Saturday, November 20, 2010

Managing yourself as an energy field at PEC

This is the third event for me at Pondicherry Engineering College and what an event that was! This is the first time that I facilitated an event with an estimated 400+ participants. I was excited but also apprehensive. Yes, I was scared. The introduction by Prof. Prithviraj helped quite a bit by providing me with a friendly emotional connection and that bit of time and space to allow myself to be with my feelings and recuperate.
Once I started communicating, it was easy; thanks to the very open participation of these young students of first year engineering degree course. I liked their responses and the questions were very interesting and stimulating for me. I was thrilled with the feedback I got from the participants at the end of the session.
One question was ‘Would animals and plants respond to the primordial sounds like we do?’. I did not know the answer at that time, but a little research indicates that the answer is ‘yes’. I could have guessed it based on the fact that animals and plants preceded us in evolution and all beings have common origins and are localized energy field in the Universal Energy Field. I am grateful for the questions.
I did not like the extra sounds made by a couple of students at the end of chanting ‘aa uu mm’ for the first time. I would have very much liked to communicate with them in consonance with my principles – but used the mode that I know produces results quickly. I justified this use by telling myself  ‘I don’t have the time to …..’. I know this is a justification and feel sad that I did not conduct myself in accordance with my inner light.  I do hope to learn from this experience and put the inner light above the expediency of the moment.
I am grateful to Prof. Rajendran for organizing the event and look forward to more such opportunities. What a gift it would be to interact with this group over the next 4 years and participate and contribute in their personal growth!
I am gartfeul to Prof. Prithviraj and Prof. Anandanatarajan and the participants.
I thank Prof. Rajendran for the pictures. My (new) camera packed up and you see pictures that include me (something different form the pics I normally take to include in my blog)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Integral Development Lab at Himalayas for IIM, Indore

The genesis was in phone call to Prof. Rvaichandran when I was on my Himalayan Sojourn in May-Jun. He saw a potential program for the students and it materialized   with the efforts of Prof. Ramana, Dushyant, Sarvesh and Arnav. Prof. Srnivas joined at the last minute and made a big difference. Before I go to the event, I express my gratitude to each and every one of them.
We called it ‘Integral development Lab’ as it offered scope for holistic development at all levels: body, mind and soul. The programs included
Yoga asanas, pranayama, deep relaxation, meditation
Trekking to Land’s end view, night trek to Tiffin Top, scaling the 8000’ high Niana peak and a 16 kilometre trek to Kanchee Dham via Snow view
Adventure activities including rock climbing, boldering, scrambling, rappelling and river crossing
Basics of stress management and emotional freedom
Principles of sustainable wellness - dietary principles for well being, self healing
Campfire and cultural program
Opportunities to work in groups and teams to improve bonds and team dynamics
The location is none other than Nainital, a Jewel in the Himalayan foot hills. We stayed in the serene Van Nivas Ashram, perched on a hillock, with a lovely view. The pristine glory of this place in the lush verdure of the Himalayas offered a unique opportunity to connect with the nature and enjoy the beauty of this very exotic and exalted region of Kumaon.
The event itself was very extraordinary, made so by the participation of the students. It is a first of its kind event in India and may be the world as well!  The richness of the activities, programs and participative events made it a truly interactive and experential program where each participant integrates what is best needed by him or her into their life. The energy was amazing and I now feel a young 35 (nines complement of my chronological age). In the company of this very energetic, enthusiastic group both Prof. Srinivas and I participated in all events! It filled me with a sense of exhilaration and joy. The love and affection I received from this group will remain etched in my memory forever.
We are grateful to Tara Di, Nalin Ji, Jayanto and his team for generously providing Van Niwas premises and facilities for IDL and helping us in every way. The adventure activities were conducted with excellent infrastructure, highly professional guidance, care and support.
I am grateful for the opportunity of facilitating this event and feel privileged to be part of it.

Added on 20/11/2010
Please see the following links
for articles published by the participants/ IIMI

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Emotional Freedom Workshop at Freescale Semiconductors

This is also a second event for me. It was about a year ago that I conducted “Stress Management Workshop” at Freescale Semiconductors. It was very well received and we have been talking about a second workshop for about 6 months or more. Finally, it happened on the 5th of October 2010, thanks to Vivek.
While I missed my friend Sanjeev, I was pleasantly surprised that the team at Freescale is almost intact. I am also very happy that Freescale appears to be going from strength to strength under the leadership of Vivek, who is also an old friend. I felt at home right throughout the workshop and it was a very heartening experience for me to be with the Freescale team. I felt very encouraged by the participation and the very interesting questions. We had a very pleasant lunch together – it was great idea of Veena to order Pizzas and have lunch at the venue.
I am very happy and satisfied with workshop and look forward to more opportunities to be at Frescale.

Manage stress before it manages you.

This is the second event I had the good fortune to facilitate at Pondicherry Engineering College. The first time was about an year ago and it was a pleasure to go back to this beautiful campus after a long gap. The workshop content is the same as ‘Stress Management ‘workshop that I conduct. However, I made some changes to the way that the distinctions are presented and made some changes to suit the campus audience.  A unique aspect of this workshop is that faculty as well as students attended it. It was interesting to see how the students let go of their inhibitions in the presence of the professors and how the professors silently but consciously encouraged the students.
I received good feedback from the students and faculty and look forward to going to this campus more frequently and offer more programs. I am grateful for the help and encouragement I received form Prof Anandanatarajan and his colleagues.

Sustainable approach to Wellness

Prof. Rajagopal, the well known expert on environment, organizes an annual workshop at Auroville. The workshop is well established and attracts participation from all parts of India and even from abroad. The aim of the workshop is to explore sustainable modes and approaches to living. The faculty is drawn from Auroville as well as external. I was fortunate to be given an opportunity to share a session on the topic of sustainable approach to wellness.
Basically, the western medical science based approach to health is unsustainable. The focus is on fixing health issues. I suggest a holistic approach to Wellness. The basic tenet of this approach is that healing is natural and we have the ability (like all life forms) to heal ourselves. It was a privilege for me that Prof. Rajagopal attended the session and I feel extremely fulfilled.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yet another Wellbeing Workshop

I tell myself often that I must have faith and keep going and do what I am doing with enthusiasm. Sometimes, I do wonder, whether what I do is really contributing to my vision of ‘a human race that is aware, healthy, happy and harmonious’ and mission ‘to spread awareness in individuals, communities, organizations and societies through a set of programs’. Once in a while, I get feedback from the people who attended the programs and suddenly it redoubles my commitment and enthusiasm. This workshop was one such instance. I invite people who have attended an earlier workshop to the last two sessions (this is a one week program), participate and if they like, to share their experience. To hear six people share their experience was music to my ears and manna from Heaven. I am grateful for the opportunity of offering these workshops and contributing to the Wellbeing of people. So, it is not and will never be ' Yet Another Workshop'.
I bought a new camera (as the old one refuses to come out of its trance). I like these pictures as the participants appear to be blessed with Divine Grace in the form of streaks of golden sunshine

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Four Events in One Post

I have not combined events into single blog post, so far. This is because, each event is unique and I would like to give it my full attention. However, I am really lagging behind in my blog. If I don’t catch up, it may soon become history rather than log. So, I am combining four events in the past fortnight and call it innovation.
The first event was eIndia 2010 at Hyderabad and it was an eye opener for me. It is amazing to see the initiates, policies and projects of the various Governments and private sector and NGOs in eGovernance, eEducation, eHealth, eAgriculture......  I saw a demo of 3D educational content and it is mind blowing! My presentation was well received and I think it would be great to keep in touch with this annual event.
 While in Hyderabad, I also conducted an Emotional Freedom workshop for Locuz Networks. This is my second workshop at Locuz and it was great to reconnect with the people and friends there. I wish there was more time!
Soul Safari conducted their inaugural event and I was happy that I had the opportunity to be the one to lead it. I really enjoyed this event and look forward to more of it.
It is matter of joy for me to visit IISC anytime. Prof KVS Hari arranged a talk ‘Managing yourself as an energy field’. It was pleasure and privilege to be with the GenNext!
Next was the Well Being workshop at SAWCHU, Auroville. This is the 34th Well Being workshop I have offered in Auroville and I love to do it. This was especially wonderful as the weather was very kind and August 15th, apart from being Independence Day, is the Birthday of Sri Aurobimndo.  I am blessed to celebrate it in the Sri Aurobindo World Center for Humana Unity (SAWCHU). I am fulfilled and grateful.
I am planning to buy a camera this week and share pictures in the next post.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Integral Wellness Retreat at Verite

This is another of the core programs, one of the four petals of the flower of personal growth. There was a long gap form the last time I offered it in Auroville and it was wonderful to do it again in the beautiful Integral Learning Center Studio of Verite. Verite is a community in Auroville. Inormally take my personal guests for a visit to Verite to give them a feel for community life. Verite is highly conscious of ecology and offers a variety of courses and programs in their well maintained facility. They produce their own solar/wind energy (totally off-the-grid) and a lot of organically grown vegetables and fruits.

What made this retreat very special for me was the participation of my very dear friends; Kavitha and Jinesh Sonawala. They came all the way from Bombay, leaving their kids behind, to participate in this retreat. I am grateful for the opportunity to share with them the principles of Integral Wellness and was quite happy with the feedback they gave me. What better gift could I have than such an opportunity!

Chris is an Aeronautical Engineer for 8 years and now decided to study psychology (of human beings, not planes) and is first year degree student in Holland. It was very interesting to have him in the workshop as it is the first time ever! I enjoyed his views and feedback.

Well, I am still searching for the optimum format to share Integral Wellness in Auroville and am immensely enjoying the quest and the synchronistic unfolding.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Well Being Workshop

I am offering this workshop in Auroville after a gap of two months; the longest ever since I started in Jan 2008. This is the foundation of my work and I enjoy doing it so much. Over time, this workshop has become very popular in Auroville and it a pleasure and privilege for me to offer it in Ari Aurobindo World Center for Human Unity. I am grateful to each and every one of those who chose to participate in it and am particularly indebted to those who are practicing (after attending an earlier workshop) and join the for the last two sessions to deepen their practice. Many of them share the benefits they got out of practice. It  inspires those attending for the first time and it is a source of fulfilment and support for me.
Slowly but surely  a community with aspiration for Integral Wellness is evolving in Auroville.

No pictures this time as I dropped my camera and it is producing some psychedelic
patterns not much dependent on actual the scene.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

(Random) Musings on Sojourn in Kumaon, Himalayas

Sojourn in Kumaon, Himalayas. It originated from a story that Gen Chatterjee shared about his experience of traveling like a nomad once in a while. Simple travel, with the intention of experiencing the real India. I chose Kumaon, the Abode of Gods. My real intention was to be in Himalayas. Just Be. When Prof. Ravichandran asked me “What are you doing in Himalayas?, I replied that I was doing ‘Nothing’. The next question can be guessed: “Then, why are you there?. My reply was ‘To Be in Himalayas. Just to be.” It may not sound intelligent, but it was an honest answer.

Despite the famous saying about a picture conveying more than a thousand words, I do not include any pictures in this blog as I want to avoid reducing the infinite dimensional experience of being in Himalayas to two dimensions. In fact, I avoided taking pictures on many days so that I can just be with the nature rather than doing photography. Anyway, I am sure you can find tons of pictures and even videos on the net.

I avoided the so called tours as they are antithesis to ‘Being’. My itinerary was rather randomly decided, solely based on the availability of accommodation. I was not very choosy of the places on the itinerary as something kept telling me that it is the first of many. I was pleasantly surprised that Kumaon appears to be crime free and I experienced a warm, caring friendliness from almost everyone that I met – so much so I wondered whether it is the same humanity or a different kind of species. I also saw more beauty not just in the nature, but in the people and it was a beauty beyond outward appearance. There is also music in the air and a dance all around; music of the birds; the gusts of wind, the omnipresent tall deodar and pine trees whistling and swaying gently and the clouds creating a light and shadow show that is never static. The landscape is an unending range of mountains and valleys, with a view that is extremely dynamic and ever changing with the sun light, clouds and the angle of view. The landscape is dotted by what are called ‘roads’ , which are in reality hairpin bends and potholes strung together and wrapped around the three dimensional contours of the mountains like an infinite snake. All in all, I experienced the infiniteness of nature and my own infinitesimal-ness.

The first experience I want to share is what happened on our way back from Ranikhet, where I and Sadhana (an Ashramite who participated in my earlier retreat) went for a day trip form Ramgarh. We were stuck in Bhowali from 5pm onwards. What we did not know was that no vehicles ply after 5pm. We were wondering what to do after trying hard to find a vehicle. At 6:20pm, a Maxx stopped and the driver grinned at us and asked us to get in. His name is Viru and he told us that he will drop us at a point form where we could walk to Madhuban in about 20 minutes, a maximum of one kilometer. Off the highway, he took us through a narrow pathway to his father-in-law’s house, from where he picked up his bike to go on a 100km drive to attend a marriage. His father-in-law invited us to stay the night at his home and go early in the morning the next day. When we insisted on leaving, he reluctantly agreed (after ascertaining that our mobiles can be used as torches) and sent a guide to escort us through the jungle till we reach the pathway to Ramgarh. We started at 7 pm and the guide left us around 7:20pm, showing a pathway. We started walking, expecting to reach the well known junction of Ramgarh in a few minutes. The sky was slightly over cast and the visibility was just adequate to keep going. As it became darker, the sky cleared and a three quarter moon started showing the way to us. We walked and walked, sometimes feeling quite scared as I know we were in the habitat of king cobras and leopards. It was an eerie, yet intensely enjoyable experience with total focus on the moment: the pathway, every sound and movement. Finally, we reached Madhuban just after 9pm, totally exhausted but very happy to be in the Ashram and the prospect of a meal with plums and apricots for dessert. I would have perhaps declined to go this way if we had known the distance and the terrain. Ignorance led to the bliss of a moonlight trek, an unforgettable adventure.

I was coming back from Jageswar to Almora and put my thumb up to a Maruthi 800 to go to Almora. Mr. Arya, a teacher, was driving to a nearby town about 10km away to type a document on a computer. He found an internet center and told me to keep my eyes open for any vehicle that could give me ride to Almora. He finished his work in about an hour and I was still waiting as I found no vehicles to go. He explained to me that it was a big day for weddings and many vehicles were commandeered to ferry the marriage parties. He invited me to his home for the night and go to Almora the next day! Just then, a fully loaded Leyland truck came along and the driver agreed to take me to Almora. If you ever want a thrill just short of bungee jumping and the like, go for a truck ride in the mountain terrain. I was amazed at the skill of the driver when he cajoled his monstrous truck to pass another equally monstrous truck at places where I had doubts whether our truck could pass! And, he did this many times while talking on his mobile.

I met this 80 year old ex-army soldier D.S. Chital. He was discharged from the service after being in the hospital for a couple of years and had to be escorted to Bageswar (his native place) as he could not travel or walk on his own. The mountain air healed him and he started a tea stall during a three day carnival in Bageswar. Luck smiled on him and now he is a multi-crore pathi and has several business interests including a 3 star hotel and business complex.

The public vehicles are like the legendary Pushpak Viman. There is always place for one more person to squeeze in. It is not the driver alone who wants to take more people out of pecuniary interest, the people inside are also more than willing to accommodate more co-passengers. This is very different from my usual experience of the “inside-outside-divide” and a very interesting demonstration of community consciousness, fraternity and compassion. When the vehicle reaches its elastic limit (if ever there is one), the driver opens the balcony of the vehicle (provided there is no big risk of being caught by a lurking cop, who is looking for something to happen as no major crimes happen. Apparently there are some safe “time and space” corridors that are well respected by all) and after he balcony fills up, seating becomes non-linear in three dimensional space-time of the cab. When we were coming from Patal Bhuvaneswar to Berinag, I opted to travel balcony class and enjoyed an exhilarating ride with clean cool air beating on my face, sun shining brightly and an uninterrupted and very pleasant view of the hills and valleys. One of the young co-passengers had some plums and pears that made the journey even more enjoyable.

Despite the dust, congestion and confusion, the public transport scene is a happy one, full of bonhomie and good humor. There is no credible information system and whatever information you get may not be your best friend as a bus may decide not to turn up on that day due to one of the many reasons or decide to leave even thirty minutes earlier, again for unfathomable and inexplicable reasons. I developed an algorithm that was simple. Get ready early, go to the bus stop and wait for the bus or share taxi to show up. People appear to have philosophically accepted waiting for unpredictable amounts of time. People get in with a smile, they are happy just to begin their journey, as it is not uncommon to abandon journeys on some days. The smile widens if they get a seat. Children may start their journey in a seat (if one is vacant), but they get soon upgraded to lap-top class and appear to be quite comfortable and happy to be in the lap of a stranger. The adults start a conversation with the child and a pleasant time is had by all. Some times, the conversations are held across the length and breadth of the vehicle, over the blaring music (the songs and the volume at which they are played is sole prerogative of the driver and is part of the package). When pieces of the conversation are lost, they are relayed by willing co-passengers in an atmosphere of goodwill. Some people who suffer from motion sickness throw up and no one has any issues about it. In fact, motion sick people get window seats and are helped in any which way and vehicles usually have tarnished sides soon after they begin their first trip in the morning. I was amazed by the mutual understanding between drivers and the road rage, which is so common in the plains, is very uncommon in the mountains. Then there was this driver who drove for 30 hours with just three brief spells of rest. I am sure that he could get into the Guinness book. I once was in an Alto along with nine other passengers. Yes, nine.

I was partial to lonely paths that appeared to beckon to me for exploration. I met this young man on one of the many occasions I lost my way. He took me to his home which was built using in the vernacular architecture, offered me a delicious cup of tea and walked with me to the Mall road. He is an ITI trained electrician, jobless and wants to go to a city in search of a job. I recalled the beautiful landscape around his house in an idyllic setting, with a couple of goats and a cow, his children and felt sad that he could soon end up in a ghetto in one of the so-called cities.

In this region, there is considerable liberty taken with spellings and grammar on the few sign board which use English. A sign board said ‘Test Restaurant – Brekfast, Launch and Diner’ and I did not feel at ease to try out these interesting offerings. I had to brush up my rather rudimentary (and much rusted) Hindi and try to read the sign posts and converse in Hindi. The conversations usually provoked a smile and on a couple of occasions I was advised to speak in Hindi, not an easy advice to follow when I was already speaking in Hindi as best as I could. However, the people of Kumaon went out of the way to understand me and help me despite my unintentional mangling of Hindi. They appeared to seem transcends the barrier of language to understand me.

It is amazing to see the porters who are all pervasive, without whom life would not move even at the slow pace that it is moving now. They cart everything with such skill and adroitness that it is almost like watching a circus or magic show. They just use a rope slung over their forehead and the load is balanced on their back. With this simple but universal technique, a saw them carry bricks, a full sized steel cup board, two gas cylinders, carets of soft drinks and what not.

I did see some amazing small, beautiful wild flowers that grow in abundance. I don’t know the names but not knowing the names was in no way a barrier to enjoy their delicate beauty. There were many birds and on the many walks I enjoyed their uninterrupted, orchestrated melodies. Wherever there are tall pine trees (an almost ubiquitous scene), the wind provides an accompanying humming music, not unlike the familiar harmonium in Indian classical music. I did not meet any fauna except a very large toad (I would like to call it a Himalayan toad). I spent about an hour wandering in the scrub forest of the deer sanctuary in the hope of meeting a musk deer. I was disappointed in not meeting a deer bust was quite appointed that I met no one. I met a huge monkey in Mukteshwar, about 4 to 5 feet tall. If its face was not so black and the tail not so long, I would have been tempted to claim seeing Yeti.

I had brief and dreamy glimpses of the glaciers from Almora, Bageswar, Berinag, Chakouri, DidiHat and Mukteshwar. There is a special quality to these ‘Darshans’ as the glaciers were playing hide and seek and when they do peep out of the veils of clouds and mist, there is an ethereal beauty in their brief and unexpected appearance for an unpredictable time. The rains in the mountains were very special, presenting a magical experience before the rain, during the rain and after the rain. The sun used to somehow manage to come out towards the end of the day, showering golden sun shine on the vast expanses of green; as if nature took a beauty bath and is basking in golden sun shine; many a time unveiling the a glacier. On a couple of occasions, a rainbow made the scene unforgettable. The view from the Malainath Temple in DidiHat is very special. It is a high peak with a 360 degree view of the valley. You see hundreds of green mountains as far as the eye can reach in every direction with the grey shadows of higher and farther peaks. The entire northern horizon in adorned with glaciers peeping out of the clouds. I would love to be here in November and experience what could be the best view of Himalayas.

The one sad note in the whole experience is the damage I perceived in the plundering and pollution. The towns themselves are blots on the landscape, an aberration created by man in something which is otherwise perfect. The rapid deforestation is throwing up red patches (I don’t like them) in the infinite green-scape and most of these patches occur around the towns. The beautiful vernacular architecture which appears to blend with the nature is giving way to RCC structures. Most of the perennial streams and legendary rivers are dry. Almora appeared to be particularly dirty and the first heavy shower woke up the municipal authorities into clearing the clogged drains. The next day, the whole city was stinking (even more) with the trapped odors being liberated long with the fished out debris waiting clearance.

The Himalayas are so infinite that the damage done appears to be small but if unchecked could tip the delicate natural balance of this age old monument to the glory of Earth. I was happy that plastic bags were banned in Bageswar and the ban is actually operative. I wish we would learn from Switzerland, Chinque Terre in Italy and Rothenberg in Germany in preserving the best and most vast natural beauty that nature has gifted us.

Inspired by Mrs. Alice Syam, I started watching birds and tried taking a few pictures. The birds appear to be photo shy with a sixth sense, moving away just as you click.

Mukteshwar was one of the most charming places I stayed in. An idyllic small town of a beauty so pristine and rare that it defies description. I stayed in the beautiful campus of IVRI and I am grateful for their warm hospitality. They have a cool room carved out of a cave in the face of the mountain, where the temperature stays below 5 degrees centigrade naturally, all around the year. Research in virology requires a cool room facility and this was the original reason why Mukteshwar was chosen as the location for IVRI. It was a privilege to be shown around the institute by Dr. Shukla, a doyen of Indian Veterinary science.

A special place I want to mention is Patal Bhuvaneswar It is an amazing place where you can see the natural formations with an uncanny appearance so much like the many Hindu Gods, mythological creatures and events mentioned in the Puranas. It is said that this cave is described in the Manasa Khanda of Skanda Purana. I intend to add some pictures and notes to the article on Wikipedia.

I did visit many temples on hillocks seeking Divine Grace as well as great views. The mountain next to the Kamakshika temple in Pithoragarh is very special. It is shaped like the back of a giant elephant and you walk with interesting and contrasting views on both sides of the elephant.

In terms of culture, the life, dressing and food appear to be very similar to those in the plains. I enjoyed the occasional ‘Pahadi’ music amidst the usual film music. The marriages are almost identical to the functions we are familiar with except that the band wears dresses which are claimed to be ‘Pahadi’ and the basic beat is ‘Pahadi’. I enjoyed the vibrant beat but I did not appreciate the addition of a vocalist who is given a mike and unleashes his lung power (which seems to be the sole criteria for the job) on the public. They put the band and vocalist along with a generator on a vehicle and share the joy of the marriage party all over the town without so much as ‘by your leave’. I was quite amused in the beginning but gradually it wears you down.

One of the points that I kept pondering over was the connection between Himalayas and Auroville. I found the insight on the day of my departure. Auroville is the cradle of Human Unity. Kumaon is the cradle of Human Spirituality. Spirituality is about transcending ego and discovering your true being. In that state of being, you are ONE with all beings  Unity and Oneness. So, the cradle of Human Unity, Auroville is just another facet of the Himalayas.

An interesting offshoot is that I will be offering the Personal Growth Lab course at IIM, Indore in the Himalayas. We call it Integral Development Lab and will be conducted at the Van Nivas Ashram at Nainital. Nothing like this has ever been done and I am excited and grateful that I am the chosen instrument to facilitate this event. I intend whole heartedly and pray that this becomes an annual event and I get the opportunity to be in Van Nivas every year and keep exploring and experiencing Himalayas.

This is, by far, the longest blog I posted. I better stoop now as no amount of writing can actually capture the infiniteness of Himalayas. I am grateful for the experience that I enjoyed so much and hold with awe and reverence in my consciousness.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Integral Wellness Retreat #2 at Madhuban

The third (and last) retreat in the Himalayas went very well. I could bring forth improvements based on the two eralier retreats. I am grateful to Tara Didi and Ram for the opportunity to offer the retreats in the cradle of Human Spirituality. The third retreat was also the best, thanks to the great participation of the group.

A very interesting aspect of this retreat is the participation of Dr. Das. He is a cardiologist and is 81 years young. He has been working on preventing heart diseases with Yoga and Naturopathy (based on Dr. Dean Ornish’s work, which was also a corner stone of my own recovery). He is more than 100% fit, full of energy and jest for life. I learnt a lot from him and he is a source of inspiration for me. The participation of Ms.Shivani, Mr & Mrs. Duggal and Mr. Bhatia made the retreat very satisfying, fulfilling and a rich sharing and learning experience for me.

Sadhana (who is an Ashramite and participated in my earlier retreat) enrolled me to go on a day trip to Ranikhet on 24th. I was concerned about a 12 hour outing on public transport with a lady who is still recovering from a spine injury. She was not only ‘bin das’ but was also full of zeal and enthusiasm. This was a breakthrough for me in my prejudice and aversion to use public transport. Ranikhet is very beautiful and the pine trees are very tall, dense and beautiful. I enjoyed the trip and am now free to go anywhere in India on public transport!

On our way back, we got stranded at Bhowali, about 20 km from Madhuban. Viru, an amiable taxi driver gave us a ride late in the evening and took us to the house of his father-in-law. He had an urgent task of his own and picked up his bike and left. His father-in-law asked us to stay the night as it would be quite a walk to Madhuban. It was around 7pm and there was a half moon. We decided to walk to Madhuban over a trail that was superb, thrilling and scary in parts. We reached Madhuban at 9pm, exhausted but happy and joyous. If I had known everything that was in store, I would not have undertaken this risky, moon-light trek. Ignorance is bliss!

I am amazed at Sadahana’s demonstration of the inner resources we all possess and seldom tap into. I am grateful to witness a miracle and pray for her (and at times) success in her new found purpose of life to serve India. Definitely we need such people in public life.

I went on a pleasant 3 km trek to Tapogiri and met Manish. Tapogiri looks rather unkempt at fist glance but there is a natural beauty that grows on you. Manish is a naturalist and he is transforming the orchard from monoculture to multi-culture. He showed me also the results of an experiment he is conducting to avoid using pesticides and promotes the natural resistance of the trees to fight pests. I was pleasantly surprised to see a abundantly fruit laden pear tree! It appeared to be carrying fruit beyond its capacity. When we were eating a simple but delicious lunch in the shade of a make-shift awning, a couple of sparrows came near us. Manish extended his had with a few grains of rice in it and the sparrows actually sat on his wrist, picked up the grains and flew away. Manish told me that it took several years to befriend the sparrows as they are birds that love to be free. It appears that they die if you put them in a cage.

Manish is also interested in snakes. I learnt from him that King Cobra is the only reptile that makes a nest and lays eggs. It protects and defends with everything it has (which is of the order of 15-20 feet). They located two such nests in the Kumaon mountain region (amongst about 20 such nests located worldwide!).

I planned a trip to Mountain Paradise but it did not materialize. Keep for the next time.

Well, on to Almora by a bus. I am looking forward to enjoy the bus ride in the new found freedom to use public transport.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Integral Wellness Retreat 1 at Madhuban, Uttaranchal

Madhuban is a charming Ashram in an orchard, looking down into a valley. The mountains in front cover 180 degree view and you feel that you are at the focal point of giant parabola formed by nature. I came here amidst rain at 11am and the rain intensified through the afternoon. It was an awesome spectacle to witness the symphony of nature form the vantage pint of Madhuban. The rain abated around 5:30pm and the Sun peeped out of the western sky to shower golden light on the pristine, just bathed, green beauty of the valley.
When I woke up in the morning, the first thing I saw was the picture of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. I felt some movement to my left and when I turned my head, I saw a beautiful monkey eating fruit on the tree closest to my window. There was a simple serenity that I cant describe – a sight to behold and experience.

I started the new workshop on the 8th of May and the retreat went very well. The participation of one of the Ashramites, Sadhana, was very special for me. I am touched, moved and inspired by her journey and I am sure she is a lady with a mission and would make huge contribution to life in this country.

This si the first time I am staying in an orchard and I am enjoying the long walks and plums, peaches and berries.

On the alst day, I trekked for two hours up the mountain to meet Asterji. The view form her house was spectacular and you can see who is who of the holy peaks of Uttaranchal. She told me the very interesting history of the setting up of Tapogiri, Madhuban and Mountain Paradise.

What a great experience to be in Uttaranchal, the craddle of spirituality.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Integral Wellness Retreat at Van Nivas, Nainital

Ah, Himalayas! A dream come true.

The abundance of the Himalayas unfolded in the taxi drive from Kathgodam to Nainital. The driver added a new dimension by turning the hair pin bends into hair rising experiences. I think he missed his vocation in Formula1 racing. The Van Nivas ashram is perched on a hillock with a beautiful view of the valley below. The ambience was so peaceful and verdant that we held most of the sessions outdoors – a first for me. The ashram is managed by the saintly Naliniji, who sahred with me his very interesting anecdotes and stimulating views on a wide variety of topics. The long walk to Land’s End under the able guidance of Niranakarji was one of the highlights. Nirankarji knows the terrain like the back of his hand. The view was breath taking and the air was exhilarating.

The ashram was full of exotic flowers and a band of langoors (a type of mountain monkey) that were very much at home and had first claim on any of the fruit that was growing in the premises. Nalinji’s Himalayan sheep dog is magnificent beast and though I have not met it, there is a leopard that drops in occasionally at the ashram.

I was very happy that three Aurovilians traveled all the way to participate in the retreat and their presence was encouraging and reassuring. I suffered from severe diarrhea on the first two days that put a lot of demand on my energies and equanimity and it is miracle that I could hold all the sessions as scheduled. However, on one accession, I went off the track in practicing what I teach and I leant that I need to do more inner work when I am unwell to really restore my inner harmony and top up on equanimity.

Thanks to Mr. Jayanto, I had the bonus of offering three sessions in the evenings to a large, mixed group of children form schools of Auroville, Bangalore and Baroda.
I packed my bags and set off to Madhuban (near Talla Ramgarh) on a cloudy, misty and chilly morning of 7th May.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Techno-70 get-together at INS Shivaji, Lonavala

Forty three of us joined the Technical Branches of the Indian Navy in 1970. We celebrated the 40th Anniversary of joining the Indian Navy and we called it Techno70. Today, none of us are serving in the Navy. The event was an extraordinary one and I met some of the pals after 40 years. I met many of them decades later as I was one of the early deserters. It was wonderful to see that our buddies travelled form around the globe to participate in this event. Though I was in the Navy for 20 years, I never went to Shivaji. A beautiful, scenic campus and perfect weather! We decided to make it an annual event from now on.
I was privileged to conduct an experiential session on Awareness to this extended family of mine. I am grateful for the opportunity and the interest shown by my friends and the attention they gave. That is not easy as they know me in the earlier Avatar(s) so well that it must have been a Herculean task to relate to me in my new Avatar and listen to me. Thank you, my dear friends.

Stress Management Workshop at GMR Infra, Bangalore

This is the 4th stress Management workshop I have done for GMR and it gets better and better each time. I started realizing that conducting personal growth workshops is actually a performing art and the performance gets better and better with practice. I also notice the synchronicity in each workshop. While I do have an agenda and time line, the way each workshop flows is different - like each river has a unique course. Like all rivers do reach the ocean, all events help the unique journey of each participants to the ocean of Awareness and the deep stillness within.

Workshop with the little ones at Nandanam School

Thanks to Vinodhini's suggestion, the willingness of Shilpi and Suresh (the teachers) to try it out and encouragement from Jyothi, I had 6 sessions of pure fun and spontaneous joy in playing with the children (on the pretext of teaching pranayama). Working with them is pure fun - they have incredible energy and their participation is so different from the adults. It is amazing to watch how they grasp form each other. I always enjoyed being with young children and look forward to serve such opportunities.

Personality Development Workshop at GMR Infra, Bangalore.

My sense that the last workshop went well is accurate. I have been asked by GMR to offer it again and this time the room was overflowing with 37 participants in a hall meant for a maximum of 30. It was a bit of a squeeze and I am actually happy to share the session with more people. I refined the workshop based on the earlier experience and managed the time better. I am looking forward to doing it as a 2 day event and add reinventing and deepen the core distinctions.

Well Being Workshop at Auroville

Sometimes friends ask me "How can you do the same workshop so many times and say that you enjoy it?”
The joy comes from this incredible work. It is similar to a singer or a dancer enjoying the performance. And in some sense beyond it as I am blessed to work with people who are interested to enhance their health, happiness and inner harmony. As per repetitiveness, I have been eating 3 times a day (sometimes more) as long as I can remember and enjoy every meal. The workshops are like meals to my soul!

Centenary Celebrations of Sri Aurobindo's Arrival in Pondy

This is the event of a life time; celebrating the Arrival of Sri Aurobindo in Puducherry on 04.04.1910. The week-long celebration started on 28th March.
I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to offer the first workshop on "Towards Integral Health". This is a combination of Well Being and Being Well; focussed on health. What is particularly delightful for me is the venue - Savitri Bhavan, the centre dedicated to the study of "Savitri", the epic poem of Sri Aurobindo.
We had seven session of programme in the early mornings and six sessions of two hours (10AM to 12 noon) on health and healing aspects. This was great opportunity for me to to rehearsal for the forthcoming events at Madhuban in the Himalayas, where I would be offering week long and retreat.
I had the privilege of conducting a very intersting session on 'You as an energy field' at Savitri Bhavan to a group of visitors to Auroville.

Personality Development for GMR Infrastructure, Bangalore

This is the first workshop I offered on this topic and it is based on the Being Well Workshops I do over 2-3 days. It was a challenge to offer it in one day to corporate executives.

I was very happy to see some of the participants who were in my earlier workshop on Stress Management at Bangalore. This is reassuring and encouraging to me. My sense is that the workshop went well and I immensely enjoyed offering it. I am particularly happy with the questions as they make the event interactive.

Stress Management at GMR Energy -New Delhi

I came into Delhi after a long gap of 14 years. And, how Delhi has changed! It is incredible and the look and feel is more like another country. It has no resemblance to the Delhi I visited first in 1968.

It was a pleasure to offer stress Management workshop at GMR Energy on two consecutive days for two different groups of people. I enjoyed it immensely and am grateful for offering the workshops so far from Auroville! (the farthest so far)

Conference on Health care

This is an extraordinary experience for me - to participate in a conference on Health - MCHCI-2010 as an invited speaker. These two days were very valuable for me to get a glimpse of what health management is today - a complex multi-disciplinary trillion dollar business. I am deeply grateful for being included in this event.

The abstract of my talk is reproduced below.
Self Healing – A sustainable approach to health management

Captain JV Avadhanulu VSM I.N. (Retd)


Current health management approach is cost and energy intensive, rising doubts about its sustainability. A more fundamental concern is related to ‘management’ of diseases as opposed to the real goal of healing. Natural and alternative health care systems are rooted in ancient wisdom and have been coming under severe pressure from advocates of modern medicine. There appears to be a widening rift between these two schools of thought. The pioneering work of Dr. Deepak Chopra, Swami Ramdev, Dr. Jindal, Dr. Devendra Vohra, Louis Hay, Dr. Dean Ornish threw new and scientifically convincing light on Mind-Body connection and the efficacy of Yoga and Naturopathy in healing and health management.

In 1987, the speaker was diagnosed with ischemic heart disease, prolapsed mitral valve, high blood pressure and high blood sugar level. Fortunately, he chose to follow the path of Pranayama, Ayurveda and Yoga. This approach not only healed the incurable diseases but also rejuvenated him, giving a new level of energy, enthusiasm and jest for life. He started offering workshops and retreats based on his personal experience.

In this talk, the speaker shares his personal experiences in healing as well as the impact of the workshops on participants. Simple but powerful self healing techniques have been a major corner stone of his experience. The speaker also intends to experientially share a few techniques, if time permits. The talk emphasizes the importance of self healing as a sustainable approach to health management. Using such techniques does not conflict with modern medicine but allows for appropriate use of` modern medicine. A shift in consciousness; individual and collective; based on inner harmony, and being in harmony with Nature holds the key to sustainable and holistic approach to health.

See picture at

Well Being Workshop at Auroville

This is my favourite workshop and it is was very special for me to offer it during the birthday celebrations of Auroville. There is magic in the air of Auroville in the week starting with the Mother's Birthday on 28th February. The atmosphere is charged with celebration and it is amazingly festive.

This workshop was the largest ever in term of member of people participating - 38. On the Birthday of Auroville, there were actually 51 people in the session!

I feel satisfied and fulfilled to be the chosen one to offer this event!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Presentations on ‘Reinventing Yourself’- M4 (PGL, IIMI)

This module was an opportunity for the participants to reinvent themselves and present their new vision and mission. Wow, it was one of the most inspiring, satisfying and fulfilling experiences for me to listen to the vision and the value that the participants created in PGL. Thank you!

Stress Management workshop at GMR

The event was organized by the Training and Development Division of GMR for 28 middle level Mangers of GMR.

The participation and interactions were a source of joy for me and I would remember this workshop for a long, long time. I am grateful to the participants and the Training and Development Division of GMR for arranging the event.

My experience in facilitating Stress Management Workshops gives me a sense of the acute stress most people appear to be going through and I am grateful for the opportunity to share some tools and techniques to manage stress.

I forgot my Camera and regret that there are no pictures of this extraordinary event.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Communication – Module 3 (PGL, IIMI)

We tried out an interesting experiment in this Module. It is based on a concept that I have been thinking  for some time. Many people think of communication as what we talk to others (and perhaps to oneself) and as a result many communication courses deal with the form and content. My concept is that the source of communication is who you are being. Communications include the way we relate to the Earth, Environment,  values and vision for your life. I tried this out in the communication module and my sense was that it was very well received. It was very interesting and inspiring experience for me and I am grateful to all the participants.

I request feedback using the Comments box below.

The academic block of IIMI is in an annular shape and very pretty. I am sharing a couple of pictures.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Technical Project at Auroville

When I came to Auroville, I had no intention to work in technical areas. But, I saw an opportunity to contribute in developing the approach to ICT in Auroville, I decided to go for it. I saw it as a way of expressing my gratitude for the education given to me: by my parents, teachers, the places I worked and the society. It is a bold approach with many new concepts such as convergence of fixed and mobile communications, controlling electromagnetic pollution, eco-friendliness, creating a sustainable bioregion ..... . It culminated in a presentation at Auroville on 29th Jan. We call it ICITI (like iphone)Integrated Communication & IT Infrastructure.

If it interests you to know more about it, click on

or click on
 and look for the artcile "Integrated Communication & IT Infrastructure"

Freedom - Personal Growth Lab Course at IIM, Indore

This module is about Freedom – freedom from the emotions that sometimes tend to overwhelm you, freedom from conditioning as well as the baggage of the past and freedom from those things which block you from being happy. The work focuses on shifting the consciousness. It was an unforgettable and deeply satisfying experience for me to work with 81 young men and watch the flowers of awareness slowly blooming. Sometimes we (including me) want them to bloom faster! I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to offer these programs.

In this visit, I had a room at IIMI with balcony facing the east. I am sharing some pictures of unbelievably gorgeous sun rise I have ever seen. The picture may not have captured its real grandeur, but I hope you get some idea of it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wellness - Personal Growth Lab Course at IIM, Indore

I love IIM, Indore campus. It is beautiful, perched on a hillock and I feel a sense of elation and exuberance when I walk around the campus. I also feel very excited as I come here to facilitate Personal Growth Workshops – fulfilling the purpose of my life. This visit was very special as I was facilitating Personal Growth Lab for the first time. It is the ‘Magnum Opus’ of my work. The objective of this course is to experientially explore awareness and awaken to life’s purpose. I had a lot of fun designing the course, creating an evaluation system and pouring it into the academic framework. The biggest challenge was the evaluation system as it attempts to measure the immeasurable to make awakening manageable by the participants. It was offered as elective for the final semester students of PGP (what we normally refer to as the 2 year MBA) and 81 students opted for it! I really celebrated this and my excitement went by a few more notches as it offered me to work the large group of young, interested and committed participants.

The course is dividing into four modules, each of about a week long in duration. The first module is Wellness and is quite similar to Well Being workshop. We added Meditation and Stress Management to Well Being. It was one of the most joyous and fulfilling experiences for me to facilitate this workshop. I took written feedback and was delighted to read the impressions. The summary of quantitative rating s are

Extremely Valuable 39%

Very valuable 54%

Valuable 7%

Somewhat Valuable NIL

Not Valuable NIL

I feel a deep sense of gratitude to the PGP Chair, Office and all the participants for giving me this opportunity to share and experience the joy of sharing Wellness.

I am looking forward to be in IIMI Campus next week for the next module, Freedom. Freedom form emotional overwhelm and freedom from the baggage of the past.


Acadamic Block

Reminds me of the treee on Mt. Sinai in Ten Commanments