a Guru in their life, he goes thirsty, he has no juice in his life; he does not know true joy. But one who has a Guru drinks the nectar; again and again he drinks the nectar‘.

There is plenty of nectar in the inner realm of our being. One who has a Guru drinks it in abundance. One without a Guru goes thirsty all his life.

He is describing our own physiology, which means, in this (pointing to the head or Sahasara Chakra) there is bliss, there is nectar. When there is Guru in life, then you get access to it, otherwise life becomes meaningless.

There are a lot of beautiful poems written on this. I’ve not read them all, only heard a little bit here and there. But the essence is how the quality of consciousness gets shifted, and the shift is a gift (wisdom is a gift).

The company of the wise brings that shift in the consciousness, or its given to you as gift, and so you feel thankful. It is not something that you earned in your life. You cannot earn it but it is being bestowed on you, and that is the key.

Many people think wisdom means reading a lot of books. Wisdom has nothing to do with books. Wisdom has nothing to do with gathering information. It is just the quality of consciousness that shifts in the mind, and that is bestowed by the Guru Principle, by acknowledging the Guru in life.

One has to acknowledge from one’s side. The Guru does not accept or reject anyone. It is the student, the disciple, who accepts (a Guru) as his Guru.

In India, there is a famous story of Eklavya (a character from the Hindu epic, the Mahābhārata).Eklavya is considered the epitome of a disciple.

As the story goes, Eklavya wanted to learn archery to save the deer in the forest that were being hunted by the leopards. He was the son of a poor hunter. So he went to Dronacharya (a master of advanced military arts) and requested him to teach him archery, but Dronacharya rejected him because he was the teacher of the Royal family, he was a Raj Guru. He was teaching the royal princes of Bharat (India).

In those days, if you are a teacher of the royal princes then you cannot take someone else and teach them archery and make them equal to the prince. It was not considered ethical.

You are teaching archery to the prince so that you make him a great archer, to protect the nation. So you cannot teach someone from the street the same knowledge. It was forbidden to make anyone as powerful as the prince. His duty is to make the prince very powerful, so he cannot create a competitor. Otherwise the nation would not be safe and secure.

So, Eklavya wanted to take Dronacharya as his Guru, but Dronacharya could not accept him. This was the law of the land, that you have to exclusively train the princes.

Nevertheless Eklavya accepted Dronacharya as his Guru, and he went home and made a statue of his Guru. He learnt archery and became even better than the prince. He became an expert. He would just hear the sound of the animal and shoot an arrow at it.

One day, Arjuna, the prince found out about this. He saw that Eklavya was far better than him. So he went to Eklavya and asked him, ‘Who is your Guru?’

Eklavya said, ‘Dronacharya is my Guru’.

Arjuna then goes to Dronacharya and shouts at him. ‘What is this? This is cheating. You are supposed to teach only me, but you taught this man and made him more skilful than me’, he questions Dronacharya.

Dronacharya was baffled as to who was this student of his, whom he had not taught, and who has become a competitor of the prince. Then they both go and meet this boy. Eklavya leads them to the statue that he made of Dronacharya which he considered as his Guru.

Dronacharya then says, ‘You have to give me some Dakshina (a gift as fees for learning)’. He asks Eklavya to give him the thumb of his right hand as a gift (without the thumb there is no archery). Eklavya without a second thought gives the thumb of his right hand to the Guru.

This story is viewed as the Guru to have a very cruel attitude. The boy has learnt on his own, while Dronacharya goes and asks for his thumb taking away his skill. How bad this Guru was! This is one way to see: the Guru robbed the student of his skill. But from the other side, if you see, if it were not for this incident, nobody would have ever known Eklavya.

Though on the outer level it seemed as if Dronacharya had done injustice to Eklavya, but actually Dronacharya uplifted Eklavya because this one act made him immortal. So when people think of devotion, they think of Eklavya, and not Arjuna.

See the greatness of Dronacharya, he took the blame on him and uplifted his student. That is why, even if the Guru is wrong, if your devotion is there you can never go wrong. But the Guru is not wrong, it appears he was partial but he uplifted Eklavya and preserved his Dharma (duty) also. His duty was to maintain the law of the land: You cannot have anyone much better than the prince.

This is a beautiful story. There is a full dialogue on this which people say is very good.

Yoga Vashishtha is another very nice story of how Vashishtha gives knowledge to Sri Rama. You should read Yoga Vashishtha, it is a very beautiful way in which Vashishtha gives knowledge toSri Rama and uplifts him from depression; makes him realize that he is an incarnate of the Divine and the light of the world.

So again, wisdom is a quality of consciousness. It can be developed through sadhana, or grace, not through information. Wisdom can directly be instilled in two ways:
1. Through spiritual practises (sadhana). Through sadhana that quality of consciousness develops in you, or
2. By putting your attention on it.

See, whatever you put your attention on, that quality comes into your consciousness. You become that. If you keep thinking about monkeys all your life, then… (laugher). Or if you keep thinking of someone who is angry all the time, you will also get into that state of anger. Haven’t you experienced this? (Many raise their hands)

So wherever the mind goes it absorbs those qualities. So when you put your attention on wisdom, then your consciousness becomes like that.

That is someone who is enlightened or very wise is called Pratah Smaraniya. It’s a very common word used in India. It means, that which is worth remembering first thing in the morning.

As soon as you wake up whom do you think of? Whomever or whatever you think of, your mind assumes that quality. That is why it is said, when you wake up in the morning, think of the Guru, or any wise person, or any saint, so that your consciousness becomes like that. Then the whole day passes by like that because you have incorporated wisdom (by remembering the Guru), and the quality of consciousness has changed to that level. This is called Pratah Smaraniya.

A man of great achievement and a saintly person is called Pratah SmaraniyaPratahmeans Morning, and Smaraniya means Worth Remembering. That which is worth remembering first thing in the morning.

Usually people say a prayer before going to bed, and as soon as they wake up, they say a prayer. Like that, in the morning it is worth remembering those with wisdom so that you become wise.

That is a practice, and it makes a lot of sense.

We are in a world where emotion catches emotion. If some people have an emotion, others catch that emotion. Similarly, wisdom catches wisdom. In the company of wise people, your quality of consciousness also shifts. If it doesn’t, then you have to think why not? Maybe Time could be a factor, because it is impossible not to change when there is wisdom in somebody around you.
Remember this: Wisdom is not information. It is a quality of consciousness.

When you walk around today, or any day from today, think that you have a diamond inside of you, a gem inside. You have acquired some gems, some wisdom. Walk in life with the feeling that you’ve been given something very precious.

A lady saint called Meera, a devotee of Lord Krishna, could not make progress without a Guru. So she went to a cobbler (a person who makes shoes), and he became her Guru, and then she sang the song, ‘Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo‘ (meaning: today I got the most precious wealth).

Though she was a devotee of Krishna, the Guru gave her the mantra ‘Ram‘ (laughter), and Ram and Krishna are completely opposite. Whatever Ram did, Krishna undid it all. Have you heard the comparison between Ram and Krishna? (Audience says, ‘No‘)
Ram was born at 12 noon and Krishna was born at midnight.

When Ram was born there was a big celebration, but when Krishna was born there was fear all around.
Ram was born in a palace, Krishna was born in prison.
Ram will not cross the line and would obey what his father said, and Krishna never listened to his father.
Many such things, completely opposite. That’s why people say, you should follow Ram and notKrishna. You should listen to what Krishna said but you should act like Ram. It is easier for the parents and the spouse.

So she used to sing the name of Krishna all the time, and her Guru gave her the mantra ‘Ram‘, and so she sings, ‘Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo‘.

What I am saying is that, even though her Guru gave her the mantra ‘Ram’, it did not cause any conflict in her. If someone is Christian, a Sikh, a Budhist or a Hindu, it doesn’t matter. Whatever religion you are born into, or whatever religion you practise, it doesn’t matter. The spiritual wisdom carries you forward, so honour the knowledge. That is why Meera sings, ‘Payoji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo‘. It is a very famous song in India; most Indians have heard this. So Meera says that this is a wealth I received, a blessing I received.

It is a great wealth.

Be Awake, O Yogi!

Someone asked me a question on Quora about boredom in Yoga practices, and this poem came up spontaneously.

 

This is a quest of

lifetimes;

the un-quenched thirst,

the parched lips,

and mirages all over.

 

A thousand births

in the endless

Karmic cycle.

Some full of Sattva

And some passed

in deep ignorance

and darkness.

 

This lifetime the path

is beautiful – shady trees,

lovely meadows,

breath taking views of

unparalleled beauty.

 

Walk like a King

on this path

keeping your treasure

- of Sadhana – hidden.

 

Be Awake, O Yogi!

Robbers and dacoits

abound at every

nook and corner

waiting to rob you

and drag you down

their alley and make

you their own.

 

Masters of disguises.

They know what you

would fall for.

They come wearing

the garbs of boredom

laziness, apathy,

disinterest and other

veneers.

 

If you see them

sneaking up, show

them no mercy.

 

The dacoits have

become adept at robbing

you; they come at you

trying to catch you unawares

at your lowest moment.

Snatching your wealth

- of Sadhana – their only aim!

 

They know not, that you

have the Sword

of knowledge, wisdom

and grace that can finish

them off forever in an instant.

 

Sharpen the sword

said the Master.

His only instruction:

“eka tattva abhyasa”

with “Satkara adara asevito”:

 

One pointed practice

With Honor and Respect.

 

Enough to beat the

Dark forces at their game!

 

Be Awake, O Yogi

don’t let this lifetime

go waste.

 

Practice daily

-          With love

-          reverence

-          honor

-          respect

-          and devotion

 

The treasure is your only

possession and it grows

manifold with daily renewal.

 

Carry it safely across

for it is the only thing

that will quench the thirst

of lifetimes!

Be Awake, O Yogi!

Extract from “The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living” Volume 2 by Eknath Easwaran

Contentment

Sri Krishna says, Tushti: “Be content with what life sends you.” Don’t be a beggar, sitting with your little tin cup and begging of life, “Please give me a few cents of pleasure, or at least don’t give me any pain.” Don’t ask always what you can get from life, but danam: ask what you can give. Stand up to your full height and give freely to those around you – your time, your resources, your talents, extra clothes or vegetables from your garden, whatever you have. It doesn’t matter whether the gift is simple or modest; what matters is that it be given freely, wholeheartedly, without any reservations, without even the left hand knowing what the right hand is doing. You are not wealthy simply because you have a lot, you are wealthy when you have given a lot away; the more you give, the more you will have to give – not in money, but in the richness of your life.

He made us all Neelakanta’s

Just back after a advanced meditation program with Guruji (Sri Sri RaviShankar) and this poem came up spontaneously today evening.

Rudra Puja with Guruji - 6th Jan 2014 at VM

Rudra Puja with Guruji – 6th Jan 2014 at VM

A thousand and hundred questions;

A gazillion doubts and a

hundred more fears and a

billion more regrets;

Desires as many as stars in the sky.

All mixed together in colors that are dark;

Come out on the surface and express themselves

in a myriad ways –

from

-          aloofness to discontent

-          anger to rancor

-          fearfulness to anxiety

-          disenchantment to boredom

gnawing from within as the

fears, regrets, doubts and wants mix

themselves into a dangerous concoction.

 

All Inflammable’s carry a danger signboard

but there isn’t  one for the mind carrying

this dangerous mix.

Ready to explode

at a moment’ notice

on an unsuspecting victim.

 

Where’ the Undo button and where’ the

CTRL-Z shortcut?

 

At time like this,

the Wise One calls out.

Come spend a few days with me;

And let me show you the path

to handle your own mind and emotions

 

The concoction of poison you

have brewed of relentless thoughts

can be drunk and you can become

The Neelkanta!

 

Holding hands gently

The Wise One leads

pointing you to 4 roads

named

-          Sadhana

-          Seva

-          Silence and

-          Satsang

Traverse, this path

recursively

And you will lose

All that you have

gathered

and when you have

become hollow and empty

you would have arrived

at the Destination.

 

You know not what the

destination is, but give in to the faith

and start the journey

with a bit of trepidation.

 

“Welcome Home” say’s the Reception

At the Ashram!

The guy at check in says sorry it’s either

A dorm this time or three-sharing.

The body had enough of dorms

And the mind says it is ok to pamper oneself!!

 

The road of Sadhana leads to Yagnashala

As one goes through the rigorous SuryaNamaskars

And gentle Padma-Sadhana’s you catch the eye

Of the stray dog who breaks his lazy siesta

With Adho-Mukha-Svanasana

Wow! What majesty and what grace!

 

Thousands of kilo’s of vegetables all to be chopped;

arranged neatly in colorful baskets;

with tens of folks at it almost the whole day

is lined up on the road to Seva.

The mind cribs at the task at hand

but gives in and disappears into the background

as one immerses into it. Something that

was unpleasant to begin with was now

something to be looked forward to everyday.

 

The most enchanting and scenic path was

The Road of Silence.

The deep and relaxing meditations and yet

the longing to hear the melodious chants

Of Asangoham, Asangoham stirring some

unplayed chords deep within.

 

The Silence, so satiating,

yet so short.

 

As the silence enveloped,

the meditations became deeper.

The play of mind became clearer;

The past comes rushing in

bringing with it memories;

pleasant and unpleasant.

 

The future not to be outdone comes

With its own set of demons.

Watching them, Intermingle, they take

You on a ride you wanted to get rid

of in the first place.

 

Muddying the tranquil lake,

Emotions in all hues come up.

And you watch for

there isn’t anything else to do.

 

And the reverie is broken

As the Wise One takes

you deeper and deeper

into the Ocean of Meditation

making you hollow and empty.

 

And without your notice, the mind becomes still

As if time stood still for a thousand years;

Beyond there, is a door – yet unopened.

I know not, what lies beyond.

But for sure, what emanates from there

is Peace, Joy, Love and Grace.

 

As a cloth dipped in color acquires its color

The mind suddenly catches onto

Unbridled Peace and Joy

That comes out in spontaneous

outpouring in the Satsang

the exuberance, the enthusiasm

the dance of gay abandon

catches you unaware.

This is the road of Satsang -

Intoxicatingly beautiful.

 

Hundreds turn up on the path

With their bundle of wants:

Some are happy with a glimpse;

some want a meeting;

Some a conversation;

some a look, a smile, and

some are happy with a

wave of hand from the Wise One and

He doesn’t disappoint.

 

As the chants of Rudram fill the VM

the early morning sun rushes in;

in a joyful dance to catch

The Lord of Universe

in deep meditation;

With its desire fulfilled,

it bursts out joyfully

in the sky

having seen the One – formless in a form -

Meditating on Himself!

 

The hundreds of others

meditating with

The Wise One

Become One with Him

for a few minutes;

Only to be woken up

by a distant but

Melodious ring of

the small temple bell

signaling the

end of the chanting.

 

The Wise One, Awake

Smiles

and the

bliss and joy

permeates the whole atmosphere.

The mind which was so restless,

edgy and impatient

suddenly seems to be dyed in

new colors – of tranquility and stillness.

Gone was the restlessness

the doubts and the questions.

The regrets and desires

had vanished into thin air.

 

The Wise One had kept his promise

As He walked away from the Puja

Waving at us all;

He had made us all Neelakanta’s.

Freeing us from the poison;

of our own making.

It is that time of the year when we reflect back on the year gone by and look forward to new beginning’s. Guruji’s (Sri Sri RaviShankar) in his article on “Looking back, looking ahead” writes:

Just like we live in the outer world of events and circumstances, we also live in the inner world of emotions and feelings, which we are not always aware of. Meditation is the best tool to wipe your mind clean off all past impressions that weigh you down. The distance between the outer and the inner worlds is just the blink of an eye.

Yoga is the skill of keeping attention on the inner world while acting in the outer. When you are lost in the outside world, there is disharmony in the inner and life is like a war. When you are established in the inner world, there is clarity in the outer and life becomes a game.

And gives four mantra’s  for making 2014 a happier year:

  1. To make Meditation a part of daily life
  2. To Serve
  3. To Feel Grateful and
  4. To Spend time with Nature.

Changing tracks for a bit. I find the intersection of Leadership and contemplative practices of meditation and mindfulness very interesting. Now, there is tons of literature and books on Leadership and honestly most of them are banal and pedestrian. It took me time to realize that one has to look beyond what the Mainstream media and influential bloggers try to peddle to find authentic stuff. Bill George is one author whom I rate very highly amongst those who write authentically about Leadership and I guess the clarity and authenticity of his writings are due to the intersection of his rich corporate experience as a CEO Medtronix and his years of meditation practices.

In his article on Your #1 2014 New Year’s Resolution? He states it out in the title itself – “Resolve to live more mindfully” – and then proceeds to list eight exceptional books on mindful living that will help you become a better leader and a more fulfilled human being. One of the books “Finding the space to lead” by Janice Marturano is definitely on my to-read list.  Bill in another article titled “Five Resolutions for Aspiring Leaders“, asks them to think seriously about their development as a leader and lists out 5 to do’s for the year ahead.

But what has meditation, got to do with Leadership?

All contemplative practices start by focusing the light of awareness on within ourselves. Without looking at our own selves deeply, without getting in touch with our Self, we cannot approach authentic leadership and that is where the practices of meditation come into play and helps us in developing as authentic and effective leaders 

And for me it is a delight to see the convergence of thought from the areas of spirituality and business.

The two converging thoughts from Sri Sri and Bill (Meditation and Service) are my two top goals for the year. Or in other words Sadhana, Seva and Satsang! What are yours?

Dear Readers, Have a great 2014 !!

Grateful For

Found this beautiful image courtesy  @raehanbobby

Grateful For

With Nipun Mehta

 

I had stumbled upon CharityFocus way back in early 2000 via Propoor when I had read an article about Nipun and Guri’s walk in India. Since then I had been a regular subscriber of emails that used to appear from Nipun’ mailbox without fail. Somewhere I had the intention of meeting with Nipun someday. We exchanged emails in 2006 and that was that.

Amid a hectic workday yesterday I stumbled upon Nasscom Product Conference agenda and Nipun’ name on the speaker list caught my eye. Late last night I dropped an email to Nipun and got invited to his talk at NMIMS, Bangalore today. Meena and I grabbed the opportunity to spend an hour or so listening to Nipun talk about his experiences and inspiring the 100 odd students to lead a deeply meaningful life based on principles of sharing, gifting, generosity, kindness, compassion and stillness. We were deeply touched. In the process also got introduced to some brilliant folks who have been spreading joy through service in Bangalore – check out folks behind Vrikssh Restaurant in Bangalore

This was truly a Satsang bang in the middle of a work week.

To know  more about Nipun and his work, you can look up http://nipun.charityfocus.org/index.php?op=projects and don’t miss the TED talk here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpyc84kamhw

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