Tag Archives: Bhanumathi Narasimhan

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.

An Interview with Bhanu Didi

20 May

Every woman has within her the right blend of strength with grace, courage with compassion, abundance with values and wisdom with vision. In her lies the seed for the most profound social transformation. Bhanumathi Narasimhan ( Bhanu Didi ) firmly believes this.

Bhanu Didi - Bhanumathi Narasimhan

Bhanu Didi

Q:You are the Director of Child and Women Welfare activities of the Art of Living Foundation, meditation teacher to thousands worldwide, a gifted singer with albums heard by people beyond boundaries of faith and culture, you have authored books, you run 119 schools for the under-privileged, you have institutes for training rural women and so many come to you for guidance and counsel and are married with two children and playing the perfect homemaker. How do you manage all this and continue to smile continuously?
Bhanu Didi: Spirituality is what makes this harmony possible.
Q: How do you find time for so many diverse activities?
Bhanu Didi: Time moves very slowly when you are waiting, sad or bored. Time seems to fly when you are happy or celebrating. Only in meditation, you are with time and events happen within you. Established in that space, you are able to manage many tasks skillfully and cheerfully.

Q: You have taught meditation around the world for over 15 years. What do you see as the benefit this has brought to people? Further what are the differences you perceive while teaching people of various nationalities or backgrounds?
Bhanu Didi:
Wherever you go, people want peace. People want happiness. This search is common and meditation can bring you that peace and help you recognize that you are the source. Wherever I go, when I see the smile on people’s faces and the gratitude in their eyes, I know that the power of meditation has touched and transformed their lives for the better and that is enough for me.

Q: You have sung many albums of bhajans and verse which are primarily part of the Indian tradition. Yet how is it that they are appreciated globally?

Bhanu Didi:
Music transcends boundaries of language. Further, the songs I have sung are in Sanskrit, an ancient language, and the words used work like mantras, bringing relaxation to the listener even if they do not understand the meaning.

Guru Om CD by Bhanu Didi

Guru Om CD by Bhanu Didi

Q: You have authored two books, Lalitha and Tejasvini. Can you tell us a little about these books?
Bhanu Didi: The Hindu way of life guides the seeker step by step from the outer world to the inner Self, from idol worship to a state of Samadhi (a profound state of your being). However, the idols also bear significance knowing which the seeker can go beyond the form more easily. Tejasvini guides the seeker on this journey inward. Lalitha takes this journey deeper.

Q: You are the chairperson of the International Women’s conference. What is your vision behind bringing these women together? What is unique about these conferences and what value addition do the participants get from attending them?

Bhanu Didi: An ancient Sanskrit adage, ‘Sanghe Shakti Kaliyuge’ says that in this age, there is strength in the union of the hearts and minds of people. The collective energy of thousands, with the intention of reviving human values, can bring about a far greater transformation in society than individual effort.

The conferences do just this. Women from over 70 countries have come together to share and learn from each another. These conferences are unique in their capacity to tap the source of energy and enthusiasm in the speakers and delegates. They are vibrant and inspire the delegates to serve and catalyze change in their respective countries. The first conference was titled ‘Strength of a woman’ with an intention to recognize this very strength in her.

The moral values that a woman imparts to her children, the support she provides to her family – all these really matter. They say women are emotional. I accept this as a compliment. This is the aspect that makes her soft, gentle and feminine. The delicate and sensitive nature of a woman allows her to create an environment of peace and harmony wherever she goes.

The consecutive conferences have explored themes such as ‘Celebrating Women’, ‘The Light of Leadership’ and ‘Waves of Beauty’ and have all resulted in dynamism and a resounding resolve for greater harmony, peace and service.

Bhanu didi at International Women's Conference

Bhanu didi at International Women’s Conference

Q: All these conferences have supported girl child education as one of the primary outcomes. Can you tell us a little bit about your passion for education?
Bhanu Didi: During the past three decades, I have been committed to bringing education to the rural and underprivileged children in India.

The parents of these children send them to the farms or as domestic help. They are illiterate and do not dream of an education for their daughters. They are mostly under-nourished and hardly ever get to eat more than one meal a day. Initially, the mid-day meals provided at the school enthuses the parents to send the children to the school. We give them new uniforms, books, schoolbags and also send school buses to the villages to transport them. When you see the children, how clean and bright they are in comparison to the condition of their homes, it is really amazing! They meditate everyday and practice some yoga and breathing techniques meant for children. This keeps them free from the stresses of poverty and domestic violence they are faced with when they return home everyday. These free schools, 119 in various remote locations across India, provide holistic value-based education and have been successful in shaping the lives of these children into successful pillars of society un-affected nor limited by their backgrounds of poverty, illiteracy or domestic violence.

However, there are the innate values of caring and sharing that is abundant in the villages of India. These family values must be emulated and encouraged further. We have so much to learn from the rural women as well.

Q: Can you tell us something about what you have done for the mothers of these children and other women in the villages to empower them?

Bhanu Didi:  Empowerment is not just economic independence. Real empowerment enables a woman to deal with any circumstance or situation with confidence and an unshakeable smile.

I started VISTA India 15-year ago old to bring self-esteem, confidence and inner strength in rural women along with providing them skills training to earn money.

These women who were very shy and used to cover their faces with a veil; they are seen giving talks and lectures today. They drive auto-rickshaws, run post-offices, design garments -they empowered themselves without rebelling, getting agitated or accusing someone else of robbing their power. Nobody told them to stand up. They just did it one day and knew that nobody would oppose them.

Bhanu didi with the children

Bhanu didi with the children

Q: You have with you a large team of women volunteers who work with you. In what direction does your guidance take them?
Bhanu Didi:  I would like every woman to come to the forefront and take responsibility. I would like them to become the light of leadership with a passion to serve humanity.

Only a lit candle can light another and when the light is of inspiration, it spreads like wildfire. Being the sister and disciple of His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, I am inspired and share his vision for creating a stress-free, violence-free society. I want every woman who works with me to share this same vision.

Q: You are a perfect homemaker in spite of your many roles.  How did your family support you for this?
Bhanu Didi: My mother continues to be a great source of inspiration to me. She taught me by her example how to take responsibility for one’s own life. My grandmother taught me to see the smoother and happier side of life. My aunt taught me the value of independence. My husband taught me the value of freedom, my children, the value of innocence, my father, friendliness and my brother, love and compassion towards the whole of humanity. My guru has taught me to combine all these values appropriately and move on joyfully in the journey called life. When you have the right guidance, your life is an ocean of contentment.

Q: You are ever-smiling and gentle, your words are subtle and pleasing, you don’t seem to have a forceful or dominant attitude that is normally associated with dynamism and power. How do you inspire and lead hundreds of volunteers?
Bhanu Didi: The ability to be multi-faceted, dynamic and radiate positivity and peace is innate. However the blossoming of this potential happens through spirituality. I call it blossoming – not development or progress. This naturalness is the essence of all the effortlessness and skill.

There are three qualities that are very effective when imbibed. One is Aishwarya – wealth and lordship. One may seem to have lordship through fear or power due to position but they are not pleasant. Lordship that comes out of love and respect has a different dimension to it. It is the true wealth in the relationship. The second is Madhurya or sweetness – sweetness in thought, word and action. It is our nature to be in a pleasant of mind. When you are stress-free and centered, this comes naturally to you. When you are pleasant, you create the same atmosphere around you. Others feel relaxed, comfortable and ‘at home’ in your company even if they had come with a disturbed mind. The third is Saundarya or the beauty and attraction that comes from inner strength. This strength can be developed through meditation. These refined qualities of the consciousness enhance one’s life and beauty. The mind is attracted to that which is beautiful. The mind likes to follow, but the goal is towards the Self, the source of divinity within us. When we move towards the source, we cannot return empty-handed. The Self or inner Being is the true leader. The Self has complete Lordship, is full of sweetness and is the source of all inner beauty and strength and as we move towards the Self, we become true leaders.

Q: Speaking of beauty, you don’t even use any make-up and look so beautiful. How do you manage this?
Bhanu Didi: Isn’t it wonderful to not have to depend on make-up etc? When your life is full of wonder – that is the secret.

Q: Would you like to share a few words of wisdom with our readers?
Bhanu Didi: Smile, Serve, Meditate and Celebrate!

It is with such effortless grace that Bhanu Narasimhan lives her life. Every achievement crowns her passion to celebrate service and reinforce human values.

Here is the video of the welcome address given by Bhanu Didi (Bhanumathi Narsimhan) at the International Women’s conference.

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.

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.

 

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.

Navaratri Celebrations

17 Oct

Navaratri celebrations By Bhanumathi Narasimhan

Navratri is traditionally celebrated in honor of Devi, the Divine Mother. The Divine Mother is symbolic  of energy, a manifestation of the Divine itself. Each day of Navratri we honor specific qualities of divinity with different homas and with different intentions.It is this energy, which helps God to proceed with the work of creation, preservation and destruction.

Navaratri celebration is divided into sets of three days to adore different aspects of the supreme goddess. On the first three days, the Mother is invoked as powerful force called Durga in order to destroy all our vices and defects. The next three days, the Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees with the wealth. The final set of three days is spent in worshiping the mother as the goddess of wisdom and knowledge, Saraswati. In order have all-round success in life, we need the blessings of all three aspects of the divine mother; hence, the worship for nine nights.

H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, th founder of the Art of Living foundation explains something more on Navaratri.

By Bhanumathi Narasimhan

Women leaders can globalize spirituality

15 Oct

A woman has a great role to play in society: especially since she is peace loving. She can be a strong peacemaker; at home, in the community, in society and in the world.

 A woman by nature is multi-talented and multi-faceted. If she is well educated and well informed locally as well as globally, she can make the required positive change. All of us share our achievements and challenges. This certainly helps to broaden our vision and understanding of where and how we can contribute on the world stage. We can carry forth this inspiration to our respective countries to share among our people.

As leaders, there are many who look up to us to bring about a positive transformation.

We are very fortunate as educated women to hold so many uplifting and challenging positions all over the world contributing towards a positive change.  It is our prerogative to provide opportunities for other women and girl children in society who are deprived of the same due to lack of education.  We must educate the girl child and empower every woman

We have all seen that a woman is truly empowered when she has inner strength, peace of mind and Self confidence. These qualities, which are the greatest force of transformation, are the gift of Spirituality.
Human values, compassion, caring – all these are also part of Spirituality. We, as women leaders, can globalize spirituality and take this message of human values, compassion and caring to every corner of the world. We can work together to bring a smile on the face of every woman. This would surely help to make the world a harmonious and peaceful place to live in.

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