Category Archives: Guru Grace Gratitude!

A(n) (…………!) decade with The Art of Living

… Fantastic. Incredible. Irrational. Inconceivable. Implausible. Astounding. Fabulous. Awesome. Amazing. Beautiful. Happiness++ !!!  I still cant fit my journey with the Art of Living in the last 10 years with one word, or to say even one sentence. If I start, I always have more to say. This week I step into the 11th year with The Art of Living…

I have no idea how I joined the Art of Living Happiness Program when all I wanted to do in my 3rd year Engineering holidays was join a “yoga” class & there were 5 – 6 different yoga classes happening very close to my house in Chennai. It was a total ‘by chance’.

Though my then ‘best’ friend had told me to join another yoga class (that was Prasanna, my husband now – I used to take his words so seriously then – as though he was God to me; and ya, I still continue to do 😉 ) & was very sure to join it, some how this Guru of mine pulled me to Him. It was my eldest sis who convinced me & my parents; made me do this program along with her. Thank you Gurudev and my dear Baba for making this happen, I feel so safe, protected with You!10 years of learning the art to handle the mind!When I look back & see what I have learnt in these 10 years…  I have learnt the Sudarshan Kriya – that has done so much good to me & definitely to people around me, that ‘yoga’ is not just yoga asanas, many yoga asanas, the importance of breath, difference between spirituality & religion (one of my friends had asked me this question during my engineering), meditation, many types of pranayams, what’s the basis of advaita & dvaita (which was a total ‘?’ to me as to why there was a difference in first place between what 2 major Gurus in Hinduism said), ways to handle tantrums, emotions, relationships… husband, mother in law 😉 … one most important fact that I had not realised a decade back is that I am just so fortunate to have got a living Guru in my life — if this sounds hyperbolic to you, can’t really help – stop feeling so.

Life has passed by wonderfully fast in the last 10 years – taking up a job ‘far away’ from my parents just because it was a closer to my field of study than the one I got in Chennai (well, I have the record of dropping out from a very reputed college within a week of joining ‘cuz I felt home sick), meeting absolutely wonderful people who have taught me so many things just by their way of living (read Bawa, Dinesh bhaiya, Rashmin bhaiya, Rajesh anna, Kavi akka, Hema akka, to quote a few), teaching this program myself to many youth, getting the courage to do things that I wouldn’t have dared to do otherwise, feeling really proud about being an Indian, my Tambrahm Mylapore culture & traditions, moving beyond the barriers that I had for myself, talking to strangers & having a feeling they are a part of my own family, becoming a content creator(!), having the confidence that some higher power always protects me & loves me so dearly  – oh my God, the list can go on…

The Art of Living has just not taught me breathing & yoga – it has taught me a way to really live life – really. It does not mean that I don’t fight with my husband, it also does not mean I do not get angry/ upset.. I still do! But, definitely there has been a leap change – I can get back my smile much much faster without having the constipated emotional impressions. Meditation, Pranayam, Sudarshan Kriya – works!

When I did the program, I had no idea about who ‘Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’ was. The teachers had kept His picture in front of us & I hardly remember them mentioning about Him. It took me 6 months to see Him personally, 1.5 years to take Him as ‘my Guru’ – He usually tells, ‘my job is not to remove your doubts, my job is to put more doubts in you. Legendary is the faith that withstands a thousand chances of doubts.’ And that is what He put me through for 1.5 years. I am super glad & sad at the same time about taking that 1.5 years. Later, I came to know that its said … “When it is Time, Your Guru will find you…” & Wow! It feels great to be found! 🙂

Photo taken during a meeting with Gurudev in 2007

One of the first ‘close’ meetings with Gurudev in August 2007 with my Bosch friends

When I did the Sudarshan Kriya for the 1st time, I wanted everyone who I knew to experience it. Fortunately many of them have done it, some have also become teachers, volunteers; but still some have been adamant & not listened.

Whatever be it, I feel absolutely super fortunate and grateful. I only wish those ‘some’ & many many more get to experience Sudarshan Kriya at least some time in their life! 🙂

Jai Guru Deva,
Karpagavalli

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The NICEr side

And then…

There was one other side in my mind that kept assuring that nothing bad could happen, which did become true. The Sumo stopped (I believe the truck and the other car would have also halted), people came, carried me to the Sumo. I shouted out through my helmet (that I could not remove), NOT to put me in the car; was just trying to be safe, with close to 20 men around me. They were telling me to come to the hospital, but I was persistent to call someone from my side. I also could not see where my bike was and I did not want it to be left there. So, they made me sit near the railing. I looked out for my phone, which survived injuries too. Note : it survived. I called Prasanna. His number was ‘not reachable’. After 2 other tries, Rajeev (at ashram) picked up. He asked me to wait right there. I told these men, but realized soon that there were too many bruises that were starting to show off the pain. One of the men got my bike and told me that the bike is safe, that it will be dropped at the hospital and to call my people there. I was surprised that the bike was fine and just had few scratches, considering the impact of the hit it took! I was still skeptical to go to ‘some’ hospital on Kanakapura road. Thanks to Rajeev for the timely suggestion, I was taken to the Emergency clinic in the ashram. It pained. Though I did not want to in front of stangers, I cried. Soon I was at the clinic under the care of the most caring doctor, Dr. Priyadarshan and nurse, Renu.
The tears did continue for more than a week, but then, for a different reason.

There was a complete list of things I could feel grateful about!

1. I just had 3 limbs injured, one was still safe. I could still rest one leg comfortably when I lied down or sat – you have no idea what a comforting feeling it was.

2. People who never used to smile back in my apartment, asked me if I needed help and HELPED! Who said neighbors have become hostile these days?

3. Someone or the other was sent to take care of my food for more than a week. Who sent? – well, I do not know.

4. It was just some bruises and a small fracture, nothing multiple broke. When I narrate the incident to people, they are still surprised.

5. I was sent to the right doctors who took good care of me. I felt like a kid around them.

6. There were 20+ people who came to help in the middle of a highway! We live in India, felt proud.

7. Have got so many friends, well wishers who prayed for me to get well soon, feel so good.

8. Realized that I have the most caring bestest husband

9. The day when I could understand what it means to just feel grateful for this Life… How precious it is.

10. That I could feel grateful and implement a point that I tell out in YES!+. I have got one more Guru story to share 😉

Then on, each time whenever I changed the dressing or tended to the wounds and even now when I oil the scars, I remember something Gurudev says in His guided meditations : “Your body is a precious gift from the mother nature, Honor and Respect your own body”. Ever since, I have really lived through it each and every day. 🙂

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Birthday wished by the planets!

This post had been in “draft” status for almost 5 months now, here it goes “publish”ed! 🙂

Last year, I got to celebrate my birthday at the Navagraha temples around Kumbakonam, a major temple-hub in Tamilnadu.

Our neighbours-friends-family, Shwetha and Vivek had planned to go these temples on the 29th and 30th Oct’11, and had asked us a week back if we would like to join in. But, Prasanna and I had booked “tatkal” tickets to go to Chennai. Prasanna, all of a sudden on 28th morning, wanted to pay a visit to these temples. By this time, I too had the same desire. 🙂 So, within an hour, the route changed from Chennai to Kumbakonam and bus seats booked. Yes, we do donate money to Indian Railways every year like this. Happy Railways!

On my birthday, we reached Kumbakonam at around 6 am, booked a cab, got ready, had breakfast, Kumbakonam degree coffee ( 😉 ) and we set off! We decided to start with the goddess Divine, visited the Lalithaamba temple at Thirumeyachur, she is said to be the embodiment of all Gods and Goddesses. The statue of the Goddess was so beautiful, she was decked up so well and it was as if She was sitting there!

Lalithambikai at Thirumeeyachur

This temple has its story of a devotee seeing the Goddess in dreams and She asking her to adorn Her(statue) with anklets. The devotee had taken the anklets, the priest told her there was no provision in the devi’s statue for the same. But, when he went to the shrine, to his surprise, there was a small gap exactly to fit in the anklets! 🙂 We sat there, sang a few devi bhajans, meditated, felt blessed and grateful :-). Really beautiful temple.

After this, we went to the Shaneeshwarar(Saturn) temple. It was a Saturday and we wanted to attend the special pooja with Abishekam for Shani bhagawan that happens every Saturday. One of my well wishers-astrologer-friend-guide had mentioned that Shaneeshwarar plays an important role in Prasanna’s and my jaatakam(horoscope). That made Him all the more important. When people talk about Shaneeshwarar, they usually create fear – as if He is sitting just to watch us and punish us. But, in this temple, the planet God is in the peace blissful blessing form, they call Him “anugraha murthy” here. The temple was super crowded as expected, with nearly 1000+ devotees in long queues. The best part is the darshan there! Among these 1000+, how we got the best darshan, is something I(we) wonder! Somehow we were sent close to have the best darshan of the abhishekam, archanai and aarathi. The best part did not end there… The place is close to the sea, so it was hot and sultry the whole morning till… Just as we came out of the temple after the amazing abhishekam, archanai, lighting sesame oil lamp, having prasadam – there was a soothing cooling drizzle! – as if all the Gods, Goddesses, including Shani bhagavan blessed us from the heaven! waaaaaahhhhh! I felt sooo blessed, grateful, contented! After this, the climate of all the places that we visited changed from being hot, sultry and tiring to cool, breezy, and refreshing!!!

After the happy drizzle! 🙂

By this time, it was afternoon and we had stopped at Karaikal to have lunch. The driver had mentioned to us that we will have nothing to do for the next 2 hours as usually, in Tamil Nadu, the temples are closed during this time – 1pm – 4 pm approx. and This being the case we might not be able to make it to all the 9 temples of the planets by the next night. But, after lunch, he suddenly remembered that the “Ketu shtalam” (temple of South Lunar Node), is open on that particular day during that time, because of the “yamagandam” time between 1:30-3:00pm! We reached the place, Keezhaperumpallam, in an hour and the time was 5 minutes to 3 pm :)! We were just at the right auspicious time, for which people usually plan and visit that temple! What a ‘divine’ planning!!? 🙂

After Ketu, we went to the Budan(Mercury) temple, Thiruvenkadu (or Swethaanranya in Sanskrit means Sacred White forest). This is one temple that all of us loved for the way it was built! It is built over a HUGE area and there are 3 temple tanks inside the temple compound.

Chandra Teertham - Temple tank at Budhan temple, Thiruvengadu

Just as we went close to the temple, we felt very good. The soothing cloudy climate with a light drizzle added more flavor to it. This temple has several shrines that have their own amazing stories. Budhan is responsible for knowledge, music, intelligence, healthy brain and the nervous system, charm, and many other things. Among the 9 temples, where the main deity is Lord Shiva, this one specially has a shrine for Lord Narayana or Vishnu. It is said that Budhan is the son of Chandran, the Moon god, and Lord Vishnu rules over Him. Budhan is the planet Mercury and in Seven days, Wednesday is His :-). Budhan is said to have meditated in front of the temple tank “Chandra teertham”. It is an awesome place to meditate. We spent quite a good amount of time in the shrines, especially one of the devis here, “Bhrahma Vidya Nayaki” – one would feel that She is just sitting there for giving the highest knowledge!

After spending 2 or 3 hours in Budhan temple, we went to Vaideeshwaran temple. Here, Lord Shiva is said to cure all types of illness in the health. Planet Mars, or Chevvai(God of Tuesday) is regarded as the God of physical strength and valour and he is also believed to cure any type of prolonged diseases. He is said to be the Son of Earth and is ruled by Lord Subramanya. Lord Rama had also been to this place and had performed the last rites of Jatayu, the vulture, who had tried to protect Goddess Sita from Ravana. We had a beautiful darshan at all the shrines here.

A lot about these temples is available online, each temple has many stories. Best to experience them!!! 🙂 I had been to these temples once before when I was in college. One remarkable difference of then and now is that I had a BIG list to ask for then, but this time, I just felt so happy, grateful and contented(tears), I had to think hard if I really needed something… Sadhana-Seva-Satsang has made a difference! 🙂

Next posts on rest of the planet Gods and some realization that I had :-)…

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Status : Married (twice!)

First things first! Something I cannot stop showing off : BLAST of GRACE moment in my life!!!

Look at this!

Ohhhhh Guruji!!!

Yes… now I can share the rest…

Got twice married : August 27th 2010 and October 22nd 2010 – Well, from now, for my wedding anniversaries in coming years, if you forget one date, you can wish me on the next.

I am completely happy and thrilled about both the days! Each one have different Guru moments and stories.

Getting married is an experience!!! 🙂 That too when the ‘mangalsutra’ / ‘taali’ was about to get tied, just as it was tied and a few minutes later, it is an unexplainable moment! The whole day felt soo different and blessed! Have no idea how many people blessed us and from how many dimensions! All that I can remember is I felt a shower of blessingsssssss, felt so much power and I have no idea how to put it in words… I heard the same from Prasanna too! You need to get married to know what I mean here I think, better even to get married at Mahalakshmi mantap @ ashram.

The dream wedding, with the people I dreamed of (well, except those who gave the reason of staying overseas or gotten pregnant.. are you all reading this – missed you all 😦 ), with the dream photos toooo, actually happened!!! If I look at it now, it feels like it was more than what I had dreamed of!!!

The moment!

A day before the wedding was lil’ tough with lot of mixed feelings and emotions, I had and I have no idea of what I went through though! It still feels weird. Thanks to my sis, Akshu, Preeti and Gayathri… now I really understand the importance of “மணப்பெண் தோழிகள் – manappen thozhigal” (meaning – ‘bride’s ‘girl’friends’) to stay beside the bride in her wedding!

Wedding at ashram also meant that it was a YES!+ event – Suman, Vinod, Gokul, and few others running around to do the ‘event management’ stuff and manage the last minute chaos!

The icing on the cake was Bau and Dinesh bhaiya coming in — oohhhh! They looked like angels who have jus’ arrived on planet Earth!!!

Bauuu and Dinesh bhaiya!

Well, I was lil’ upset that Guruji was not there physically at the ashram during the wedding, something I could not share with anyone then… But, now, He could not have been more nicer to me and get ‘patched’ up with me in any better way! A month and a half later, we met Him with our family – oooouuuuu it was a worthy wait! What a day it was! Have no words to thank Him!!! HEEEE giving us the garlands to exchange… I melted the moment He gave me THATTTTT LOOK ! What a look that was!!!?!?!? Want this impression to last and repeat itself पुन: पुन: and again and again!!! 😛 The date all this happened was 22nd October 2010, and I felt as if my wedding was complete just then!

Naanum Nokkinen, Avarum Nokkinaar!

Beyond all this, realised that “STATUS : Married” DOES make a good deal of difference for both of us, though we knew each other for years now:-). I am just getting used to that “change”, may be shall post on the most interesting and striking changes in the coming posts – but only after I am myself ready to post on it!

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