Someone, in a random conversation about life, recently wrote to me on twitter asking how my activities and sadhana at Art Of Living were going on. I quipped “that’s pArt Of Living. Like BREATHING”.This write-up is a ‘leap’ from now to then. The many in-betweens, you ask? That’s for later.Pre-February 2005Art Of Living, Sri Sri Ravishankar – these two names rang a bell. Along with these I used to get flashing images of Richard Gere and Rhea Pillai. Why, you ask?
Sometime in February – March
Bipin said he is planning to join Art Of Living. During the 5 days of the course period I saw a good many differences in him and for the good.
Sometime in March – April
I happened to meet Manjax (actually Manjita, I call her so simply because she calls me ‘Appax’), and then I met Geetha. Two different people from two entirely different circle of friends, and they were voicing out the same words, well almost, words of praise and excitement about Art Of Living. Manjax, though not a part of Art Of Living was vouching for it. Both of them, edging me to join Art Of Living, something Bipin was doing for quite sometime by now. So I finally decided to give it a ‘try’. ‘Just for the heck of it’. (mark my attitude). I wasn’t losing much of my money by paying a thousand bucks, money which was assured to be used for social projects.
My first Sudarshan Kriya, the experience and the after effects:
First they made us do ‘Disha Naman’. That is bowing down to the Gods who control the four directions – North, South, East, and West.
And here I was saying to myself, “did they say God? D-uh…!” (mark my attitude). Bipin had said that it’s not any religious course… GOD. THE CONCEPT OF GOD. It had never seemed to take any firm root in my mind. It was beyond comprehension. (Little did I know then that I needed to open my heart as well. You have to understand how confused I was about religion and spirituality.) My concept of God was limited to The Sun God. Well okay, so, I bowed. So what! Every pore full of love for my loved ones. They are all God. No? Clever! Beat that! (mark my attitude). Then we did ‘Pranayama’, something we had learnt the previous day already. Then after, we did The Sudarshan Kriya. ‘SOHAM’. And oh my ‘God’!, ain’t I glad I did it… till date, that is, and till undated, I am sure. Guruji’s ethereal voice filling my mind. My heart. My soul.
We all never realized we sat through an hour and a half, for the whole process. We were asked to describe our experience doing our first Kriya. Then when it was my turn to talk, I was like, “experience? What experience? I don’t have a single thought in my mind, and the fact is that this is the only thought in my mind!” My answer was “I don’t know. I can’t think.” I was absolutely dazed. Transfixed. Mesmerised. Stupefied. Bedazzled. And, lastly, worried, wondering if ‘these people’ put a spell on me. Trying hard to get my senses back. I was spell-bound. Little did I know, then, that all the elderly course participants were striving for that. Little did I know, then, that the everyone was striving for that, craving for that. And it was so easy for me, …and I was worried about that! Silly me! (mark my attitude)
I do not know what power rode me back to my house. Little did I know, then, that I had found a home. I felt safe.
Post that day:
I never analysed the transformation in me, I don’t know why. Maybe because I never realized it until it dawned on me one fine day. And now, again, I still don’t have any words to explain the beauty of what dawned on me. In the ‘SUN’ I firmly believed, I was sun-bathing.
What? You may ask.
For one, ‘I used to be an ATHEIST’. My words need no reading in between lines for the ones even remotely connected with me. The other transformations, you ask? Later.
Now, I no more have flashing images of R Gere or R Pillai. The place is taken over by R Shankar. Sri Sri Ravishankar, and whenever I am hovered by his flashing image, you will find a thunderous smile flashing across my face.
My Gurudev! Ah! ….and as they say in Art Of Living, JOY GURUDEV!
P.S.: My journey between ‘My Guruji’ & ‘My Gurudev’, that too, later!