It was sometime in July of 2000, that my brother had come visiting us in Chennai from Hyderabad. One of the programs on the TV had Rhea Pillai talking about the Art of Living program and my brother casually mentioned that he had heard a lot about this program and maybe we should check it out.
Call it luck, fate or coincidence or whatever, early next day morning after I came back home after dropping my brother at the Chennai airport, I picked up the newspaper from the porch to see a pamphlet along with it and guess what – it was an announcement for an Art of Living course in the neighbourhood!!
Now I had been on yoga programs earlier and wasn’t enthused enough to try out, what I thought would be, another yoga based program. Meena registered for it, but on the day of the program, she couldn’t go since Tanvi fell ill on the same day. I eventually ended up in the program, because we had already paid up. And that was good since not only had I the most beautiful experience in the program that I find it difficult to put down on paper, but also I found the key to the problems that were haunting me for such a long time – The Sudarshan Kriya!!
As the Kriya began, a surge of anxiety rose in me and I wasn’t sure that I would be able to persist with the process, but then as I continued, battling my apprehensions, I experienced a sense of peace and well-being after a very very long time….it was as if the fears, the anxieties that I had experienced belonged to a different world altogether. I was in a different time and space altogether…..the next thing I remember is waking up after a sound sleep of maybe 30 to 45 minutes….feeling fresh and very light. It was as if I was living in darkness for several years and then someone just switched the lights on in my life!
Now, before you jump to the conclusion, that it was experience of one Kriya and I was completely fine, you are mistaken….yes, the experience of the Sudarshan Kriya was undeniably awesome, there was something intangible and mystical in the whole process. Yes, I experienced a deep sense of relief, but I was still a few steps away from where I had ought to be and the journey was just about to begin.
The instructor of the program was a fairly young lady, Kavita and there was a sense of stillness and serenity about her. The questions didn’t ruffle her and I observed that there was something different about her eyes. They were deep, intense and reflected a sense of caring! I remember coming home every day after the program and telling Meena that there is something different about this instructor. And obviously I used to talk about the experience of the Kriya, she ended up taking the course a week later.
I observed that the days I did the Kriya, I used to be fine, the palpitations and the panic attacks were less pronounced on those days.
But getting up early, doing the Kriya on a daily basis, meant changing a lot of patterns in life. It was probably much easier to deal with anxiety and panic attacks by popping in a tablet than go down the route of following a discipline in life. And when it was one of the days when the panic attack hit home hard, I would turn back for relief to Sudarshan Kriya. Now, despite the evidence that I was seeing in my own life, of the impact of Sudarshan Kriya on my health, I used to be pretty irregular with the practice and would postpone it as much as I could and would do it just before I had an upcoming travel or when I had a panic attack.
Within a month, of doing the program, I got transferred back to Bangalore and several times we had heard Kavita telling us, if you go to Bangalore, you should visit the ashram.
So after, maybe a few months of relocating back from Chennai, one of the weekends we decided rather than going to the same old joints of Koshy’s or Casa-Picola, let’s take a look at the Art of Living Ashram.
Next: The Loving Eyes of God.