Yayyyy !!! Another YES+ course !!!!!

We had a amazing , exciting YES+ course from the 4th to the 11th in the campus . This brings many more enthu people to volunteer for future courses. Shilpa Didi took the course with the ease and brilliance Dinesh Bhaiyya takes the advance course. That too this being her first course. A lot of stuff was done in this course. The processes almost doubled because of the extended time . The first day was pretty much usual. The one thing I noticed about this batch was their participation ….. from the first day itself Questions were being answered(Yup the last batch was a bit no no in this regard)!!! The second day is when all the participants get the feel of the magical Sudarshan Kriya. The fourth day was really special….. The session was really long …. (3pm to 9pm) and didi was really disappointed with the food available in this place. So all of us(volunteers) came up with the idea of making something simple tasty and sattvic for the participants….. So starting at 8 in the morning we (Sandhya , Aditya SK , Isai , Kshitiz , Mayur and me) slogged it out to make food for all the participants just in time. Sk and I got all the ingredients by 1130. We did the Gurupooja and started cooking for everyone .The Estate Officer Uncles wife allowed us to cook for all the participants in her kitchen and without her there might have been many kelas …. Thanks to her for the coop extended .. Jai Gurudev ….. It was an exhilarating time cooking for all …… We decided to cook Hummus (as its really easy πŸ™‚ ) and pasta (thats really easy too…. πŸ™‚ ) We learnt a lot (via mistakes though…. πŸ˜‰ Not to put noodles in cold water…. they become a nuisance ….. and cholle (chick peas ) need to be soaked atleast for 8-9 hours before doing anything with them πŸ˜‰ …… Also math doesnt work evrytime…. I was incharge of Hummus and read in Bau’s blog that 1kg of cholle was good enough for 8 hungry people…. well we had 40 so decided to buy 5kg of cholle….. we used only 2.5 . So on Sunday evening all the 40 participants were served Hummus and white bread(sorry no brown bread ) and pasta and Tang(Mango) ….. They enjoyed evry bit of it with compliments comin from evry1 (The students from the Middle East loved the Hummus even without the Tahini…. Yippe … πŸ™‚ I didnt tell them that it was Hummus they thought it was some sandwich filling . πŸ˜‰ )…The 5th and 6th day to were really amazing with plenty of stuff shown to the students… videos (the highlight being meat your meet) , presentations ,etc …. On the 6th day it was Vaishnavis Birthday (so a small celebration was destined) Ashok had to decorate the hall that day and had really nice ideas up his sleeve… The theme for decoration was Reflections . Annie (I think) had a really nice idea of everyone hand signing on a poster for Vaishnavi ….. and well evry1 had ice cream ( πŸ™‚ ) …. The shining moment of the day for all of us was a QnA with Bau… Yup Bau was free at that time and agreed to take on a number of Questions some of which were really nice and well answered with the same elegance (Another post on them )…. We had a Satsang on that day too …. Finally the last day (the fun day) reflected evrything that happened during the course … It was a very emotional day for all of us and we certainly did feel a void after the course was over .A void which really could not replaced by nething …. Shilpa Didi was awesome with whatever she did we would love to see her come back for many more courses which will happen here ….. Sandhya , Madhuri , Isai and SK did a wonderful job of bringing in participants and ensuring a really high participation from the girls (40:60 as to 1:12 the last time) you all rock….. SK did a really wonderful job …. It was almost his course entirely and i loved working every bit of time with him…….. jai Gurudev to all ….. πŸ™‚ Meet you in the follow ups…. πŸ˜‰

Bye , cya .

Jai Gurudev! and Keep breathing


On dealing with rogue swami’s

Got this on Bau’s blog. Very interesting

Guruji recently wrote an article which was published in various parts in many newspapers around the country… however not one newspaper published it in its entirety… I dont like to edit anything Guruji says πŸ™‚ so here it is, complete and unabridged…

By H.H. Sri Sri Ravishankar

Fraudulent and unethical practices committed by Swamis or religious authorities should be condemned unequivocally. When a religious/spiritual leader commits a crime, he not only harms people, but also brings disgrace to the spiritual tradition. If proven guilty, stringent action should be taken against them. In fact, the severity of the punishment should be many times more than what would be given to normal people.

While Islam is blamed for terrorism, and Christianity went through child abuse scandals in some parts of the world, it is now Hinduism which has gotten a jolt in Kerala due to malpractices. During these moments of crisis, one would think that Hinduism needs an authority that could check these malpractices.

Since there is a lack of hierarchy, and no authority to install a Swami or Guru, or dethrone them, the Sanathana Dharma is more vulnerable to being misused. On the other hand, Sanathana Dharma has always believed that religion and spirituality is an individual’s choice; it has allowed people to find their path and lead others as well. That is why in India, no prophet was ever crucified, and the freedom of thought, expression and propagation of faith is inbuilt in to the system.

While a few miscreants have misused the system, religion per se should not be blamed or ridiculed. There are possibilities of innocent people being caught in the trap and blamed for nothing. I would advise them to take this as an opportunity to go inwards, especially on the spiritual path. History has shown that many innocent people were accused and had to bear the brunt of society for quite some time, but finally the truth prevailed. We must remember that society has not even spared people like Kabir, Adi Shankaracharya, Jesus Christ, and many of his apostles. Adi Shankaracharya was excommunicated. Gnanadev, Buddha, and many spiritual and religious leaders were considered as heretics and traitors in their time. Today, close to one third of the humanity are followers of Jesus Christ, but during his time, his teachings were considered blasphemous. It was the same with the Sufi Saint, Mansoor, who was eventually hanged.

Not so long ago, a Swami from a prominent Mutt in Karnataka was accused of child abuse and was imprisoned for 20 years; he was later proven innocent by the Supreme Court and all charges against him were dropped. Another such victim of conspiracy was Swami Omkarananda, who does not even know how to lift a gun; but he was accused of illegal possession of arms. He was put in a jail in Switzerland for 27 years, and later proven innocent.

Religious and spiritual people are there to propagate dharma, knowledge, self-confidence and emotional and spiritual upliftment of people. Any deviation from their goal is bound to boomerang on them. A religious seat should be considered a seat of service and higher knowledge, and it is unfortunate that these institutions are sometimes used as seats of power. Prevalent hypocrisy in religion, spirituality, politics and business is the most harmful thing for a society.

The media has a responsibility to expose those who are fraudulent. However, the media should restrain from sensationalising such incidents; even if one innocent image is tarnished, it causes a lot of pain and suffering. Before the charges are proven, public humiliation and β€˜bashing’ of the accused should be avoided as it can cause irreparable psychological damage. We have seen this in Iraq where, in the name of extracting the truth from the culprits, thousands of Iraqis have suffered enormous mental anguish.

In case of charges being proven false, the irreversible psychological and emotional damage caused is unpardonable. Media and zealots should be aware that in the name of catching the culprits, they should not cause humiliation and psychological harm.

Unwarranted negative portrayal of spirituality and prejudice will only lead to more suicides and desperation in society.

We must not create prejudice against any section of society, or any religion as this can be dangerous. For example, after 9/11, Sikhs and Muslims were tortured as terrorists. American troops have killed thousands in Afghanistan and later apologised for mistaken identity. In the Middle Ages, many women and scientists were dragged into the streets of Europe and burnt alive.

The police cannot play the role of the magistrate. In the past, wise people would take pride in admitting their mistakes. People should have that level of consciousness to admit their mistakes and walk towards the truth. Admitting one’s mistakes will enhance one’s character. A safe and secure space should be created for people to come forward and admit their mistakes. This cannot happen in an atmosphere of fear and blame-culture. When too much shame is associated with making a mistake, then people will shy away from admitting them. Mistakes happen, knowingly or unknowingly. In the past, when spiritual masters realised their mistakes, they would do their own Prayaschitta (personal attempt for atonement for wrongs committed), sometimes even harder than the stipulated punishment.

Religious and spiritual institutions should expose the injustice within their own religion if any, rather than shield it. If this is done from the outside and by those who do not believe in religion, it is likely to be perceived as prejudiced. In the case of the Communists, while they are absolutely right in denouncing age-old dogmas, they should not forget that both Stalin and Mao Tse Tung eliminated close to 10 million people – scientists, socialists, journalists, men of literature – to stay in power.

In today’s complex world, to escape from mounting stress, people look for easy ways and go to anybody who offers magical solutions. Instead, they should turn towards pranayama and meditation which is the heart of Indian spirituality. Millions worldwide have taken recourse to it.

Sanathana Dharma has laid out some of the best principles for humanity to achieve equality, social justice, a violence-free society, and a prejudice – free mind. Let every Indian strive for educating oneself and the society in these golden principles.