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Incredible India Trip!

Experiences from India: Celebration – Barry Rosen

The India trip was incredible and challenging but in the end it was a wonderful life transforming event. It took about 42 hours door to door to get to India and we landed and stayed in a 4 star hotel to make the transition to rural country life. When we arrived at the ashram, we found that 2000-3000 extra people decided to attend the last minute and many of them from 145 countries around the world did not bother to confirm that they were coming. Sri Sri, immediately took them in creating an unexpected last minute housing shortage at the ashram despite months of planning . The international center has about 3500 beds and additional dormitory space on the floor and by the time we were registering, there was no space left at the Inn with over 7000 people. The housing team scrambled the last minute to find accommodations near by. This was a reminder of the Italy course in 2000 when 1500 people got housed in 50 hotels around the city–many of them getting put in the wron
places. It is part of the Divine play to shake us up, transform our expectations. Given that we are now doing disaster relief around the world, we need to know how to work with chaos and the US full-time teachers stood up to the challenge and did an amazing job. One could sense the humor of the whole thing even if it was not initially funny. But most importantly it is a reminder that we have to be flexible, move beyond our expectations and be solid to move with whatever is happening in our life. The relative world is always changing!

There were 5000 people on the Part 2 course in a huge amphitheatre tent that was quite comfortable despite the size and the course was nice although there were limitations on what we could do. One day the young children from the school, who were studying the Vedic rites, did a ceremony for us in the evening was magnificent an another outdoor amphitheatre overlooking Visha Mantap, a seven story round marble meeting hall which is the jewel of the ashram. Countries from around the world performed their own ethnic dances and the energy was quite high. Dining and service were well organized and I never waited more than a few minutes to eat tasty south Indian meals. All in all, the ashram managed to handle the crowds and the feeling of love at the ashram and holiness was very deep and healing and soothed over whatever minor challenges there were. When it came time to get people into town, 200 buses lined up orderly and got people back. Traffic was never t
oo bad
and despite fears of very long round trip bus rides, many times it even took only an hour to get back to the ashram– a true miracle!

The Silver Jubilee celebration was quite spectacular and beyond belief. Held on an unused India Airfield called, Jakar, there were 2-2.8 million people at times over the 3 days. Afternoons were spent at shopping stalls and watching ethnic dancers from around the world . The main program occurred about 6:30 pm each evening. Despite the enormous amount of people, we were always cared for. International attendees had a VIP entrance and parking lot so we did not have far to walk and there were less crowds.. We also had special seating near the front. When you looked back, it seems like there was a sea of people going back about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile. There were 77 theatre sized TV screens and an excellent sound system and the 20,000 volunteers did an amazing jobs getting everyone in and out without and hassles. VIP food courts were also very well run and despite the crowds, there was never a sense of waiting or hassle or crowds.

The stage was specially built and had about 7500 VIPs on it including an orchestra of 3800 musicians–mostly playing Indian instruments. Over the three days great political and religious leaders spoke including the President of India, the Head of the Supreme Court of India, the former prime ministers from the Netherlands and France, the King of Ghana and a host of Indian governors. Rabbi's, Catholic priests, Buddhist and Muslim priests all gave glowing accolades to the Art of Living for their service work around the world. The theme of One World Family echoed in every speech and was indeed a reality with 145 countries represented speaking 44 languages.

The group kriya together ended up starting at 6 pm and ended up being a short kriya led live by Sri Sri. The effect was rather profound. For me, I felt my whole forehead and crown vibrating and moving into a more solidified state. The man next to me felt that his whole being became this flame of light that merged into a huge ocean of flames Afterwards, Sri Sri said that we should make one realistic wish that night and it would come true. The final day was most magical ending with a montage of all the world troupes performing with cuts to a live dance troupe on stage performing. The effect was indeed to create one world family. Many leaders remarked at the incredible leadership and dedication from the Art of Living to put such an orderly and beautiful performance together and to manage so many people with ease and order. Toward the end of each evening when 2 million people sang and danced , there was indeed an incredible melding and Oneness and Unity
filled the crowd.

For me it was a life-transforming experience. The new solidity and grace and joy that flowed through me and that has stayed with me suggests a more profound inner transformation that occurred. And I think it was also reminded of the profound organization that we really are. I also became aware that I really have family in all parts of the world and seeing them all there from courses over the past 15 years was a joyful reminder that I am connected to the One World family and that the world is much larger and more beautiful than the terrorism and violence we see on TV. For the first time, we had people there from Mainland China and Iraq and Iran and Taiwan and Lebanon and Mongolia and Sri Sri made a point of calling them all up to the stage to sing and dance together. One beautiful man from Iraq summarized the experience beautifully when he said, I do not know who I am or why I am here but the fullness of my heart does not need to know as it can experience this profo
love without having to analyze it.

It is really beyond words to intellectualize or express the feeling and love level of One World family but it was a very rich and real experience that suddenly expands one beyond the very small boundaries of ones race, and national identity and creates a bigger sense of belongingness.

One speaker noted, 60% of the people there were in there 20's and 30's and that does give us hope for the future and hope for creating a permanent sense of change in a troubled world and it was clear that the group kriya sent waves of coherence around the world broadcasting this once in a lifetime and once in many life times. .

It took me 53 hours to get home door to door, but it did not matter as I spent more and more time in the present moment with a new sense of the global humanity that we are. Symbolically, on the plane home, I watched a wonderful French film and Golden Globe Nominee called, Merry Christmas, which was about German, French and Scottish troops coming out of their opposing ditches to celebrate Christmas together in 1914 and that it was spurred by a German opera start/soldier singing Christmas songs. . The movie was based on a true story and was very moving as the troops realized that they were indeed brothers and had the same problems and they were wondering why they were fighting each other and ultimately, they realized that it did not make sense and that their war was dictated by some power mongers that could not get along. Indeed can be a beautiful means of bridging cultural gaps and uniting people together in song and more than ever I appreciate this aspect of th
e Art
of Living and the 3800 member orchestra and the group singing certainly exemplified this at times.

When I arrived in Phoenix, it was seasonally cold in the 50's but refreshing and I felt like running, leapiing, laughing and dancing through the cool desert silence.

— Barry Rosen
Sedona, AZ
By | 11:45 | 27/Feb/2006

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Krishna Reddy
Krishna Reddy
Founder and Chief Editor of A Post-Graduate from IIT Bombay, I am a social entrepreneur and Founder of iDiya Web Solutions, a Hyderabad based software company. Follow my ideas and updates on my profile !

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