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Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: The Way of Grace

Experiences with Art of Living Advanced Courses

Words cannot describe how refreshed I feel. The deep sadness has lifted from my heart. I feel clear and clean. I realize that spiritual practice must be the basis of my life. Everything else will find a way.

The courses have affected me deep down. I feel like I have been oiled and everything moves inside without friction.

I didn't realize until today just how tired I was and how badly I needed rest. I feel like I've been operating on gas fumes for years. I'm getting back to my center, where the real fuel is.

Since coming home I feel as if I am in love. Where I had mistrusted and avoided people before, I find that I love and accept them as they are. Today, after taking orders from a supervisor that I previously disliked, I found myself saying, "Isn't he sweet?" I'm really enjoying this new approach to life. I find adversity is much less frustrating and is even a humorous and enjoyable opportunity for growth. I also find that whereas I previously busied myself with many projects at once, I now begin and complete one project at a time, working methodically and enjoying myself. This changed without any effort on my part. Life has become more interesting and much more fun. I enjoy making eye contact and like what I see in others' eyes. I have, as a consequence, been able to cease my former behavior of driving others away when they get too close. I am now able to play with others. It is obvious that other people enjoy connecting with me too. They approach me more often and smile more. To put it again more briefly, I feel that I am in love.

When I came to see Punditji I was going through the most difficult period of my life. My mother died suddenly and unexpectedly. My wife announced she was divorcing me. I was laid off from my job. Then I was falsely accused of criminal acts and was forced to move from my home on a one hour notice. The earth had fallen out from beneath me. I was reeling from the shock, as though I was fall-ing through a long, black passageway. I was nearly suicidal.
When I saw Punditji at an Advanced Course, he was extremely compassionate and talked with me privately on several occasions. He repeatedly told me not to worry. During my last meeting with him he took me in his arms and hugged me. As he held me, I felt a powerful current of energy through my body. I felt tremendous bliss and relief, and a newfound sense of equanimity. As we parted, I looked into his eyes. They were sparkling, as if I were looking at the night sky. Through this experience I clearly comprehended his divinity and felt his divine love.

Thank you dearest Guruji with my whole heart for everything that you have brought to me while being on this course. Every day has brought small miracles which make me love being alive. In the woods I feel I am with the Divine. When I hear the birds I hear your voice. Over the past few years I encountered some misfortunes which I now see were opportunities to focus more fully on the Divine, as these experiences have encouraged prayer. I am very grateful.

I took a beautiful course in Italy with Punditji, my second silence course. I remember how very good, how deep was that silence, how near Nature was to me. I saw that in every small thing there is life and love.

While in meditation, I lost all sense of time, aware only of being absorbed in radiant light. -- Jolanta, Poland

On a course in Italy, I had a deep experience when we were in silence. I looked into Punditji's eyes and I could see truth. The glance from his divine love touched me very deeply and tears rolled on my face like a stream that I couldn't stop. After all the tears, there was delight in my heart. I can't remember when I was ever so happy in my life. I burned in love. This was a great feeling. -- Liz Luedemann, Germany

Dear Punditji: You can throw away all my notes of questions. My mind is finally quiet and my heart open.

As I looked across the room at my friends, I saw a wave of divine love within each heart. It was one thing to experience that limitless love in my own Being. To see that same multiplied many times all about me was more than I could bear. My heart shattered in love and tears poured from my eyes. Rapture swept through my mind and I was transfixed in wonder. -- James

It is love that fills every cell in my body. -- Bozenka, Poland

Within five or six months my life changed totally. I was travelling from one place to another to be with Punditji. Each course brought a transformation inside of me. This newborn person has no more identification with the old person inside of me. My life has become more open and aware. Borders and barriers are breaking into pieces and this has given space for a new experience of myself, which I can only define with divinity and love. -- Fiorella Passamonti-Schmidt, Italy

}It was time to leave the course. A group surrounded Punditji. I was wearing a big purple velvet hat. I had this great urge to jump in front of him, pull off my hat and say, "It's me Punditji! Do you remember me?" The thought hardly left my mind when I found myself doing just that. His attention was elsewhere. I felt I had made a mistake; it wasn't very funny anyway. I stood there holding my hat. He turned to go, but then quite unexpectedly, he looked in my direction.
     "I would know you in any form," he said quietly. Then he swiftly moved away and left. I closed my eyes. He remembered me. -- Dvorh Adler

Guruji knows exactly how much one knows or does not know, who is capable of understanding and who is not. He knows who is sleeping and who is awake, what time someone goes to bed and what time someone wakes up. He can cause a person to transform totally. I know. I have been transformed. I can also tell you those who will come to him with love and devotion will also be transformed. -- Dr. Kumar, Delhi, India

It was the last day of the course. Many of the participants had left. My husband and I stayed to help clean up. A number of teachers had also stayed and were meeting with Punditji. As the afternoon wore on, I began to think about all the people still at the ashram and I wondered what we would do for dinner. I looked around. No one was in the kitchen.
     I'm not normally a very assertive person, so taking charge was not my usual style, but I started chopping vegetables. A few moments later my husband wandered by and began chopping. Then the children came and started chopping too. A few more folks joined in. Someone asked what time dinner would be ready. I said, "Five-thirty" -- an hour earlier than our 6:30 mealtime during the course.
     At precisely 5:30 the teachers began walking in from Punditji's kutir. I asked someone how in the world they knew when dinner would be served. She said that Punditji had assured them not to worry -- dinner would be served at 5:30. I felt like an instrument of the Divine -- as though my actions were guided on the most effortless, fruitful course. -- Anne (at the Montreal Ashram)

In the forests of our Canadian ashram is a home of serenity where people come to greet and meet the Master personally.

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