It is very difficult to put into words my experience with the art of living and its founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji.
My mother did her course in 2003. It used to be called the basic course then. She had undergone a series of surgeries which had gone wrong at R&R Delhi and was generally not feeling her usual talkative self.
After doing the course, she felt energetic and believed she could take on challenges again. So she made me and my brother to do the ART EXCEL course for children the following year.
My teacher Avani ma’am was simply fantastic. She made us play games after which she taught us lessons such as losers were equally important because they played the game.
On the last day of the course, she showed us a video of Sri Sri. The video depicted all the service projects that the art of living was doing and how a lot of extremists had given up the path of violence. The video made me really sentimental(I am that way usually, I just need the slightest provocation for water works).
However what changed for me was the part after the course. About three months after the course I was sexually abused by a person I thought was my friend. Worst was he worked with my father and I couldn’t possibly tell my parents about the incident because of their reputation in the services etc.
That night my parents had go out, I took a picture of Sri Sri we had at home, and cried my heart out before it. I spoke to the picture as I would talk to a friend; only this person was an adult. I went to bed soon after.
The next day, I had almost no recollection of the trauma I had gone through. There was no hurt and pain regarding my defilement except a vague dream like thought of it having occurred.
I have heard people’s lives being scarred because of sexual abuse but somehow that wasn’t going to be me at fifteen years of age.
I finished with school and got into a good college in Delhi. I regretted not getting into my dream college however and having scored poorly in class tenth and twelfth. But, in retrospect, doing the sudarshan kriya regularly; I learnt that I was always giving up moments before my big day. I always start something new with enthusiasm only to give up days before the project is to be completed.
It might seem that I’m making improper correlation with my realisation and doing the art of living practices, but; for me, there have been too many incidents to call it mere co-incidence and nothing else.
Last year, I contested the students’ union elections at my law school. The elections here are said to be a microcosm of any general election in the country. One has it all- the caste and region card being played, money being exchanged for votes and alcohol being distributed. I, for one, do not judge the means used by others, but could not use them myself because I possibly couldn’t spend my father’s money on such activities. On top of all this, I had a brat of a roommate who made my life miserable 24×7.
Crying and calling up my parents in Chennai and abusing people on the phone again with my boyfriend was daily thing for me.
On one of the art of living Facebook fora, I put a post about my roommate being a b|¥€£. The next day, I receive a call from an art of living devotee I have never met or spoken to him in my life. He asked me to put my roommate on the line. He sounded nice and gunda like ready to show my roommate her place in this world. I didn’t let him talk to her though, but soon after the phone call, tears of gratitude began to flow from me, knowing that, at the end of the day, I have someone who has my back despite my parents being away.
Last couple of months have been quite hellish for me in the health department. I had two surgeries, for one of which I had no parental presence. But I kept thinking about Sri Sri and would cry, pray and see my prayers being answered by a sweet doctor cracking jokes or a friend unexpectedly willing to help out.
Many of you reading this might think I’m superstitious for believing in a godman or following a cult like organisation. But for me it has been much much more than that. The incidents I have narrated are just the tip of the iceberg. There have been numerous times where I have even tested my faith in the Guru and the practice even. I have been proved wrong always.
So if you haven’t done an art of living course, please enrol for one. If you still choose not to, I would say have faith, because it has sure moved mountains for me.
– Pallavi Chandrasekhar
My name is Pallavi Chandrasekhar. I’ve graduated from Campus Law Centre, Faculty of Law, Delhi University. I was the Vice President of the Students’ Union at law school. I’m now going to enroll myself as an advocate. I enjoy dancing, debating, reading,eating good food and exercising.
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