Monday, July 24, 2017

Thiru aadipuram 2017 Sri Villiputtur

Sri Villiputtur, 23rd July 2017

Sri Andal is one of the best-loved poet-saints of India. Pious tradition holds her to be the incarnation of Bhūmi Devi,Mother Earth, to show humanity the way to Lord's lotus feet.

Devotees in extra-ordinary numbers gather each year to celebrate and commemorate her appearance on earth. Panch Garuda Seva is one of the major festive highlights when deities on Garud vahanas in procession appear in best attire, flower garlands and jewels, each trying to outshine the other! 

We thought of availing darshan of Sri Andal-Rangamannar before ascending the stage.With co-singers in tow, some 20 of us got to the spot only to be daunted by the colossal numbers already awaiting darshan. Out of the blue, emerged a kind soul who understood our dilemma with a benign smile “just follow me”. He took upon himself to first guide us through temple features and eventually paved the way for darshan at the inner sanctum!

Before he left we thanked him and enquired about his current vocation. “Caretaker of Go- shala” was his reply! Before long following lines dawned on me: Engirundho vandhaan, idai jaathi naan endraan!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Guru Purnima tidings

Guru Purnima at Vishakapatnam (Vizag)
​9th July 2017​

The sea (Bay of Bengal) stands for dynamism, change and adventure; the mountain stands for permanence, tradition and values. Geographically nestled in this dialectical process, Vizag has grown out of its humble origins. Once known as Waltair, the fisherman’s village, is all set to become a Smart city.

Guru Purnima afforded an opportunity to visit this City of Destiny after a hiatus especially post-tsunami. The transformation in the panorama was quite visible. For instance, some 1.2 million yatris thronged Simhachalam at the outskirts of Vizag on the Guru Purnima night. Movement of traffic and the attendant cleanup operations were astonishingly swift. Swachh abhiyan has clearly taken roots here.

There was a meaningful interaction with the Faculty and Students of the University Business School on the theme of Science and Spirituality.Seen in pic: the MBA aspirants.

An interview with a leading National Daily in English followed and carried in this link:

Let the Guru Purnima tidings bring waves of happiness in your lives.


Monday, July 10, 2017

‘Calm mind can think better’

AOL teacher talks about stress-free life

He believes in the theory ‘life is a sojourn on the planet and service is the rent you need to pay’. Arun Madhavan, a former banker, a singer, a trainer, a writer and a motivational speaker who has been associated with the Art of Living (AOL) for over three decades, says that engaging in community service has been an integral part of his life ever since his childhood.

In a chat with The Hindu, the Bengaluru-based trainer talked about his journey and the significance of leading a stress-free life.

For many, bidding adieu to a plush job and dedicating to the community service was not an easy task. When Mr. Madhavan discovered his true calling, he did not think twice to give up his 27-year-long career. “As an employee of Standard Chartered Bank, I had an opportunity to travel across the world and be a part of the special committee, contributing to a model village development programme taken up by the Government of India,” recalls Mr. Madhavan, who was the first chairman of the AOL.

When Mr. Madhavan met spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in 1986, he decided to contribute to the spiritual landscape by becoming the founder trustee of Vyakti Vikas Kendra, India. “The kendra primarily aimed at educating the children by setting up free schools in tribal areas and empowering the unemployed youth in a range of soft skills which eventually changed millions of lives,” says the advanced meditation course teacher who did his MBA at IIM-Ahmedabad and recognised as a Dynamic Indian of the Millennium by the KG Foundation. He also bagged an award for the project that promoted India as an investment destination.

Advice to youth

About the younger generation, Mr. Madhavan says that life has become more complex for the youth. “Technology addiction and substance abuse continue to impact the youngsters’ life adversely. Parents’ role plays a crucial part to shape the youth’s future and direct them on to the right path. When I interact with students during seminars conducted as a part of achieving personal excellence programme, I try to explain the link between science and spirituality, offering tips to enhance their emotional quotient and steer clear of bad habits,” he says.

He says that to cope with an increasingly stressful environment, techniques such as ‘Bhastrika pranayama’ and ‘nadi shudhi pranayama’ (alternate nostril breathing) will be of immense help. “Our mind needs to be de-cluttered as a calm mind can think better and makes others life easier,” he adds.

This article was contributed by 
Rani Devalla
Kind courtesy The Hindu 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The hills are alive with the sound of music

11th June 2017

The evening commenced with the launch of Aalekh, the worlds first- ever hand written 3-D Art Magazine in the hands of Pujya Sri Sri at AOL International Centre. This path breaking initiative seeks to offer a fresh approach to art focusing on India’s vast cultural wealth.

The release function was followed by the vibrant ‘Ananta – Live in Concert’ conceived by Siddhant Bhatia who produced the ‘Ram Amrit’ album. Well known maestros performed before an appreciative, massive assembly for three consecutive nights.

The occasion threw up many surprise guests, one of whom was the genial Kalyan Ramana (pic 2nd from left), a well regarded Tollywood singer and composer. He handled the huge responsibility of Sound for the magnum opus ‘Baahubali’. A good Sound supervisor can breathe exciting life into any film. Else imagine movies like ‘Jaws’, ‘Apocalypse Now’ or ‘Baahubali’ without the visceral sound effects!

As the evening concluded, nostalgic moments two decades ago of our first ever musical evening at the Panchagiri campus with maestros flashed back. The hills are indeed alive with the sounds of music!

Monday, May 29, 2017

From a Human Being to Being Human

“Championing the Cause” was the theme given to address an assembly of service- oriented Doctors, Engineers, Educationists and Bankers. During the interaction, learnt about an exemplary voluntary service initiative taken by (Late) Mr. Mani, a retired Bank Manager two decades ago. While commuting to work every day, he used to pass by the Bangalore Central Jail where he observed children crying outside the gates. With the breadwinner of the family in prison, these children had absolutely no support from society. Before retirement, he decided to contribute towards making life better for these children. He and his wife converted their house in Bangalore into a hostel and with their life savings helped to provide a free comprehensive care for these children including food, health, education at three separate facilities in Bangalore and Gulbarga.   Its impact has been profound not only on the children but on the parents’ prison behaviour as well.

“This life is short, the vanities of the world are transient, but they alone live who live for others, the rest are more dead than alive.” How true!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Golden Jubilee reunion IIM, Ahmedabad

Returning to the campus of one’s alma mater, the nurturing mother of studies, rekindled memories and emotions beyond words. Over the past five decades, IIM, Ahmedabad has excelled in academics and given the best of management talent to India and to the whole world. Today, we can find the alumni working in corporate, governmental & public services, expanding the brand globally. It has truly lived up to the universal message of its logo - 'Vidya Viniyoga Vikas' .

The Institution maintains very cordial relations with the alumni, evident from the honours showered on us during our Golden Jubilee reunion coinciding with the Convocation at the campus.

                                                      Classroom today

Down the Harvard Steps

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lord Ramanuja Sahasrabdi -1000 years celebrations Srirangam.

7th May 2017- Srirangam:

The venue for our musical tribute to  Sahasrabdi -1000 years, interestingly, was the famed Hall of 1000 pillars. A fine example of a planned theatre-like structure constructed during Vijayanagara period (1336–1565), the hall is celebrated for sculptures of wildly rearing horses bearing riders on their backs and trampling with their hoofs upon the heads of rampant tigers.

Mercury touching peak level during the day did not deter devotees from turning up in large numbers to immerse in nectarine hymns.

A week thereafter, on 14th May 2017,  Pujya Sri Sri paid a rich tribute to Lord Ramanuja on the concluding day of  Viswa Mangala Mahotsava held at the Palace Grounds, Bangalore. He referred to him as a Universal teacher whose teachings shall remain relevant for all times for all people.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Magnificent Srirangam

Sunday 7th May 2017 4.30 pm.

A great opportunity to be at the Arangam of 1000 pillars, soak in the  tharangam of nectarene bhajans, transcend to antarangam  of your heart to  experience  bliss at the Bhuloka Vaikuntam!

Located in an island, the Ranganatha Swamy temple is one of the world’s oldest and foremost divine abodes. Towering gopurams, numerous sanctums and mandaps, thousands of sculptures evolved here over many centuries. The tradition of food offerings, festival, music and dance abound. The Lord gets entertained in Nithyotsava. Saint Ramanuja   played a vital role in its resurgence and the protocols evolved by him are adored here for centuries.

 Join us at his Sahasrabdi festivity.

Thaen Amudham Satsang on 1st May 2017.

The uninhibited joy

Been part of two programs back–to-back, attended by differing age groups.There is no richer experience than to see children's faces light up at the suspense of a new tale! The uninhibited joy with which they listened was akin to that of an eager adult audience at the AMP.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

No time to stand and stare!

Colourful flowers, symbolic of perfection and spirituality. 
In the course of a recent  satsang,  asked the assembly as to how many of them stop and admire the ethereal beauty of flowers ‘trending’ this season in public view. A poor life this, full of care, many of us have no time to stand and stare at them! This morning the messenger box opened with images of Pink Poui posted by a satsangee adorning an avenue in her residential area!

Flowers bring a touch of eternity, joy and beauty that lie beyond the sorrows and cares of the human world. Great Saints have pointed out that apart from the colour, fragrance, beauty of form and texture of a flower, there is something more - an aspiration, a psychic giving, wordless prayers of Nature.A conscious and intimate relationship with flowers can give an experience of communion with the Divine and awaken the true consciousness in us.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A tribute to Vasant utsav - Brindavan, March 2017

Tender green leaves on trees, flowers in blossom, sweet calls of birds welcomed us at the Brindavan retreat. Holi is indeed the harbinger of spring. As we traversed through the kunj gallis of the town, we were caught off-guard with colors poured from atop houses, bursting water-filled balloons and long pistons squirting coloured water! Later at a gathering of eco-conscious Holi revellers, we were strewn with organic colours extracted from flowers and seasonal herbs that left us fragrantly refreshed.

Raas Lila theater on the oldest platform of Vraja.

It was enthralling to watch an internationally reputed theatre group perform Raas Lila of Radha-Krishna spread over three days. From Brij Vandana to Mayur Nritya, the spectacular movements of dancers brought forth various rasas and dramatic flavours like friendship, conjugal love, parental love, amazement, compassion, humour, chivalry, fury and fear et al.  Gopis led by Radha re-enacted Lathmar Holi with Danda, colours and flowers. They struck men hard with dandas  whilst Krishna and Gopas were on the run to escape!  It all eventually climaxed in “Phoolon Ki Holi” when the divine duo is drenched in several quintals of flower petals.

Huge bonfires at night seen everywhere, ashes from which form the source for  vibhuti powder, symbolically pure, freed from the negativity of demoness Holika! Some distance away in a village,  large numbers gather  to watch a local priest, jump into a 20’ high X 20” wide bonfire and walk out of it unscathed. The scale is truly gigantic in comparison with தீமிதி  – firewalk on embers. The village is keeping alive this tradition that goes back five centuries. For forty days preceding the event, the priest has to remain at the local Prahlad temple in intense penance and meditation preparing for this task. It is a test of faith and no easy cake walk.

Very few festivals in India are celebrated with as much gusto and verve like Holi.