Monday, December 31, 2007

Wholeness - December 2007

For me, of several aspects, what remains fresh in my heart are the volunteers of this program. Sadhguru used to say "A happy face is always a beautiful face". In several situations in the program, I saw several beautiful faces. People become very precious and lovable when they are in tune with their inner nature. I could clearly see this happen to so many volunteers during the process of the program. I already spent one day at office after volunteering and how badly I miss them and people like them - the contrast is too startling! Just being around them was total joy!

Then, the participants - it was another real pleasure to watch their faces change during the course of the program. During the beginning of the program, many of them complained about the program being too stiff (one participant referred to it as "not having enough 'space' "). The last evening of the program, at about 11PM in the Satsang, Sadhguru wanted to close the session and almost all the participants cried out with a unified "Nooooooooooooo"! A few participants were in tears as they thanked the volunteers after lunch on the final afternoon. One participant came and hugged us, saying "You guys are as great as Sadhguru". Too much of an overstatement, but the fact that they were overwhelmed was clear.

Another aspect that will remain etched will be the trek. Considering the varying age groups of the participants, the trek was only upto the first hill about 2.5 hours uphill. The volunteers were divided to two batches - the first one scheduled to depart at 4:30AM in the morning carrying cooking provisons for mountian-top cooking! I was part of the 7:30AM batch - and our job would be to escort the participants, especially those who were not strong enough up the hill. We reached the top by about 10:30AM. After brunch, there was a Satsang with Sadhguru, where he spoke about how the center came into being. It was an intense session where he shared several experiences and spoke about the sanctity of the place. It seems, after all participants left downhill back to the ashram, he opened his arms wide laid back on the tree and said "I do not want to come!"

Physically, the work was back breaking - for most of the volunteers, despite being 150 in number. Because we were involved in the situation and because of the collective focus, it did not matter. It really was a demonstration of what people who work together for serving a situation can accomplish.

A final feather to cap all the celebration was the ceremony conducted by Sadhguru amidst participants to marry two couples !

It would be too exhaustive to detail everything that went on in the eight days, but I can say one statement with conviction. Only now do I totally understand what Sadhguru meant when he said - "Our lives become beautiful not because we are perfect. Our lives become beautiful because we put our heart into what we are doing"!

It has been so long since I have been so consistently and intensely happy :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

kannaththil muththamittAl...

This is such an overwhelming film. Just for the sheer audacity of the topic. The first time this really strikes is during the intermission - where Madhavan promises Keerthana, "I promise I will take you to Sri Lanka". For a mind that is almost imprinted with countless situations of hero challenging villians, "twists" in the movie plot and so on, this setting strikes like cold water on the face.

And the climax! Again, what audacity to leave the hero standing in the background holding an umbrella over the three characters who take center stage!

A defining moment, which is a question for all of us:

Amudha: "Come with me to Chennai"

Shyama: "I will, some day when there is no war here." (She knows it is a rhetoric reply. She also knows that she probably will never see that in her lifetime)

Amudha: "When?"

She finds no answer in anyone's face and at last realizes the situation.

In a way this movie is commercial, art, life-size - all at the same time. Almost like a case study to anyone who would like to question the viability of such ventures.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cholayil Sanjeevanam

I found out about this restaurant a few weeks back. A rarity in restaurants to find "pranic food", this restaurant has several recipes that match the definition (one mismatch between what they consider "sattvic" and what is referred to as "pranic" in Yogic culture is they use "pachchai miLagAi" - green chillies - but it is very easy to find recipes without this as well). They mostly avoid onions, garlic, brinjals, red chillies (!! pepper is used in lieu), sugar(!! honey is used in lieu) unless your taste buds cannot live without them!

We had lunch yesterday at this place. The lunch can only be called palatial. And aptly, it was named "raJakIyam" ("king of nutrients"). Twenty six separate items were served. For me, more than the grandeur of everything, the availability of a place that servers "pranic" food is very pleasing :). Perhaps, the biggest success of the lunch was that, after it was over, despite the fact that one could not eat any more thereafter, there was no sense of heaviness.

There is one more place in Chennai that designed on these lines, called prAnA near Santhome. It is even subtitled "Consious Eating"!

Amidst invasion of foreign food chains and flavor enhancing chemicals, the directions some restaurants like these are taking is very pleasing. You are anyway going to pay wherever you go - why not eat healthy! :)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The Wisdom of Hatha Yoga

I recently heard about an ancient Tibetan meditation. The meditation involves standing in front of a mirror and making funny faces and funny body postures - with awareness. By and by, the meditator sees a distance between him/herself and his/her body. The very process creates a distance.

Suddenly, I was struck with amazement about the science of Hatha Yoga. The very meditation, which I presume was discovered accidentally in Tibet, and was slowly evolved into a meditation has always been here as a complete Science!
 
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