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One Conversation that changed my life


2007 Spring tour of H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ( Gurudev as I call Him) had 5 cities which Gurudev would visit for the first time — Kansas City being one among them.

Kansas City is in both states — Kansas and Missouri. I lived on the Kansas side and worked on the Missouri side. We had to choose a venue that was central and easy to access for both states. We zeroed down on Marriott Grand Ballroom as the venue of the event in Kansas City downtown for “Evening of Wisdom and Meditation with H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar”

Volunteers most of them like me who had a day job worked tirelessly for the event. It will be for another post to write about the learnings from organising the event. We got to learn and do every thing from finding the venue, printing tickets, flyers, meeting groups, outreach , newspaper ads, TV interviews, flyering and the anxiety if we would break even the costs.

April 2nd was the day of the event and few of us reached the airport to welcome Gurudev. We had the enthusiastic company of few devotees who flew in from Argentina and Peru to KC for the event.

We got ready to head downtown to Marriott from the airport. I got to ride with Gurudev in the car where ensued that one conversation that moved me for a lifetime.

I presented Gurudev with a folder that had the program schedule for the day, news paper articles on the programs held as a prelude to the event, proclamation from the Mayor of Kansas City. As Gurudev reads through the folder — I started giving an overview of the day schedule and started giving an overview on dignitaries who are coming for the first meeting with Gurudev. In that conversation — I dwelled on net worth of 2 folks who were coming for the meeting and how they could possibly sponsor our program with school children.

Gurudev turns behind almost pausing me, says “ Hum yahan lene nahin, dene aaye hain” — “ I have come here to give, not to take

I was completely moved by the response and in that very moment all the feverishness and anxiety of the event vanished away.

I personally believe “One Conversation can change a life and last a lifetime”. This one conversation ( amongst the many) stays with me even today as a guiding framework in professional, personal and social life.


June 19, 2018 at 9:14 pm Leave a comment

Simple and Complicated

Being is simple.   “Being Somebody” is complicated.

Doing is simple. Trying is complicated.

Acceptance is simple. Expectation is complicated.

“It is” is simple. “Why it is ” is complicated.

Now is simple. “Then and When” is complicated.

Silence is simple. Speech is complicated.

Expression is simple. Action is complicated.

“One” is simple. “Two” is complicated.

“And” is simple. “Or” is complicated

“Yes” is simple. “No” is complicated.

Life is simple. “I” makes it complicated.



June 8, 2018 at 4:44 am Leave a comment


We all have been touched by “Generosity” all through our lives in small and big ways. Sharing one such experience which has touched me deeply and remember it vividly as it happened yesterday

Opportunity to work for a Fortune 500 company and the largest Tax Preparing corporation got me to the US. My company gave me 15 days hotel stay and one pay period salary as advance to allow me time to find a place and settle down.  My work place was near 49th St and I found a place near 47th St. The rent was on the higher side but it allowed me to walk to work daily.

Walmart was the one stop to get all things required to set up the apartment. You would get no marks for guessing – all items was related to the kitchen. I got 2 comforters – one to sleep on and one as a cover. It was month of April and winter was far off and i had decide to stall any big purchases in the first month.

Tax season got over and it was little slow at work. A colleague at work wanted to see the place I lived and post lunch we took a small break to see the apartment. I show him the place around and he asks me – “Where do I sleep ?”   I tell him in the bedroom.  Prompt comes his response -” There is NO bed there ?”.  Before I could tell him – I sleep on the comforter, He said -” We gotta fix this?”

What ensued was an experience of “Generosity” which I will never ever forget. He takes me to his home, get a futon from his basement, mattress and even hardware required to set it up. On way back to home, we stop at Walmart – he gets a new bed cover. We reach home and he set ups the futon and shows me how it becomes a bed.

Even today, This memory brings a smile on my face – I did not need a bed and was very comfortable without it. But for an acquaintance  to offer help without wasting time and not expecting anything in return – is a generous gesture to remember for a  lifetime.

Ever grateful for this thoughtful gesture. Over years, this memory has inspired me to “PASS IT ON

P.S I kept that futon was with me till we decided to Relocate back to India.

Please do share your experiences of generosity and how it has influenced your life



May 30, 2018 at 11:00 pm Leave a comment

Unconditional Love

Unconditional Love

WhatsApp Image 2018-04-13 at 2.55.23 PM

Swami Chinmayananda ji ( whom I address as Gurudev) was to take 4 camps on Mandukya Upanishad at the Sidhabari ashram in Himachal Pradesh, India . Amma had signed up for the first 2 camps. There were a lot of folks going by train from Mumbai to Pathankot by Jammu-Tawi express and then a 2 hour bus journey from there to Tapovan.

Mr.Pillai and his son were also attending the same camp.  Mr.Pillai’s son , Ajit – dropped out of the camp and Amma took the opportunity for me to attend the first camp and travel as Ajit Pillai.

Fast forward to the camp – if you are a student of Vedanta, you will understand how out of place I was in the camp for a novice trying to comprehend the Upanishad. The camp got over and all I remember from the camp is the snow capped mountain peaks, chanting Hanuman Chalisa after morning session, looking in awe at the 32 feet Hanumanji,  Bhagvad Gita Ch.15 chanting before meals and observing Gurudev interact with devotees in the evening.

The first camp got over and there was a day break before the second camp could begin. All the folks including Amma who were staying back for the second camp went out for a day sight seeing trip.  My train was the in the evening and I had to leave ashram after an early lunch.

I was sauntering in the ashram near Hanuman ji idol and Gurudev’s kutir. Jagruti ben was walking by and casually asked me ” Would you like to take a picture with Gurudev ?”  My response -” I do not have a camera”. With an endearing smile, Jagruti ben says ” I have one. Come lets go”

Gurudev was having his breakfast. As I walk up close to the table – Gurudev lovingly asks me “Come sit down for breakfast”.  I was taken aback by Gurudev’s request and mumbled out “No Gurudev, I already had breakfast?”  As Gurudev completes his breakfast – Jagruti ben makes a request ” Gurudev, Please can we get a picture of you with Sunil?”

Gurudev wraps his arms around me and hugs me closely and thats the pic Jagruti ben clicks.

What ensued and seen in the picture above was life transforming moment and to date I  cannot  describe it in words. It was a first time meeting and I was showered with immense love in that one simple kind gesture.

“Unconditional Love”  of a Guru is a Blessing. To experience it early in my life and seeing it laying foundation for the path ahead is what I ever remain grateful for.

P.S. – How the printed picture with Gurdev signing it for me is an experience to be shared for another time. How this one moment transformed me, moved me immensely to commit life as a service to the Guru and become a student at Sandeepany is an experience to be shared for another time. The same Amma who dragged me to the camp had her eyes filled with tears when she saw her son leaving in a train to Sidhabari ashram become a monk is an experience to be shared for another time..



May 25, 2018 at 9:51 pm Leave a comment

Value Money – Honor and Respect It

“Value Money – Honor and Respect It” –  This title of the blogpost is one of my “Life Lessons”

Opportunity to work for a Fortune 500 company and the largest Tax Preparing corporation got me to the US.  I used to live on the 47th street and my work place was on 49th street. I did not afford to buy a car immediately and absence of a credit history did not allow me to get a loan either.  That summer Amma ( how I address my mom) was scheduled to visit and stay with me.  I decided that I need to buy a car before she comes.  Thus began my hunt to buy a car and thus began the journey which would then eventually give me my biggest life lesson

My hunt to buy a car began old style from classifieds in newspapers. Several friends helped ferry me to check out these cars and I finally landed on a 1998 Toyota Corolla. The owner quoted $5000 as a price.

What ensued next was a life long lesson !   I had $5100 in my Bank account.  I used to get salary every 15 days. For the first time in my life – I reached out a friend Mr.X to see if he could lend me $2000 for a month which I promised to return in 2 instalments of $1000 each.   The person after a lot of conversation and follow ups politely declined ( which in hindsight was the best thing he did)

Now faced with a dilemma of not losing out on the car – I made a decision the buy the car paying cash down. Mr.X and a friend agreed to come with me to buy the car. Mr.X drove the car back to my apartment garage.

With only $100 in my bank account, The life experience over the new few weeks was life long lesson –

  • Eating rice, dal and pickle daily for lunch and dinner.
  • Praying to God that I should not fall sick in the next 2 weeks as there was not enough money to see a doctor.
  • Joy in the heart when salary gets credited to my bank account – finally I could afford to buy car insurance, fill gas in the car and take it out for a drive!!!

Life Lesson Learned – #1 The experience of those 2 weeks taught me a “Life Lesson” – Value every $ earned and saved – Honor and Respect It.  These humble beginnings has held me in good stead as life in all its abundance showered its blessings over the years!


P.S –  Credits to Alok Kejriwal for the nudge to start writing as part of 18 Tips for 2018!


May 16, 2018 at 8:41 pm 2 comments

Purpose ~~ The Last Post

Dear Readers,

Several years back on a cold winter day, Gururaja and I were perusing the treasure we have our hard drive saved over years – Gurudev’s talks, knowledge posts from esatsang, pictures and much more.

This blog was started with that intention to share all what we had so that all could benefit from that. The purpose found its fulfillment with the set up of
Art of Living Blog ~~ Wisdom from Sri Sri
Art of Living Channel on Youtube

This would be the last post on this blog. Thank You for all the support over the years. We pray more and more continue to get inspired by the Wisdom of our Beloved Pujya Gurudev – H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.

Be light & a light in this world

Untill Then, Breathe and Smile. Jai Guru Dev

January 17, 2010 at 11:50 am 9 comments

Diwali – Talk by H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Peace For All of Us

May This Diwali - The Festival of Lights, Bring more Peace,Light and Joy in our inner world and outer world

Diwali: Celebrating the light of wisdom

Diwali, the festival of lights as it is known the world over, celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance. Lights are lit on this day not just to decorate homes, but also to communicate a profound truth about life. Light dispels darkness and when the darkness within you is dispelled through the light of wisdom, the good wins over the evil in you.

Though there are many legends about the festival, Diwali is essentially celebrated to lit the light of wisdom in every heart, the light of life in every home and bring a smile on every face. Diwali is the shortened form of Deepavali, which literally means rows of lights. Life has many facets and stages to it. It is important that you throw light on
all of them, for if one aspect of your life is in darkness, there can be no complete expression of life. That’s why rows of lights are lit on Diwali to remind you that every aspect of life needs your attention and the light of knowledge.

Every lamp that you light is symbolic of a good quality. There are good qualities in every human being. Some have forbearance, love, strength, generosity; others have the ability to unite people. The latent values in you are like a lamp. When they are lit, awakened, that is Diwali. Don’t be satisfied with lighting one lamp; light a thousand. If you have the value of service in you, don’t be satisfied only with that. Lit the lamp of wisdom in you, acquire knowledge. Awaken all the facets of your being.

Another profound symbolism is wrapped in the firecrackers that go off during Diwali. In life, you often become like a firecracker, waiting to explode with your pent-up emotions, frustration and anger. When you continue to suppress your emotions such as cravings, aversions and hatred, they are bound to reach a bursting point. Bursting crackers is like a psychological exercise created by ancient people to release bottled-up emotions. When you see an explosion outside, you feel similar sensations within you as well. Along with the explosion, there is so much light. So when you let go of the suppressed emotions, you become hollow and empty and the light of knowledge dawns.

Wisdom is needed everywhere. Even if one member of the family is shrouded in darkness, you cannot be happy. So, you need to lit the light of wisdom in every member of your family. Extend it to every member of society, every person on the planet. When true wisdom dawns, it gives rise to celebration. Often in celebrations, you tend
to lose focus or awareness. To maintain awareness in the midst of celebrations, the ancient rishis brought sacredness and puja (rituals) to every celebration. For the same reason, Diwali is also a time for pujas. The spiritual aspects of Diwali add depth to the celebrations. Any celebration has to be spiritual as a celebration without spirituality
has no depth.

Celebration is the nature of the spirit and every excuse to celebrate is good. In celebration, you should not only have a party; you must remind yourself of the wisdom. For the one who is not in knowledge, Diwali comes only once a year, but for the wise, Diwali is every moment and every day. Be wise and celebrate Diwali every moment
and everyday of your life.

October 14, 2009 at 6:55 pm 6 comments

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