February 4, 2007

The AoL experience

(Retrospective Post)
(adjunct post to "Back from THINK INDIA)

VVMP...Ved Vigyan Mahavidya Peeth is the actual name of the AoL ashram where i spent 3 days. It's not too far from the city to be inconvenient... just remote enough to get lose the urban feel we all arrive with.

I confess i haven't been to many ashram's... The only ashram i actually have spent any meaningful time in is the Aurobindo ashram in Pondicherry and in Auroville. Auroville, of course, sets a pretty high standard, and i found that VVMP matches up quite well...

The ashram is spread over 70 acres, and the adjoining lands are mostly fields, some of which are tilled by the Ashramites themselves, as part of their ashram work schedule. There are also a sprinkling of Health Resorts and private farmhouses near the campus, many of which function is quasi-spa's, offering Massages and Ayurvedic treatments, keeping with the 'mind-body-soul' theme of the place.

The ashram itself is built on a set of 5 small hills, with a lake close by. The are the usual kiosks for internet, essentials, spiritual literature, souveniers, laundry, mail, ATM, visitors-desk etc... A massive accomodation facility is located at the base of the hill, consisiting of around 250~300 single rooms, where most of the attendees stay, including some of the International participants. On the ridge of the hill itself, looking down towards the lake are various bungalows where most of the foreign participants stay, in 'ashram-luxury'. At the highest point is the guru's abode... where SriSri stays, looking across the amphitheare carved out of the slope of the hill, to the jewel of the ashram- the Vishalakshi Mantap.
(The Campus the hilltop...our room's at exteme right)

It is a breathtaking sight to see at dusk, when lit up, with its dome pulsing myriad colours. It consists of 6 levels, 2 of which are accessible to the public.... me and a senior managed passed off as Ashramites and managed to make it to the 4th level....and let me tell you, the view is just fabulous. You get unparalleled views in all directions, and as darkness falls you can see the glow Bangalore's lights light up a section of the sky. Incidentally, we got caught by some Bihari guards who spotted us from down below and came up just as we were coming down...we almost got reported- fast-walked our way out, mumbling in Kannada since we knew the guards wouldn't know any!

(An evening with the Guru..."Satsang")

One of the evenings we attended was spent with the Sri Sri himself, who interacted with his followers in a question-answer session. It was a forum for people to ask questions to the Guru himself, on philosophical and metaphysical topics, and to hear his wisdom. Needless to say, everyone in the audience was quite eager to listen to the pearls of thought that Sri Sri would have to offer. The actual experience, however, was quite lacklustre... and i thought, showed the Guru to be nothing more than a wily orator. A few examples...


(hands raised in the crowd...mike is passed to one person..)

"Pranam Guruji, i want to ask you, how one should live one's life to attain perfect peace?"

".....well....(smiles)....(pauses)....you know....if someone tells you this thing...then he does not really know....(pauses).......aaaaand....if you ask such a question to someone who really knows....he will not tell you....(smiles again)"

(laughter in the crowd...mike is passed on quickly to the next person)


(many hands raised...one person stands up)

"Jai Gurudev! Guruji, i have come here to see you all the way from Varanasi, and i just wanted to know, if there was any point where you realized your destiny...any turning point?"

(mild laughter from the crowd)

" Well, for that i can only refer you to the many books that are available in our Spiritual Library. You read and you will come to know...(smiles)"


(following a meditation session, Sri Sri asks the crowd if anyone was unable to meditate, man stands up...)

"Guruji, i tried to meditate but i was unable toe...because of severe back pain that i have had for many years"

"How much do you have?...100%?" (stretches hands apart)

(Man pauses..bit confused)

".....30% pain, Guruji"

"Okay, now take a deeeeep breath."

(man breathes in deeply)

"Now relax"

(man exhales)

"Now is your pain decreased?"

(man pauses....then nods)

"Now do you have pain?"

(man still nods....laughter in crowd)

"Okay how much percent pain do you have now?"


"Only 10%!!!...and you want to keep that also!!!!"

(laughs loudly....crowd picks up on his laughter and laughs loudly)

(mike is passed on)

Seriously, dude....Whatta Sham!!!!

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1 comment:

Vagula said...

Ive never been to one o his discourses or what ever it is he does....but if that's how it went...looks like i wont have to.

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