I came to rejoice, I ended up getting knurled.
I came to enjoy, I ended up celebrating.
I came to rejuvenate, I ended up dancing with the world,
I came to smile, I ended up laughing with him I am writing.
My Guru, the master.
As the YES!+ song (Breathe) still reverberates beyond the ashram and in my room, it’s not the most difficult thing to visualize several moments of the ten day fun filled adventure called Summer Magic 2010. Though flashback might not be the correct word as it all seems to be in the so called “now”, it still is close enough to be appropriate. So, here it goes…
Awful exams, horrendous project demonstration and viva, agitated but lazy, also getting frustrated with my own self, all I knew was it was time!
Two advance courses done including Winter Break ’09, I thought I knew what was in store but I still “somehow” decided to give up on the World Cup for Ashram. Believe me, I’m glad I did it because it was so awesome, so different as to what I had thought it would be, it sure was magic in the summer of 2010. Convincing by parents, to filling up my YES!+ Advanced form, to packing by bags for
June 20 morning, my smile erect, me buzzing with enthusiasm and overfilled with energy, I reached the Pune station where the teachers, Shashank and Ajinkya, along with the others were waiting.
This time there were several new faces, in fact I hardly knew ten from the eighty odd who were traveling. A combination of satsangs, guru stories and hours of dumb sheraz made for a decent train journey.
Hours of traveling and we had reached
After we were allotted rooms, I met unexpectedly met my YES!+ teacher, Srividya Natarajan, at Kitchen. Oh mine! if that wasn’t cool, I called and expectedly met Satwik Mehta at the reception to round off a perfect start to my time in the Ashram.
Next morning it was quarter to 4 and I was up only to realize that there were more than a dozen people waiting to let go, lol. I waited in the queue telling myself, “Mera number aayega.” 45 minutes of wait and I had finally got the green card. Several minutes later, with a bright smile again I was at peace with myself and sure it felt good. As I came out, I saw a longer queue for taking bath. Believe me, that was that! I said, “Jai Gurudeva” and walked out in despair into my room. Soon, Satwik was back from his shower. I had decided I ain’t bathing here, even Vishala seemed like a decent option. So, I walked with Satwik…from Chinese Dorm to the Vishala Bathroom, oh! and yes, it wasn’t as full…I was only the fourth one in the queue! I was on time and it was awesome to feel so fresh. Wonderful sadhna followed by breakfast, masti, lunch, story writing, masti, dinner, masti and satsang was so much fun. Satwik and I both felt sheer gratitude for Guruji. We also prayed to him to somehow change our rooms. Though we knew it wasn’t possible but we still went to the housing in anticipation. Guess what, we got Buddha!
Only one person was allowed to enter the housing and Satwik, the man was “The man”, who went in and spoke and even I don’t know how we got Buddha. Though it was sixteen sharing instead of eight but it still felt a lot better. Ironic I know but we were jumping at 9:30 PM as though we had won gold medals at the Olympics.
Leaving our luggage at Chinese Dorm, we went and slept at Buddha.
Next day again, I got up at 3:45 AM and got ready. A nature walk at five to the Chinese Dorm to change my clothes was “extra” warm up but it was fun, I did that with a smile. 6:01 AM in my watch and there I was, at Yagyashala. When I reached Yagyashala, there was buzz around the entire auditorium for the second upgrade. Alien to even the theme, I loved the dilemma and the excitement of the moment. Long Kriya followed by Padma Sadhna energized me more than ever and made me feel enliven. Even the thought of nerve-wrecking challenges gave me butterflies in my stomach but I felt gratitude towards Guruji for making me be a part of this enthralling venture called Summer Magic 2010. With a smile we ran and sat and the groups were formed. My will to be away from my Pune group in order to cross my own boundaries made me not join them, most of whom ran together and then sat together. But it felt good. The theme for the upgrade was countries involving clues, Q/A, quizzes and tasks about the countries, respectively. The upgrade involved 60 groups which were given one country each. Completing a country made the groups move from one nation to the other. It also gave three flags which were necessary to determine the outcome. We were group number 4, with a group leader who was Idiot number 4. We were also a group with no coordination. I had lost the count to the number of times I said “shut up!” to my ego. Our country was
Soon, we had guest lectures from Rajesh Krishnamurthy who made us aware about the six degrees of separation. Then, Dr. Hari and his wife were greeted to the stage with a bundle of applause. Dr. Hari spoke extremely well regarding the ancient history, om and his researches.
We also had the APEX team speaking to us about the
Soon a couple of meditations and it was time for Satsang with Guruji which turned out to be a divine experience again. I meditated and moved with the beats, loved it!
As the satsang ended, it was time for a musical called Anand and Benaifer. Anand and Benaifer was a comic love story between a Parsi girl named Benaifer Soda water bottle Openerwala and a South Indian boy named Anand . It was directed by Priyamani and Sidhika, quite superbly done! The highlight of it was that whether it was singing, speaking or dancing, everything was live and nothing pre-recorded. The musical had two parts to be performed on two separate days. The first part was performed after the satsang on the 23rd. The first part of the play was rounded off by a YES!+ song that took 2000 breaths away (including mine). I remember, when I went back to my room in Buddha, I was still singing that song….Breathe, Breathe YES!+….The magic of YES!+
The day had arrived, it was the start of the advance course. Chirag Aggrawal started the day with dance yoga teaching us to dance on the “Zoobi Doobi” song from the movie 3 idiots. Dance followed by Surya Namaskar and then, Sadhna filled me with joy. Breakfast and then seva at the VM was quite immaculate.
Dinesh Bhaiya’s session started and we were called into action with the fantastic Dr.Giri teaching us the ways by which attack can be used as the best form of defense. Our own Gauri didi and Dinesh Bhaiya got on the stage to demonstrate Dr. Giri’s art.
Another special guest invited by Dinesh Bhaiya was Amol Bhaiya, a man who was working in the villages. He was a man who touched my heart and spoke in such a way that hundreds (including me) sitting in Vishalakshi Mantap(VM) wanted to do something for the people in the villages. It was extraordinary to see a healing wave of seva spread with that force only by the words of a man. I even now, feel like planting trees and doing my bit to make this place a better place to live in.
Later, Jigeesh Bhaiya joked, sang and danced with us. He also shared his guru story and experience about silence and what he did while going into moan.
The surprises continued and this time, it was my own teacher (Srivi ma’am) along with Priyamani on the VM stage with both the girls dressed in traditional South Indian outfits. I, sitting with the Pune group, was puzzled and thought to myself, now what? Srivi mam caught the microphone and everyone in VM greeted her with applause. Soon, I was doing what I never thought I would ever do….dancing Bharatnatyam! But let me tell you, it was so much fun. In fact, more fun than sitting on a platter to gossip and rubbish around about a traditional dance that holds a vital position in the forte of Indian heritage.
Soon, it was time for a nature walk and we were off, walking through trees, feeling the winds, dancing with the dropping dew and sitting next to the lake. It was time satsang and this time I danced like no other in divine’s presence. As soon as the satsang got over, it was time for Anand and Benaifer Part 2 and guess what, this time Guruji was also here to watch the musical. The musical this time brought with itself even more energy, possible due to Guruji’s presence. From the moment it started to the time it ended, the atmosphere was mind blowing. The YES!+ dance was scintillating, the crowd was dancing with the dancers on the stage. How on earth can anyone forget that amazing moon salt by Chiraj to give Guruji the flower, it was simply stunning. The play was funny, action packed, romantic, full of music, in short, perfect!
Well done Sidhika, Priyamani and everyone associated with the play including the Dakoos, the Pirates, every single person…you guys rocked!
As once Mandy told me…Bawa is a perfectionist…all I can say is Vindicated!
At last it was so cute to see Dinesh Bhaiya and Bawa doing a couple of steps of the YES!+ song.
It was a perfect start to the advanced course.
I was at the Yagyashala before six and guess who made his entry at dot 6 AM, Dinesh Bhiaya. I knew what was in store and yes, I was correct.
Believe me, I have never done Surya Namaskar that slowly. We did some Asanas in Ujjai breath also but it was a great start to the day. After sadhna, I felt overjoyed. The conventional advance course processes started after breakfast and by evening we were all ready for silence. The silence commenced as the satsang with Guruji terminated and I prayed to Guruji, “Guruji no girls this time, I want to concentrate only on being silent.”
I was up early again and it felt extremely good as I was maintaining silence. It was only five and I had reached Yagyashala, where I had a pleasant sleep for an hour after which the yoga started. After an impeccable morning sadhna, seva and breakfast, we were pulled into meditation by a series of vintage advance course processes which continued on either side of lunch. Soon, it was time for satsang with Guruji. The satsang was again awesome and looking down I walked back to my room, Buddha 4.
3:45 AM and I was up again! I reached Yagyashala early and had a nap once more. I guess I was in sleep when I suddenly started to hear “
Early mornting and Dinesh Bhaiya was at Yagyashala again. After an advance course process we came out of silence. The silence was awesome, probably better than ever. I walked looking down and hardly spoke. I wanted to be in silence more but it was good to be out of it as well. The date June 28, 2010 that meant my mother’s birthday.
The first thing that I did was wish the most special women in my life ever at 6:30 AM. It was great to wish her Happy Birthday, hear her voice.
Shortly after, the Rudrapooja in Guruji’s presence started. Pooja was like a breath of fresh air that drove me into meditation almost automatically. Rudrapooja was followed by breakfast and Guruji’s meet.
His meet was magical, if magical is not an understatement. I remember, when Guruji was coming towards me, I expected nothing at all. All I had for him was gratitude for all that he had given me. He came to me, stopped, smiled as asked me, “Are you happy?”…. I was blank! He again asked me, “Are you happy? “ and I not in my senses, said, “Pakka Guruji.” He smiled and went ahead, it was then that I realized that today is also my Mummi’s birthday. So I asked him to bless my mother and he again smiled…I was lost again! He then, blessed and I have been smiling since.
Lunch was followed by people celebrating like crazy. I guess they were overwhelmingly happy to come out of silence. I on the other hand, wished to remain numb. Plenty of hugs and everyone around expressing their joy, it wasn’t the worst feeling on the planet. Moments after we had assembled in the VM, we had the most amazing seven minutes, ever! They were seven extremely precious minutes with Mr. Yezdi Batliwala, the chairman of VVKI (Vyakti Vikas Kendra,
After an array of performances, if anyone still doubted the talent of the Summer Magic participants in Ashram, they were proven further wrong. Bhargavi along with a summer magic participant stunned more than a thousand, singing the songs that were given to the pair in reverse fashion which left me (at least) jaw dropping!
It was soon Bawa time! Bawa got his fingers on the piano and played a scintillating mixture of rhythm and melody that in itself demanded a standing ovation from the crowd.
It was another splendid exhibition of expert artistry by the man I started to believe was the perfectionist, Mr. Khurshed Batliwala.
I had that wide, glowing, internally happy smile and believe me it felt so good to be in that atmosphere. We continued to have more fun in the VM with Dinesh bhaiya and Bawa and later, went for dinner. It was a super cool session.
Satsang was full of life and great energy. This time around, along with Guruji, Mrs Indu Jain (The Times Group chairman), Dr. P C Reddy (Chairman of Apollo Hospitals) and his family were present at the satsang. They unveiled their heart campaign and pledged to defeat heart disease with smile and yoga. The satsang ended and I down with cold, headed back to my room to sleep. Everyone in the room was in a mood for discussion and so, they started off with their own philosophies, going back to what Swami Vivekananda said, further back to the epic Ramayana to the movie Ravan starring Abhishek Bhachan, to everything on planet earth possible! The talks continued and it was close to mid night when Satwik suddenly heard Bawa talking and walking past Buddha. One voice we had heard and that was the end of talks! Our hearts in our mouths, before midnight we went off to bed.
Up and ready at 5:30 for sadhana again, unlike my room mates who wouldn’t wake up, I reached Yagyashala after doing some “time-pass”. While walking, I thought to myself, “No more drama left, it’s been a wonderful course, what more can they add?” Yagyashala on this occasion had a lower turn out as compared to the other days and Virat Bhaiya was as usual, brilliant taking the kriya again. After breakfast, I and Satwik took appointment for three people for Guruji’s Darshan and headed to VM for the session.
Before the main session, the summer magic photographs were clicked with more than a thousand people sitting, standing or posing at different parts of the VM. The main session started with Rashmin bhaiya speaking on how NOT to give introductory talks. He also shared his experiences of intro talks and his courses, both in
Remember the second upgrade…?...uuh.yes!...what about the results?...yes, it was upgrade result time!
Though, results were the last thing on my mind and even though I had kept on complaining about there being “no coordination”, but I, like any other participant, obviously wanted to win. Shouting on the top of my voice, “Group number 4!” whenever Bawa would call out the number of the group that had finished as the runner-up or won the upgrade, was great fun. Though we didn’t win but it certainly was worth an experience. I soon met people from my group and guess what, I joked around with them. I then realized, they all weren’t as irritating as I once thought they were, though some of them still held on to their unprecedented reputation! But it turned out to be fun. Minutes later, lunch was taken. Post lunch session was used to give away wonderfully designed T-shirts, bags and bookmarks as a Summer Magic 2010 memento.
I looked at my watch, it was 4 PM which meant, it was time for Guruji’s Darshan and guess what, I and Satwik had taken entry for three. So, I asked my childhood friend, Aarushi Goyal (who also got me into the world of the Art of Living) to join us. We were super excited and overjoyed. We sprinted down the VM stairs and into the darshan queue to enter the Badri Vishala. We were so excited that we were smiling, laughing and screaming to ourselves in excitation saying, “YES!!!” It was just a very crazy moment and the overall feeling of realizing that we are going to meet Guruji was even crazier. I for once felt that if I jump now, I’d touch the sky!
After an hour of wait, we finally met Guruji and the meet was special again. Just seeing him was an experience in its own and it’s so different when he looks into your eyes, that’s the drug that you need to heal all the negative emotions that ever existed.
Another pleasant surprise, though I didn’t speak, Guruji still heard me! The satsang that evening in Guruji’s presence took place at the Vishalakshi Mantap. The satsang at the VM had a different energy all together and it also showered highest degree of bliss that I felt throughout the Ashram trip. The sleep was pleasing as well.
Satwik left for Pune at 6 in the morning. On the other hand, my sleep was so pleasing that I woke up at 7 in the morning. My plans of a nature walk at 6 AM went right down the gutter. I remember, I saw the watch, it said 7 AM and I jumped off my bed like a ninja only to look around and see people were still sleeping away to glory. 15 minutes and I was ready. I patted myself on the back, said, “Job well-done mate!” It felt great and I was smiling as though I had scored from 36 yards in the dying moments of the world cup final. I walked quicker than ever and finally reached the lake. I went and sat right at the corner, walking through the pathway. I closed my eyes and felt the winds, it was as though I was flying! I also meditated for sometime, it was a different feeling, I felt silence. It was better than meditating on marine drive. For the remaining time that I was at the lake, I just sat and felt the nature glow. It was so magical. It was me, the nature and the divine.
After having breakfast at the canteen, it was Bakra time! I had met this guy from
Later, I with a bunch of friends went to the city where we had lunch. We reached the Ashram and it was time for satsang, which was at the VM again. This time Guruji didn’t speak a word but the satsang was incredible. We soon went off to sleep and it was a wonderful day.
It was my last day in the Ashram. I woke up with mixed feelings. On one hand I was sad to leave the Ashram but on the other, grateful to Guruji that he had given me some unforgettable moments this time around. I walked a lot and saw almost the entire Ashram. It was really cool. I took back with me teachings and a bundle of memories about which I’m writing now. YES!+ Summer Magic 2010 has been a learning curve, not only in terms of inner silence and centeredness but also in terms of art. From dancing to Zoobi Doobi and the YES!+ song with Chirag to doing Bharatnatyam with Srivi ma’am and Priyamani to learning Dr. Giri’s art to experiencing so many different emotions during various guest lectures, I feel grateful to Guruji for making me a part of this extraordinary venture.
A special thanks to Satwik, Aarushi, Srivi ma’am, Himanshu, Ajinkya, Shashank, Mandy, Mihir Joshi, Saiyam, Aditi,Rutuja, Aniket, Jayashree and everyone else for making my trip a perfect one.
Jai Gurudeva J