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International Women’s Conference

1 Oct

“The role of women in the development of society is of utmost importance. In fact, it is the only thing that determines whether a society is strong and harmonious, or otherwise. Women are the backbone of society.”

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Founder, International Association for Human Values

“Women can be leading peacemakers and work together towards creating a stress-free, violence-free society. This conference is a message of peace and unity”

Smt. Bhanumathi Narasimhan (Bhanu didi), Chairperson, International Women’s Conference (IWC)

Bhanu didi - International women's conference-bhanumathi narasimhan

The International Women’s Conference (IWC)’s unique two-tier model – individual development and collective action – facilitates partnership-building and leadership development among.

While major segments of society remain marginalized in the movement toward socio-economic and political development , increasing numbers of women emerged as strong and predominant leaders in multiple fields. The IWC builds on this trend, working with women leaders to enhance their individual impact, while establishing collective goals for the advancement of women globally.

To achieve its vision, the IWC’s agenda integrates unique leadership development modules based on the principles of the personal development programs offered by the Art of Living Foundation.

Conference Highlight: – The IWC’s panel discussion showcases women’s unique contributions in fostering human values, and in sustaining peace and development. The Conference also provides a global platform for women, often-key policy and decision makers, to engage in dialogue and exchange best practices. The IWC agenda focuses on two key initiatives: advancing the status of women in fragile and post-conflict states, and promoting girl child education.

Read more about International Women’s Conference.

Bhanu Didi’s talk on Enlightenment

23 May

Bhanu didi on enlightenment Enlightenment is a state where one is totally at ease with oneself. It is a state of relaxed awareness; an inner state transcending limited identities of faith, nationality or gender and beyond outer behavior. All spiritual practices like yoga, meditation, Sudarshan kriya experiences facilitate the journey to enlightenment. Adi Shankara beautifully describes this in the verses of the atmashtakam: “I am not the body, breath, mind, intellect, ego or memory – I am the ever pure consciousness whose nature is bliss, I am that innocence and benevolence.” Friendliness, compassion, contentment, an attitude of sharing and caring – all these are the qualities of one who is in their nature, centered. When we think ‘women’, soft, gentle, emotional, caring and sharing are the qualities that usually come to our mind. The emotional tendency of women allows them to be naturally more sensitive, a quality that plays a great role in understanding oneself and others. For example, a mother is sensitive to the child’s needs. A newborn child has no communication skills. It is dependant on the mother’s sensitivity. She is capable of an understanding beyond words, a mastery of the language of the heart. Enlightenment is also a realm where words have no access, but sensitivity has. The innate sensitivity of women, when combined with sensibility and wisdom, facilitates moving into the space of the Self. Enlightenment is a state of being where we are balanced. Women, playing so many roles, are constantly engaged in this balancing act. However, what is the difference between a woman who is spiritual and one who has not experienced that silent space yet? In the balancing game, one gets stress while the other gets bliss. The choice is ours. A mother, from the time of pregnancy, to child- birth, undergoes considerable discomfort physically, yet is unmindful and full of care and unconditional love for the child. When this sense of belongingness extends to the universal family, that enlightened state of the seers becomes visible in her. There are many women who have attained this state. Like flowers in the forest that go unnoticed, these women blossom not for recognition, but because it is in their nature. They lead contented and happy lives and spread it too. There are also the seers who have come with a purpose to uplift humanity from the crisis of values faced from time to time. Gargi, Maitreyi, Akka Mahadevi, Meera, Andal are all such women seers who have created waves of transformation`. Through wisdom and devotion, they helped people to connect to their higher Self. Enlightenment is all about this connectedness. In meditation, we experience this connection, or enlightenment for a few moments. Enlightened masters are connected 24X7. Once you have tasted this bliss, through self-effort and the grace of the master, these few moments can be extended. This is where the guidance of the master is required. Once Uddhava, Krishna’s cousin and gyani, went to the gopis to offer guidance and teach them meditation. They did as he said because they thought that Krishna wanted them to do so. He asked them to close their eyes, take deep relaxing breaths, take their attention to their heart, imagine that their heart is like a fully blossomed lotus and in the centre of the lotus is the lotus feet of the master, Lord Krishna. The gopis, at this point, could follow him no more. Why should Krishna be only in their heart? Every cell of their being was only Krishna. There was no existence for them outside Krishna. This meditation was not for them. This was the love of the gopis for Krishna. It is said, that a devotee, immersed in divine love, does not even care for enlightenment. Buddha’s disciple, Sariputra, upon enlightenment was asked to travel and spread the knowledge. Instead, he was lost in tears. When Buddha asked him, He simply replied, “Who wants to be enlightened? I was so happy serving you! Do not send me away!” He valued love and service above enlightenment. Sri Sri says,” When you don’t even care for enlightenment, you attain Divine Love.” Attaining a spiritual level is simply recognizing that there is life everywhere. This whole world is a combination of spirit and matter. The finest aspect of matter is spirit and the grossest aspect of spirit is matter. So, spiritual practices are not any different from you being spirited, happy, contented, and compassionate and in love.  As women, these qualities are natural to us.  So we should just learn to be happy, smile from the heart, stop worrying, meditate, serve and celebrate life. – Bhanumathi Narsimhan ( Bhanu didi )

Jaya Jaya Durge Maa Bhajan by Bhanumathi Narasimhan

7 May

A beautiful Jaya Jaya Durge Maa bhajan in the melodious voice of Bhanumathi Narasimhan.

 

What successful women do right!

20 Mar

As a woman on the path to success we expect to feel a sense of achievement when we see that we have reached the top, where we wanted to be. How does it look from there? Will the world and people around you look beautiful? Will the journey to the top be pleasant and memorable? For so many women whom I have met this journey has certainly not been easy. It is not always a journey of mutual support, upliftment and friendliness. Instead, you have to be careful about who is conspiring to push you down. There are many challenges, not just due to gender bias, but also due to an unhealthy competition and jealousy from other women themselves! This kind of journey can be very stressful and takes its toll on our body and mind.

Sri Sri says that one who manages all challenges that life gives is successful. However, what are the skills that we need to be able to do this and succeed?

  • Commitment – One failure can lead to another success later. We should not be deterred by failures.
  • Time – It is not sufficient to invest money to nurture or develop anything. We have to giveour personal time and attention.
  • Setting an Example – A successful woman doesn’t just show you the way; She walks the talk.
  • Team work – Make others feel involved – inspire participation and contribution.
  • Silence – Nurture quietude and calmness.
  • Reflection – Sit quietly at the end of the day, looking back at all the day’s activities, seeing where we made a difference. Reminding ourselves of the successes, it can inspire us to do more.

A woman has to balance her family, relationships, work, interests – all of these and more on the road to success. When you realize that you are multi-faceted, multi-dimensional, you can multi-task. This realization comes when you are in a calm and serene state of mind, which is achieved through meditation.

When you meditate, the task that took you four hours to complete earlier gets done in two hours. It is necessary that you give prime time to yourself, to relax yourself, to realize your potential to do better. Otherwise you limit your capabilities. When you meditate, you realize the expansion within you, that limitlessness within you.

The meditative woman is successful.Belongingness, commitment, connectedness  – all these qualities are a byproduct of meditation. Sri Sri often says, “success means strength, an unshakeable smile that nobody can take away and a courage that does not diminish. It does not mean having a big bank balance. There are some very rich people who do not have the strength of character. They don’t have a sense of belongingness or love. They are unable to appreciate the subtleness of life.”

True success is when it extends to both the material and inner realms. Are you enjoying the little things in your life? Have you lately observed the glistening dewdrops in the grass? The birds chirping, the sparrows drinking water, the blue jay feeding, the eagles circling overhead, the beautiful flowers, have you cleaned your window pane, have you watered the small little plants in your garden? Have you observed the lucky bamboo with two more leaves, enjoyed the design on your carpet and the craftsmanship – the beautiful colors, made a new salad dressing, experimented with your sandwich – this is the sign of a successful woman – living every moment to the fullest.

I have always believed that a woman is the heart of the family – she keeps everyone together. A woman is the heart of society – when you empower women to succeed, you are enabling society to prosper.

– Bhanumathi Narasimhan

The article source is from http://artofliving.org.

Google+ Hangout with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

24 Jan

 

A unique dialogue between Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and leaders from around the world on creating a stress free and violence free society.  First online global meet of concerned citizens for stress free violence free society from across 60 countries.

Join Google+ Hangout with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on 26th January 2013 at 8:00PM IST, 10:00am GST, 3.00pm GMT.

Theme : What can we do to make a stress free and violence free society? 

To register visit : Hangout with Sri Sri 

Visit http://www.youtube.com/artoflivingtv and +Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to post your questions.

Interview with Bhanumathi Narasimhan

18 Jan

Bhanumathi Narasimhan (Bhanu Didi) is the director of Art of Living’s Women and Child Welfare programmes.  In an interview with rediff.com‘s  Vicky Nanjappa, Bhanu Didi speaks about the violence against women.

Do you think women’s rights have improved in India?

It has definitely taken on a positive note. Now, women have woken up and are trying to revive our ancient culture where women were treated as devis and kumari poojas (honouring the girl child as a form of the Mother Divine). Many organisations have raised a voice against female foeticide, asserting the fact that the girl child is a boon, and not a bane to society.

Of course, a lot more needs to be done in this regard. But definitely it is a clear beginning and will take shape in reviving our traditional culture of honoring women.

What is Art of Living doing for womens’ rights?

As an outcome of the previous two conferences, many awareness camps about women’s rights were conducted. Spiritual leaders from across India pledged to spread awareness on the malpractice of female foeticide at a conference organised by AOL. We encourage the education of the girl child through 86 free tribal and rural schools.

I feel that whatever counselling you do is not enough. Measures like education and empowerment are more effective. We have an organisation called VISTA (Value Integrated Services to All), which focuses on rural development and women empowerment. Through empowerment projects, we encourage women to play an active role in social development.Empowerment according to me is not only economic independence; it also is instilling confidence and spiritual values.

There is much talk on discontinuing pub culture. What are your views on this?

Pub culture is new to me. Our generation had a different upbringing. I would say, this is Western culture and is not natural to us.

Whether it is a boy or a girl, drinking is not welcome. Nowadays youth are stressed because of environmental and peer pressure. This is escapism under the garb of relaxation and happiness.

Youth resort to such modes of escapism and later become their slaves. Youth love to be free. They don’t understand that habits like drinking and smoking are addictions which result in bondage.

The only answer to this situation is proper spiritual education where you get higher pleasure through meditation. By adopting spiritual knowledge, you can control your mind. It helps you recognise your own power and makes you realise that external pleasures cannot give you inner joy.

You can be cool, be popular and have a healthy lifestyle as well. I am sure that present day youth are intelligent enough to opt for a healthy lifestyle of vegetarianism, yoga and meditation.

There is talk about moral policing. Do you think outfits like the Shri Ram Sene have the right to don the role of a moral policeman?

When we are responsible, we don’t need moral policing. A responsible citizen will never allow himself to be policed. Moral policing can be argued as concern for youth. Yet, this concern must be expressed in a compassionate manner, by educating them.

Violence is not the answer. A wrong act can never be corrected through violent behaviour. Only love can bring in transformation. Every human being is divine. We have no right over another’s life or lifestyle.

I would appeal to elders to respect youth and treat them as equals.

Yoga is considered to be an anushasan (discipline). When one follows proper yoga of the body and mind, self-discipline is inculcated. Yoga can open the doors of self-transformation. This is my belief and my experience.

What should be the role of parents?

Our tradition says: Prapte tu Shodhashe varshe, Putram mitram, Vada charet (Once a child is 16 years, treat him/her as a friend).

Be a friend to your child. Advise them. Keep a close watch on them. Take an interest in their lives. That’s how you can become a part of their lives.

 

Shivoham Shivoham bhajan by Bhanumathis Narasimhan & its meaning

27 Dec

“Shivoham” means “I am Shiva”. Shiva is the pure unbounded all-pervading consciousness (the transcendental self, the Absolute). Here is an explanation of “Shivoham” bhajan.

”Shiva” here means that innocent, blissful, splendid, golden, beautiful.
“Shivoham” — I am Shiva. Splendid, the most innocent.
“Shiva Swarupoham” — my nature is Shiva. My form is Shiva. I am made up of a substance that is Shiva — innermost me.

“Nityoham” — I am ever present. I am always there. Body dies, disappears, but I am there.
“Nityoham Shuddhoham” — I am ever pure. Nothing can touch me. All these things come and go, but they cannot touch me, they cannot do anything to me.
“Buddhoham” — I am always enlightened.
“Shivoham Shivoham Shiva Swarupoham. Nityoham” — I am eternal. There is no end to me.

“Advaita Ananda Rupam Arupam. Shivoham Shivoham Shiva Swarupoham” — There is no two. It is me in all the forms, all over. It is me. My breath is flowing everywhere. I am the formless though I am inside a form. My spirit has no form. Though I am formless, I move in forms, in all forms in the whole world.

“Brahmoham Brahmoham Brahma Swarupoham” — I am the Brahman, the totality, the all.
“Chidoham Chidoham” — I am the consciousness. I am lively. I am full of life. I am pure energy and pure consciousness.”
~~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

 

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