Monthly Archives

June 2017

Who is the real Sadhguru (Day 1121)

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The session past noon but the audience is not ready to go as yet. They have questions to ask and are hungry for answers. The volunteers run with microphones and Sadhguru answers as many devotees as he can, he sometimes passes their questions to  Karan Johar and Johar who is by now begun to thoroughly enjoy the session treats it like his TV shows playing to the gallery with the rapid fire round and his fans are cheering him.

The stadium is bursting with people and downstairs, the latecomers have parked on the floor resting against the gate door. The capacity of the venue is 8000 and as I look around I don’t see a single vacant seat.

16.06.2017 iiWhen the session closes, there is no rush; no pushing and the guests walk out peacefully from the auditorium. The volunteers who welcomed us with folded hand in the morning are still waiting and smiling as we walk down the long corridor. Outside there are more volunteers to help us locate your vehicles. As I wait for my car I chat with some of them and they tell me that after we are gone they will assemble in the theatre and collectively fold up all the chairs and clean the place for the next show.

As I drive home, I think about the selfless and hardworking volunteers, there be must something about Sadhguru to compel them to such dedication! Is it that he is ranked amongst the fifty most influential people in India or something else? Have they been able to figure out if the man they worship is a yogi, a mystic, a visionary or just a self-styled guru? Some call him commercial, some say he is a healer, his devotees’ think of him as an artist, his detractors call him a publicity hound!!

Undoubtedly he is articulate and learned which is why he is invited to all the significant forums. He is well versed in sports/ politics, poetry/ ecology even music and aviation which is one of the reasons his foundation is hosting a series of In Conversation with celebrity hosts from different fields. Probably the idea is to explore the many moods of the mystic and my concern is which out of all these avatars is the real Sadhguru?

Maybe all, maybe none, maybe nobody knows and only time will tell…

(Concluded)

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Marriage is co-habitation (Day 1120)

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The session is more than half way through and Johar has gradually dropped all his guards and become his natural self. He probes if there should be a limit to one’s love and emotions and Sadhguru stump everyone with his answer, “Love must be experienced without abandon and without brakes. Love is quality, not quantity so it’s not something that will get over because we have over used it. On the contrary, the more you experience love, the more it is available to you and the only time there must be a break in love is when you die.”

The following question is about marriage and Sadhguru predictably has an unconventional reply, “Let us understand that all of us are single. We come single and we depart single, the fact is marriage is just co- habitation. If you have responsibilities, then you are fortunate. It means that you have something to distract yourself from your madness. It means that you have chosen to respond to a particular person or situation and even the experience of commitment can be joyous”.

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He explains that if we wish to be free ourselves from unnecessary thoughts, then we have to implement on it not just express it. I have spent my entire life in that quest…I have strived to bring spirituality from the Himalayas to the streets…Unfortunately today, we associate all the negative things with the street – like drinks, prostitution, all the vices, but if we make up our minds and work collectively we can alter the  connotations, not immediately but some day for sure.”

 

Sadhguru has been working on it for over three decades, which is why he founded Isha Foundation, a non-profit organisation supported by over seven million volunteers in over 250 centres worldwide. Some of the volunteers are present today at the venue, smiling, spreading positive vibrations their way to make this a perfect experience for all of us!

(To be continued)

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Confidence and Clarity (Day 1119)

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The mood is vibrant and Sadhguru despite his jetlag is full of energy. He answers questions raised by Karan Johar, sometimes counter questions him and sometimes wanders to unrelated topics, it is only gradually one understands that all the fragmented thoughts are connected and there is a reason why he meanders before answering the queries directly.

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Probably this is the reason why he is called mystic; he is called outspoken too and also contemporary. He is savvy and has a way of grabbing attention, he is charismatic both in his persona and his conversations, is palpably passionate and a great orator too, he says, “Confidence without clarity is dangerous…” and warns that never look up to someone because “When you do that, the value of the person goes down and they end up as a hanging on the wall. So look at people for what they are and the real value will emerge”.

One of the reasons why Sadhguru appeals to all generations is because he speaks from all perspectives without judgments, sample this “As a parent do not try to make your kids a reflection of yourself. Let them evolve. Don’t be rigid about teaching; let your children figure out their world”.  They are not empty words he puts them practice too, shares that he doesn’t care if his daughter does not know how many fingers exist in a human hand as long as she knows what to do with her fingers. The important thing is to be consistently joyful; every act no matter how mundane must depict joy that is of utmost importance.

 (To be continued)

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Getting ready for Yoga (Day 1118)

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Karan Johar reveals that what attracts him to undertake a session like this is that there are so many questions he is perennially seeking answers for and never seem to find them. He admits rather candidly that there is always a dilemma going on within him, between his fears and anxieties and also between his understanding of religion and spirituality. He elaborates that most people seek answers from books or learned people but often that does not ring a bell in real life and what is attractive about Sadhguru is that somehow he resonates the question with your own life which makes it all so simple and relatable and which is probably why all of us are present in the room.

Sadhguru smiles, says the basis of spirituality is that you realise that you do not know and the basis of religion is that it gives you answers that close your mind. There is a long pause, as Johar and the audience tries to absorb what is said, some get it, some don’t as Sadhguru smiles affectionately.

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It is difficult to make out what KarJohar is thinking as he asks his next question: Is there ever an end to human needs? “If you have realised that, then you are ready for yoga” replies Sadhguru. “Your longing to expand is not for more; it is for all. Your longing is for infinite expansion. Right now it is finding unconscious expression. If it finds physical expression, we call this sexuality. If the same expression is emotional we describe it as love. If you exercise this mentally, it gets labelled as greed, conquest or shopping. And when there is awareness, when you do this consciously, we call this yoga.”

(To be continued)

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Love and Life (Day 1118)

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The program begins quietly and unobtrusively with a live performance from a devotee and when the song ends, it is time for Sadhguru and Karan Johar to make an entry. There is excitement in the atmosphere as the duo walk towards the stage. Many in the audience rise in reverence, some of them start clapping, some start chanting and some rush toward the front row to get a closer view of their guru and some to touch his feet.

There are big screens put up on either side of the stage for those seated behind to get a closer view of the program.  From where I am sitting I observe that Karan Johar looks self-conscious. It is not as if he is not used to adulation but the hysteria generated by Sadhguru among his devotees is of a different beat.  They make a strange couple, Karan in his Black suit and shining shoes and Sadhguru clad in purple robes carefully co-ordinated with pastel turban and colourful beads dangling from his neck and arms. They make a magnificent picture as they walk up the wooden stage decorated in orange silk and fragrant orchids.

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Sadhguru sits decorously on the centre ornate chair, one foot cross-legged and the other rested on the ground while Johar parked on his left prefers to be at the edge of his seat, his right foot resting on the reclined left foot. A sparkling copper pot filled with water is placed beside Sadhguru while Johar has a ceramic mug holding his drink.

The host introduces the panellists, the topic for the afternoon and everyone is geared up for the session. Karan begins by saying that he has never done something like this before, but there is always a first time and he has done adequate research on his subject to make it an enjoyable experience for all of us.

(To be continued)

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Mystic meets Mainstream (Day 1116)

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I was at a friend’s birthday party a week ago, when I was asked if I would like to attend a lecture by Sadhguru. My immediate reaction was ‘yes’ I had read so much about him, watched him on television, read about his group, Isha Foundation and did not want to miss the opportunity of listening to him in person. My friend assured me that it was a VVIP pass and I will be able to have a close view of the stage proceedings, wherein the mystic will be in conversation with the mainstream, filmmaker Karan Johar.

11.06.2017 iiOn Sunday morning as I drove to NSCI Dome in Worli, Mumbai I was not prepared for the extraordinary organisation. There were volunteers holding Isha cards directing the cars from Worli Naka right up to NSCI gate. On a hot morning, the volunteers without umbrellas or a frown on the forehead guided the bumper to bumper traffic and I must say that all the guests were remarkably patient too, call it the mood of the moment but there was a feeling that something special awaited us inside.

At the Dome Theatre, more smiling faces awaited us with folded hands, all of them immaculately dressed. They checked our invite and politely guided us to the appropriate gate. My friends and I found our seats easily and spontaneously smiled at our neighbours. As we settled down with our bags and phones, I looked around the place and noticed it was a packed auditorium and gradually the stands were filling up too.

11.06.17 iI looked at Sadhguru’s large pictures around the stage and wondered what is it about this man for so many young and old to gather in such large numbers on a Sunday morning to listen to him? Is it something about his persona or is it what he conveys as a message?

( To be continued)

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Movie Review: Behen Hogi Teri is wholesome entertainment Day 1115

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Film: Behen Hogi Teri

Date: 9 June 2017

Director: Ajay K Pannalal

Producer: Odd Ball Motion Pictures

Stars: Rajkumar Rao, Shruti Haaasan

Ratings: 4 stars

 

Gattu is anxiously waiting for his friend Bhoora and as soon as he spots him, Gattu jumps out of the window and all of them escape to a secluded place. It is their Boys day out because if today they are visible anywhere in the neighborhood the dada-daadis and the naana-naanis will forcibly turn them into brothers of all the single girls in the locality. Today is Raksha Bandhan, the martyr day for the boys! 

Written by Viniteet- Rajat and directed by Ajay Pannalal Behan Hogi Teri is the love-hate story of Lucknow-based Gattu/ Rajkumar Rao and Binny/ Shruti Haasan, their friends, parents and extended families.

Gattu and Binny have grown up in the same mohalla and are accustomed to the seniors addressing them as siblings when the fact is that Gattu fantasises marrying his phataka Binny except that he does not have the courage to confess this to anybody including Binny!

What is appealing about the film is that it is a simple story of simple people who lead simple lives complicated by age-old conditions. Director Pannalal introduces you to the mindset and culture of Lucknow through his delicious writing and humour.  All his characters are uniquely original, be it hero’s father Darshan Jariwala, Gulshan Grover or the hero’s friend Bhoora or rival Rahul/ Gauutam Gulati.

All the actors are remarkable and deliver sparkling performances to an extent that there is really nothing to criticise in the film.

As Binny, Shruti Haasan is a spontaneous actor and breathtaking to look at. She is particularly amazing as the bride on the run when she depicts exasperation sitting on the bench without a single dialogue.

Rajkumar Rao who has so far excelled in histrionics, this time knocks us out with his super timing in comedy. His drunken brawl with his friend on the terrace late at night when he vents his frustration on Hindi film heroes is first rate and hilarious!

The story does not move out of the city of Lucknow in fact out of the mohalla and yet every moment is engaging!  There are no parallel tracks, no item numbers, no guest appearances and no superstars and despite it the narrative is thoroughly entertaining!

And most important, this is not a dimwitted entertainer without substance. The film raises an important issue like honour killing without being remotely preachy or didactic.

Behan Hogi Teri cannot be missed. Watch it with your sister, friend, beloved, rather your entire family. I rate Behan Hogi Teri with 4 stars.

Movie Review: Raabta is old reincarnation in new bottle Day 1114

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Film: Raabta

Date: 9 June 2017

Director: Dinesh Vijan

Producer: Maddock Films

Writer: Siddharth-Garima

Stars: Sushant Singh Rajput, Kriti Sanon and Jim Sarbh

‘When did you arrive, sorry did not notice you’ says the girl in the chocolate shop to which the boy replies ‘A while ago, so what’s up?’ they strike a casual conversation like they’ve known each other for years. The camera does not freeze and there is no background score but you instantly know there is a back story to this relationship.

Predictably the hero lands at the shop the following day and walks the girl home, he is charming and she is amused by him. They kiss and confess, make love and chatter, eat and walk the streets welcoming the rain and the sunshine; both confess they have never felt like this with anybody before!

Passion is riding high and before they are swept off their feet, both decide they ought to pause and ponder and be sure if this is special. Coincidentally the boy leaves for a work conference and the girl missing him terribly, confides her story to a new buddy/ Jim Sarbh over dinner and drinks and that is the end of the dream!

Set in the picturesque Budapest  Raabta is a contemporary love story of Shiv/ Sushant Singh Rajput and Saira/ Kriti Sanon, a tale of chemistry and connection that all youngsters can identify with and simultaneously, a typical Hindi film reincarnation narrative.

What appeals about the film is the racy, refreshing first half sprinkled with sizzling dialogues by Siddharth and Garima expertly internalised by Sushant and Kriti. Adding intrigue to the romance is the haunting background score by Sachin- Jigar.

The negative is the second half that travels you into the past lives of the protagonists. You feel completely disconnected with the period set, their dialect and conversation and don’t feel anything for the characters.

Reincarnation is not a novel subject for the Indian audience. Over the decades we have watched many films related to past lives including Madhumati and Milan. Unfortunately, Raabta does not fall into the same bracket. Yes, the first half is engaging, new face Jim Sarbh stylish and lead pair charismatic.

Watch Raabta if you must for the vibrant presence and the palpable chemistry between Kriti Sanon aur Sushant Singh Rajput.

 

I rate Raabta with 2.5 stars.

 

Game of Life (Day 1113)

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In the game of life when you want something, you get not what you desire but what you prepare for.

So the first step for desire is to prepare oneself, we have to pack the suitcase with new thoughts and new feelings. We have to learn to discard old preconceived notions, delete all our old fears…

We remain in the situation we are because we are scared to experiment; we are scared to take risks and prefer to leave decisions to destiny. We believe that whatever has to happen will happen and patiently wait for that moment. That is not the right way. To make things happen the way we desire, we have to first become conscious of our surroundings…Become conscious to the signals that universe offers to us and have the courage to implement on them leaving the results to the universe.

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The workshop was an enlightening experience and by the end of the three days, all of us had become friends.  If you are looking for an evolving experience, I recommend a workshop with Life Coach Farhat Gupta 9820089394/ farhatgupta@gmail.com.

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Confide in the Universe (Day 1112)

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As the day progressed so did the topics of discussion and we realized that everything begins and ends with the universe, simply because everything is connected.  She explained that we need to ask the universe to fulfill our desires and more important, check with ourselves if that is really what we want. To make sure we are on the right path we need to all the time observe ourselves.

Understand that the so-called easy way is invariably the harder way. Have faith that He will grant you what you want only if he thinks that what you want is good for you which is why when we don’t get what we want there is a message in that as well.

For a change in life, you have to prepare for the change, you have to pack a suitcase. And the suitcase, in this case, is you. Just in the way we choose clothes for travel we need to choose our thoughts that we will pack into the suitcase…The travel, in this case, is not a destination but the future….

The universe grants all that we ask for because it agrees that all that we desire is good for us and yet waits for us to ask express our wish. It is His way of checking if we are sure of what we ask for and it is only when he has confirmed our determination that he will grant our wish to us!

If you are looking for an evolving experience, I recommend a workshop with Life Coach Farhat Gupta 9820089394/ farhatgupta@gmail.com.

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