After the Kabir Fest rocked Mumbai earlier this month, it was now Pune’s turn to feel the magic of the mystic weaver poet. Shabnam, director of the Kabir Project was at The Urban Ashram yesterday along with her friends Vipul Rikhi, Gopal Singh Chouhan (manjiras) and Ajay Tipanya (dholak) to take us on a musical journey into the poetry of mystics like Kabir, Shah Latif, et al.
About 30 seekers gathered together at 6 am for an intimate early morning satsang, Continue reading
Neha, a Wednesday anchor at The Urban Ashram shares:
” I loved the inspiring passage that Khushmita sent our group by email which was to be read out post the Wednesday silence. So many realizations were popping up for me while I read the passage and in the silent hour. Let me start with a beautiful sharing apart from the passage.
Today, in the evening before the silent hour started, Continue reading
Nipun Mehta shares:
At a meeting in 1930s, Gandhi convened India’s independence movement leaders for a pivotal meeting. It wasn’t a productive meeting. Polarities widened and rifts deepened as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (widely known as “Iron Man of India”) threatened to quit. No resolution emerged, but Gandhi left the meeting and quietly gave up salt from his diet. A month later, the same people found a common ground for cooperation. Its hard to say how Gandhi’s sacrifice of salt affected the outcome of that meeting, but Gandhi’s life offers repeated examples of how he believed his practices of inner transformation could create external impact.
That’s a foreign technology for our modern world — change yourself to change the world. Yet, its prevalent in almost all the social change giants of our time from Martin Luther King, Jr. to Dalai Lama to Cesar Chavez. Instead of activism, we call it giftivism. Giftivism is the practice of radically generous acts that change the world. Radical in its audacity to believe that inner and the outer are deeply inter-connected, and generous in its vision of uplifting 100%, the oppressor and the oppressed.
Last week, about 55 community organizers from around India met to deepen their understanding of Giftivism. I was one among them. Continue reading
“It will be nice to have an Awakin gathering in my home someday as I genuinely wish that my family and friends can experience the joy that I am experiencing right now” remarked Rakesh on day 2 of our recently concluded “Awakin to Giftivism” retreat outside Pune.
Little did anyone know that his intention would manifest itself as an Awakin gathering at his home in less than 2 weeks after he said these words. Rakesh’s family was so moved by stories from his retreat experiences, that his wife Sapna, two wonderful daughters, Sakshi (age 14) and Sanika (age 6) as well his parents decided to start hosting Awakin gatherings in their basement living room every Sunday evening at 7 pm.
The first Awakin gathering at their lovely home was a beautiful experience. We were welcomed at the door by Sakshi and Sanika who had been prepping up the “meditation hall” all day to welcome the guests. In the kitchen, Sapna and her mother-in-law had spent their day cooking up a delicious meal for the evening. They also spent the previous evening going thru many of wisdom passages on the website before they chose a beautiful reading by Krishnamurti. And then to step it up further, Sapna translated the whole passage into hindi for the benefit of some of the seniors who were attending.
After a beautiful hour of silence, Rakesh opened up the circle of sharing with a warm welcome to all those present, after which he read the passage. As the circle of sharing progressed, one by one everyone remarked how delighted they were to be present in the sacred space that the family had lovingly created that evening.
The whole family really served all of us guests with so much joy and grace. Maybe it was their love that pulled in people from long distances, some of whom had driven upwards of an hour to attend this gathering. And so many unknown brothers and sisters came only to leave as intimate family at the end of the 3 hours!
As we parted ways after the clean up with a group hug, all we could say to each other with beaming smiles was “It’s time to Awakin!”
Just as we were about to leave for Bangalore on X’mas eve post the “Awakin to Giftivism” retreat in Pune, we receive a box of brand new books from a publisher friend for the Spread the Word library at The Urban Ashram. Something about the timing of its arrival inspires us to just take the as-yet unpacked box as seeds for a pay it forward library that my friends Susheel and Kapila have been contemplating for their restaurant called Vriksh.
When we reach Vriksh and open the box, inside we find Continue reading
Lakshmi, a long term volunteer shares her journey with Meals on Wheels:
“Everybody loves a hot, home cooked meal especially when it is cold outside or is raining heavily. My friend Prem, felt moved that something as basic as this, is a dream for the people who live on the streets. She felt that as a community, we should make nutritious food at home, add our love and take it to our friends on the streets and feed them. So she started the ‘Meals on Wheels’ program.
I have been fortunate to have been part of 4 versions of Meals on wheels (MoW) that started 4 weeks ago, Continue reading
“Sheetal, drop whatever you are doing tomorrow and pick me up at 10 am. There is someone I would love for you to meet.. And it is a surprise so don’t ask me who it is!” commanded my elder sister over the phone yesterday.
As I picked her up and drove to the local library, little was I to know that this someone would be Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, head of the Dongyu Gatsal Ling Nunnery and author of many books including the classic “Cave in the snow!”
She was in town to offer a discourse on the teachings of the Buddha and it was a blessing to spend the whole day in her presence with a small group of 40 seekers!
Here are some of her teachings from today that struck a chord with me:
“Buddhism is simply enlightened common sense!”
“At the beginning of our spiritual journey, we all are spiritual toddlers. When a toddler is learning to walk, he falls countless times before he learns to balance, gains the strength to stand on his own feet and walk. Just like that, we need to keep trying to strengthen our inner selves and eventually we can gracefully walk the spiritual journey!”
“As long as you are angry with darkness and fight it, you are on the side of darkness! Darkness can only be conquered with light! Go watch Star Wars and you will see what I am saying”
“We are stuck with our ego till enlightenment happens to us. Our egos will be our companion till the end so might as well make it a happy ego, an ego that makes the journey back home bearable!”
“Samsara is just like a prison building with different floors. The higher floors/ penthouse are like heaven and the basement/ dungeons are like hell. Whether in the penthouse or the dungeon realise that you are still in the prison. Work your way out of this prison!”
Deeply grateful to the Universe for these serendipitous satsangs!
Neha shares an inspired poem that she wrote while on a nature retreat in Panchgani…
Sitting on the Rock I feel the oneness,
It’s helping me to sort my miseries with kindness…
It’s beautiful to see butterflies all around,
This signifies the amount of peace I am surround… Continue reading
Once a month, volunteers from the Seva Cafe crew in Pune converge at the Atlantis Restaurant to spread the seeds of love, generosity and service.
Seva Café is an experiment in the shared joy that comes from humble giving and selfless service.
Our wholesome meals are cooked and served with love by volunteers and offered to our guests as a genuine gift, paid for in full by previous guests. Continue reading
Once in a while make someone smile,
Once in a while, write someone a note,
Once in a while, give someone a gift,
A Gift of LOVE, of FRIENDSHIP, of GRATITUDE..
Once in a while, LIVE!
Life is a story tale,
sometimes you fail,
sometimes you win,
It all depends on how the bottles spin,
The bottles of destiny,luck and fate,
Just learn to take things at a slower rate!
Don’t just run, walk!
Don’t just look, see!
Don’t just read, understand!
Don’t just take, give!
Don’t just breathe, LIVE!
This poem was shared by Jagruti at one of the Wednesdays. Jagruti, 21 years old is a student of architecture, with a passion for calligraphy and the outdoors!