Message of spirituality, happiness comes to Tampa

A super coverage by the Fox News about the Tampa Event.

Here’s the link to the complete article on the website of Fox news: Link

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, spiritual leader and founder of the Art of Living Program, believes peace and yoga will heal the world. In an exclusive interview with FOX 13’s Hetal Gandhi, he said his goal is to “Make as many people happy as possible.”

Sri Sri traveled from India to the United States, where he will address the United Nations on Sunday to declare the first “International Yoga Day”.

However, his first stop is in Tampa, where he will lead a group of about a 1,000 people through a guided meditation at an event called “Explore Happiness” at the A La Cart Pavilion.

The city proclaimed it a “Day of Happiness” in his honor.

“Spirituality, or yoga, meditation, these are common things, service to humankind, this is where everyone can find the common ground to unite and make this world a beautiful place to be in,” he said.

Sri Sri’s message of peace comes during a particularly violent time, following the apparent hate crime that claimed the lives of nine people at the historic Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina Wednesday night.

He offered his condolences to the American people. “You know, people commit such heinous crime because they were never taught how to handle the rage that comes within them.”

One of his main goals is to teach people how to cope with stress.

“Through breathing and through meditation, if we are able to manage our negative feelings, jealousy, anger, frustration, prejudice, our behavior pattern changes, our health becomes better, our mind gets clarity.”

Sri Sri connects with people, not just through wisdom, but also humor.

“How do you slow down? I said, just drive behind a bicycle,” he laughed.

Many of the world’s leaders have turned to Sri Sri for guidance, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who faces the ongoing challenge of conflicts between Hindus and Muslims.

“They are fringe elements in almost every religion, fanatics in almost everywhere and they need to be reined in and it’s a big challenge. I think Prime Minister is doing a good job in trying to reign in them.”

Sri Sri is very clear that what he teaches is spirituality, not a religion.

“Spirituality is something different. So spirituality is like an exercise, like an attitude. It’s like a feeling that arises from within you, and spirituality is common to all human beings and it unites people of all different religions and devoid of spirituality, religion becomes like a banana skin without a banana,” he explained.

Yet his followers around the world and even outside his hotel room during his stay in Florida gather in crowds and anxiously await his presence, much like a rock star.

“If anyone honors me, I tell them, you honor yourself and everyone like you honor me,” he said.

The Art of Living Classes can host hundreds of dollars each.

“If there are people that can’t afford, we never stop them from doing the course, anyone can do, we’re doing in the inner cities, we are doing in prisons, we are doing in hospitals,” he said.

He also explained that any money that is not spent to help cover the travel and costs of the program is used towards the Art of Living’s charitable projects which include building schools for children and cleaning up polluted waters.

It’s just all part of Sri Sri’s mission for world peace.

The official proclamation from the honourable Tampa Mayor

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Mind, Meditation and the science

Watch the video and leave your comments and like it on youtube too :)

Explore Happiness at Tampa Bay

AAPI (All American Physicians of Indian Origin ) invited Guruji for a key note address in Orlando. And of course when He was going to be in town , the devotees are never far away to seize any opportunity to be with Him. How all of us always find reasons, excuses or actually create some, just to be close to the master. The event preparation started in Orlando and after a week of jet speed preparation as the event was three and a half weeks away, we got the hall, the ticketing company, only to know that the open event is being shifted to Tampa :)  . Now two and a half weeks to go, we have a brand new team, new city, new preparations but the same goal, Gurudev.
What I felt was jet speed, turned to lightning now. The mistakes, learnings, experiences from Orlando helped jumpstart the event. With a great team up our sleeve, Rathi and Vatsan as coordinators, we took long deep breaths so very often. All set with the plan, we wanted to make the Tampa evening special, an intention to contribute, and lots of actions to compensate.
Lots of new ideas, premium exclusive seats, different ways to outreach, corporate involvement and we thought we had done our best and then came the crowning glory news.
The Mayor Bob Buckhorn of Tampa Bay City has proclaimed June 18th as “A Day of Happiness” in the City of Tampa, Florida and urges all residents to join in welcoming Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to our city.
The Mayor also recognizes the Art of Living Tampa with the goal of making Tampa a more peaceful, happy and spiritual city that will set an example for the entire nation.
What started as an evening , became an event and today will be an era in making for the city of Tampa. The opportunities Gurujis gives, the challenges we face in making it happen and all the circus with it surely is a test to explore our happiness eventually.
Welcome to the world of Explore Happiness on June 18 at Tampa Bay, tickets at www.trulyHappyTampaBay.org .

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A sojourn into faith

I had boarded Flight 112 From Bengaluru to Delhi. It had been a busy day, so I slept off during take off, despite the playful voices of children playing, the engine humming and the youngsters’ gizmos beeping with games. My sleepy eyes fluttered open along with the popping sensation in the ears (the bane of flight pressure change), when the flight attendant asked if I would like to eat something. Having just woken up, the cold body desired something hot and inside a flight, the only options are tea and coffee. I always liked dining 30000 ft above the sea level, it gave me a sense of pride in human invention and innovation. With a smile, I decided to go for coffee. The taste buds were ready, the aroma tantalized the nostrils and the ears could hear the bubbles being produced, as I whiffed the air in anticipation of a steaming cup of Joe! An order was requested but to my dismay, the flight attendant informed me that the flight captain had ordered against serving tea and coffee. Sleeping through announcements is sometimes good, as it allows your mind to travel through innovative fantasies away from reality. My mind flow-charted so many reasons as to why the pilot would have refused coffee loving passengers from indulgence.
Maybe, a rat found an innovative way to commit suicide inside the coffee pot, or could the pilot be a coffee aroma lover and decorating his small cabin with coffee beans and several other such ideas. The real reason came to pass when the pilot announced that the array of clouds which would have given us heavy turbulences were being avoided by taking a detour of 135 KMs.

'You can relax now, ladies and gentlemen, , , we're through all of that rough turbulence,'

He further added, “Enjoy your journey, you are in safe hands.” A big hollow tube filled with people, all having their own minds and their unique train of thoughts, having some or no activity, all waiting to reach the destination! What makes them wait so patiently and calmly is the knowledge when that their pilot is well equipped to transport them safely. Someone, everywhere has been sent to protect us from insignificant (rather significant) coffee burns or tornado turbulences and move us towards faith. The mind fights back when its desires are not fulfilled, not knowing that mostly, they are for the good. Also, not understanding that the pilot knows what is good or not at a particular time.

Flight 112 turned out to be an earth of an experience but thanks to the pilot who helped me take this heavenly leap of faith to enjoy the ride, the journey also being part of the destination, they merged, a soft smile emerged, and we landed! As Guruji says, “If you have faith then you are full, complete.”
Everything felt wonder-full.

Hello world, again!

The blog had been sleeping in websphere for a long time, until it got hacked and that woke me up. A swat team was assembled to bring back years of writing and beautiful comments . I was informed that the years of blogging data may be lost and this ignited the value of the blog in my mind.

The ‘Knowledge Faxes’ used to arrive from Guruji every Wednesday evening for 7 long years and they were read in the satsangs. There used to be an interesting informal section of gossip called ‘Newsflash’ tagged with them . Gossip was the part I used to wait for, it informed us where Guruji is and what all laughter and joy His entourage dived into. One day, It said, “How much have we valued the knowledge that has been sent? How much have we valued it? How much attention have we put on it? Wherever we put our attention on that will increase.”

The worth of most things in life rockets when we start losing it. This is where the Guru sets in, making us value everything that we have, now.

The attention on the blog is back. Will keep it interesting with posts, recipes, travel experiences and gossip :)

Just to tell you the blog is awake and needs your regular nudging, talking and of course gossiping!

Mantras

An article by Bhanu Didi in the Speaking Tree.
Mantras – Sound vibrations that permeate every cell of your being and allow your mind to dissolve and repose. But what are they? What do they mean? Where did they come from? There are so many questions surrounding these ancient syllables. Speaking about Mantras is the revelation of ancient secrets that have been kept sacred from several ages, secrets that continue to benefit humanity irrespective of its circumstances.

Mantras are impulses or rhythms of the consciousness. They create vibrations in the spirit. Their effects, influence, method and mode of working are all a mystery.

In Sanskrit, it is said, Manana trayate iti mantra. Mantra is that which saves you from repetitiveness. A repetitive thought is a worry. Mantras help to free you from your worries. Often we wonder why we chant some sounds without understanding their meanings? Can something beyond our understanding help us?

mystical1-225x300The meaning of every mantra is infinity. It is a sound vibration beyond the cognition of the mind. When the mind is unable to cognize, it simply dissolves and moves into a meditative space.

The mantra is like a seed. Every seed has the potential to become a tree. Similarly, these sound vibrations contain all the possibilities of creation. Some mantras are in the seed form, called the bija mantras. Others are fully expressed, i.e, the fruit of the mantra is also expressed, like the Gayatri mantra.

Mantras are a secret. That which is kept a secret alerts the sub-conscious mind. The mantras work at the level of the consciousness. When we want a seed to sprout, it needs to be sown into the soil, hidden, a secret. If it is simply thrown around, birds may eat them up. We can read and learn about mantras and their uses from books and the internet but that will only satisfy the intellect and not translate into experience.

When we chant the mantras, or listen to them, we get purity of mind and word. This prepares us for meditation. As a result of the sound vibrations, different patterns of the mind re-arrange themselves to become tranquil. Agitation is reduced, helping us to turn inward. For instance, when we laugh, our happiness increases. When we cry, the heaviness of our sorrow is released. Just the sounds of laughter and crying have helped. Mantras act in a similar manner. Repetition of the Mantras creates a psychological or mental response that is very deep and beyond the realm of words or expression. It can only be experienced. Speech falls short as it cannot go beyond the expression level into the experiential level.

When the mind is calm and centered, it can turn inward. Only a mind turned inward can experience the vastness and beauty of the Divine consciousness. When our focus is outward on the objects of the senses, our mind is scattered and racing behind one craving or another. Physical senses seek to know all about the external universe. Meditation is the tool for inner exploration. Antarmukhi Sada Sukhi – one whose mind is turned inward is ever in bliss. Mantras are the tools which allow the mind to dissolve and repose in the Self.

Why should we repose in the Self? How is this going to help in our day-today life?

When the river is calm, the reflection is clearer. When the mind is calm, there is greater clarity in the field of expression. Our sense of observation, perception and expression improve. As a result we are able to communicate effectively and clearly.

Most of our problems or misunderstandings arise because of a lack of proper communication. When our mind is free from agitation, the way we interact and communicate is so much more pleasant and effective. Our efforts are not hindered by rifts caused due to communication gaps. This leads to a lot of positivity in our outlook and progress in life.

Mantras are as subtle as the air which creates ripples in the water as it gently moves over it. Air is all-pervading and at the same time affects specific regions. The field of the mantras is also such. It is all –pervading and also creates an impact on the one who is practicing.

Cooking and teaching

Dear Blog friends,

Here are some of my latest cooking pics, food which I have been cooking and eating here in Russia.For recipes, please wait for some more time with patience :)

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Her way Only…

Recently Sonia Gandhi went to a school to interact with the children there.

After a brief talk she asked if anyone had any questions. One boy raised his

hand.

Sonia: “What’s your name”?

Boy : “RAHIM”

Sonia: “What are your questions”?

Rahim: “I’ve 3 questions…

1.Why did you attack & kidnap Baba Ramdev without approval of Court?

2.Why there is no punishment to KASAB as yet?

3.Why does Manmohan singh & the Congress party not support Baba against

corruption?

Sonia: “You are an intelligent student Rahim.”

Just then the recess bell rang.

Sonia: “Oh students, we wil continue after the recess is over”.

After the recess…

Sonia: “Ok children where were we? So, anybody wants to ask a question”?

RAM raises his hand.

Sonia: “What’s your name”?

Ram: “I’m Ram and I’ve 5 questions…

1. Why did you attack Baba without approval of the court?

2. Why no punishment to Kasab as yet?

3. Why does Manmohan Singh not support the fight against corruption?

4. Why did the recess bell ring 20 mins before the time?

5. Where is Rahim ?;)

It’s NOT ok

While browsing through old mail, I re-read this knowledge sheet and the simplicity with which Guruji projects such complicated causal effects left me in complete awe, yet again.

So am sharing this Knowledge sheet with all of you. I suggest to do the homework of seeing how many times, the thoughts of ‘It is Not ok’ pound our mind and how many times we chew on them.

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THE CAUSE OF RETURN
thumbs_down-4-300x300Most of us come into this world with the seed in us, “It’s not OK”. And all our life we try to correct events, people and situations. How much can you correct? It’s like trying to rearrange the clouds in the sky. This seed does not allow you to be happy, to smile from your heart, to be loving and loveable. It’s there all the time like a thorn – irritating, irritating.
This seed, “It’s not OK,” brings you back into this world again and again. How do you burn this seed?
First recognize that it is there. This can happen in deep introspection and meditation.
Sometimes you feel your body, mind, intellect, memory and ego are also not OK. You justify them or find fault with them. These are also part of the world.Acknowledge what you see as an imperfection and offer it to the Divine.
Have faith in the infinite organizing power of the Supreme Intelligence and have the sincere feeling, “Let thy will be done.” Then the seed, “It’s not OK,” gets burned. “Thy will be done” is a state of total contentment, a state of just love.
We need not even make it a statement about the future. “Thy will alone is happening now.”
Question:So everything happening is God’s will?
Guruji:Yes, including the thought, “This shouldn’t be happening.”

The Perfect Lemonny Biscuits

The craving for lemonny lemonny things increases during these days of summer and what better than indulging in some lemon biscuits. I found this recipe on a blog and dressed it in my style to present it to all of you. Initially i thought it is too much indulgence looking at the sugar content but when made, i realised everyone can eat only one at a time, since it satisfies you completely. It puts a fullstop  very soon to my types who say “Kuch meetha chahiye” (Something sweet to end with) .

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  • 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
  • ½ cups Lemon Juice
  • 1-½ cup Flour
  • 1 cup Oatmeal
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 2/3rd cups Butter, Melted
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 pinch Salt

And Here we start off :-

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Combine milkmaid and lemon juice. Mix well and set aside for a moment.

Mix remaining ingredients until crumbly.

Press half of the streusel (dry) mixture into a lightly greased baking dish. Pour the lemon mixture over top. Finish by sprinkling remaining streusel over the top of the lemon filling. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely then store in the refrigerator. These can last you for many many days, but you and I know this is an imagination :)

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