The Candid Eye

October 23, 2010

Kanakapura to China

Forget the kung fu hustle, it’s now time for China to learn some disciplines in yoga. Yes, the Art Of Living is going to China and founder Sri Sri Ravishankar will open its first ashram in the country this Sunday during his maiden visit.

The Beijing ashram, constructed on a 165–acre land, will have rooms and dormitories that can accommodate up to 150 people. It also houses a three-storey meditation centre.

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

China will be the fifth country in the world to have an ashram set up by the AOL International Centre (AOLIC). Germany, Canada, Russia, Poland and USA have ashrams, the biggest one being in Canada.

Why an ashram in China? AOLIC spokesperson Karthik Krishna gives the answer: Hundreds of foreigners visit the AOL ashram on Kanakapura Road in Bangalore every year— many of them are Chinese who felt a need for a similar ashram in their country.

There are also plans to open a therapy centre in the Beijing ashram in due course.

Sunday’s inauguration will be followed by a satsang which will be co-organised by the state-run Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries.

AoL teachers from Bangalore provided yoga training to over two dozen Chinese teachers from Shanghai and Beijing for the Beijing ashram.

Source : DNA

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October 15, 2010

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar invited by China!!

Godless China has invited Art of Living (AOL) founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, for a religious leaders’ meeting and a satsang near Beijing later this month. This would be the spiritual leader’s first China visit.

Sources said state-run China Overseas Friendship Association (COFA) is organising the event on October 24 and 25 and around 400 people from across the country are expected to attend the satsang. They said Beijing gave its go ahead for the event to promote bilateral ties with India and that the invitation is the first of its kind to any Indian religious figure.

HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

“We expect senior businessmen, show business celebrities, medical, educational experts and even psychiatrists to attend the event,” said Tang Qiyu, who would host the event at his ashram-like resort for yoga and meditation on the outskirts of the capital. Sources said Tang’s efforts made the invitation for the spiritual leader possible.

Tang, a businessman, has invested over $15 million in the resort that offers yoga training facilities. The businessman developed the resort and dedicated it to Sri Sri after meeting him in Bangalore last year.

“There is some change in the Chinese government’s attitude towards spirituality. Swami Amolji, a teacher from AOL’s Bangalore ashram, recently attended a government-sponsored yoga conference in Beijing,” Tang said.

During his Beijing visit, Amolji said he found a strong inclination among the Chinese towards spiritualism. Apart from Amolji, several AOL teachers from Bangalore have visited and trained over two dozen Chinese spiritual teachers in Shanghai and Beijing in the last two years.

From TOI

May 2, 2010

The space within

Filed under: Art of Living,Sri Sri Ravishankar — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

A beautiful article on human mind and its nature by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar.

You cannot measure the amount of energy inside an atom. Similarly, you cannot measure the full potential of a human being. The nature of a human being is quite similar to that of an atom. The core of an atom is positive. The negatively charged particles are only on the periphery of the atom. Similarly, the negativity of a person is not their true nature; it is just on the periphery. One is said to be “centered” when he or she is calm, steady and pleasant.

How do we know whether the knowledge that we have is correct or not? Even 10,000 years ago, people knew that Jupiter had 63 moons. They used the subjective way of knowing things — by intuition and quieting the mind. When the mind becomes calm (it is like being in a state of deep rest though one is totally alert), then an intention is taken. With that intention comes intuition, knowledge as well as inspiration. Using this method, ancient sages derived knowledge about the universe and developed mathematical techniques that are valid today. Age-old calendars can still tell exactly what time an eclipse will happen. Ancient societies in the East knew that the sun is at the center of the solar system and planets move around it. They used the method of intuitive awareness in which one feels that every cell in his body is fully alive now, and the mind is quiet. You call that Samadhi.

HH Sri Sri Ravishankar

If we take out some time — say two or three days in a year — to keep silence and simply observe our own thoughts and emotions, then we get a sense of what quietness means. Freedom from the jugglery of thoughts is the basis of intuition. And, intuition is part of innovation.

In our normal lives, we are bombarded with so many thoughts and stimuli that attention and retention is simply not there. Today’s children have problems like attention deficiency disorder and so on. They seem to have lost the ability to focus on simple tasks. When you become quiet in your mind, it is not as if you lose your intellect. In fact, the intellect becomes very sharp and the attention span increases. The first outcome of mediation or any self-development technique should be to increase our perceptual ability, which in turn, should help us in expressing ourselves better.

One aspect is getting rid of stress, the other is seeing that stress doesn’t enter our system. For the latter, we need a change in our attitude towards things happening around us. We can bear the heat — with a sense of humor, a sense of ease, and with confidence. One needs to create barricades so that tension does not enter the mind. But it’s impossible not to have tension; it might slip in through some other way. Just learn to take it easy. The ease with which you are able to handle your environment, or the situation around you, is what I would call being able to utilize your full potential. When you are in touch with your full potential, nothing or nobody can shake you. You will have the smile and the confidence.

Attaining a spiritual mindset is simply recognizing that there is life everywhere, that there is spirit everywhere. I do not see a division between what’s spiritual, and what’s material. The finest aspect of matter is spirit. The gross aspect of spirit is matter. It is like body and mind. You see through the eyes, but actually the eyes are the means through which the mind sees. The mind is the spirit. The whole world is combination of spirit and matter. Therefore spiritual practices too are not something that are any different from you being spirited and being happy and compassionate and being in love.

Atom Quantum

The way of prayer is to be in amazement — looking at the cosmos and saying wow, how many planets! How many stars! How big is this Universe! Your consciousness expands, and this is meditation. The creation and the creator are not separate. The creator and the creation are one and the same. The creation is formed out of the creator, just like dance comes out of the dancer. I usually say we must have the 3C’s in our lives — cosmology, commitment and compassion. These three things make life beautiful.

Billions of years have passed since existence began on earth. Compared to it, the span of human life — 80 years or 100 years — is nothing! In this vast space, where are we?

Seeing yourself in the context of the big creation shifts you to a different level of consciousness. As per one of the scriptures in the ancient Vedic tradition of India, there are almost 112 ways of realizing consciousness. One of them is to observe the sky on a clear day, and let go, and relax. Wherever the mind goes, it makes an assumption and becomes quieter, as it assumes that space. And in that quiet state of mind, an intention fructifies very fast.

A calm and clear state of mind also has capacity to heal and to elevate itself. It is full of joy, ease and love. You can look at your entire past as a dream. Just remember all the activities you did in the morning after waking up. Isn’t it all like a dream? All of those activities are now an impression in your memory — and a dream is also just an impression. See your whole past as a dream. In future, in the next 10-20 years, you will be doing many things, they will all pass like a dream. Knowing this and being aware of it, the space within us starts to open up and we start experiencing heightened awareness. You start seeing another dimension of life. Just wake up!

March 19, 2010

1000+ lives impacted through the ‘Model Village Development Project’

Shivaji Nagar is among a group of 40 villages located at about 20 km from Pune on the Pune-Bengaluru highway. Through their geographic proximity, the inhabitants of these villages have cultural and societal commonalities, as well as share some facilities for health and education. A majority of the inhabitants of these villages depend on agriculture as their sole source of income.

To enable the progress of the community there is a need to facilitate sustainable development on an infrastructural level, economically empower the youth and women of the villages and improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the villages.

Art of Living Ashram - Bangalore

Sterlite is partnering with The Art of Living Foundation, in a project that spans 5 years to develop a Model Village that involves a 5H implementation – developing homes, building of facilities to promote hygiene, undertaking health awareness initiatives, instilling human values and facilitating harmony within the Model Village. Says Pravin Agrawal, Director – Sterlite Technologies, “Our objective is to give back to society in such a way that needs of the weaker sections are responded to and improvements made in the quality of their lives. All the projects we partner with, address the fundamental domains of environment, health and education.”

Since the initiation of the project in October 2009 Sterlite, The Art of Living Foundation and the youth of the villages worked cohesively and several schemes have already been successfully initiated:

Breath Water Sound Workshops

Village cleanliness campaign

Tree plantation drive

Empowerment of women through vocational training

Training program in Youth Leadership

Keeping in focus the aspects of safety and environment protection, a unique initiative was also undertaken at Shivaji Nagar, an electricity deprived village. The Art of Living Foundation worked in collaboration with Project Dharma to source and to facilitate the most suitable solar lighting solution for Shivaji Nagar. These solar lamps provided an eco-friendly, safe and convenient alternative to kerosene lamps.

According to Ankit Agarwal, co-founder, Project Dharma ‘We are proud to be associated with this great initiative of Art of Living and Sterlite Technologies, and are committed to providing livelihood creation and innovative solutions to villages across India’ Future schemes at Shivaji Nagar also include the development of public sanitation facilities and enhancement of education under the 5H implementation. The intrinsic involvement of the youth of the villages in the execution of the project has been a noteworthy aspect of the implementation methodology. This has helped create a sense of self-pride within the community, instilled human values and facilitated communal harmony within the villages.

To date, more than 1000 inhabitants of these villages have been benefited by the Model Village Development Project.

Source: Webnewswire

February 18, 2010

Sri Sri takes the shovel to create environment awareness

Kolkata had a surprise garbage picker this week – the revered Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of the Art of Living Foundation. Sri Sri, who was in the city on a three-day visit extended his concept of community service to direct hands-on garbage cleaning.

Sri Sri cleaning the lily pool

The project titled, ‘Clean Inside, Green Outside’, saw him along with 175 young volunteers of the Art of Living Foundation embarking on shovelling garbage from the once-famed Lily Pool in the Rabindra Sarobar area.

Emphasising on the need to bring about environment awareness Sri Sri said, “No one single agency or authority can undertake this mission. We need all to join hands so that together we make a difference.”

The Art of Living Foundation will incorporate a number of environment-sensitive priorities in the restoration. Collaborating with the Kolkata Improvement Trust, as well as a reputed landscapist, The Art of Living will deploy their volunteers to restore Lily Pool to the splendour that it once had.

Sri Sri led thousands at the Mahashivratri celebrations which were held on February 12 at the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium. The evening commenced with a cultural presentation showcasing ancient Bengali art and culture. This was followed by the Maharudrabhishekam performed by Sri Sri followed by a satsang and a discourse.

Sri Sri during the Shivratri Celebrations in Kolkata

He also felicitated Pt Buddho Dev Dasgupta, sarod player; Chunni Goswami, football player; Subhash Dutta, environmentalist and social activist; Subhra Chatterjee, educationist, and Mahasweta Devi, novelist. Thousands of devotees from all over India and from over dozens of countries including the US, Canada, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Russia and Hong Kong were part of the festivities.

During the visit, Shri Shri was felicitated by Kolkata’s Sikh community and he also inaugurated an exhibition on “Sikhism as the Defender of Indian Dharma” by FACT India, an NGO of the famous Indophile and journalist Francois Gautier, in conjunction with Behala Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee. The exhibition showcased the bravery, fearlessness and sacrifices of the Sikhs during the Mughal, British and post independence periods.

He also inaugurated the Medicasynergie Super Specialty Hospital, a 500-bed super specialty hospital, one of its kinds in eastern India, earlier on the same day.From Kolkata, he left for a week long tour to the North East.

Source: Kolkata Mirror

February 5, 2010

Thackerays need to calm down: Sri Sri

Reacting to the raging controversy on the ‘Mumbai is for Indians’ issue, noted spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar on Thursday advised the leaders of Maharashtra to follow his organisation’s breathing technique and other courses in order to gain peace.

Guruji Sri Sri Ravishankar

“There are a lot of problems in society already. Let us not create any new problems,” he told Zee News on being asked if the Thackerays needed to follow his teachings.

“The Thackeray family strictly need Art of Living lessons,” he said.

Sri Sri was in the Capital to announce a mission to clean up the River Yamuna that his Art of Living is starting from March 7. The mission encompasses involving volunteers, 82 NGOs, World Bank, UNESCO etc in a campaign to create awareness about Yamuna.

“India’s strength lies in unity in diversity and this cannot be put at stake because of such insignificant issues. We should look at a united India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari,” he added.

Having said that the leaders need to bring people together and not divide them, Sri Sri also added that locals should not be ignored.“Regional people should be given due importance, no doubt, but those from other states should not be opposed,” he said, adding “it is not part of our Indian culture.”

In a lighter, yet meaningful, vein he said that cleanliness campaigns needed to be launched everywhere- be it in politics, medical profession, business etc. “But don’t ask me to clean up everything,” he said followed by peels of laughter.

He said peace and reconciliation are possible and even the Maoists had responded positively to his call for talks. “We held a satsang in Orissa’s Maoist zone and there were over a lakh who attended, it was unprecedented.”

Called ‘Meri Yamuna, Meri Dilli’, the campaign will see awareness drives, cleanliness campaigns at various banks of Yamuna, coordination between various government agencies involved with Yamuna etc. Sri Sri said they were starting with Yamuna as it was more polluted than Ganga.

“Our Ganga clean up programs are already on, though,” he said. The campaign is being organised in view of the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) latest report that the faecal content in the water of the Yamuna is so high that the river resembles a drain.

”I saw devotees drinking and bathing in dirty Yamuna water. I was so pained to see that and decided to do something about it,” he added.

He said people and government were both to be held responsible for the mess in Yamuna that had not been cleaned up despite investment of hundreds of crores and people needed to demand answers from the authorities about the same.

“In our study, we found that the main problem is a lack of coordination between various government and non-government agencies. We will try to be a link for all so that we can plan all plan what to do about the Yamuna,” he said.

The program will not ask for money from those getting involved- corporates, citizens, World Bank etc.- and it would be all voluntary work, Sri Sri informed.

On being asked if it was possible to link development with nature, he said it was the only way for sustainable progress. “There is no other way. A balance will have to be achieved between growth and nature.”

He also dismissed questions about it all being a gimmick. “Our programs are for all to see. We make it compulsory for those who attend our spiritual camps to work for society. Where can we run from our issues? There is no escape…”

Source: Zee News

January 29, 2010

Hold on guys, help is here!!

Art of Living Foundation’s counselling helpline for youth and parents, which began operations last week, averaged 70 calls a day.

It was early afternoon on Friday when the phone rang for the first time at the Art of Living’s (AoL) Hopeline office in Camp. A young volunteer picked up the phone and heard a girl’s shaky voice.

Art of Lliving bangalore

“I need help,” said the 20-something on the other line and thus began the journey of Pune’s first 24-hour helpline.Alarmed by the rising number of student suicides and just days after foundation Chief Sri Sri Ravi Shankar left the city after public discourses, AoL Foundation started the helplines across three locations in the city.

“We receive an average of 70 calls daily. The callers are mostly youngsters seeking help for depression — sometimes with suicidal thoughts. Our job is to first listen to them, let them speak their heart out, relate to them and finally get them to come to us for counselling,” said Dinesh Ghodge, Director, World Alliance for Youth Empowerment, AoL.

Stress management

Besides offering temporary counselling through the helpline service, the foundation also offers various free courses for the youngsters on how to manage stress on a long-term basis.

“We convince them to come into our office, because that’s where the real counselling takes place. We integrate them into our free courses that prepares them to deal with situations on a long-term basis, so the question of calling a helpline or having suicidal thoughts doesn’t arise again,” said Pooja Tirke, teacher and volunteer at AoL Hopeline.

Until recently, Pune had only one helpline run by Connecting, an NGO that operated the service between 2 pm to 8 pm to handle callers with suicidal thoughts.

Source: Mid Day

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