Wednesday, February 04, 2004

the moment ARC announced it wud b bringing isha here, i'd wanted 2 join it very badly. thats coz of thayumanavan, my friend who wud most probably be there for life. the introduction talk was as expected - some young yogi talking in a sing-song voice, the goodness of yoga.

oct 7, the eagerly awaited day came and we were there at 6:15 am. there was this guruji's photo placed on a white cloth covered chair. an american woman, angela then started discoursing. she talked and talked and talked. the topic was abo' rules, why you should consider them to be your rules and how this will result in very positive results. it was such a long speech that she fainted & fell all of a sudden. my first impulse, may be it was some staged theatrics. poor woman, she must have been exhausted doing all that talking & standing there with an empty stomach. another female continued from where she left. one thing here, the institute seems to have a good number of females. who knows, jaggi
(r someone in the ashram) may turn out to be the next premananda.

we went through pairing exercises like this: one should tell the other what moments made him most happy. and then they caught us unawares by saying "see, thats the problem with you. you are happy only at specific moments. it shouldn't be like that. what stops you from being happy all the time?". at the end of such an enlightening class, we were given 3 questions that asked us how the teaching helped us in situations in the next 24 hours as homework. should someone teach us to write or what? we all wrote some story or other and brought it for the next day's class. that day it was all about responsibility. how unlimited responsibility will make you & the world so good and stuff like that. we did do some yoga this time - sitting in vajra asana with 3 of the basic mudras chin, chinmaya & adi, chanting aaa, ooo, and mmmm respectively. the same homework with the same result.

third & fourth days we did get to know abo' some mo' yoga - a breathing technique involving the 4 basic breathing actions - breathing in, holding in, breathing out & holding out at 4:2:5:2 ratio of time. This day the talk was on how the present moment was inevitable and how the next moment had millions of possibilities to unfold. All these truths were mind blowing, you know, that it was difficult for us to think on it. many felt 'confused' thinking about such a difficult philosophy as how THIS moment can be inevitable.

in one of the classes we were asked what we felt of these 2 options: whether "the body is mine" or "i'm the body". after closing the eyes and thinking very very hard, you know we really have to concentrate on such a thought provoking dilemma, i couldn't arrive at any answer. It was fun to tell I felt neither and was made fun of by the amerian guru. lucky that i had company, dunno who the other guy was, lol.

sunday came and we had been told repeatedly of the great day, of how much fun it would be to be part of such great activities like eating non-cooked food, how energising we'll feel etc etc. we were asked to get flowers, sweets, fruits, a coconut and a white cloth to class. first to the Marina we went. the best part of the program was here. it was surprising seeing all the young and old play games. they said afterwards, "see, what all this play can do for you. didn't you see that it brought the child in you? see how good it feels!". it'll b nice 2 c if everyday we did play & saw how we felt. anyway, it wasn't that great as i was into jogging, cricket & such games that have been played during our company get-togethers. may be the oldies and others who haven't played for long luved it much.

then after a break for breakfast we again assembled at T Nagar. there was a recap on the learnings of the past week. at one moment everyone was asked to scream their lungs out. oh, the sound was unbearable and many kept goin' even after the stipulated time of 5 seconds. time went by as meaningless words tried entering your logical, sleepy head. we were asked to take the pledge of giving parental love to the whole universe. the general idea was everyone should come upfront and mumble something on the mic about how they are gonna luv everything in this universe from that moment on.

suddenly it was time for us to learn meditation & a mantra for clinging onto while we meditate. there was this special guruji who had come just to tell that one single, powerful word. think she must be low in IQ or something as she found it difficult and had to use her hand in a threatening action to get that single word from the back of her head.

the supposed lunch wasn't that disappointing. though it didn't fill one's hunger, it did have variety.

our main teacher who taught us yoga doubled up as a do-this-don't-do-that guru too. she taught us good eating habits. about why we shouldn't be eating meat, about why we shouldn't touch tea, coffee & alcohol (they are nerve stimulants you know, scientifically proved!), about +ve, neutral & -ve pranic foods etc. she proved this phenomenon beyond doubt (sic) by using the rudraksh. ah, how it goes clockwise, anticlockwise & in oscillation - in her hands, of course. anyway, i still don't unnerstand, why the hell should i bother if the mala goes whatever way it did.

isha yoga went hi tech too. there was this multimedia film clip of isha, the dhyanalinga & of course the great master. of how life at isha is, of how famous artistes have performed there, of how maha siva rathri, other special days are celebrated, of the bhavaspandana & samymaa programs, oh the list is endless. "you just have to come to the isha yoga centre, what are all you doing here wasting your very life?" was the message in short.

there was this whole session dedicated to knowing about the great master too. the story started with the master's master who lived in some remote place in karnataka. of how he worked from morning till late nite, of how healthy he was even at 83, of how he lived to be 108, of how he ran all of 70 km once, of jaggi being a disciple of this great man.

the master himself is such a great personality. he was different (oh no, he too!) even from his childhood. he used to be with nature always traveling & being there in chamundi hills quite often. while in college he never read but still passed out ranked second (wow!) and then he started a construction company which soon became number one in the whole of mysore (wow wow!). one fine day he left all these just like that and started teaching yoga. and to use the cliche, the rest is history.

with all these teachings goin' on, there was some interesting yoga being practised too. first was mahath pranayam. i got a bit afraid when dilip the volunteer during his first practice threw his head back violently and came forward to lock his head/neck. to beat this, there was swana pranayam where we were asked 2 pant like a dog (so that we get a powerful nose to smell) and cawed like a crow (for rounding off our voice). the last one was the most interesting as we had strange sounds emanating from our different throats. the worst ones had very coarse caws while the best one's comically resembled a puppy's.

altogether, the program's been a real entertaining one where one can max 'njoy seeing all the comedy happening around. kudoes 2 isha for making me benefit from such a fun-filled program.

ps: the above's just a parody & is not 2 b taken seriously