Monday, September 28, 2009
After the Ganesha Homa, some sleep in Rohit's room ensured that I was charged up again for the evening Navagraha Homa. Everything moved well. Subbu was busy with some other work and that meant I was in- charge of the Yagnashala's security. That evening, I had the long drive all the way back home. I packed up for the next 3 days to stay at Subbu's. Come next morning and the crowd started to pick up. The Maha Rudra Homa just fired up the entire place. Everybody's energy levels just sky rocketed. Come evening, and the Maha Sudarshan Homa. Kriya in Guruji's presence, but us few 'fortunate ones' didn't get to do it. It was an amazing experience to keep my eyes open at that time. Fifteen thousand people with their eyes closed and doing the kriya has by far been the most beautiful thing that I have ever seen. The volume on the walkie talkie was turned down completely.
Next morning, the Homa was scheduled to begin at 9 in the morning. It was the BIG ONE. The Chandi Homa. We got home almost at 1 the previous night. At 6 in the morning, a frantic Alex calls to say that the Yagnashala is already almost full. People were there 3 hours before the actualy pooja. It was an amazing sight to see. That day, I couldn't stay at the Yangnashala. Alex was put in charge. Subbu and I now had the humungous task of managing traffic and parking in the ashram. Statistics; Almost 1000 cars came to the ashram. About a 100 cars were lined up on the main road because there was no place inside the ashram. Once traffic died down, we got to enter the Yagnashala just in time for the main event of the day. Post Homa, human traffic direction and then the senior citizen food counter. After a 'minor incident' there, someone asked me if I had eaten my lunch. That is when it actually struck me that it had been more than 24 hours since I had eaten anything! The energy levels were so high that I never even realised. Someone quickly handed me a plate and just as I was about to take my first bite, the walkie talkie went, 'crackle crackle... Subbu paging for Jayanth, come in Jayanth, reception in 2 mins'!!! With a smile, I handed the plate back to the kind lady who had offered the food and ran to the reception. More work!!!
Amidst all of this, I had got a few phone calls from home saying that my mother had been admitted in the hospital with a very bad stomach problem and was being fed only fluids and intra- veinously. Guruji's words; " You do my work, I will take care of your work", flashed through my head. I experienced for the first time, the meaning of surrender. I felt more comfortable staying at the ashram doing His work, fully knowing that that meant He had to take care of Mum. The final number was 25,000 people attended the Chandi Homa. The largest gathering at the ashram. 9000 people stayed at the ashram for the Navaratri period; another record.
That evening's satsang was an out of this world experience. 20000 people dancing and singing. Yet, no incidences of violence, theft or anything else. No one other than His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar could manage an event like that. Yagnashala was truly rocked. Every particle in the environment was resonating with energy. Anju and Ujju joined Subbu and Mansa and me right up at the front and we all had an amazing time. No senior citizen would have eaten happily if it weren't for the efforts put in by them. They were just fantastic. Ujju with his constant, non stop humour and Anju with her sincere and earnest efforts made sure everyone there had a very great time. I must mention how amazingly gracious Anju was. She brought juice the next couple of days for Subbu and me! The next day was the Rishi Homa. Art of living teachers from around the world were there to see Guruji. After lunch that day, Subbu and I just crashed. Anju quickly snapped a pic and sent it to Guruji. Here is the photograph;
That evening, I decided to come back home. I heard that mum was back home from the hospital. As I got home around 11 pm, there she sat on the bed as if nothing had ever happened at all. 27 bottles of drips and yet she sat laughing and smiling. I smiled knowing the Force behind it all. The reassuring, warm smile from Guruji's photo that day looked very different, very direct.
Thus came to end another amazing Navaratri. One filled with enormous learnings, experiences, miracles and amazing people. Almost the whole of the next 30 hours were spent in blissful sleep! Guruji spoke on the 26th evening. Every word was savoured as the first rains hitting barren land.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
The next time around, I started to experiment a little with dosas. Now, those who know me well, know that I would rather eat dosas for breakfast, lunch and dinner than spend a week on a tropical island with a beauty contest winner!!! Sometime ago, my mother had made a different kind of dosa which was really super soft and tasted really good too! I inquired into the nature of the change in the dosa and she said they were wheat based dosas! Now, I'm not going to give out the recipie, but they are really amazing and I learnt to make them! Hopefully, someday, I will be able to use these amazing South Indian fast food recipies on my travels and wow my stomach!!!
As someone who I know said; "Yummy in my Tummy"!!!
Friday, September 04, 2009
Well, I just thanked Swamiji and hurriedly packed my bags and left for home. The first thing I did after entering home was to do my Padma and the Kriya. I wonder what His expression will teach me the next time!!!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
So, after walking up and down, I realised I needed a philips player which wasn't available in any store at that moment. I need to wait for another ten days. Mum is also looking for a player! She has officially been announced as the second teacher for the Vidyaranyapura center. Happy days!
I have got my relieving letter from Kennametal and settlements have been made. I am yet to collect all my books and other stuff from there. I should go there today and settle that! My car is up for sale. So, anybody who stumbles onto this piece, let me know if you are interested!!! Picture of the car and details will come up soon...
Monday, August 17, 2009
What a perfect finish to July and what a perfect start to August. The last 25 days were spent at the ashram! 21 days of training. Commando training as one of the TTC participants put it. But it was far far away from that. It was 21 days of mind blowingly high energy and divine love. Everything that I saw, smelt, felt, tasted and heard resonated with Love. The padma- sadhanas ensured that sleeping half my regular quota gave me twice the amount of energy! Even though I was in the dorm, I actually had a fantastic time! Plus, no communication with the outside world meant I had so much more time just for myself. The daily schedule was packed. Right from day one, we were on our toes! Prasannaji was the best during the first week! What an amazing time we had with him. Creating our own anthem, making fun of everyone and ourselves and not to forget the seva!!! Wow! What an amazing time we had at the kitchen! Seva at the kitchen would almost go on into the wee hours of the mornings. I really 'wonder' how Sundar Bhaiyah (as he is popularly known) manages the entire show with his committed volunteers. Those guys are the best. I personally believe that there is no next life time for those guys who work at the kitchen full time. Come Phase 2 and 500 more entusiastic people joined us and we were sent under the broad caring wings of Swami Brahmatej, aka Bharath Bhaiyah! The next 15 days were basically party time! Party in the morning, Party during the day and Parte` during the evenings!!! But there was an element of Divinity in the party! Not just an an element actually. In the true sense, there was an element of Partying in everything we did. We enjoyed everything. Right from waking up to brushing our teeth to bathing ( I chose to bathe in cold water everyday and that was the best thing ever), to Sadhana, breakfast, the sessions, lunch, satsangs and not to forget the Yoga Nidra!!! Everything we did was packed with energy and we did it one hundred percent! We even slept one hundred percent!
Guruji came in now and then and just shook us up like we were trees with dry leaves. We laughed so much and learnt even more! Cifra, Mikolava, Swamiji, Haathi, Ra'Chana'dal, Meena'akshi' and everyone and everyone ensured that we weren't just participants, but members of one big family. I could just see Guruji's vision for the world unfolding in the 120 of us. We were complete strangers, yet we trusted our lives in the hands of each other. Guruji's vision of a One World Family was being lived out right there.
I started out writing, thinking this was going to be a long and big blog, but I really have nothing more to put down. It was a fantastic experience. But its only the first step that has been taken. The journey has begun at a wonderful note! With His Love, Guidance and Grace, the rest will unfold, one day at a time...
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
A quick attempt at shaving without a mirror was quite amusing till Santosh (a young man who works at the temple) offered me his mirror! His mother who was nearby washing clothes, proudly stated that, he was her only son. For the past 52 years, the lady has stayed close to the temple, in service of the divine mother. Mentally, I bowed down to the divine mother in her and in sign language indicated that from that moment on, I was her second son! She was absolutely delighted and it was a really warm moment. A quick bath after that, dinner and satsang time!!! If you are wondering about the keyboard, I got it just before buying the razor! Satsang that evening was an extra special event for everybody! It was particularly extra special for me, for two reasons. One: The energy was so high that Chayanna actually got up and started to dance. The moment He did that, the energy in the place just sky rocketed. Everyone wanted to hold His hand and dance with Him. Everyone wanted to be close to Him! People were throwing flowers, screaming, spinning in pairs, singing, laughing! Two: My friends from Mumbai actually came up to the stage, dragged me to the back, carried me up and threw me in the air quite a few times!!! That was a total rockstar (with Kurtha and Veshti) moment. What was the real icing on the cake was that during none of this, did the veshti fall off! After satsang, that night, im sure a lot of people found difficulty in sleeping because of the intensely high energy. Come next day and it was the last day of the course! By now, I had a regular neigbour in Priyanka to ensure that my chair wasn't getting usurped! Post breakfast and a couple of beautiful meditations, we were asked to gently come out of our vow of silence, yet, be as silent as possible! Another couple of absolutely heart warming processes and after that, chaos ensued! We were exchanging smiles, email ids, phone numbers and what not! Absolute strangers, who had never seen each others faces before, never said a word to each other before in their lives, were hugging each other with tears of joy, love and gratitude. This I think is the most powerful force that His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has given to mankind. Such belongingness, I had never felt before. The presence of Chayanna right there, added so much more force and value to every moment. Group photos and hugs and warm shakes were going on, while I quitely sneaked close to Chayanna. Earlier, He had booked a ticket for me to travel back to Bangalore the same evening. The bus was to leave at 7.45 pm, which meant that I had to miss the satsang that evening. Priyanka did enough of rubbing salt, that I decided to ask Him if I could stay another day. Slowly, after bowing down to Him, I put forth my question and He vehmently agreed and asked me to immediately leave for a very famous temple which was about an hour's drive from there, so that I could make it back in time for satsang! My day was made. I was officially in love with everyone and everything at that moment! Vaidyaji was kind enough to take us (Pattu mami, Chaynna's sister, Shruti; Chayanna's neice and myself) to the Mookambika temple. Vydyaji looks very quiet and frail, but boy, can he drive?! The way he handled that old beaten down Maruti Van can put Peter Solberg or any of the other rally drivers to shame! Priyanka's sister; Deepthi who was looking forward to also join us unfortunately was told she couldn't come because of the sudden lack of space in the car (Pattu mami was a last minute entry and she had better influence than what I did over space in Vydyaji's car). Sorry about that. My bad. On the return, I found my throat was starting to get sore. We almost got lost a couple of times, but managed to keep to the path that brought us back home.
Return from the temple and I ran straight upto Chayanna's room to tell him that I went to the temple and how lovely it was and everything, but He had other plans for me. With a beaming smile He welcomed me in and pointed at the keyboard. The satsang had started about an hour ago, but He was in His room! I felt truly honoured at that moment. I quickly picked it up and ran up to the satsang hall and set it up quickly. 5 minutes later, Chayanna entered. As it was a saturday evening, we had a speical 'Ram' meditation. Satsang closed and during dinner, Mala asked me if I wanted to join them the next day to Sringeri and Shimoga. Post dinner, I finally pulled my guitar out and amidst a lot of teases from Shenoy mama and gang, we started another satsang session. Sudhee, Mrudula and quite a few more joined in and we went on till about 1.30 in the night. I was scheduled to leave the next morning at 7. Final pack up and with teary eyes and warm hearts full of love, we all said our goodbyes to each other. Another course had come to an end, but another beginning was being made. New friends, new situations, new thoughts, new memories... More Love, more peace, more strength, more responsiblities, more joy, more depth, more silence...
Thursday, July 16, 2009
After a good two days of rest, Im feeling slightly better. Hence, continues the Kamalshile 'k'ronicle! On day two, I realised that there were some bathrooms where warm water was available! So, off Ravi and I went again, early in the morning at 5 something, with full vigour just to realise that the early sadhak gets the bathroom!!! There was nice small queue! So, Ravi and I queued up in front of the 3rd door ( had a nice chewing gum blob stuck onto it to cover a hole), wondering why no one else was in front of that particular door! After about 15 mins, we realised why. The person on the inside, was not someone who was willing to 'let go' of the bathroom. He was quite slow, unlike a hmmm.. shall we say, a Suzuki!!! By now, quite a few of us gather outside the door. Ravi changes doors and we continue to wait, patiently knocking on (heaven's) door. Finally, lo behold it opens! Quick bath and I rush up to the hall to get clothed. The hall is almost full with people doing their various stretches and breathing exercises and a few excited aunties trying to communicate with each other in sign language! First session done and my knees are already killing me. Its just day two of the course and Im already silently looking out for a chair. Sumptuous breakfast is followed by the second session for the day! More celebration and more silence (except for those sign language aunties though)!
Next, lunch! Then more silence! Makes me want to say, Silence'er' followed by silence-est! After that, lovely Kashayam!!! Followed by the grandest nature walk ever! We first climbed the hill. Took short cuts. Ravi just took too much time. So I just left on my own and it started to rain. Taking shortcuts through the hill, I managed to get to... "The mouth of the cave", where Kanasu and gang were waiting for us. There, at the mouth, stood a beautiful tulasi(basil) plant. The tulasi is worshipped around India for its connection with the godess Saraswati and also because of its medicinal nature. There is a small almost bus shelter kind of a construction right outside the cave where we all left our umberellas and other accessories! The guide insisted that we leave our footwear quite far away! The Guide who took us into the cave, was a really really funny guy! Also, a very kind hearted person whose language of the heart more than made up for his lack of knowledge of the english language. "25 people only in one group". He was firm about it. At the end, there were about 40 people in our group! The place Kamalashile gets its name from this very cave! I had a very Indiana Jones feeling as I walked into the cave!Holding a lamp, helping all the people go in!!! "Into the caves", I shouted in my head, imagining myself to be the host of "The crystal maze"! The cave just kept going into the ground. Most of the cave was completely wet due to the rains, but there was one dry spot which we were told was the place where a lady ( I forget her name) sat and meditated for 11 years. As we went in deeper, we reached a place where the water was knee deep! Wading through that water, we got to the other end and surprisingly, the earth there was really really soft. Someone held the lamp up and only then did I realise, we were standing on about a foot of 'bat droppings'! "Sarvam Guru Mayam" again!!! The bats, according to our guide, were featured on NatGeo recently. They belonged to a particular variety of bats that thrived on blood, but only the ones from this cave, did no harm to any creature because they were in the home of the Divine Mother! Then came the darkest moment. All the lights were turned out and all of us were given a 'glimpse' of what a blind person goes through. About 100 mts under the earth's surface, and it was DARK. The climb out of the cave was quick. As we were walking back, I suddenly realised it was getting late and off I went. There was no 'fire on the mountain', but run run run I did. I made it in time to get the keyboard, take a bath, have dinner and sit at the satsang!!! Bath was an epic event in itself. As I stood waiting for the gates to open, Ravi joined in. As we stood wondering what was behind door number 3, I thought I could see our friend Suzuki!!! Something made me step aside for a while, while Ravi started to intensify the knocks on the door. All of a sudden, SPLASH!!!! A mug of cold water was thrown out from behind the door on Ravi's face that almost sent him sprawling onto the floor! Everyone waiting there had a really good laugh!
Day two of the course was coming to a draw. That night we all had a special blanket that we were provided with. A blanket that no wool or material could surpass! A warmth that nothing else could provide. A sense of security that no walls could provide. That night, I went to sleep with a smile on my face that no boxer could knock out!
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
A hasty return from the waterfall, some of us lost our way and entered private property. The owners were kind enough to guide us along the right path and there were no legal issues to be bothered about! Once we got back, we found that the hall was taken by the volunteers who were doing their long kriya and so we couldn't go in to change (we were drenched both in the rain and in sweat- which is not a very comfortable feeling). Some of us were musing on the thought of eating some bajjis, which Mala outright turned down. Finally, the doors opened and after a quick change, we all ran out for dinner. Dinner in Kamalashile is a unique affair. It consists of Kanji (Boiled rice made in the form of a porridge), with salt, some vegetables and some very tasty coconut chutney! I did forget to mention the really nice Kashayam (spiced warm drink that is very good for the health) that we all got before we embarked on the nature walk!!! Post dinner, satsang time!!! Yay!!! Amidst all the nature walk and everything, I had totally forgotten about Chayanna's Keyboard. As I entered the satsang hall, there it sat right in the front. After the satsang, we all officially went into silence. A silence that each one of us celebrated and continue to celebrate within us. A silence that leads one from the gross to the subtle. A silence that takes one into the world of thoughts where the possibilities are endless. Our celebration of silence had officially begun!!! As I picked up the Keyboard to take it back to Chayanna's room, Sudhee walked across the room and gently reminded me that come what may, it was my responsibility to bring the keyboard before the satsang and take it back after the satsang! Day one of the course was over!!!
Monday, July 13, 2009
Bliss!! Bliss!! and nothing but Bliss!!! 5 days of bliss at Kamalashile. When Chayanna walked in to the hall on the 7th, it was not just a sight to see, but an experience in itself. Many of us had the experience of seeing the Lord Shiva Himself entering the hall. Chayanna was Pure Fire!!! After the Guru Poornima celebrations, Chayanna asked us to go to the temple after the temple visit, as we were coming out, He saw me and said, "Ah, come come"! I officially entered a parallel world at that moment. After that, I was fortunate enough to hold the umberella for him as He walked back to His room. The next half hour was spent in general discussions of plans in the near future etc., I then remembered that I had got a Veshti (dhoti) and Thundu (towel) for Him. Excusing myself for 5 minutes, I ran up to the room where I had dropped my luggage and brought the 'stuff'! Another 15 mins spent with Chayanna and He instructed me to go and have lunch. After Lunch, started the honour of serving lunch for Him. Its always great great fun serving while Chayanna eats!!! Its just a simply superb feeling!!!
That evening, the satsang was mind blowing! The mind really got blown and we transcended all the levels of existence and were taken to the higher plane! The responsiblity of bringing Chayanna's Keyboard to the satsangs and taking it back at the end of the satsangs was given to me!!! Wow! That would ensure that I would be able to meet him personally atleast twice every day!!! After satsang, that evening, I also had the honour of meeting Sri. Aravind Hebbar! His voice is amazing! The devotion, the way it flows when he sings, WOW!!! Plus, he sings in C#!!! Later that night, I went back to my room, which I was sharing with the famous Vaidhyaji, the great DSN teacher; Jagadeesh Shastriji, the ever cheerful Rajashekarji. Somewhere after about 15 mins of lying down, our dear friend, Sudee (Sudarshan) walks in and asks us all to vacate the room as a couple of ladies from Bangalore had just got there and they needed the room. So, off we went to the main meditation hall where the Guru Poornima Yagya and happened and happily fell asleep, till about 3 in the morning! It had started to rain and the temperature just dropped down. It was collllldddd!!!! But then, Chayanna's words of, "Sarvam Guru Mayam" popped into my head, brought back a smile and off I went to sleep again! The next morning, Ravi and Chidananda (Chiddu) were kind enough to wake me up and I went off to take a bath. The water was chilling to the bone. But then again, "Sarvam Guru Mayam"!!! It really is a mantra that enables one to withstand anything"!!! The advanced course had just begun. More on it in the next post...