It just so happened that the time we visited Ashram coincided with the time Guruji (Sri Sri RaviShankar) was meeting visitors. Despite being very spiritual in nature, I was very skeptical about this whole Guru business.
Not knowing what to expect, I entered the place – Narayana Hall – only to find a short person in an all white dress, with his back towards me surrounded by some 20-30 people, all trying to converse with him a the same time.
He turned around, looked at me deeply in my eyes and asked “Are you happy?”. His eyes reflected such deep intensity, love and compassion as if I had seen them before….. and then it struck me, that I was seeing the same sense of compassion and care that I had seen in my Part 1 teacher – Kavita’s eyes. I couldn’t answer him then, that I wasn’t happy and my life was almost a wreck! I remember mumbling a muffled yes and for no apparent reason, I found tears flowing down my eyes. Something changed that day. For lack of better words, all I can say is that I peeped into the eyes of God!
After a few months after that visit, on a whim, I decided to do the Art of Living Part 2 course and that course changed my life forever! The experience of deep meditation, the silence and the lilting satsangs was awesome! My practices deepened and we took home the Satsang with us which continues to date.
Slowly, but gradually I became regular with the practices of Sudarshan Kriya, yoga and meditation and then one day as I was meditating, I experienced the panic and anxiety attack engulfing me, this time, instead of feeling nervous, fidgety and pacing up and down or popping in a tranquilizer, I sat there just observing the sensations and feelings of fear and anxiety, as they arose in the body, and a remarkable thing happened, the sensations, just melted away, leaving me with a sense of profound peace and tranquility.
Several times I had read and heard Guruji talking about fear – and he says:
“The symptoms (of fear) are an intense sensation in the body, it trembles and the breath is ragged and there is a feeling that the ground is lose under your feet. There is a feeling of contraction. There is a tendency to hold onto something. There is a feeling of non belongingness. There is a sense of void. These are all the feelings and an intense sensation between the navel and the throat region. This is fear.
We can connect this sensation which is so intense to a particular event or a particular thing. This is where we perpetuate it. Suppose, we think the fear is because of heights, then we are anchoring this sensation or linking it with a particular situation. Trying to get rid of the situation does not eliminate fear, there is only one way to eliminate it and that is awareness. When you become aware of it, or if you are ready to experience it intensely and just accept it. You will find that fear flips over and becomes love”
I used to think this made no sense at all. He doesn’t know what fear is and when a panic attack hits home, there is no way on earth that one could even stand still, and the sensations in the body are so highly pronounced that forget about observing you are not even in a state of mind to think rationally……. he talks of fear flipping over and becoming love and here I was seeing that it flips and becomes depression. Every attack used to send me into a state of melancholy and depression.
But that experience of observing the panic attack in meditation changed it all. How true the Master was!
The Art of Living Part 2 courses helped me in deepening my meditation and bringing a sense of awareness towards my body-mind complex that has been of immense help in my journey. Christian mysticism, talks of dark night of soul, I felt as If I have emerged from this period.
Consequently, on a routine visit to Dr. Vatsa, I was told that I no longer needed the medication! I got off the medication in 2004 and since then, I had no reason to go back to the medication. The panic attacks and depression have become a thing of the past and life today has become joyful.
But today’s post is about Sri Sri RaviShankar, my dear Guruji – every time I sit to write about him, words fail me. How do I describe my relationship with Him? How does one describe a relationship with a Guru? How does one describe a relationship with Divinity? In Indian tradition, the place given to a Guru is higher than that of God! My family and I have been fortunate and very blessed to have experienced his extreme grace. No amount of gratitude would compensate for his blessings in our lives.
As Guruji said the other day:
“Kar kar ke jo paya woh kaudi ka hai,
Jo kripa se mila, who karodo ka”
( What you have got out of your own effort is so little,
but what you have got due to grace is worth billions)
Recall the Pranic healer I mentioned earlier? This was sometime before I stumbled upon the Art of Living programs, and one of the homeopaths, referred me to this gentleman in Indiranagar, who drew an image of a person with a long beard and said something to the effect of that you have the grace of this Guru and do not worry, nothing will happen. At that time I had not even seen Guruji. Today when I recall that incident, I think that in all probability, he had drawn Guruji’s picture.
What has definitely made a difference in my life is the regular practice of Sudarshan Kriya, Meditation and Yoga coupled with satsangs and Knowledge. The practices have brought a profound change in me and have added richness to life. More than the anything, they have helped establish a deep sense of connection with my own Self, and an unshakable faith in the Divine.
I shudder to think as to how my life would have been without the presence of Guruji and had I not stumbled upon the practices? It was as if He crafted these courses just for me to get me out of my problems.
Next: The wheel comes a full circle.