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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.

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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

 

Vow To Save Girl Child – Urges Bhanumathi Narasimhan

24 Oct

Save girl child by Bhanumathi Narasimhan

Bhanumathi Narasimhan, (Director, Women & Child Welfare Programmes, The Art of Living Foundation) urges each one to meet the challenges of female foeticide and domestic violence. She emphasises education in human values as the solution to tackle these problems.

As a part of all the projects, Madhurya (www.madhurya.com)  is one such initiative which works to revive the ancient Indian art and crafts, which include tanjore paintings, heritage furniture,  handwoven sarees, temple jewellery etc. The proceeds of the profit from Madhurya Creations goes for the 422 free schools run by Art of Living Foundation.

Video

My experience with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – Bhanumathi Narasimhan

11 Oct

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living Foundation, inspires thousands of people across the world. He plays many roles for many people – as a humanitarian ambassador, spiritual leader or a meditation teacher, as well as a peace advocate. And I feel very grateful to be his sister.I have shared some of my experiences with him in the video.

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Presence of the Master – By Bhanumathi Narasimhan

27 Sep

Who is a Guru? Why do I need a Guru? How do I recognize a Guru? Do I have to search for my Guru, or will my Guru find me? What is the relationship between a Guru, and a disciple?

These are some often-asked questions by any seeker on the path. There are many who can give answers but only a Guru can transform questions into wonder. Only the Master can take you to that space of wonderment where there is no duality.

Spirituality is an inward journey from the outer world of names, and forms to the subtle inner Self. The physical body is gross, and limited. The breath is subtle. The mind is subtler. The intellect is even more; the ego, furthermore. The Self is the subtlest. To the infinite depths of our beautiful being – it is the Master who guides us, and takes us on this journey step by step.

The Guru is an embodiment of wisdom, and love. In Sanskrit, the word for gravity is Gurutwakarshan. The earth holds us towards itself by the force of gravity. Without this attraction or love, we would not have a base, or a foundation. Similarly, Gurutva is the basis of our life. The Guru is the guiding light – removing the darkness of ignorance.

Bhanumathi Narasimhan with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

A Teacher can give knowledge, but the Master brings a heightened awareness.

A Teacher can give information but the Master awakens intelligence.

There is an ancient story. One day, while Lord Shiva was performing a puja, Parvati sees him bowing down. Seeing this, she asks, “You are the Supreme Consciousness, and substratum of this entire creation. Who is it that you bow down to?”

Shiva replies, “Dear Parvati, for the benefit of all humanity, I will answer your question. It is to the all-pervading Guru tatva that I bow down.” In the many beautiful verses that followed called the Guru Gita, Lord Shiva explains the Guru Principle, and says how fortunate one is to have a Living Master in his life.

The Guru in the physical form is called pratyaksh. In the presence of the Master, our enthusiasm, and spirit is in an elevated state – sorrows diminish, joy wells up, there is contentment, knowledge is nourished and protected, and talents blossom.

India honors a tradition of Masters who have protected, and given this knowledge to us, generation after generation, according to the need of the age and time.

When a drop feels connected to the ocean, it feels the strength of the ocean. When we are connected to this tradition, we feel the strength, and protection of all the Masters.

All these Masters are an expression of the same Infinite, Undivided, Supreme, Pure Consciousness.

The Guru is a tatva – an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent principle. Establishing connection with this tatva is the source of greatest strength. We know we have forefathers, great grand parents and so on. Yet we feel most attached and connected to our father, or grandfather because they are with us. Similarly, we have many Gurus in our tradition, but when we come in the presence of our Living Master, the connection is established immediately. The entire knowledge from time immemorial is made available to us.

Gurupurnima is a time to feel grateful. The more grateful we are, the more grace flows in our lives. On Gurupurnima, we remember all the Masters who were, who are and who will be in future. We feel gratitude towards the Master who moves us from the limited understanding and pride of ‘I know everything” to “I am everything.”

A disciple seeks knowledge. A devotee seeks nothing. A devotee is soaked in love, and devotion. Gurupurnima is the day of the devotee. When the river meets the ocean, the river no longer remains a river. It becomes the ocean. It is the same when the devotee meets the Divine. Only Divinity remains. The individual ‘I’ dissolves in the One Divinity.

When we look at the world through the eyes of the Master, the world will look so much more beautiful – a place filled with love, joy, compassion, and virtues.

The Master is a presence that is unlimited, vast, infinite, and all-inclusive. The presence of the Master in one’s life brings fulfillment to all other relationships.

To that One, Eternal, Pure, Unbounded, Embodiment of Knowledge and Absolute Bliss,

To the Lotus feet of My Master, I bow down.

Tantras: by Bhanumathi Narasimhan

27 Sep

Bhanumati Narasimhan

Tantras are techniques, skillful ways of handling the mind. It is skill in action. The tantric methods make use of yantras and mantras which together help a seeker to transcend the body consciousness and be established in the space of the Self. Tantras make use of these yantras and mantras with a specific purpose to heal or create harmony at the physical, emotional and spiritual levels. This is the real purpose.

However tantra has been understood as a negative term. This is what happens when one tries to use the techniques with a selfish or harmful intention. It requires a mature intellect and pure heart to wield these techniques in their full capacity for the benefit of humanity.

The study of tantras is like an applied science for the mind. It is a higher psychology which involves moving through the body to the higher Self. It helps till the ego level. Only mantras can transcend the ego level to the level of the Self.  Because we are in the body, we need to take care of the body. Tantras can cleanse the body and mind of any vikarasor distortions. When used for general well-being, it has curative effects for psychiatric ailments, fear psychosis and so on. One can exercise power on the mind through the tantras.

Tantra is a research field. Real tantric scholars are a few. It is like holding a PhD. A doctorate is not awarded for individual benefit. There is value in it only when the study is beneficial for humanity. It is the same with tantras. In fact, if it used with a narrow-minded motive, then there are side-effects. Any seeming benefits are also short-lived. A child cannot attempt a PhD.

Similarly, if one attempts the tantras without being qualified and without the proper guidance and expertise, it can instead create illusions in the mind which in Sanskrit is refered to as Yoga maya. Further, failure in the attempts can lead to depression. Even among the mature beings, not all need to do PhD. The path of tantras has to be treaded very carefully. It is bound by cause and effect and the laws of karma. In research, learning happens to a great extent through trial and error. Even in this process, if any harm comes to anyone, the research scholar will reap the consequences.

Tantras give access to the ancestors. They enable travel in time, both forward and backward. If the tantras are available in the hands of an immature or selfish person, using it for short-term benefits, it can take a destructive nature. That is why it was guarded as a secret. In this creation, it is difficult to categorize anyone as a good or bad person. Transformation is continuous. That is why the gurus would study the disciples and only the eligible student is given this field of knowledge.

The Guru knows when our intellect is mature and heart is pure. The Guru knows when we are ready to receive this knowledge such that it can be of use to the society. Only a lit candle can light another. That is why it is important that we receive this knowledge from the Master. Otherwise, we can find many yantras and mantras and their tantras in the books and even on the internet but it may not help us in any way. Instead it could be harmful if not used correctly.

This skill involves a fine balance between intelligence and innocence. Without innocence, intelligence can cross over and become manipulative. It is like balancing on a razor’s edge. Tantras are like double-edged swords. You can remove the tumor with it but if you are not careful, you can hurt the limb. In the hands of a child, it is not of much use. Instead it can be dangerous. But in the hands of a surgeon, it is life-saving. The knife in itself has no value. Following any extreme can be harmful to oneself and to others. That is why the supervision of the guru is essential. The guru teaches you to be skillful in action. He guides you to be intelligent without losing your innocence. He shows you how to follow the middle path.

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