YES!+ Upgrade on 5th Feb 2012

Finally after a long gap, the YES!+ Upgrade happened !!!….37 new particpants for the Upgrade and about 25 volunteers joined in for the Sudarshsan Kriya ! Rain Gods had warned the night before with showers but there was no venue that could be managed at 10pm. It was left to luck and optimism that the venue stays 276/II…

Well rain gods were not very pleased with our abashedly ignoring their warnings. They got those orders but then they had to play spoil sport to ensure we also dont get our way fully. As we wiped the floor and spread four layers of tarpulins, foam , darries and white sheets the place seemed all set for yoga and long kriya !..mid way surya namaskars it started to drizzle :-). we continued with suryanamaskars till it looked like we would end up wetting all 4 layers if we didnt respond in time. “Packup” is all I had to say and about 50 of us got busy folding the layers !! As we finished the act anticipating heavier showers, the sun shined out from behind a dark cloud and it looked like this was just a little prank on Indra’s part. We got busy spreading the layers and got back to yoga. This time mid 3rd stage the sun hid itself, and dark clouds covered the sky up. The rains started. First a little slower and then a sudden heavy fall. This time the command was “open the eyes and keeping silence PACKUP” !!!…

Indra had finally had its way. We packed ourselves into three rooms, girls in one and the boys in the other two. The pranayams were repeated and finally a very meditative long Kriya happened sitting up!…the upgrade then followed after a knowledge session. The learning were super amazing for all the participants !!

more later…
love,
Jai Gurudeva!
Ramnik

YES!+ at Thapar Patiala

Finished teaching an amazing YES!+ for students of Thapar University on monday, 24th Jan 02012. Nitish, Chunky, Ashmita, Harshit, Shivam, Rashleen, Anmol, Vishakha, Tavishi, Sharvi, Mahima and many more volunteers were involved in the course organising. Chunky drove me to Patiala in Pranav’s car. He has become quite good at disciplined driving after all my scoldings during the previous trip :). I had the tastiest papaya halwa made in jaggery ( no white sugar!) by Ashmita :-). Missed visiting Isha’s house as I had case related work at Chandigarh during the day on monday.

All the new participants were super wonderful people. I remember the names of some. Nihit, Mahima, Ankit, Neeraj, Kulbir, Rajwinder,Atika, Mohit, Varun, Preetika, Harman, Umesh, Surya are a few that I can recollect. I remember each one by face though 🙂

The venue this time was first floor hall of COS building. This is a much better hall compared to the one on ground floor, albeit smaller but sufficient for an average sized course. My breakfast used to be freshly pressed carrot juice from the fruit shop in the shopping complex. You end up with a full glass for mere 10 rupees !!..I used to gulp atleast two, sometimes three glasses! Thapar students should not be having any other drinks 🙂

Thapar hostels are amongst the most eloquently architectured college-hostels, expressing abundance and strength. 14 feet high room-ceilings are a rarity from the constructions of early and mid 20th century that you wont find in any modern day architecture. It was quite interesting to listen to Dr. O.P. Pandey explain the construction days of the campus. Much of the design and construction he was directly involved with.

Nitish and Chunky have trained themselves into well groomed YES!+ volunteers managing the nitty-gritty of course organizing quite flawlessly.  Both of them pass-out at the end of this term. Thapar YES!+ will experience a sudden void in their absence. New team is inexperienced but their enthusiasm and HIS grace will make sure they pick things up very fast !

More later…

love,
Jai Gurudeva!

Visited my ancestral village and home

I visited our ancestral house located in a village named 6M in district Sri Ganganagar of Rajasthan. The 2 acre piece of land is more of a khandar now with all boundary walls almost broken. One room, a baithak is still intact though. As my cousin opened the room, and we entered the unlit room at around 530 in the evening, it didnt feel like a room which is rarely opened. The room had a light energy of a place inhabited by someone. On the wall infront hung the photo of my great-grand father whom my cousin respectfully bowed to. I was not accustomed to it and hence just bowed in my mind seeing him bow down. He once owned 1000 acres of the land the village comprised of.

The village has similar houses, all of our relatives. Almost all of them are deserted now with almost everyone having shifted to different towns and cities in Rajasthan and Punjab. It is a quiet place with hardly any activity around. I then visited the fields and walked around the 15 acres of land left in my father’s name. The sun was setting on the village side. I had never seen a sun as big as the one I saw settting in my village. I fell in love with the quietness of the place.

If things work out fine I shall get the house repaired and make it an occasional place of seclusion and meditation for myself. Lets see !!

love,
Ramnik

The Immortal U – II

Its almost 5 months now and the memories of what happened have faded away into the background of my past. Yet the sharing remains incomplete and I owe it to all of you. As I start typing am sure I would be teleported back into the moments that were.

We sat on floor in the horizontal part of the L-shaped hallroom, the vertical part was where lay the body. Chantings of Om Nama Shivaya and bhajans filled the air which was silent otherwise. After a while we started discussing about the funeral. Prayag’s Swamiji’s mother who was at Bangalore ashram,wished that the cremation be done at Ahmedabad – his home town. Taking the body to Ahmedabad required more planning. The alternate option was to cremate at Nabha, the town he breathed his last. After much deliberation and discussions it was finally decided that cremation be performed at Nabha the next day. By this time  deadbody-preservating glass-box had arrived. It had the technical capability to preserve a human body below freezing temperature. The box was new and was covered with paper glued to its glass walls on all sides. While I was removing the paper from the box walls to allow visibility, there was an unusual feeling of doing it for the first and final time for Prayag. The box was kept in the room next to the hall and once it was ready, the body was transferred into the box. We moved out of this room and now it was time to leave to come back the next day for cremation which was decided at 11am. Or was it 12, I dont remember exactly but it was one of these times. I had a course scheduled at Kotkapura about 200 km from Nabha. Another teacher was arranged for the first two days of the course and I went back to Patiala where I spent the night with Amitesh and Tanu. Weather had changed. It was cloudy and rains were on their way.

Next day, Amitesh and I got ready to head for Nabha while it rained heavily making Amitesh’s car wet inside leaking through its repair-hungry front left door. As we reached Nabha there was a sea of cars parked and moving on the street which housed Prayag Swamiijs remains. Cars and various vehicles had started heading towards cremation grounds. Rains gods were lashing away to the fullest to pay their final homage. We turned around and followed a local vehicle to the  cremation grounds which were flooded with feet deep water in most parts. The place was full of people. This was a sight to see. In the rain, far far away from home there were hundreds who had gathered to bid good bye to their loved one from far off lands who had won their hearts with his selfless service. Swami Paramtej had arrived from the ashram along with Swami Prayag’s mother and brother. I saw Prayag Swamijis mother for the first time. I had no courage to go and stand near the lady. I inquired with Swami Parmtej about she was. She was calm and poised. The remains were brought to the shed where they would be offered to fire and gone for ever.  We all lend a hand setting up the pyre with dry woods kept under the shed. After a few more rites, the remains were set on fire. This is the only time I saw the mother loosing her silent calm demeneour. All she said was ‘Tu bhi chala gaya’. (you are gone too.) . She had lost her husband many years ago when her sons were very young and had single handedly brought up two amazing boys.

What courage what dispassion what strength it would require to be a mother who was poised even in final moments with her son’s remains. All this while I was just narrating it from my memory but as I remember the mother, am affected emotionally. My eyes are wet at the thought of her. How amazing this whole world is. A soul gets liberated in death and others mourn it.

The rains continued nonstop. Everyone had by now settled under some shed. Flames engulfed the remains on all sides and all that was visible was fire under the shed and water outside.

As fire finished most of its job, we started moving out of the grounds. There I watched the mother from a distance while everyone met her one by one. She talked about her son’s seva projects and those which now remained incomplete. O what a brave mom. Here was a living example of dispassion and sacrifice infront of me. She was not an Art of Living teacher or an activist with an NGO, a simple Indian mother who exuberated immense spirituality and seva attitude in her speaking about her son. Not for a while did she look dependent or miserable.If India and the world has more such moms, our planet would be heaven in no time.

Well, thats it. We have very short time here on the planet. Our bodies would be consumed by fire one day. The more we spend our time serving, smiling and spread universal love and wisdom of Gurudev, the better for all of us and the humanity.

Love
Jai Gurudeva…
Ramnik

The Immortal U….

This was my third consecutive year-end when I have not been on YES!+ Winter Break. A night before we were to leave for winter break on 24th december two years ago, one phone call changed the course of my life. That is a seperate story which would come up on the blog in time, or as a book by this year end released at Winter Break 2011 if the story finds an end. For now, I talk about the year end that just passed by. With no winter-break at the ashram for me, the next best option was the 2.5 days teacher’s advance course happening at Vanasthali in Punjab. I had my seat reserved by sending an sms to Raman Agarwal,STC for Punjab. The course was scheduled to begin on 29th Dec and was to be conducted by Sejal. The dates later were shifted to 26th for reasons unknown to me at that time. I was fine with both the dates so it didnt matter much that the dates were changed suddenly.

Vanathali is near Ludhiana on Khanna road. By the time I reached the place it was 730 in the night and the satsang had begun. We were a batch of 22 teachers on the course. Our course teacher Tanuja arrived a few minutes later and joined us at the satsang. After the satsang we went back, had our dinner and checked into our rooms. The course was to begin with a yoga session at 7 am next morning.

Done with the talking processes, our silence began with a hollow-empty meditation before lunch. The second night at the place was in total silence other than the satsang singing in the night. The third and final night though in silence had the bonn-fire planned !! 

By the evening we started gathering broken dry branches as well as wood. We had the pyre ready for satsang. Some local volunteers from Khanna, Mandi Gobindgarh and Nabha joined us in the celebration. In the middle of the satsang Prayag who was in the area teaching courses arrived too. With the fire full-on,  gachchak and revadis distributed abundantly we were all lost in the ecstasy of the evening – dancing and singing. Towards the end Tanu maa began with a ‘Jai Jai Jai Jai …..” bhajan. Prayag and I joined in leading it along with Tanu maa. This was the last bhajan before we moved in the hall to watch the knowledge video.

Prayag joined us for the session. He was now Swami Prayag. Since the silence was still on, there was no talking that we did other than a smiling glance we shared as we sat next to each other at the back of the hall.

As the talk got over, I was the first one to walk out of the hall. For some reason there was no light in the passage from the hall to the exit door. As I reached the door, I just turned back to look at Prayag walking out. He shined in his all white attire and his presence ans gait reminded me of Guruji at that moment. He walked free. He has always had a jumpy cheerful walk.This time it was silent….

The next morning on 29th Dec, meditation session began with usual yoga session followed by breakfast and then the final session of the day. After a hollow-empty, we came out of the silence speaking the first words that came to our minds. Tanuja ma said she has to leave urgently and that we all shall chant ‘Om nama shivaya’ for 15 minutes. While others closed their eyes and started with the chant, I sensed something different. I walked up to her who stood in the passage next to Saurav, the volunteer from Amritsar who was assisting on the course. He said, “Prayag is no more”.

It took a minute for the thing to sink in. Tanu ma was leaving for Nabha immediately where Prayag’s mortal remains were. What was to be done with the advance course participants. Tanu ma told me to reveal the news to the advance course. 

As I got the teachers out of the chanting, I shared the news with them all. On person asked , “How?”. I had no response to this question. I did not even want to know at that time “How”. It sounded irrelevant. He was no more. He was NO MORE. How did it matter how.

We drove in cars to Nabha. As I walked in I saw his body covered till the face lying in the hall. My naval felt a pinch inwards, a momentary pain of immense loss as i joined everyone chanting Om Nama Shivaya.

I had no courage to see his face. Only when a few more people came in and they wanted to see his face did I also opt to see it. That one moment was a sight which is imprinted in my mind like engraving on stone. He didn’t at all look like he was not alive. His face looked like that of a 15 year young boy in deep meditation. The glow and freshness on his face was seemed like a super-natural phenomena. His hair falling back from the head made the face even more clear. I had seen so many dead ones, this is the first time I felt someone is not dead. This is the first time I saw a face which looked like it was in deep meditation. This is the first time I felt death was nothing more than changing clothes. This is the first time there was no sadness but total emptiness. This is the first time death became so unpredictable, so real and life unreal…
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As I was writing it I was reliving the moment. I am blank again. I need a break. Will finish writing about the funeral in the next one…

Jai Gurudev…
love
Ramnik



Happeningz on 9-Nov. The DAY!!

When krishna was on the planet the gopis and Gopas were the luckiest ones to have spend most precious time with HIM in utter devotion ! Unexpected and unusual incidents were a common routine in the lives of these heart-stolen devotees. Sri Sri’s Punjab visit is full of such beautiful moments that relive the lives of such devotees completely drenched in love.

Chandigarh had the hoardings inviting the whole city to an evening of joy and blessings in His Holiness Sri Sri’s presence about 9 days before the scheduled 9-november visit. The whole city woke up to a most pleasing and unusual sight of Guruji’s pictures at every roundabout, a first ever for the city! YES!+ youngsters who were handling the publicity for Gurujis visit went shop to shop and house to house warmly inviting every citizen to the historic event to be. Yet another unusual happening for the city !
Various permissions for the event got approved in a totally unexpected manner making the event organising a soothing breeze.
Finally the Day arrived when God reached the city beautiful – 9 Nov 2010 !!
The evening mahasatsang was kept at Kalagram, largest possible venue keeping in mind parking requirements and location. All roads leading to single venue managed to get even Guruji stuck in traffic jam !! Wanting not to miss even a moment of the Guru the spaced out devotees parked their cars wherever they found land ! While a 50000 strong crowd blissfully sat mesmerised in the satsang, about 3500 vehicles got challaned for parking. The traffic policeman needed a massage to his hands from making all those challans. He must have been instructed by someone at senior level to create unwanted chaos in this divine event. But to the utter failure of this slimy plan the devotees were least perturbed choosing to let the challans be cut rather than missing a minute of the divine moments with Guruji !
The devotion- berserk uncontrollable crowd threw away professional bodyguards who looked like solid walls,flat on the ground beating dust near stage in their craziness to get closer to the master !! Finally the these guys found a real use to their profession leaving in them huge scope for improvement!
Many dropped and lost their mobiles disconnecting themselves from the maddening world in their quest for the Highest possible connection of their life with the Guru of joy ! At a sastang in a devotee’s house, a old uncle ended up sitting in a child’s lap while he plonked into the sofa ecstatically looking  at Guruji and not at his landing place. Many anties forgot their husbands running after Guruji while the uncles went confused searching their wives. Devotees forming a chain to protect Guruji were hand held by Guruji Himself to safe them from falling. Who is protecting whom ! The night satsang and volunteer teachers meeting with Guruji saw people pressing into the people infront leaving no breathing space only bhakti space ! Guruji jumped over the wall to dash into his car as the exit was blocked with devotees.
Since Guruji was state guest, the police jeep was provided by administration to escort His vehicle. The escort vehicle was often left  away from His car by the speeding devotee cars that managed to escort Guruji’s car !!
Amidst all divine chaos, Guruji was at his most compassionate and sensitive best , as always, taking care of every heart, body and soul ! At MCM DAV He was escorted by a bodyguard from chandigarh police. At the venue, the guest of honor seats next to Guruji were still vacant. A senior teacher of Art of Living was summoned to occupy that seat. Guruji asked the senior teacher to sit on his designated seat and instead offered the standing security guard to sit next to Him.
One YES!+ boy had his whole car covered with Gurujis visit stickers. On being caught by the traffic police, the beaming boy gifted entry passes to the traffic police man who was left with no choice but to beam back and wave a go ahead to the boy.
For those eight hours the city had been transformed into a fully charged light house, glowing with divine energy!! O what a day it was !!!

luv
JaiGurudeva!!!
Ramnik

Guruji Visits Chandigarh !!!!! SEVA Activities

Jai Gurudeva !!!!

Ofcourse you know that Guruji visits Chandigarh on 9th November !!!!!!!!

All seva team details are below. But today we need to put up visit-posters in shops, distribute event passes and send people for YES!+ begining today. Read details below.

As of today we have following seva teams:

1. Event Publicity (Mainly Outdoor)

2. Event Funds Collection
         a) Direct Donation to the organisation for the event
         b) Sponsorships for different publicity material
         c) advertisement in Souvenir Magazine being printed for this Historic visit of Guruji.
3. Venue


4. YES!+ and Other Art of Living Courses

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DETAILS

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1. EVENT PUBLICITY (Mainly Outdoor)
    As of now this includes all kind of publicity that you see outdoors in the form of banners, posters, fliers, passes, stickers, etc. The activities include
    a) Designing & developing the Print material
        Skills Required: Artistic Sense for Design, Photoshop/CorelDraw for Development, Grasp on      readibility of fonts.
    b) Printing the material at the printing press
        Seva activity: Taking the softcopy of the print material to printer ( main is in sector 38), Getting the material print job started. Collecting the material from the press. The process for stuff like stickers and posters can be more complicated. Getting it back to Distribution Centre from where the material is distributed to the seva team
    c) Distributing the material to seva team
        As the name suggests this involves distributing the print material to all who want to display or distribute it further. Anuj who is handling this seva at 276/Second floor, sector 15A, Chandigarh can be contacted at 9023815820 / 9779133305
    d) Putting the banners in different locations in Chandigarh, panchkula, mohali. Already about 300 banners sized 5 feet * 3 feet have been put up at different temples and other locations in tricity. If you have more locations where lot of people can see them we can get you more of the 5*3 banners printed.
    e) Distributing passes to your friends/neighbours/collegues/ and everyone you would like to :-). please collect as many passes as you need from Anuj.
    f) Putting up Car/scooter stickers. They will be ready. When they are ready it will be updated here. Already we have some posters which can also be put up in the cars.
    g) Putting the posters in shops in your sectors. Now this activity needs to be done on a big scale. Please collect these posters from anuj again.

2. FUNDS COLLECTION 
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As all of us are aware, an event of this scale requires huge funds. As of now our devotees have pitched in with contributions with which our publicity material is getting ready. We are generating these funds in four ways predominantly.
          1. Direct donations by devotees: Any amount of contribution big or small is welcome from you. Please contact Nirmalji our finance facilitator for chandigarh 9988535582 for this. All donations are collected with a reciept issued to you against those donations. As far as I know all donations are through cheque only. I would urge all of you to make a contribution, even if it is small. Boond boond se ghat bharta hei.
          2.  Souvenir Advertisements by devotees / business people. Again another way is that we are printing a classy souvenir that will be distributed to Who’s Who is chandigarh and punjab. For all details contact Pranav at 9357511252. Again I would urge you all to get atleast one souvenir ad for the event.

          3. Sponsorships for event by big business houses: This means logos of the sponsors on our publicity material. This is handled by many people but you can get in touch with Sanjay ji at 9876499777 if you have any contacts who would be ready to sponsor.
          4. Complementary Goods and services: Some of you can give us stuff complimentary as you are in that business. Like someone gave us the passes printed complimentary. Again contact the respective teams for what you can contribute.

3.   VENUE
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Our venue is Kalagram on panchkula chandigarh road for Gurujis event. Contact person will be updated.
This activity will require work towards the end.

4. YES!+ and Other courses
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We have a YES!+ starting today 27th october at C.C.E.T , sector 26, Chandigarh for everyone in tricity. I would be teaching it. This might be the last one before Guruji’s visit. So get as many youth as you can to experience it before Guruji’s visit. Contact Dr. Nishi at 9872669032 or Dr. Meenakshi at 9815617939.
You may also contact YES!+ Team numbers 8146959595, 9915770555. btw we also have a GCG-11 exclusive YES!+ starting today for the GCG hostelers. Contact the same team for this course also.

For all other courses please contact our Art of Living centre number 0172-2727272. Would update more numbers later but this is the easiest to remember and so was handy in my memory.

Have a Great Time doing Seva !!!
Love
Jai Gurudeva!
Ramnik